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Friday, April 11, 2014


Published Friday, April 11, 2014
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Manatee County Administrator Ed Hunzeker seeks to change the way property taxes are spent. His plan has been presented and placed into motion by a majority of the county commissioners. The focus is said to be jobs and revitalization; however, the plan may actually create havoc for public safety.

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Thursday, April 10, 2014


Published Thursday, April 10, 2014
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Earlier this month, the State of Florida Clemency Board heard testimony aimed to compel members to reduce a 10-year sentence given to a local football coach who accidentally killed his best friend in a drunk driving accident. In following the case, I've found that it raises a valid moral question that we don't seem completely comfortable addressing. Should a willing (and equally inebriated) passenger in a DUI crash be viewed the same as other victims under the law?

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Sunday, April 6, 2014


Published Sunday, April 6, 2014
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This week's Supreme Court ruling in McCutcheon v. FEC was a nuclear bomb detonated on the capital city of those fighting to get the money out of politics – or as I like to call it, the only thing close to a silver bullet in fixing our parenthetically inept political system. After ruling that corporations are people and free to spend unlimited amounts of cash buying elections, I suppose it's a logical extension that people are people and should be able to do the same. But this is about much more than the issue at hand. It's another powerful victory in a battle to overcome the chief obstacle to oligarchy rule in a democratic system – those pesky elections.

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Thursday, April 3, 2014


Published Thursday, April 3, 2014
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Last week, the Supreme Court heard arguments in two cases related to the provision of the Affordable Care Act that requires health insurance policies to include contraceptive care. In both cases, the companies claimed that contributing to employer-sponsored plans that would provide those services to their employees violated their religious beliefs. Given the arguments that were presented, legal experts are beginning to note the profound impact and various ripple effects the decision might have, but the overtly political nature of the complaints should not be ignored.

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014


Published Wednesday, April 2, 2014
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In honor of Deaf History Month, Florida Attorney Reggie Garcia makes the argument for a chapter yet to be written. The failure to accommodate deaf residents’ communication needs often results in severe and tragic consequences, including the failure to receive a proper education, higher rates of unemployment, medical misdiagnosis and the greater likelihood of wrongful conviction.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014


Published Tuesday, April 1, 2014
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Recently, the Manatee County Commission has made several troubling decisions regarding the prioritization of roadway projects, even going so far as eliminating the use of local funds, mostly generated from development impact fees. This change will now use state and federal funds, robbing scarce dollars needed to eliminate traffic congestion in our downtown areas. State law, along with Manatee County's own comp plan, requires “new development pay for its fair share of the cost of County Capital Facilities required to accommodate new development through the imposition of Impact Fees.” Using state and federal dollars to subsidize private developers does not meet that criteria, nor is it a square deal for citizens.

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Sunday, March 30, 2014


Published Sunday, March 30, 2014
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A recent investigative report by the St. Pete Times exposed the nonsensical structuring of “fees” at “state-designated trauma centers.” One after another, the article detailed utterly larcenous incidents of hospitals gouging patients to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars, sometimes without even providing more than a cursory look. What does it say about our country when this sort of unconscionable fleecing of the sick and injured has become commonplace in America's health care system?

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Friday, March 28, 2014


Published Friday, March 28, 2014
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The United States Marine Corps has a saying: We're looking for a few good men and women. Well Manatee County needs a few of their own. All of the civics classes in the world could never teach a person what they would learn once every facet of their life was in the hands of government decision makers, as it is when you join the military. Yet more of our life than we often realize is in the hands of our local government, and I think it's high time more folks consider taking a shot at public service.

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Thursday, March 27, 2014


Published Thursday, March 27, 2014
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Last week, I wrote a column about the shameful failures of the Florida DCF and questioned whether our state's mandate of “family preservation” – which was arguably reinforced by a flawed notion that it would reduce costs – should be reassessed. Around the same time, we ran a story on the state's effort to reduce the amount drivers paid to renew their automobile registration. Am I the only one who sees an amazing opportunity?

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Friday, March 21, 2014


Published Friday, March 21, 2014
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Many schools across the state have transitioned the focus of their mathematics instruction to preparation for the Florida Comprehensive Achievement Test (FCAT). I do not fault schools for focusing on FCAT given the ramifications of test scores on public perception and teachers’ evaluations (see Senate Bill 736). I do, however, question the quality of the assessments that are being used to evaluate understanding of mathematics at the elementary school level.

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Obituaries

Name Date
Marion Forbes September 15, 2014
Emma LaSota September 6, 2014
Elizabeth Pagliarulo September 11, 2014
Joseph Bische August 31, 2014
Jeanette Zerwin September 12, 2014
Janie Thielen September 12, 2014
Richard Schluederberg, Sr. September 10, 2014
Anne Teyssier August 28, 2014
Paul Saracino September 4, 2014
All Obituaries






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