Miami Herald, Oct. 9 Locked out of federal treasures Among the many casualties of the federal government shutdown are the nationís 401 national parks, the people who work in them, the gateway communities that benefit from their existence and the millions of visitors left standing outside their locked gates.
The financial repercussions are deep. In the Florida Keys, fishing guides are locked out of some of the best catch areas in Biscayne and Florida Bays. Forget about the big Columbus Day weekend festivities at Biscayne National Park. The park is closed and visitors are warned to stay away.
The shutdown is depriving the public of many other vital services Ė for example, the operations of the National Institutes of Health. The House has passed a few bills to fund some of these programs as recalcitrant members of Congress awaken to the horrible consequences of the shutdown, but thatís no solution.
The only way to provide relief is to reopen the government. All of it.
Pensacola News-Journal, Oct.11 Insurance reform will harm Floridians Ö The Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, unnecessarily harms Floridians and poses a serious threat to our businesses, communities and our economy. While the intent of the act to stabilize the National Flood Insurance Program may appear practical, it in fact burdens Floridians with the lionís share of the programís financial responsibility, which is simply unfair and unreasonable.
Second only to Alaska in terms of shoreline, Florida has 37 percent of the nationís flood insurance policies. Floridaís homeowners, however, have supported the NFIP with more than $16 billion in payments during the past three decades, claiming only $3.7 billion during the same timeframe. Now, Floridians face insurance rate increases that are simply unaffordable.
As our economy and real estate market begins to recover, now is not the time to create massive hikes for potential real estate buyers, businesses and home owners.
Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Oct. 13 Stolen ones: Our communitiesí dark secret It is hard to ascertain exactly how many children and young women are entrapped in prostitution. But experts believe that at least 100,000 U.S. teenagers are prostitutes, against their will, and three times that many are at risk.
Helping these girls coerced into the sex trade is difficult and complex.
Research shows that an overwhelming percentage of them were sexually abused as children; that abuse often leads the victims to run away from home or drives them toward substance abuse. They often develop bonds with their pimps, despite the abuse they suffer; those so-called trauma bonds make it difficult to protect, isolate and stabilize victims for their own good.
Our region and state lack secure shelters, for both short- and long-term protection and rehabilitation of victims children and young women alike. This undermines the efforts of advocates to provide even modest help to those who seek to break the shackles of modern-day slavery.