With only a handful of days remaining in 2018, we could look back and ruminate on things that happened during the year. That list would include mid-term elections that things shook up a bit but didn’t cause a major change in post-2016 political reality. Instead, we will pay attention to what wasn’t over the last 12 months.
Most importantly, what wasn’t was a repeat of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season on the Suncoast. Nothing like 2017’s Hurricane Irma, which left much of the Suncoast in the dark for days after its landfall in September, happened here this year. Instead, Hurricane Michael tore a swath of destruction through the Panhandle from which residents of northwestern Florida are still struggling to recover.
On the national scene, the second year of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of alleged collusion between President Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign and Russian officials has produced indictments and guilty pleas, mainly of people who were accused of lying to investigators. What wasn’t on offer is proof that anyone in the Trump campaign did anything improper with Russians. That doesn’t mean Mueller and his team won’t finally provide evidence of such wrongdoing. Still, if people in the Trump campaign had done something truly unlawful, word of it would have leaked out by now.
Back closer to home, 2018 was a year in which, once again, there wasn’t any resolution to the decades-long permit dispute over Pasco County’s plan to build the Ridge Road extension. We once thought the protracted controversy over EPA plans to clean up the Stauffer Chemical Superfund toxic waste site in Tarpon Springs took the bureaucratic cake. The Ridge Road wrangling, however, has left the Stauffer dispute in the, hopefully decontaminated, dust.