Thursday, April 26, 2018
Editorials

Don't abandon pier project's wider vision

In tough economic times, it's understandable that the St. Petersburg City Council and some residents are focused on building a new pier that can be financed entirely with the $50 million the city has on hand. With a new police headquarters also in the wings, there's an interest in keeping capital projects in check. But that short-term sensibility should not shortchange the city's long-term ambitions for this generational project. As the pier initiative moves forward — hopefully with an agreement today to begin contract negotiations with the winner of the international design competition — council members should not lose sight that this project will require more than one phase. The goal to better integrate a new pier with downtown should remain a long-term priority as more money becomes available.

The Lens design, by Michael Maltzan Architecture of Los Angeles, unanimously won the recommendation of the city's international design competition jury two weeks ago. Part of the design's strength is its phased construction proposal, reflecting the city's limited fiscal means. The first phase would be the over water portion of looping, escalating promenades, with limited development on the upland just west of the pier. Phases 2 and 3 would include dramatically more development, such as retail, a splash park and an amphitheater. Last week, several council members were intent on limiting discussions to the first phase and its $50 million budget. But that should not mean the city abandons the broader vision.

From the advent of a pier citizens' task force in 2009 to the design competition parameters drawn last year, the City Council has championed revitalizing the entire area immediately around the pier. The timing couldn't be better, as voters in November also amended the city charter to require a formal downtown waterfront plan. Maltzan has laid out a compelling vision for the future, and citizens will get ample opportunity to weigh in through the coming months and help refine it. That's a welcome discussion that should continue, and the long-term vision should not be limited by short-term financial constraints.

Comments
Editorial: St. Petersburg’s waste-to-energy to wastefulness project

Editorial: St. Petersburg’s waste-to-energy to wastefulness project

A St. Petersburg waste-to-energy plant now under construction has been billed for years as an environmentally friendly money saver. Now it looks more like a boondoggle, with the cost and mission changing on the fly. It’s yet another example of a city...
Updated: 3 hours ago

‘Happy hour’ tax cuts may result in hangovers

Evidence is mounting that the $1.5 trillion tax-cut package enacted in December by congressional Republicans and President Donald Trump was a bad idea, not only for the long-run health of the economy but for the short-term political prospects of the ...
Published: 04/25/18
Editorial: As USFSP consolidation task force meets, openness and collaboration are key

Editorial: As USFSP consolidation task force meets, openness and collaboration are key

Writing a new law that phases out separate accreditation for the University of South Florida St. Petersburg and folds it back into the major research university was the easy part. The hard work starts today when a new consolidation task force holds i...
Published: 04/23/18
Updated: 04/25/18

Correction

CorrectionCircuit Judge John Stargel of Lakeland is a member of the Florida Constitution Revision Commission who voted against a proposed amendment that would have stopped write-in candidates from closing primary elections. An editorial Saturday inco...
Published: 04/23/18
Editorial: Pruitt sets new low for ethics at EPA

Editorial: Pruitt sets new low for ethics at EPA

Not too many people took then-candidate Donald Trump seriously when he famously campaigned to "drain the swamp" as president. But that shouldn’t give this administration a free pass to excuse the behavior of Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Env...
Published: 04/22/18
Updated: 04/23/18
Editorial: Allegiant Air still has safety issues

Editorial: Allegiant Air still has safety issues

Allegiant Air’s safety record remains troubling, and the Federal Aviation Administration’s reluctance to talk about it is no more encouraging. Those are the key takeaways from a 60 Minutes report on the low-cost carrier’s high rate of mid-flight brea...
Published: 04/21/18

Editorial: Women’s work undervalued in bay area

Even a strong economy and low unemployment cannot overcome the persistent pay gap affecting full-time working women in Florida. A new report shows women in Florida earned 12.5 percent less on average than their male counterparts, and the disparities ...
Published: 04/21/18
Editorial: Florida’s death penalty fading away on its own

Editorial: Florida’s death penalty fading away on its own

Florida lawmakers may never take the death penalty off the books, but stronger forces are steadily eroding this inhumane, outdated tool of injustice. Court rulings, subsequent changes to law and waning public support have significantly suppressed the...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/24/18

Editorial: A missed chance for open primary elections

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission did a lot of things wrong this week by combining unrelated or unpalatable provisions into single amendments that will appear on the November ballot. It also wasted an opportunity to do one thing right. The...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/23/18
Editorial: New Cuba president is chance for new start

Editorial: New Cuba president is chance for new start

For all the symbolism, Raul Castro’s handoff of the Cuban presidency this week amounts to less than meets the eye even if his handpicked successor, the Communist Party functionary Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, is the first person not named Castro to le...
Published: 04/20/18