Thursday, April 26, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Aviation board looks to fill big void

Gov. Rick Scott is expected any day to fill a final vacancy on the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority — an appointment that comes at a critical time for the airport and in the region's job development efforts. The airport is moving quickly to attract more cross-country and international flights, improve the passenger experience and become a bigger player in attracting new industry to the Tampa Bay area. The governor should look for an appointee who understands the local landscape and the broad role the airport plays, and thinks regionally and embraces the public interest as a member of the public agency's governing board.

Scott appointed Tampa lawyer Martin Garcia to the board last week to fill the seat left by the airport board's former chairman, Tampa attorney Steve Burton, who died unexpectedly in April. That leaves 21 applicants for the seat held until Monday by Dr. Joseph Diaco, who announced last week he would not seek another term on the board. The talent pool includes some strong names from government and business, such as former Hillsborough County Commissioner Tom Scott, Tampa businessman Sandy MacKinnon and the former commander of MacDill Air Force Base, retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Chip Diehl. This rich applicant pool speaks to the airport's reputation and to the excitement that has built over the past several years to expand Tampa International's profile.

The governor has a healthy mix of people with the business sense and civic experience to work effectively on the board and in the sunshine as Florida's open government laws require. It is time to tap that competence. The airport has embarked on an ambitious marketing campaign for new nonstop flights, upgraded the facility to accommodate more passenger traffic and adopted a long-range plan that includes a rail line to and from the airport property. These are forward-looking investments that need to be capably managed. TIA also has stepped up under the new leadership of chief executive Joe Lopano to sell the airport as a regional economic gateway for tourism and business alike.

Burton was the chief architect of this change in direction, and his death leaves a major void. The governor should look for an appointee who shares Burton's vision of a dynamic airport. The next few years will be critical to seeing through the marketing plan and the new construction. In looking at the applicants, the governor should also consider the civic contributions each has already made. The board will be busy, and this community needs a committed leader who will put the necessary time and mental energy into the job.

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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: 21 minutes 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 ...
Updated: 11 hours ago
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