Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Bob Buckhorn focuses on human element in State of the City speech

With two years left in office, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn used his annual State of the City address Tuesday to measure the city's remarkable progress over the past six years. Rather than offer any sweeping new vision for the remainder of his term, he sought to nail down some unfinished business and to implore residents to look beyond the nation's sharp political divide and make a contribution to their community. This is a mayor who knows the clock is ticking and understands the risks a sour national mood can have on a diverse and growing city.

Buckhorn departed from past State of the City addresses by shifting his attention from shiny new baubles downtown to the human dimension. He mentioned the redevelopment plan for the area west of the Hillsborough River, which would be the city's biggest remake in history, the new University of South Florida medical school downtown and a handful of smaller-scale efforts, from driverless vehicle projects to incubators for startups and high-tech industries.

But the overriding theme of the day was unity. A pre-speech video set above the pounding strains of rhythmic rock featured smiling people from all walks of life testifying to Tampa's culture of tolerance and diversity. Stand together and stand united was also Buckhorn's opening pitch and a point he returned to later in the speech. He warned about proposed federal spending cuts to housing, transportation and urban aid — an "unprecedented attack" on cities, he said — and of threats to home-rule powers by state lawmakers in Tallahassee. His point is that cities are more on their own and residents need strong local connections if urban areas are to thrive.

The crowd of several hundred in the midmorning heat at Kiley Garden heard a mercifully brief address that focused more on the nuts and bolts of where the city has come under Buckhorn than where it is going. There was no substantive talk about pursuing a transportation initiative, a new stadium for the Tampa Bay Rays or a framework for countering the budget cuts and power grab at the state and federal levels.

Still, the call for unity in his first State of the City address since last November's election seems timely. He announced a new campaign to make Tampa more accommodating to those with autism, and he linked the city's economic prospects to its ability to attract people across racial, ethnic and other lines.

Buckhorn's announcement last month that he would not seek the Democratic nomination for governor in 2018 has freed him to focus on getting several high-profile projects in shape before leaving office in 2019. Tuesday's speech reflected the unique role of mayors in American politics. Rather than highlight downtown development, Buckhorn talked of how afterschool programs improve public safety. He called for civic obligation and stronger ties between citizens and police. Cities can rebuild their cores, but neighborhoods can crumble one flashpoint at a time. Buckhorn seems sensitive to preventing social gaps from growing as Tampa grows. It doesn't make for the most dramatic speech, but it's an intangible that shapes every city for better or for worse.

Comments

Tuesday’s letters: Honor Flight restored my faith in America

Dogs are the best | Letter, Sept. 15Honor Flight restored my faith in AmericaJust as I was about to give up on our country due to divisiveness and and the divisions among its people and politicians, my pride was restored. As a member of the recen...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Editorial cartoons for Sept. 18

From Times wires
Published: 09/17/18

Column: We’re measuring the economy all wrong

Ten years after the collapse of Lehman Bros., the official economic statistics — the ones that fill news stories, television shows and presidential tweets — say that the U.S. economy is fully recovered.The unemployment rate is lower tha...
Published: 09/17/18
Editorial: Senate should delay vote on Kavanaugh

Editorial: Senate should delay vote on Kavanaugh

The Senate and the nation needs to hear more about the sexual assault allegation against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Setting aside Kavanaugh's judicial record, his political past and the hyper-partisan divide over his nomination, a no...
Published: 09/17/18
Editorial: Tampa council has another chance to show it takes Stovall House changes seriously

Editorial: Tampa council has another chance to show it takes Stovall House changes seriously

The Tampa City Council has yet to hear a compelling reason to allow a private social club in a residential neighborhood off Bayshore Boulevard, and a final meeting on the matter scheduled for Thursday offers the council a chance to show the diligence...
Published: 09/14/18
Editorial: Focus on Hurricane Florence, not defending poor response in Puerto Rico

Editorial: Focus on Hurricane Florence, not defending poor response in Puerto Rico

Hurricane Florence began lashing down on the Carolinas Thursday and was expected to make landfall early Friday, washing over dunes, downing trees and power lines and putting some 10 million people in the path of a potentially catastrophic storm. Flor...
Published: 09/13/18
Editorial: Scott sends positive signal on Supreme Court appointments

Editorial: Scott sends positive signal on Supreme Court appointments

Gov. Rick Scott has headed down a dangerous path by announcing he has started the process to fill three upcoming vacancies on the Florida Supreme Court as he heads out the door. But to his credit, the governor indicated his "expectation’’ is that he ...
Published: 09/12/18
Updated: 09/14/18
Editorial: Stalled U.S.-Cuba relations hurting Florida business

Editorial: Stalled U.S.-Cuba relations hurting Florida business

After an encouraging start, the breakdown in America’s reset with Cuba is a loss for both sides and for the state of democracy across the region. Havana and Washington are both to blame, but the Trump administration’s hard line with Cuba is out of sy...
Published: 09/12/18
Lessons from Moonves’ ouster

Lessons from Moonves’ ouster

If the swift departure of CBS Chairman Les Moonves has a bright side, it’s that a major television network took accusations of sexual harassment against its chief executive seriously enough to hold him accountable and obtain his resignation even at t...
Published: 09/11/18
Updated: 09/14/18
Editorial: Banks should not shut down campaign accounts for marijuana ties

Editorial: Banks should not shut down campaign accounts for marijuana ties

Two banks have taken the retaliatory step of closing down the campaign account of a statewide candidate because she received contributions from the medical marijuana industry. Nikki Fried, the Democratic nominee for agriculture commissioner, has been...
Published: 09/10/18
Updated: 09/14/18