Thursday, December 14, 2017
Editorials

Editorial: Capitol Theatre puts downtown Clearwater on cultural map

When the newly renovated Capitol Theatre opens tonight, it will become a cornerstone in the effort to revitalize downtown Clearwater. The historic building has had an $8 million face lift, and if expectations are met it will bring people downtown for entertainment with more restaurants and bars to follow. This is just what Clearwater needs to bring residents and tourists downtown to start to build on the cultural energy that is nourishing other cities such as St. Petersburg and Tampa. Credit Zev Buffman, Ruth Eckerd Hall president and CEO and the mover behind the project, for partnering with the city, county and state to make the theater's revival a reality.

Buffman has been behind seven restorations of old theaters in his storied career, but he says the Capitol Theatre was the most challenging. The project started with three separate buildings built between 1915 and 1921, or "three ancients with rusty bones and termites" as Buffman characterizes them. They were transformed into a single, seamless structure while doubling the theater's size. The stylish result evokes the theater's past as a former vaudeville venue and movie house that opened in 1921. National acts have already been attracted to the 737-seat venue, with many sold out or nearly so.

The project is an example of tax dollars wisely spent to spur economic development and protect historic structures. The theater is one of the oldest in the state. It would not have survived without investments by the city of Clearwater, which purchased it in 2008 and handed it to Ruth Eckerd Hall to run. Most of the renovations were paid for with Penny for Pinellas dollars and a state grant. The soft opening tonight is part of the lead-up to the gala opening on Feb. 9 when departing Tonight Show host Jay Leno will appear. The theater should put downtown Clearwater on the cultural map again and spur more interest in redevelopment.

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Editorial: Congress should block efforts to expand offshore drilling

Editorial: Congress should block efforts to expand offshore drilling

Timing is everything, and Sen. Bill Nelson seized the right moment this week to call on his colleagues to pass legislation he filed earlier this year that would block the Trump administration from opening additional areas to offshore drilling. With t...
Published: 12/13/17

Another voice: Alabama picks an honorable man

THANK YOU, Alabama.In Tuesday’s special election, the state by a narrow margin chose to spare the nation the indignity of seating an accused child molester in the U.S. Senate. Though the stain of electing Republican Roy Moore would have sullied Alaba...
Published: 12/12/17
Updated: 12/13/17
Editorial: Tax cuts aren’t worth harm to Tampa Bay

Editorial: Tax cuts aren’t worth harm to Tampa Bay

As congressional negotiators hammer out the details on an enormous, unnecessary tax cut, the potential negative impact on Tampa Bay and Florida is becoming clearer. The harmful consequences stretch far beyond adding more than $1.4 trillion to the fed...
Published: 12/12/17

Another voice: Privacy in the internet age

How much information about you is on your cellphone? Likely the most intimate details of your life: photographs, internet searches, text and email conversations with friends and colleagues. And though you might not know it, your phone is constantly c...
Published: 12/10/17
Updated: 12/11/17
Editorial: Grand jury could force reforms of juvenile justice system

Editorial: Grand jury could force reforms of juvenile justice system

Confronted with documentation of sanctioned brutality and sexual abuse in Florida’s juvenile detention centers, the reaction from Gov. Rick Scott’s administration was defensive and obtuse. So it’s welcome news that Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/11/17

Editorial: U.S. House sides with NRA over state’s rights on concealed weapons permits

With the horror of the mass shootings at a Las Vegas country music concert and a small Texas church still fresh, the U.S. House finally has taken action on guns. But the bill it passed last week won’t make Americans safer from gun violence. It is an ...
Published: 12/07/17
Editorial: Hillsborough cannot afford pay raises for teachers

Editorial: Hillsborough cannot afford pay raises for teachers

There is no satisfaction for anyone in the standoff over pay raises between the Hillsborough County School District and its teachers. Most teachers across the nation already are underpaid, but this district simply cannot afford the raises teachers ex...
Published: 12/07/17
Editorial: Impact of Water Street project extends beyond buildings

Editorial: Impact of Water Street project extends beyond buildings

With a buildout of $3 billion encompassing entire city blocks, it’s obvious that Jeff Vinik’s plans will change the look and feel of downtown Tampa. But the Tampa Bay Lightning owner unveiled a broader vision last week that reflects how far the impac...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/08/17
Editorial: Make texting while driving a primary offense

Editorial: Make texting while driving a primary offense

It is dangerous and illegal to text while driving in Florida, and police should be able to pull over and ticket those lawbreakers without witnessing another violation first. House Speaker Richard Corcoran has lent his powerful voice to legislation th...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Editorial: Outsourcing common sense on St. Petersburg Pier naming rights

St. Petersburg officials predict that selling the naming rights to parts of the new Pier could generate $100,000 in annual revenue. But first the city wants to pay a consultant to tell it how and to whom to sell the rights. Why do city officials need...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17