Sunday, April 22, 2018
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: 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: 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

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
Editorial: When they visit Nature’s Classroom, kids are right where they belong

Editorial: When they visit Nature’s Classroom, kids are right where they belong

The Hillsborough school district planted a fruitful seed with the opening of Nature’s Classroom five decades ago on the cypress-lined banks of the Hillsborough River northeast of Tampa. • The lessons taught there to some 17,000 sixth graders each yea...
Published: 04/20/18

Editorial: Equality pays off on Southwest Flight 1380

The passengers of Southwest Flight 1380 can be thankful that, 33 years ago, the U.S. Navy took the lead on equal opportunity.Capt. Tammie Jo Shults was piloting the flight from New York to Dallas on Tuesday when an engine exploded, blowing out a wind...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18
Editorial: Why single-member districts would be bad for Hillsborough commission

Editorial: Why single-member districts would be bad for Hillsborough commission

Anyone looking to make Hillsborough County government bigger, costlier, more dysfunctional and less of a regional force should love the idea that Commissioner Sandy Murman rolled out this week. She proposes enlarging the seven-member board to nine, e...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18
Editorial: Improving foster care in Hillsborough

Editorial: Improving foster care in Hillsborough

A new foster care provider in Hillsborough County is poised to take over operations in May, only months after its predecessor was fired for what was alleged to be a pattern of failing to supervise at-risk children in its care. Many of the case manage...
Published: 04/18/18

Another voice: Back to postal reform

President Donald Trump is angry at Amazon for, in his tweeted words, "costing the United States Post Office massive amounts of money for being their Delivery Boy." Yet in more recent days, Trump has at least channeled his feelings in what could prove...
Published: 04/17/18
Updated: 04/18/18
Editorial: Congress should protect independence of special counsel

Editorial: Congress should protect independence of special counsel

A bipartisan Senate bill clarifying that only the attorney general or a high-ranking designee could remove a special prosecutor would send an important message amid President Donald Trump’s attacks on the investigation into Russia’s inter...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18