Saturday, June 23, 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: Handing out gift cards like candy at CareerSource

Editorial: Handing out gift cards like candy at CareerSource

It’s hard to pick the biggest outrage in the financial and ethical swamp that has swallowed Tampa Bay’s two primary job placement agencies, CareerSource Pinellas and CareerSource Tampa Bay. Is it the boiler room atmosphere where CareerSource recruite...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18

Family separation crisis is not over

The family-separation crisis that President Donald Trump created is not over. The executive order Trump signed Wednesday purporting to end the routine tearing of children from their undocumented parents stands on uncertain legal ground. U.S. border a...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: State help needed to staff hotlines with veterans helping veterans

Editorial: State help needed to staff hotlines with veterans helping veterans

Veterans can help veterans deal with trauma resulting from military service in a way no one else can. That’s the theory behind a special hotline set up in the Tampa Bay area that proponents are hoping to take statewide.The expansion would cost some $...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

It turns out the U.S. Supreme Court has a better grasp of the economic realities of the 21st century than Congress or the Florida Legislature. The court ruled Thursday that states can require online retailers to collect sales taxes even if the retail...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

The shocking scenes of immigrant children crying after being taken from their parents at the border exposed a new level of cruelty by the Trump administration, and though the president reversed course Wednesday, Congress needs to end the shameful pra...
Published: 06/21/18
Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Good job, Jeff Sessions! It seems the attorney general’s misguided attempts to revive the unpopular and unjust federal war on marijuana may be having the exact opposite effect — prompting a new bipartisan effort in Congress to allow states to legaliz...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/21/18
Editorial: A court victory for protecting Florida’s environment

Editorial: A court victory for protecting Florida’s environment

A Tallahassee judge has affirmed the overwhelming intent of Florida voters by ruling that state lawmakers have failed to comply with a constitutional amendment that is supposed to provide a specific pot of money to buy and preserve endangered lands. ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18
Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Innocent children should not be used as political pawns. That is exactly what the Trump administration is doing by cruelly prying young children away from their parents as these desperate families cross the Mexican border in search of a safer, better...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Editorial: ATF should get tougher on gun dealers who violate the law

Gun dealers who break the law by turning a blind eye to federal licensing rules are as dangerous to society as people who have no right to a possess a firearm in the first place. Yet a recent report shows that the federal agency responsible for polic...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/18/18
Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

The new grass-roots effort to put a transportation package before Hillsborough County voters in November faces a tough slog. Voters rejected a similar effort in 2010, and another in 2016 by elected officials never made it from the gate. But the lates...
Published: 06/15/18