Sunday, November 19, 2017
Editorials

Editorial: Cooperation in this age of aquariums

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It's Good to see a truce called between the Florida Aquarium in Tampa and the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. The Clearwater aquarium, home to Winter, star of the film Dolphin Tale, is seeking voter approval for an ambitious new $160 million facility where Clearwater City Hall now sits. But carping between Tampa and Clearwater over the viability of the proposed aquarium didn't help either side of Tampa Bay. An announcement this month that the two aquariums have agreed to work together on marketing, branding and ticket discount programs is an encouraging step that should benefit the tourism industries of both communities. The dolphin detente also offers hope that Hillsborough and Pinellas officials can find more common ground to enhance economic growth.

Dolphin Tale, which tells the story of Winter's prosthetic tail fin and has grossed $82 million worldwide, helped the small Clearwater Marine Aquarium draw about 750,000 visitors last year, some 100,000 more than Tampa's Florida Aquarium. That prompted the Clearwater aquarium to propose a new facility that officials boldly predict will draw 2.5 million annual visitors. That seemed a bit fishy. Florida Aquarium officials, understandably anxious at the prospect of aquarium overload in the regional tourism market, urged caution.

Former Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard, who sits on the Clearwater Marine Aquarium board, notes the new aquarium would break even at 950,000 visitors. But before Winter can move into a new home, the Clearwater Marine Aquarium's management has a number of hoops to leap through, including raising enough pledges of financial support to demonstrate its fundraising viability. The Clearwater aquarium must also make a compelling case that it deserves a portion of Pinellas County's resort tax money, which will also be needed to help finance any new baseball stadium in the county for the Tampa Bay Rays. Finally, voters must approve a November referendum to lease the City Hall property for a new aquarium.

But before the voters have their say, the collaborative marketing agreement between the Florida Aquarium and the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, which includes the smaller Secrets of the Sea aquarium in development at John's Pass Village in Madeira Beach, is a good first step to forge regional cooperation and avoid the squabbles that wouldn't be good for anyone.

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Editorial: Good for Tampa council member Frank Reddick to appeal for community help to solve Seminole Heights killings

As the sole black member of the Tampa City Council, Frank Reddick was moved Thursday to make a special appeal for help in solving four recent murders in the racially mixed neighborhood of Southeast Seminole Heights. "I’m pleading to my brothers. You ...
Published: 11/17/17
Editorial: It’s time to renew community’s commitment to Tampa Theatre

Editorial: It’s time to renew community’s commitment to Tampa Theatre

New attention to downtown Tampa as a place to live, work and play is transforming the area at a dizzying pace. Credit goes to recent projects, both public and private, such as the Tampa River Walk, new residential towers, a University of South Florid...
Published: 11/17/17
Editorial: Rays opening offer on stadium sounds too low

Editorial: Rays opening offer on stadium sounds too low

The Rays definitely like Ybor City, and Ybor City seems to like the Rays. So what could possibly come between this match made in baseball stadium heaven? Hundreds (and hundreds and hundreds) of millions of dollars. Rays owner Stu Sternberg told Times...
Published: 11/16/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Editorial: Wage hike for contractors’ labor misguided

Editorial: Wage hike for contractors’ labor misguided

St. Petersburg City Council members are poised to raise the minimum wage for contractors who do business with the city, a well-intended but misguided ordinance that should be reconsidered. The hourly minimum wage undoubtedly needs to rise — for every...
Published: 11/16/17

Editorial: Make workplaces welcoming, not just free of harassment

A federal trial began last week in the sex discrimination case that a former firefighter lodged against the city of Tampa. Tanja Vidovic describes a locker-room culture at Tampa Fire Rescue that created a two-tier system — one for men, another for wo...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Editorial: Firing a critic of his handling of the sewer crisis is a bad early step in Kriseman’s new term

Editorial: Firing a critic of his handling of the sewer crisis is a bad early step in Kriseman’s new term

Barely a week after St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman promised to unite the city following a bitter and divisive campaign, his administration has fired an employee who dared to criticize him. It seems Kriseman’s own mantra of "moving St. Pete forwar...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/16/17
Editorial: USF’s billion-dollar moment

Editorial: USF’s billion-dollar moment

The University of South Florida recently surpassed its $1 billion fundraising goal, continuing a current trend of exceeding expectations. At 61 years old — barely middle age among higher education institutions — USF has grown up quickly. It now boast...
Published: 11/14/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Editorial: Vets should not have to wait years for benefits

Editorial: Vets should not have to wait years for benefits

American military members hurt in service to their country should not have to wait a lifetime for the benefits they deserve. But that’s a reality of the disability process at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which hasn’t made payi...
Published: 11/14/17

Editorial: Deputies’ rescue reflects best in law enforcement

The bravery two Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputies showed a week ago is a credit to them and reflects the professionalism of the office.Deputies Benjamin Thompson and Trent Migues responded at dusk Nov. 11 after 82-year-old Leona Evans of Webster...
Published: 11/13/17
Updated: 11/17/17

Another voice: An untrustworthy deal with Russia

President Donald Trump’s latest defense of Russian leader Vladimir Putin included — along with a bow to his denials of meddling in the U.S. election — an appeal to pragmatism. "Having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing,"...
Published: 11/13/17
Updated: 11/14/17