Saturday, February 24, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Downsizing MOSI good move to save brand

Tampa's Museum of Science and Industry made a difficult but necessary decision Thursday in announcing it would significantly downsize its campus in advance of relocating to downtown Tampa. The move will save MOSI money while preserving its presence and educational mission, and it signals that museum leaders are willing to confront the reality of the marketplace. This is a good move that should bolster public confidence in MOSI and better position it to succeed at its new location.

MOSI will consolidate its exhibits at its longtime home in north Tampa, across from the University of South Florida. It will close the IMAX theater and shut down some low-performing attractions, reducing the facility to less than one-sixth of its current size, from 300,000 square feet to about 40,000 square feet. The smaller footprint will help MOSI reduce overhead costs, with the goal of sustaining the operation until 2022, when it expects to move into a new home as part of Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik's housing, office and retail development on the south end of downtown Tampa. Hillsborough County, which owns the museum, will decide how to use the surplus property.

While a dramatic change in course, MOSI is making the right move even if it's by necessity. Its struggling finances, flagging attendance and high fixed costs called for a strategy that would keep the museum afloat and visible for the near term. MOSI also needs to stay strong enough institutionally to attract the civic support needed to make a healthy addition to the Vinik project. Paring back the operation makes financial sense, and it enables MOSI to maintain its valuable name brand in the community. No other local venue offers a similar experience.

The museum will close in mid August and reopen in the fall in the reconfigured space. As a sweetener, MOSI will lower ticket prices (currently $26.95 for adults and $20.95 for kids), though officials have yet to decide the amount. MOSI also will give members additional passes for guests. It should work to keep its strong relationships with other local attractions and maintain its marketing budget.

Hillsborough County should be open to continuing financial support for MOSI. The publicly owned museum serves a unique educational role, and with a lively remake it could remain a signature attraction and a key element of Tampa Bay's larger effort to build the region into an entrepreneurial center for science. This transition is in good hands; the new board chairman, Robert Thomas, has been a strong advocate for MOSI for years. He should foster public confidence in MOSI's ability to see the strategy through. While this new look for MOSI may be a retreat to regroup, it's a tactical one that has the best chance of preserving this valuable institution over the long term.

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Editorial: Improve school security plans with gun controls

Editorial: Improve school security plans with gun controls

Gov. Rick Scott and key members of the Florida Legislature offered ambitious proposals Friday that would plug some holes in the state’s safety net, strengthen school security and spend up to a half-billion dollars in response to last week’s massacre ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Editorial: Six proposals for reasonable gun control

Editorial: Six proposals for reasonable gun control

Enough is enough. The mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has renewed conversations about gun control in Washington and Tallahassee. Young people are demanding action, and there are cracks in the National Rifle Association’s solid w...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Editorial: The time to act on guns is now

Editorial: The time to act on guns is now

The nation’s conversation on guns took an encouraging step this week in three essential places — South Florida, Tallahassee and Washington — as survivors, victims’ families and elected leaders searched painfully and sincerely for common ground after ...
Published: 02/22/18

Editorial: FDLE probe of state fair fiasco falls short

It should go without saying that Florida law frowns upon public officials who take freebies from vendors and whose agency throws business to their family. But that wasn’t enough to move the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to find that the ex-di...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Editorial: They value guns, not kids

Editorial: They value guns, not kids

They value guns over kidsSix days after 17 were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High by a teen-ager firing an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, the Florida House refused to even debate a bill banning the sale of assault weapons. The vote, 71 to 36, wasn...
Published: 02/21/18

Editorial: Nursing home rule should be stronger

It shouldn’t take months or another tragedy for Florida — which is hot and full of seniors — to protect its elderly population from heat stroke in the event of an emergency. That’s why Gov. Rick Scott had the right idea last year in calling for nursi...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Editorial: Listen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas students demanding change

Editorial: Listen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas students demanding change

Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are traveling to the state capital today and declaring "never again.’’ A prominent Florida Republican fundraiser vows he won’t raise another nickel until his party approves new gun controls. Across F...
Published: 02/19/18

Editorial: No more doubt about Russian meddling in election

The latest indictment by the Justice Department special counsel, Robert Mueller, refutes President Donald Trump’s claims that Russian interference in the 2016 election was a Democratic hoax. The indictment details the lengths Russian conspirators too...
Published: 02/19/18

Another voice: Tips should belong to workers, not their bosses

The Trump administration is under fire for proposing a Labor Department regulation that could result in hotel and restaurant employers dipping into the tips customers leave for their employees, depriving the nation’s 14 million hard-working restauran...
Published: 02/18/18
Updated: 02/20/18
Editorial: Trump’s rising deficits and misplaced priorities

Editorial: Trump’s rising deficits and misplaced priorities

It’s not popular in Washington or virtually anywhere else these days to express concern about the rising federal deficit. Congressional Republicans who used to be deficit hawks first voted to cut taxes by $1.5 trillion over the next decade, then rais...
Published: 02/17/18