Monday, January 22, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Investing in St. Petersburg's future

There is no one right answer for improving the future of St. Petersburg's most challenging neighborhoods and business districts. Transformation requires seeding public and private investments and growing them over time. St. Petersburg City Council member Karl Nurse grasps that and so do his council colleagues, who have approved a series of modest public investments with diverse strategies with the common goal of economic growth.

Overall, the council's three public investments totaling $164,000 are not wildly ambitious. The largest one — $74,000 — will pay for a pilot project with the Pinellas County Urban League to help low-income parents get better-paying jobs or work training over the next several months. That's a switch from an initial plan to provide planning and grant-writing support for a bigger poverty-fighting plan. Council member Jim Kennedy was right to express concern that the city not lose the broader focus, but so too was council member Steve Kornell who pushed for a quicker response. Struggling families need help now, and Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin promised the administration would not lose focus on the long-term strategy.

The City Council also voted to spend $50,000 to establish and pay for improvements to the Skyway Marina District, where commercial properties faded further with the recession. The 1.5-mile area, which runs along 34th Street S between 30th and 54th Avenues S, is the city's southern entrance. Neighborhood leaders have coalesced around a plan that seeks to take advantage of the nearby water, attract more businesses, improve transportation and add landscaping.

Finally, city leaders committed $30,000 toward a $120,000 Chamber of Commerce study aimed at creating a formal economic development plan for the city.

All these government actions signal confidence and should help encourage private investors, ideally those who are motivated by more than just altruism. Nurse also has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars quietly buying and rehabilitating blighted real estate in the Midtown neighborhood and has faced the broader forces at play there, including a lack of employment for potential home buyers. His private investment is a welcome one, and he appears to be appropriately separating those interests from his role as a council member.

None of the efforts the city embraced last week will bring economic change overnight. But the efforts by Mayor Rick Kriseman and the City Council to mix immediate action with a broader, more detailed look at how to help all of the city's neighborhoods is a step in the right direction.

Comments
Editorial: Beware of social media targeting kids

Editorial: Beware of social media targeting kids

Ignoring all available evidence that screen time and social media exposure can be harmful to kids, Facebook recently unveiled a new messaging app targeting children under 13. It’s yet another battlefront for parents who have to constantly combat the ...
Published: 01/21/18
Editorial: Too soon for Tampa Bay to settle for buses over light rail

Editorial: Too soon for Tampa Bay to settle for buses over light rail

The good news on the transportation front is that Tampa Bay’s government and business leaders are working together like never before to connect the region’s largest cities, attractions and employment centers with a more robust mass transit system. Th...
Published: 01/20/18
Editorial: Saying ‘thank you’ helps Tampa police build needed trust

Editorial: Saying ‘thank you’ helps Tampa police build needed trust

The smiles, applause and at least one hug belied the grim impetus for a gathering last week at a neighborhood center in Tampa — the Seminole Heights killings.The Tampa Police Department held a ceremony to thank those who helped in the investigation t...
Published: 01/19/18
Updated: 01/21/18
Editorial: Criminal charges should finally wake up FSU fraternities to hazing’s dangers

Editorial: Criminal charges should finally wake up FSU fraternities to hazing’s dangers

The death last fall of a 20-year-old Florida State University fraternity pledge revealed pervasive dangerous behavior within the school’s Greek system. Andrew Coffey, a Pi Kappa Phi pledge, died from alcohol poisoning after an off-campus party, and a...
Published: 01/19/18

Editorial: Confronting racial distrust in St. Petersburg, one conversation at a time

The St. Petersburg Police Department’s heavy presence in Midtown on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the community animosity it stirred have raised a familiar, troubling question: Can St. Petersburg’s racial divisions ever be reconciled?That big ideal ...
Published: 01/19/18
William March: Tampa Bay Democrats line up for state legislative races

William March: Tampa Bay Democrats line up for state legislative races

A surge of Democrats seeking local legislative offices and hoping for a "blue wave" in the 2018 election continued last week, led by Bob Buesing filing to run again versus state Sen. Dana Young, R-Tampa.In addition:• Heather Kenyon Stahl of Tampa has...
Published: 01/19/18

Editorial: State’s warning shot should get attention of Hillsborough schools

The state Board of Education hopefully sent the message this week with its warning shot about the slow pace of the turnaround at Hillsborough County’s low-performing schools.The board criticized the school system for failing to replace administrators...
Published: 01/18/18
Updated: 01/19/18
Editorial: More talk, answers needed on future of USF St. Petersburg

Editorial: More talk, answers needed on future of USF St. Petersburg

The Florida Legislature’s abrupt move to strip the University of South Florida St. Petersburg of its hard-earned separate accreditation and transform it back into a satellite of the major research university lacks detail and an appreciation for histo...
Published: 01/18/18

Another voice: Self-dealing by nursing home owners threatens patient care

The outsourcing of logistical support services, which became commonplace in the U.S. military in the 1990s and later was adopted by state prison systems, has now come to dominate the nursing home industry. And while nursing homes, unlike the military...
Published: 01/17/18
Editorial: Making illegal sewage discharges legal is wrong answer

Editorial: Making illegal sewage discharges legal is wrong answer

Three years into a crisis with its sewer system, St. Petersburg has a dandy new idea for dealing with the environmental fallout of dumping dirty water into the aquifer. Instead of committing to banning the outlawed practice, a consultant suggested th...
Published: 01/16/18
Updated: 01/17/18