Saturday, April 21, 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.

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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