Saturday, April 21, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Leading St. Petersburg in a positive direction

St. Petersburg voters sent a clear message Tuesday that they want their mayor to provide stronger leadership and their city to aim higher. That is why they replaced incumbent Mayor Bill Foster with Rick Kriseman, who promises to bring new energy and fresh ideas to City Hall. Now Kriseman should build on his solid victory, unite the city and lead St. Petersburg in a more positive direction.

Kriseman became the first challenger to unseat an incumbent mayor in more than 25 years because he understands the city, embraces inclusiveness and invites creative solutions to familiar problems. He is a former City Council member and state legislator who knows the issues, welcomes debate and understands the importance of developing relationships inside and outside the city. Kriseman convinced voters he can lead St. Petersburg to new heights — and not off a cliff.

Before he takes office in January, the mayor-elect has to build a leadership team. Foster started the search for a new police chief to succeed the retiring Chuck Harmon, but now Kriseman will steer that effort. Kriseman also has an opportunity to bring new people to City Hall, and he will have to find the right mix of fresh faces and old hands. It would be a mistake to replace all of the top aides to the three previous strong mayors.

Two of the larger stalemates need immediate attention. Kriseman and Foster should agree on how to keep moving forward with another design for a new pier. If they can't, the mayor-elect will have to wait two months until he takes office and start over. The incoming mayor also should reach out to the Tampa Bay Rays and renew discussions about allowing the franchise to look at potential stadium sites in Tampa. It's understandable that the new mayor wants to try to build attendance at Tropicana Field, but that effort should be simultaneous with talks on the long-term approach to keeping Major League Baseball in Tampa Bay.

Voters also will be counting on Kriseman to fulfill his other campaign pledges. Those include pumping up the city's effort to help improve schools, adding universal curbside recycling and revising the police chase policy. He should place particular emphasis on bringing more jobs and development to Midtown, where minority voters who backed Foster four years ago felt neglected. Kriseman should receive help from a re-energized City Council, which will include new members Darden Rice and Amy Foster.

Most importantly, Kriseman should rebuild relationships with City Council members, the Rays and elected officials outside St. Petersburg that became strained under Foster. He also should ease fears that the city's first Democratic mayor in years will inject partisanship into City Hall. The mayor should be all about policy and results, not patronage jobs and state politics.

As a longtime City Council member and in four years as mayor, Foster has been a public servant who cared about St. Petersburg and was well-intentioned even when he was wrong on policy. He was gracious in his concession speech Tuesday night and said he was disappointed but not upset. He remains upbeat about the city's future, and Kriseman should accept the olive branch and take office in that same spirit.

Kriseman asked voters to imagine the possibilities for St. Petersburg. They embraced that vision over the status quo Tuesday. It will be up to the new mayor to capitalize on that optimism and lead the city to greater successes.

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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