Sunday, November 19, 2017
Editorials

Editorial: Mandela's gift to the world

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Nelson Mandela's enduring gift to his country was not only creating a path toward racial reconciliation in South Africa, but living long enough to help manage the transition. Though still a work in progress, South Africa's move toward an integrated society serves as a model on the continent and elsewhere for what leaders can do when they choose to become freedom fighters for the entirety of mankind.

Mandela, who died Thursday at 95, will be remembered as the father of modern South Africa and an inspirational leader far beyond his country. Imprisoned by the white regime for 27 years for leading opposition to the official policy of racial segregation, Mandela wrote a new chapter for both his country and himself, leading the nation to its first multiracial election in 1994 and taking office as that country's first black and democratically elected president.

His courage, conscience and dedication to peaceful change might be seen as quaint in the modern era, given the anxiety over global terror and the spike in religious extremism. But his extraordinary journey was as hard as any in the world today. The pain, sacrifice and humiliations he suffered for such a long period could have taken South Africa into an entirely different direction. But feeling the brunt of subjugation firsthand convinced Mandela, as he said in his inaugural, that racial oppression by any side could happen "never, never and never again."

The strength of character he showed in reaching out to his tormenters was one thing. Another was his ability to hold the nation together during a spasm of change in the 1990s and put South Africa on a new course. He and Frederik de Klerk, the white president who preceded him, shared a sense of trust, respect and pragmatism that ultimately acted as a moral force to bring a peaceful end to apartheid.

Mandela's sense of forgiveness continues to be an inspiration worldwide. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair recounted this week how Mandela served as a role model in peace talks over Northern Ireland. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry invoked Mandela's spirit in calling on the Israelis and Palestinians to make the hard choices necessary for a lasting peace deal. Mandela may be gone, but he remains a towering figure in South Africa and across the globe, and his message of reconciliation is a legacy that will live long after next week's tributes and funeral.

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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