Sunday, May 20, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Moving forward on a new pier

The optics were perfect. With swaying palm trees on St. Petersburg's downtown waterfront as a backdrop, an optimistic Mayor Rick Kriseman, flanked by supporters and opponents of the last Pier replacement effort and every City Council member, described in broad terms Thursday his plan to build a new pier by 2017. Now the hard work begins. Kriseman is banking that a concentrated, high-profile outreach effort over the next nine months will inoculate the eventual pier choice from the type of backlash that killed the previous pier plan pushed by his predecessor. That is going to require the help and cooperation of everyone who stood with the mayor for the new effort.

The difference between how Kriseman plans to pick a pier plan and how former Mayor Bill Foster did it differs only in the details. Kriseman envisions being more prescriptive up front about programming the pier must include, and he wants up to eight competing ideas that residents can weigh in on. Foster had three final proposals. Kriseman reaffirmed that he views restoring the outdated inverted pyramid as fiscally irresponsible but will remain open to it if a compelling plan emerges. But like Foster's plan, he also will rely on professionals to evaluate architects' visions based on feasibility and affordability.

It's that latter step where Foster drew the most flak as opponents of the eventual Lens design repeatedly made spurious claims about its soundness and spread misinformation about what activities it would accommodate. Kriseman's greatest problem remains that what the city can afford and what residents say they want are often at odds. His best hope for success is that everyone who stood with him Thursday spreads the word: The project's $46 million budget won't go as far as anyone would like, and it is in no taxpayer's interest to build a pier that will require the same kind of outsized operating subsidy as the inverted pyramid did.

Most importantly, the entire city needs to agree: Moving forward on the pier is more important than trying to achieve the impossible dream of designing one that has unanimous support.

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Editorial: Tampa Bay House members fail to stand up to Big Sugar

Editorial: Tampa Bay House members fail to stand up to Big Sugar

Big Sugar remains king in Florida. Just three of the state’s 27 House members voted for an amendment to the farm bill late Thursday that would have started unwinding the needless government supports for sugar that gouge taxpayers. Predictably, the am...
Published: 05/18/18
Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s lawsuit against the nation’s largest drug makers and distributors marks a moment of awakening in the state’s battle to recover from the opioid crisis. In blunt, forceful language, Bondi accuses these companies of ...
Published: 05/18/18
Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestra’s violin program for at-risk kids

Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestra’s violin program for at-risk kids

This is music to the ears. Members of the Florida Orchestra will introduce at-risk students to the violin this summer at some Hillsborough recreation centers. For free.An $80,000 grant to the University Area Community Development Corp. will pay for s...
Published: 05/17/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Trump backs off China tariff threat as China pumps money into a Trump family project

Trump backs off China tariff threat as China pumps money into a Trump family project

In barely six weeks, President Donald Trump has gone from threatening to impose $150 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods to extending a lifeline to ZTE, a Chinese cell phone company that violated U.S. sanctions by doing business with Iran and North K...
Published: 05/17/18
Editorial: Activism as seniors helps put Hillsborough graduates on the right path

Editorial: Activism as seniors helps put Hillsborough graduates on the right path

Lots of teenagers are walking together this week in Hillsborough County, a practice they’ve grown accustomed to during this remarkable school year.We can only hope they keep walking for the rest of their lives.Tens of thousands of them this week are ...
Published: 05/17/18
Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s lawsuit against the nation’s largest drug makers and distributors marks a moment of awakening in the state’s battle to recover from the opioid crisis. In blunt, forceful language, Bondi accuses these companies of ...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Editorial: Johns Hopkins All Children’s should be more open about mistakes

Editorial: Johns Hopkins All Children’s should be more open about mistakes

A state investigation raises even more concern about medical errors at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and the venerable St. Petersburg institution’s lack of candor to the community. Regulators have determined the hospital broke Florida law by ...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/17/18
Editorial: St. Petersburg recycling worth the effort despite cost issues

Editorial: St. Petersburg recycling worth the effort despite cost issues

St. Petersburg’s 3-year-old recycling program has reached an undesirable tipping point, with operating costs exceeding the income from selling the recyclable materials. The shift is driven by falling commodity prices and new policies in China that cu...
Published: 05/15/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Editorial: HUD’s flawed plan to raise rents on poor people

Editorial: HUD’s flawed plan to raise rents on poor people

Housing Secretary Ben Carson has a surefire way to reduce the waiting lists for public housing: Charge more to people who already live there. Hitting a family living in poverty with rent increases of $100 or more a month would force more people onto ...
Published: 05/15/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Editorial: Voters should decide whether legal sports betting comes to Florida

Editorial: Voters should decide whether legal sports betting comes to Florida

It’s a safe bet Florida will get caught up in the frenzy to legalize wagering on sports following the U.S. Supreme Court opinion this week that lifted a federal ban. Struggling horse and dog tracks would love a new line of business, and state l...
Published: 05/15/18
Updated: 05/16/18