Sunday, December 17, 2017
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 Kriseman reaffirmed that he views restoring the outdated inverted pyramid as fiscally irresponsible but will remain open to it if a compelling plan emerges.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: Warren’s smart approach on guns, domestic violence

Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren would make it safer for victims and police alike with his plan to remove firearms from defendants charged with domestic violence. These cases are toxic enough, and having guns at the ready only adds to a dang...
Published: 12/15/17
Editorial: St. Petersburg council right to reject Bayfront deal

Editorial: St. Petersburg council right to reject Bayfront deal

The St. Petersburg City Council made the difficult but correct decision this week to reject the proposed sale of a local nonprofit’s minority stake in Bayfront hospital. Despite months of negotiations, there were too many questions, a few suspicions ...
Published: 12/15/17
Editorial: Congress should fix flood insurance, children’s health insurance before Christmas

Editorial: Congress should fix flood insurance, children’s health insurance before Christmas

Here’s a snapshot of misplaced priorities in Washington. Last week, the Federal Communications Commission foolishly rushed to scrap net neutrality rules and allow internet service providers to treat different content differently despite overwhelming ...
Published: 12/14/17
Updated: 12/15/17
Editorial: Scott’s smart changes to sexual harassment policy

Editorial: Scott’s smart changes to sexual harassment policy

With misconduct allegations rippling through all levels of government, Gov. Rick Scott has taken the prudent step of ordering uniform sexual harassment policies throughout state agencies. The executive order strengthens protections for victims, which...
Published: 12/14/17
Updated: 12/15/17
Editorial: MOSI faces a clean slate and should give everyone a piece of chalk

Editorial: MOSI faces a clean slate and should give everyone a piece of chalk

For three years, the only news about finances at Tampa’s Museum of Science and Industry was bad news: "Struggling MOSI asks Hillsborough County for $400,000 loan," one headline read, "Audit sees MOSI finances slipping," read another, and "MOSI donor ...
Published: 12/14/17
Updated: 12/15/17
Editorial: Rubio should make good his threat to oppose tax cuts without changes

Editorial: Rubio should make good his threat to oppose tax cuts without changes

For once, it would be nice to see Sen. Marco Rubio stand up as the independent leader he aspires to become. For once, the Florida Republican should hold his position rather than bow to pragmatic politics. Rubio can stick with his threat Thursday to v...
Published: 12/14/17

Another voice: A shameful anniversary

Josephine "Joey" Gay should have celebrated her 12th birthday this week. She should have been surrounded by friends and family in a place festooned with purple, her favorite color.Chase Kowalski should have been working toward a Boy Scout merit badge...
Published: 12/13/17
Updated: 12/14/17
Editorial: Congress should block efforts to expand offshore drilling

Editorial: Congress should block efforts to expand offshore drilling

Timing is everything, and Sen. Bill Nelson seized the right moment this week to call on his colleagues to pass legislation he filed earlier this year that would block the Trump administration from opening additional areas to offshore drilling. With t...
Published: 12/13/17

Another voice: Alabama picks an honorable man

THANK YOU, Alabama.In Tuesday’s special election, the state by a narrow margin chose to spare the nation the indignity of seating an accused child molester in the U.S. Senate. Though the stain of electing Republican Roy Moore would have sullied Alaba...
Published: 12/12/17
Updated: 12/13/17
Editorial: Tax cuts aren’t worth harm to Tampa Bay

Editorial: Tax cuts aren’t worth harm to Tampa Bay

As congressional negotiators hammer out the details on an enormous, unnecessary tax cut, the potential negative impact on Tampa Bay and Florida is becoming clearer. The harmful consequences stretch far beyond adding more than $1.4 trillion to the fed...
Published: 12/12/17