Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: New pier gets important boost

It is significant that one of the earliest opponents of tearing down the inverted pyramid on the St. Petersburg pier, who is also the owner of the pier's most successful business, now supports the pier's new design and wants to invest millions to be part of it. Opponents of that new design plan to flood downtown today seeking signatures to stop it, but the more this project evolves, the better it looks for St. Petersburg.

Richard Gonzmart of the Columbia Restaurant Group announced Thursday that the local family chain is ready to spend up to $3 million to build the on-land, anchor restaurant for the new pier. It would sit roughly on the spot of the current Pelican parking lot, with a 10-year lease with the city. Gonzmart also is interested in running a smaller venue over water that will be built under the tiara-like wall of the design, called the Lens.

Other bidders can make offers before the City Council picks winners. But it's particularly significant that Gonzmart — well acquainted in the current pier's positives and negatives — is ready to invest in the new plan. A member of the citizen Pier Advisory Task Force, Gonzmart initially wanted to save the pyramid. But this week it was clear his position had evolved, and he spoke with enthusiasm for building something new.

If only more of the new pier's opponents would accept the facts and commit to improving the plan, rather than spending today on a massive signature-gathering effort aimed at thwarting years of thoughtful work. The reality remains that the dilapidated pyramid and its failed business model cannot be saved for anywhere near the $50 million the city has to spend. The pier approach will be closed to vehicles later this year due to safety issues. The city has spent years studying alternatives for a new pier and soliciting public input — including from an extensive citizens task force — before launching the international design competition that produced Michael Maltzan's innovative design. And there continue to be worthy refinements to the project based on public input.

Gonzmart's evolution embodies the reality of public projects. They are frequently met with initial public resistance, but over time, the best ones can win support as the public learns more facts and gets more comfortable.

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Editorial: Candor key step to restoring trust at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute

Editorial: Candor key step to restoring trust at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute

Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital has begun the important work of rebuilding trust with its patients and the community following revelations of medical errors and other problems at its Heart Institute. CEO Dr. Jonathan Ellen candidly acknowledges...
Updated: 14 minutes ago
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