Sunday, April 22, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Next St. Petersburg police chief must heal divisions

Many of the complaints about St. Petersburg's police department overheard this week at a meeting between the city's deputy mayor and more than a hundred members of the black community, including police officers, were familiar. And the decades-old fault lines look even more severe now that two of the department's assistant chiefs — one black and one white — are both interested in becoming the city's next police chief. The entire episode underscores why the city's national search for a new chief must be rigorous and thorough. St. Petersburg's next police leader must be someone of integrity who can unite the department in its mission to serve the entire city.

Mayor Rick Kriseman said Thursday his administration would be researching allegations that Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin said she heard at the Tuesday night meeting at Mount Zion Progressive Missionary Baptist Church: that there had been tampering with the department's most recent sergeants' promotion process that left not a single African-American ranked among the top 20 candidates for four positions. Tomalin said it was those allegations that caused her, late into the meeting after defending the promotion process, to promise the promotions would be halted. An administrative spokesman clarified Thursday that if the investigation found nothing amiss, the promotions could still go forward.

The nature of the allegations, however, are unclear and were not heard by a Tampa Bay Times reporter, who was not allowed into the meeting but was able to sit outside the room and overhear much of the discussion through a collapsible wall partition. The reporter heard repeated comments that the city's police department remains racially divided. Speakers said the department's brass discriminates against black officers, passing them over for promotions and cutting them out of communication. And some in the audience made clear that without action by Kriseman, the black community wouldn't stand behind him at re-election time.

But politics shouldn't be the motivator here. Good government should be, and that starts with Kriseman finding a person of integrity who has the best chance at uniting this department going forward. Racial tensions in the city have little chance of healing until the police department heals it own. That means finding a leader who officers of all colors believe is more interested in rewarding good police work than all other allegiances.

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Editorial: Pruitt sets new low for ethics at EPA

Editorial: Pruitt sets new low for ethics at EPA

Not too many people took then-candidate Donald Trump seriously when he famously campaigned to "drain the swamp" as president. But that shouldn’t give this administration a free pass to excuse the behavior of Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Env...
Published: 04/22/18
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