Monday, June 18, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Tourism chief's legacy is regional consensus

As head of Pinellas County's tourist development agency, D.T. Minich worked to overcome a series of historic challenges, from the recession to the BP oil spill. But his greatest legacy has been helping to break down barriers and build consensus across the Tampa Bay region.

Minich, the chief executive of Visit St. Pete/Clearwater, leaves Friday to take the CEO position at Experience Kissimmee, the tourism arm of Osceola County. It's a professional challenge and a change of scenery for a 50-year-old executive who has spent two decades of his career promoting the Florida beaches. Our loss is greater Orlando's gain.

Minich's experience, though, offers several lessons. As the head of a tourism agency that falls under Pinellas County government — unlike Hillsborough and his new employer in Osceola, which have turned to public-private models — Minich has shown over seven years that he could produce results and be accountable to the public under the state's open-government laws. For the past three years, Pinellas has posted record numbers of visitors and tourist tax collections. Minich has been an open and accessible public official who has promoted the best of what Pinellas has to offer.

He also reached across the bay to the tourism industry in Tampa, working to establish a new foundation of cooperation that benefits both counties. The two areas have joined hands to promote conventions, sporting events and other activities on both sides of the bay. Pinellas contributed about half the hotel rooms for the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa. It is working with Hillsborough to promote new overseas flights into Tampa International. "That wasn't the case when I got here seven years ago," he said recently.

Minich succeeded in part by recognizing that the bridges unite rather than divide the bay area. He is likely to remain an important player for the area even after moving on, as Tampa Bay officials expand the tourist pipeline between the central Florida theme parks and the gulf beaches. Minich did a good job selling the sunsets — and by recognizing that no county is an island.

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Editorial: ATF should get tougher on gun dealers who violate the law

Gun dealers who break the law by turning a blind eye to federal licensing rules are as dangerous to society as people who have no right to a possess a firearm in the first place. Yet a recent report shows that the federal agency responsible for polic...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

The new grass-roots effort to put a transportation package before Hillsborough County voters in November faces a tough slog. Voters rejected a similar effort in 2010, and another in 2016 by elected officials never made it from the gate. But the lates...
Published: 06/15/18
Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Forty years ago today, Nelson Poynter died. He was the last individual to own this newspaper, and to keep the Times connected to this community, he did something remarkable. He gave it away.In his last years, Mr. Poynter recognized that sooner or lat...
Published: 06/15/18

There was no FBI anti-Trump conspiracy

The Justice Department released Thursday the highly anticipated report on the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe and other sensitive issues in the 2016 election. It is not the report President Donald Trump wanted. But there is enough i...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Voter purge may be legal, but it’s also suppression

The Supreme Court’s ruling last Monday to allow Ohio’s purging of its voter rolls is difficult to dispute legally. While federal law prohibits removing citizens from voter rolls simply because they haven’t voted, Ohio’s purge is slightly different. T...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Editorial: Free rides will serve as a test of whether the streetcar is serious transportation

Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to ride for free?This fall, the TECO Streetcar Line eliminates its $2.50-a-ride-fare, providing the best opportunity yet to see whether the system’s vintage streetcar replicas can serve as a legitimate transportation a...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

AT&T and the case for digital innovation

A good way to guarantee you’ll be wrong about something is to predict the future of technology. As in, "One day, we’ll all …" Experts can hazard guesses about artificial intelligence, driverless cars or the death of cable television, but technologica...
Published: 06/14/18
Editorial: State, nonprofits share obligation to help Hillsborough’s foster kids

Editorial: State, nonprofits share obligation to help Hillsborough’s foster kids

The Florida Department of Children and Families has correctly set a quick deadline for Hillsborough County’s main child welfare provider to correct its foster care program. For too long the same story has played out, where troubled teens who need fos...
Published: 06/14/18
Editorial: Educate voters on Amendment 4 and restoring felons’ rights

Editorial: Educate voters on Amendment 4 and restoring felons’ rights

This fall voters will have 13 constitutional amendments to wade through on the ballot, but Amendment 4 should get special focus. It represents a rare opportunity to rectify a grievous provision in the Florida Constitution, which permanently revokes t...
Published: 06/13/18
Updated: 06/14/18
Editorial: How Florida and the Trump administration are tampering with your health care

Editorial: How Florida and the Trump administration are tampering with your health care

The Trump administration just can’t stop sabotaging Americans’ access to health care. Instead of giving up after it failed to persuade Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act, it continues to quietly undermine the law in ways that would reduce acc...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/15/18