Sunday, January 21, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Ukraine election's hopeful outcome

The election Sunday of Petro Poroshenko as president marks a new chapter for Ukraine and for East-West relations. The move should strengthen the central government in Kiev and pave the way for Ukraine and Russia to put relations on more stable footing. The United States and Europe should support the incoming government as it works to calm the biggest flash point in East-West ties since the end of the Cold War.

Poroshenko's victory in the first round of what international observers said was a fair and free election brings a new level of hope and stability to Ukraine after months of political turmoil and secessionist fighting. The pro-European billionaire and former government minister is a savvy, pragmatic veteran of Ukraine politics whose business interests in Russia should help reassure Moscow. While he ran on largely domestic promises to improve the economy and fight corruption, Poroshenko also vowed to push Ukraine toward a closer relationship with Europe and to reassert authority over its territory. These are the same direct challenges to Russia that sparked a crisis with Ukraine only months ago.

Poroshenko, though, started on the right note Monday by declaring his intention to calm tensions in the restive east and to work on repairing relations with Moscow. Russia welcomed the offer, and its expression of urgency is a hopeful sign that talks between the two sides will lead to a continued decrease in tension. Poroshenko also said the central government needs to act with resolve and speed to end the pro-Russia insurgency in the east. The president-elect faces a balancing act in enforcing order while dealing with secessionist fervor and Russian interference. But at least Ukraine has settled politically for the near term, and both sides have dialed back the rhetoric.

The environment is much improved from the raw climate in the spring, when Ukraine ousted its pro-Russian president and Moscow annexed Crimea. Still, these are uncertain times, and Russian President Vladimir Putin has sent conflicting signals about his end game in Ukraine. While Putin has tamped down Russia's overt ambitions in the past few weeks, the Russian leader has strained relations with the West by manufacturing the standoff with Ukraine.

The United States and Europe should remain clear in opposing any further Russian land grab, and they should be ready to further tighten sanctions on Moscow if it persists in interfering with Ukraine's internal affairs. The West also needs to support Ukraine as the new government takes office, and help Poroshenko achieve his goal of integrating Ukraine with European political and economic institutions. Sunday's election provides some hope that this crisis will not spiral out of control, and that's real progress from only months ago.

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Editorial: Too soon for Tampa Bay to settle for buses over light rail

Editorial: Too soon for Tampa Bay to settle for buses over light rail

The good news on the transportation front is that Tampa Bay’s government and business leaders are working together like never before to connect the region’s largest cities, attractions and employment centers with a more robust mass transit system. Th...
Published: 01/20/18
Editorial: Saying ‘thank you’ helps Tampa police build needed trust

Editorial: Saying ‘thank you’ helps Tampa police build needed trust

The smiles, applause and at least one hug belied the grim impetus for a gathering last week at a neighborhood center in Tampa — the Seminole Heights killings.The Tampa Police Department held a ceremony to thank those who helped in the investigation t...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Editorial: Criminal charges should finally wake up FSU fraternities to hazing’s dangers

Editorial: Criminal charges should finally wake up FSU fraternities to hazing’s dangers

The death last fall of a 20-year-old Florida State University fraternity pledge revealed pervasive dangerous behavior within the school’s Greek system. Andrew Coffey, a Pi Kappa Phi pledge, died from alcohol poisoning after an off-campus party, and a...
Published: 01/19/18

Editorial: Confronting racial distrust in St. Petersburg, one conversation at a time

The St. Petersburg Police Department’s heavy presence in Midtown on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the community animosity it stirred have raised a familiar, troubling question: Can St. Petersburg’s racial divisions ever be reconciled?That big ideal ...
Published: 01/19/18
William March: Tampa Bay Democrats line up for state legislative races

William March: Tampa Bay Democrats line up for state legislative races

A surge of Democrats seeking local legislative offices and hoping for a "blue wave" in the 2018 election continued last week, led by Bob Buesing filing to run again versus state Sen. Dana Young, R-Tampa.In addition:• Heather Kenyon Stahl of Tampa has...
Published: 01/19/18

Editorial: State’s warning shot should get attention of Hillsborough schools

The state Board of Education hopefully sent the message this week with its warning shot about the slow pace of the turnaround at Hillsborough County’s low-performing schools.The board criticized the school system for failing to replace administrators...
Published: 01/18/18
Updated: 01/19/18
Editorial: More talk, answers needed on future of USF St. Petersburg

Editorial: More talk, answers needed on future of USF St. Petersburg

The Florida Legislature’s abrupt move to strip the University of South Florida St. Petersburg of its hard-earned separate accreditation and transform it back into a satellite of the major research university lacks detail and an appreciation for histo...
Published: 01/18/18

Another voice: Self-dealing by nursing home owners threatens patient care

The outsourcing of logistical support services, which became commonplace in the U.S. military in the 1990s and later was adopted by state prison systems, has now come to dominate the nursing home industry. And while nursing homes, unlike the military...
Published: 01/17/18
Editorial: Making illegal sewage discharges legal is wrong answer

Editorial: Making illegal sewage discharges legal is wrong answer

Three years into a crisis with its sewer system, St. Petersburg has a dandy new idea for dealing with the environmental fallout of dumping dirty water into the aquifer. Instead of committing to banning the outlawed practice, a consultant suggested th...
Published: 01/16/18
Updated: 01/17/18
Editorial: Tighten substitute teacher rules in Hillsborough

Editorial: Tighten substitute teacher rules in Hillsborough

A substitute teacher at a Plant City elementary school berated a class of fourth graders — and then the school principal. Another compared a student to a stripper. Others were caught napping, hitting children, making sexual remarks, giving students b...
Published: 01/16/18
Updated: 01/17/18