Sunday, June 24, 2018
Editorials

New director must keep port thriving

Richard Wainio's departure as chief executive for the Port of Tampa offers a chance to build a broad consensus on the port's future. The port has become a regional force both in seaborne trade and as a guiding hand in the development of downtown Tampa's Channel District. The port authority's governing board should recognize the public's stake in finding a director who can continue moving this community asset in the right direction.

Wainio helped build the port into the economic engine it is during his seven years in charge. He continued to diversify the port's business from cargo to cruise ships, and he oversaw a series of capital improvements that will expand the port's reach for decades. Tampa handles more cargo than any other port in the state, and the terminal, road and other facilities will only enhance what already is one of the most dynamic ports in the country.

Wainio was criticized for not working more openly with the wide range of port tenants. His announcement that he will step down in September caught even his bosses on the governing board by surprise. Still, Wainio was a world-respected director who managed the port during tough economic times, and he will leave it in good position to take advantage of new opportunities stemming from the expansion of the Panama Canal.

The next director needs to have the same business sense and international clout, along with a better sensitivity for the public aspects of the job. Balancing the competing needs of the port's many tenants is no easy task, but that diversity helps the port's bottom line and makes it attractive as a destination. The next director also needs to bring some clarity to the role cruise ships will play. The port is exploring whether to build a passenger terminal west of the Sunshine Skyway to serve the new generation of ships that cannot fit under the bridge. That idea poses many problems, and the new director needs to bring candor to this debate before this idea takes on a life of its own.

The new executive also will be coming on as the port plays a larger role in developing the Channel District. The port owns the land under Channelside, the retail and nightclub complex, and it will have a say in guiding the redevelopment of the entire area. The next director needs to have a vision for entertainment and residential districts in urban settings. He needs to commit the port to be an active supporter of the downtown core. And the new director needs to appreciate the accountability that comes from leading an agency funded in part by property taxes. That may seem like a lot to juggle in the public eye, but it's inevitable for a port and a region whose profile is only growing.

Comments
Editorial: Handing out gift cards like candy at CareerSource

Editorial: Handing out gift cards like candy at CareerSource

It’s hard to pick the biggest outrage in the financial and ethical swamp that has swallowed Tampa Bay’s two primary job placement agencies, CareerSource Pinellas and CareerSource Tampa Bay. Is it the boiler room atmosphere where CareerSource recruite...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18

Family separation crisis is not over

The family-separation crisis that President Donald Trump created is not over. The executive order Trump signed Wednesday purporting to end the routine tearing of children from their undocumented parents stands on uncertain legal ground. U.S. border a...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: State help needed to staff hotlines with veterans helping veterans

Editorial: State help needed to staff hotlines with veterans helping veterans

Veterans can help veterans deal with trauma resulting from military service in a way no one else can. That’s the theory behind a special hotline set up in the Tampa Bay area that proponents are hoping to take statewide.The expansion would cost some $...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

It turns out the U.S. Supreme Court has a better grasp of the economic realities of the 21st century than Congress or the Florida Legislature. The court ruled Thursday that states can require online retailers to collect sales taxes even if the retail...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

The shocking scenes of immigrant children crying after being taken from their parents at the border exposed a new level of cruelty by the Trump administration, and though the president reversed course Wednesday, Congress needs to end the shameful pra...
Published: 06/21/18
Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Good job, Jeff Sessions! It seems the attorney general’s misguided attempts to revive the unpopular and unjust federal war on marijuana may be having the exact opposite effect — prompting a new bipartisan effort in Congress to allow states to legaliz...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/21/18
Editorial: A court victory for protecting Florida’s environment

Editorial: A court victory for protecting Florida’s environment

A Tallahassee judge has affirmed the overwhelming intent of Florida voters by ruling that state lawmakers have failed to comply with a constitutional amendment that is supposed to provide a specific pot of money to buy and preserve endangered lands. ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18
Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Innocent children should not be used as political pawns. That is exactly what the Trump administration is doing by cruelly prying young children away from their parents as these desperate families cross the Mexican border in search of a safer, better...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/19/18

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...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/18/18
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