Monday, November 20, 2017
Editorials

Editorial: A spirit of unity for the job ahead

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Florida bent but did not come close to breaking through Hurricane Irma, and we will bounce back stronger. This historic storm was a uniquely shared experience for the entire state. Floridians must remain united as they begin the weeks and months of cleaning up and rebuilding.

Before dawn Monday, law enforcement officials throughout Tampa Bay began surveying the damage as tens of thousands remained in shelters. The eagerness by all to return to normal routines as soon as possible is understandable, but that will take a while. Floridians must be as patient and prudent as we are resilient.

Millions throughout Florida and hundreds of thousands of Tampa Bay residents remained without power Monday morning. Airports remain closed for the time being. Gas shortages can be expected until ports reopen and fuel deliveries resume. Floridians are resourceful, but working through the coming days and weeks will require cooperation and understanding.

The recovery will require a united effort at every level. President Donald Trump approved Gov. Rick Scott's request for a major disaster declaration. That will allow federal money to flow for emergency costs, debris removal and affected families in some counties, including Pinellas and Hillsborough. Congress should be prepared to provide more help as it did after Hurricane Harvey in Texas, and so should the Florida Legislature after the scope of the damage and the need becomes clearer. Floridians will not face Irma's aftermath alone.

Despite all of the challenges ahead, Irma could have been far worse. The combination of smart preparation and changing weather conditions spared Tampa Bay and most of the state from the predicted catastrophic damage. The governor was a constant, consistent presence in sounding the alarm and urging evacuations, which surely saved lives. Irma's path along Cuba's coastline and landfall at Marco Island after slashing through the Florida Keys enabled Tampa Bay to avoid a direct hit, the strongest winds and the highest storm surges.

Yet for all of the good pre-hurricane preparation and Irma's fortunate weakening, the damage often can look worse after daylight and a closer look. The Florida Keys took a hard hit, and more significant damage occurred in Southwest Florida and Polk County. Even weakened hurricanes can leave deep scars.

Now the recovery has to go as well as the preparation. The praise for the Trump administration and for Scott's performance will quickly fade unless emergency supplies and other aid arrives promptly. The cooperation between federal, state and local officials that has been praised by Scott, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and others has to continue.

Floridians did their best to prepare for Irma. Now they will need some help to deal with the aftermath. But this is a state that perseveres, and with help from all levels of government we can come out stronger. Tampa Bay dodged the worst, and now the recovery begins. Let's get to it.

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Editorial: Good for Tampa council member Frank Reddick to appeal for community help to solve Seminole Heights killings

As the sole black member of the Tampa City Council, Frank Reddick was moved Thursday to make a special appeal for help in solving four recent murders in the racially mixed neighborhood of Southeast Seminole Heights. "I’m pleading to my brothers. You ...
Published: 11/17/17
Editorial: It’s time to renew community’s commitment to Tampa Theatre

Editorial: It’s time to renew community’s commitment to Tampa Theatre

New attention to downtown Tampa as a place to live, work and play is transforming the area at a dizzying pace. Credit goes to recent projects, both public and private, such as the Tampa River Walk, new residential towers, a University of South Florid...
Published: 11/17/17
Editorial: Rays opening offer on stadium sounds too low

Editorial: Rays opening offer on stadium sounds too low

The Rays definitely like Ybor City, and Ybor City seems to like the Rays. So what could possibly come between this match made in baseball stadium heaven? Hundreds (and hundreds and hundreds) of millions of dollars. Rays owner Stu Sternberg told Times...
Published: 11/16/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Editorial: Wage hike for contractors’ labor misguided

Editorial: Wage hike for contractors’ labor misguided

St. Petersburg City Council members are poised to raise the minimum wage for contractors who do business with the city, a well-intended but misguided ordinance that should be reconsidered. The hourly minimum wage undoubtedly needs to rise — for every...
Published: 11/16/17

Editorial: Make workplaces welcoming, not just free of harassment

A federal trial began last week in the sex discrimination case that a former firefighter lodged against the city of Tampa. Tanja Vidovic describes a locker-room culture at Tampa Fire Rescue that created a two-tier system — one for men, another for wo...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Editorial: Firing a critic of his handling of the sewer crisis is a bad early step in Kriseman’s new term

Editorial: Firing a critic of his handling of the sewer crisis is a bad early step in Kriseman’s new term

Barely a week after St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman promised to unite the city following a bitter and divisive campaign, his administration has fired an employee who dared to criticize him. It seems Kriseman’s own mantra of "moving St. Pete forwar...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/16/17
Editorial: USF’s billion-dollar moment

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Published: 11/14/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Editorial: Vets should not have to wait years for benefits

Editorial: Vets should not have to wait years for benefits

American military members hurt in service to their country should not have to wait a lifetime for the benefits they deserve. But that’s a reality of the disability process at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which hasn’t made payi...
Published: 11/14/17

Editorial: Deputies’ rescue reflects best in law enforcement

The bravery two Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputies showed a week ago is a credit to them and reflects the professionalism of the office.Deputies Benjamin Thompson and Trent Migues responded at dusk Nov. 11 after 82-year-old Leona Evans of Webster...
Published: 11/13/17
Updated: 11/17/17

Another voice: An untrustworthy deal with Russia

President Donald Trump’s latest defense of Russian leader Vladimir Putin included — along with a bow to his denials of meddling in the U.S. election — an appeal to pragmatism. "Having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing,"...
Published: 11/13/17
Updated: 11/14/17