Sunday, December 10, 2017
Editorials

Editorial: Out with outdated alcohol laws

Pinellas County took a big step out of the past when commissioners unanimously approved an ordinance updating the county's rules on Sunday alcohol sales. No longer will stores and restaurants have to wait until 11 a.m. on Sunday to sell alcoholic beverages. Originally passed to ban certain activities for religious reasons, such "blue laws" are unneeded, outdated relics.

Retail outlets can now sell alcohol every day of the week from 8 a.m. to 3 a.m. Will this lead to a never-ending Mardi Gras atmosphere on the streets of Largo? Drunk and disorderly conduct unchecked in Gulfport? Hardly. There's a valid public safety argument for ending alcohol sales at 3 a.m., but none for making football fans, boaters or the brunch crowd hold off until 11 on Sundays. "It is important to note," Belleair Mayor Gary Katica wrote to commissioners, "that there were no objections … by the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office regarding this issue."

Cities in Pinellas can still pass their own ordinances further restricting the hours of alcohol sales. That's not likely in St. Petersburg, where Mayor Rick Kriseman had been lobbying for the change for more than a year, with an eye toward giving local businesses and tourism a boost. The idea was popular on the beaches too, where elected leaders know that many vacationers want to relax with a cocktail or a beer at all times of the day.

Pinellas County's new alcohol ordinance is a commonsense change for a place so reliant on tourism. Allowing earlier Sunday alcohol sales won't lead down the road to ruin. It's simply convenient and consumer-friendly.

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Editorial: U.S. House sides with NRA over state’s rights on concealed weapons permits

With the horror of the mass shootings at a Las Vegas country music concert and a small Texas church still fresh, the U.S. House finally has taken action on guns. But the bill it passed last week won’t make Americans safer from gun violence. It is an ...
Published: 12/07/17
Editorial: Hillsborough cannot afford pay raises for teachers

Editorial: Hillsborough cannot afford pay raises for teachers

There is no satisfaction for anyone in the standoff over pay raises between the Hillsborough County School District and its teachers. Most teachers across the nation already are underpaid, but this district simply cannot afford the raises teachers ex...
Published: 12/07/17
Editorial: Impact of Water Street project extends beyond buildings

Editorial: Impact of Water Street project extends beyond buildings

With a buildout of $3 billion encompassing entire city blocks, it’s obvious that Jeff Vinik’s plans will change the look and feel of downtown Tampa. But the Tampa Bay Lightning owner unveiled a broader vision last week that reflects how far the impac...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/08/17
Editorial: Make texting while driving a primary offense

Editorial: Make texting while driving a primary offense

It is dangerous and illegal to text while driving in Florida, and police should be able to pull over and ticket those lawbreakers without witnessing another violation first. House Speaker Richard Corcoran has lent his powerful voice to legislation th...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Editorial: Outsourcing common sense on St. Petersburg Pier naming rights

St. Petersburg officials predict that selling the naming rights to parts of the new Pier could generate $100,000 in annual revenue. But first the city wants to pay a consultant to tell it how and to whom to sell the rights. Why do city officials need...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Another voice: Trump’s risky move

President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has a certain amount of common sense on its side. As a practical matter, West Jerusalem has been the seat of Israeli government since 1949, and no conceivable formula for Pa...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17
Editorial: Tampa’s MOSI reinvents itself

Editorial: Tampa’s MOSI reinvents itself

A tactical retreat and regrouping seems to be paying off for Hillsborough County’s Museum of Science and Industry. After paring back its operations, the museum posted a small profit over the past year, enabling the attraction to keep its doors open a...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/07/17
Times recommends: McClure for Florida House District 58

Times recommends: McClure for Florida House District 58

Voters in Temple Terrace, Plant City and Thonotosassa have an easy choice in the Dec. 19 special election to replace state Rep. Dan Raulerson, who resigned for health reasons. Republican Lawrence McClure is the only credible candidate.McClure, 30, ow...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/07/17
Editorial: Still waiting for flood insurance fix

Editorial: Still waiting for flood insurance fix

It has been 1,979 days since all heck broke loose in the flood insurance industry. Apparently, that just wasn’t enough time for Washington to react. So with the National Flood Insurance Program set to expire on Friday, it’s looking increasingly likel...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/06/17

Editorial: St. Petersburg should raise rates for reclaimed water

Raising rates on reclaimed water in St. Petersburg is an equitable way to spread the pain of paying for millions in fixes to the city’s dilapidated sewer system. The city has no choice but to start charging utility customers more as the sewer bills c...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/06/17