Sunday, October 21, 2018


John Romano, Times Columnist

John Romano, Times Columnist

Records have been destroyed and witnesses have gone missing, but Tampa Bay Times metro columnist John Romano would have you believe he was a product of the Pinellas County school system and the University of South Florida. He worked at the Evening Independent and the Palm Beach Post before being hired in the Times' sports department in 1985. Showing a remarkable lack of staying power, he has worked on beats covering USF, the University of Florida, Orlando Magic, Buccaneers and Rays before succeeding Hubert Mizell as a columnist in 2001. He became the metro columnist in 2012.

Lakeland police say that Lakeland City Commissioner Michael Dunn shot and killed Christobal Lopez as Lopez tried to leave the Vets Army Navy Surplus store on Oct. 3 without paying for a hatchet. This is a screen grab of a store surveillance video released by police on Monday. [Lakeland Police Department]

Romano: Has ‘stand your ground’ made Florida more tolerant of deadly force?

In another era, in another state, the video might be too unsettling to watch.
Published: 10/20/18
A dozen proposed constitutional amendments will make this one of the longest ballots in Florida in the last 20 years, but it doesn't necessarily have to be that hard. The motives and manipulations behind some of those amendments makes them automatically unworthy, according to one columnist. [JAMES BORCHUCK  |  Times]

Some of these Florida amendments aren’t worth your time

For such a sacred document, we seem to give little thought to scribbling on, erasing and haphazardly expanding the Florida Constitution.Since a revised version was established in 1968, Florida voters have been asked to consider more than 175...
Published: 10/18/18

John Romano: Liberals are dreaming when it comes to holding on to Florida’s Supreme Court

This was a smackdown, no doubt about it.The state Supreme Court just rendered the judicial equivalent of a loud guffaw regarding Gov. Rick Scott’s claim he is entitled to replace three retiring Supreme Court justices before he leaves...
Published: 10/17/18
Scattered debris and damage can be seen Thursday along these Shell Point Beach homes the day after Hurricane Michael struck the Florida Panhandle. [BRONTE WITTPENN   |   Times]

Romano: Why is Florida risking future hurricane misery?

No one should know better than Florida, right?When it comes to storms, we’ve got the best experience misery can buy.We’ve been hit by major hurricanes in the Southeast (Andrew) and the Southwest (Charley). We’ve had hurricanes slowly...
Published: 10/13/18
Tampa has rarely needed to utilize its membership in the three-county consortium that makes up Tampa Bay Water because of its abundance of surface water, including supply sources such as the Hillsborough River Dam just upstream of the David L. Tippin Water Treatment Facility. [CHRIS URSO]

The drip, drip, drip of a pending water fight in Tampa Bay

Twenty years later, it is still one of the best deals ever consummated around here.Surrounded by bickering and teetering on conflict, three counties (Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas) joined three cities (New Port Richey, St. Petersburg and...
Published: 10/11/18
In a three-day span, the writer found unauthorized charges on a debit card and a credit card, was repeatedly targeted by another online scam, and was notified that a city website with his credit card information may have been compromised. []

In the time it takes you to read this, I probably got scammed again

Complications of living in the modern world:8:26 a.m. Thursday: Get text message, supposedly from Wells Fargo, asking for verification of a $794.62 charge on my debit card. Figure it’s a scam.9:59 a.m....
Published: 10/08/18

Deputy who retreated during Parkland shooting is facing another stand-or-run choice

The first time was life or death, and Scot Peterson had only moments to decide.By most accounts, the former Broward County sheriff’s deputy chose poorly. Upon hearing gunshots and reports of an intruder at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High,...
Updated one month ago
The proposed Ybor City baseball stadium would cost nearly $900 million. Hillsborough officials believe redevelopment fees and tax breaks could generate half the money, which means the Tampa Bay Rays would need to pay the other half. That could be a fatal sticking point. 
[Rendering by Populous Architects]

Does the money exist for an Ybor City baseball stadium?

In the not-too-distant future, the happy, hopeful vibe surrounding the Ybor City stadium plan will start to crack. It’s almost inevitable, really. The stakes are too high, and time is quickly running short.And, more than anything, the money is...
Updated one month ago
It's beeen a long time since Al Lang Stadium was filled with fans for a spring training baseball game, such as this one between Boston and Tampa Bay in 1998. And just because the Rays have purchased the Tampa Bay Rowdies doesn't mean baseball is returning to the St. Petersburg waterfront anytime soon. [FRED FOX]

Romano: Rays? Rowdies? Let the conspiracy theories begin!

Is this what a midlife crisis looks like for a baseball owner?Instead of an expensive sports car or a hip new tattoo, you buy the keys to the waterfront stadium that was once the ballpark of your dreams?
Updated one month ago
Connor Bolton was hit while riding his bicycle on 1st Ave. No. near 42nd Street in St. Petersburg last October. He broke two legs, shattered his hip and fractured his skull. He was in a coma for two weeks at Bayfront and doctors told his mother that he might not survive. Bolton was finally discharged after a month in the hospital, along with a 42-pound weight loss, and has been in rehabilitation ever since. He has graduated from a wheelchair, to a walker and now uses a cane. [Courtesy of Bolton family]

Romano: The human toll of streets that are unsafe for bicyclists

Someone is pounding on the front door. It’s dark, well past bedtime. For Martha Bolton, those first few minutes are a blur of waking up and trying to make sense of everything.The man at the door introduces himself as a St. Petersburg police...
Updated one month ago