Sunday, August 19, 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.

In 2015, a memorial was set up atop of the Dick Misener Bridge in St. Petersburg for Phoebe Jonchuck, 5, who was dropped into the water below by her John Jonchuck, according to police. He now awaits trial on a charge of first-degree murder. The Department of Children and Families has acknowledged mistakes in failing to protect her. [SCOTT KEELER  |  Times]

Romano: A fresh start for Florida to protect abused children

The worst job in Florida is available, once again.Mike Carroll has announced his pending resignation as secretary of the Department of Children and Families, giving someone else the privilege to be an underfunded, second-guessed punching bag.
Published: 08/18/18
Banners along South Adams Street welcome Florida lawmakers back to Tallahassee for the start of the 2017 legislative session. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

Romano: Con artist or Florida politician? You decide

Decorum matters, and so the attorney’s language was appropriately measured.In seeking to have a constitutional amendment thrown off the ballot, a motion filed in Leon County used words such as "misleading’’ and "ambiguity’’ and...
Published: 08/16/18
Romano: Stand your ground now means we must read the mind of an accused killer

Romano: Stand your ground now means we must read the mind of an accused killer

Today, the liberals are doing a victory dance.And the conservatives are resting easier.
Published: 08/13/18
Updated: 08/14/18
While other states have implemented medical marijuana sales with minimal aggravation, Florida politicians have tried to limit the scope of a voter-approved constitutional amendment passed in 2016. Now, the attorney general's office is appealing several recent court decisions that have criticized Florida's regulatory system. This picture is from a medical marijuana market in Seattle. [AP Photo/Elaine Thompson]

Romano: Two years later, politicians still ignoring Florida voters on medical marijuana

The war is over, except no one in Tallahassee has bothered to read the news.And so Florida continues its daft fight against medical marijuana. All of which means patients are being left behind, voters are getting ignored, and lawyers are buying...
Published: 08/11/18
This rendering from New York's HKS Architects shows what the new Gas Plant District (formerly known as the Tropicana Field site) could look like if it includes a new baseball stadium. The city is exploring how to best redevelop the 86-acre site when the dome comes down years from now. HKS finished the master plan with a new baseball stadium and is now working on a master plan for the area that would not include a stadium, a plan that assumes the Tampa Bay Rays will relocate to Tampa. [HKS Architects]

Romano: Bring jobs to the Trop site first. The rest will follow.

First, a lesson:Remember the Pier.Next, a warning:Remember the Pier!Finally, a battle cry:REMEMBER THE PIER!In case that wasn’t clear, I’m suggesting there might be important parallels between the...
Published: 08/09/18
Scenes like this, with a boat navigating through the algae bloom of the Caloosahatchee River, should not come as any surprise when you consider Florida's environmental policies under Gov. Rick Scott. [Miami Herald]

Romano: If you’re looking for a culprit, the slime stops here

He has created jobs. He has boosted tourism. He has eliminated crime and turned all of our schoolchildren into geniuses. If you listen long enough to his handlers, you’ll get the impression Gov. Rick Scott can also walk on water.And in our...
Published: 08/07/18
Courtesy of Georgia Michielson
Georgia and Bruce Michielson, shown in 2015, had a rocky marriage.

Romano: This is the case that changed the way a sheriff looked at stand your ground

The backstory of Markeis McGlockton and Michael Drejka began months before their tragic encounter. Months before the video from a Clearwater convenience store went viral.And months before gubernatorial candidates and civil rights activists...
Published: 08/03/18
Updated: 08/04/18
Spectrum Field in Clearwater, shown here during a 2018 spring training game between the Phillies and Rays, opened in 2004 and Pinellas County is still paying off some of the original construction costs. The Phillies now want the county and Clearwater to help fund nearly $80 renovations at the stadium and the nearby minor league complex.  [Monica Herndon]

Romano: Stadium renovations are a great deal. If you’re the Phillies.

Loyalty matters. So does tradition.And when it comes to baseball and spring training, it’s nearly impossible to find a relationship as long-lasting or mutually beneficial as the Philadelphia Phillies and the city of Clearwater.While...
Updated one month ago
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Philip Levine, shown last month while speaking to teachers, parents and county school board members at a  round table at the Children's Board of Hillsborough County, has talked a little too broadly about cutting funding for charter schools.. [JONATHAN CAPRIEL]

Romano: Let’s try to remember charter schools are not the enemy

Maybe they were just mistakes. Slips of the tongue, or imprecise wording.Maybe, when Democratic gubernatorial candidates Philip Levine and Jeff Greene recently declared that no public funds should go to charter schools, they were employing...
Updated one month ago
Courtesy of Mario Suarez
Clockwise, from left: Maria Suarez Cassagne and her children, Christian Gomez, Maria Jose Gomez and Mario Gomez. Christian murdered his mother in 2014 and spent three years in a state hospital.

‘How could he be found competent after what he did?’

The mental health therapist, one of a parade over the years, recommended Christian Gomez might try socializing a little more. As if some coffee shop rendezvous would be therapeutic for an increasingly withdrawn schizophrenic who skinned and buried the...
Updated one month ago