John Romano, Times Columnist

John Romano

Times Columnist

Finding the right career can be hit-and-miss. In my case, it was swing-and-miss. When Major League Baseball scouts declined to watch me play, or even acknowledge my existence, journalism seemed like a plausible fallback plan. I started covering prep sports for St. Petersburg's Evening Independent as an 18 year old college freshman, and have worked for newspapers ever since. I have a daughter in college, a son in high school and a wife in charge. And I still can't hit the curveball.

Tampa Bay wants to keep the Rays? Time to get desperate

Signs started popping up around Ybor City in the area where the Tampa Bay Rays announced their plans to build a stadium. (MARC TOPKIN | Times)
Don't worry, the demise of the Ybor City stadium proposal doesn't mean the Rays are going anywhere. At least not yet. But the level of desperation in Tampa Bay probably does need to go up a notch.

Romano: Welcome to Congress, Rep. Spano. Now please resign.

Rep. Ross Spano, R-Dover,  right, and Rep. Neil Combee, R-Polk City, left, served together in the Florida House. Spano later defeated Combee in the Republican primary and went on to win the general election for Congressional District 15, although Spano’s campaign financing disclosures have become an issue. (Times files)
If he broke campaign finance laws, congressman-elect Ross Spano says it was an accident. Okay, we'll accept that for now. But the Dover politician still won a tainted election, and needs to resign.

Cars + cell phones = another blunder for Florida politics

If some legislators and advocacy groups have their way, scences such as this one on Himes Avenue in Tampa will be more and more rare. Bills have been introduced in the state Legislature for the 2019 session that will outlaw the use of cell phones not equipped with hands free devices. (Times files)
When it comes to drivers and cell phones, Florida has some of the most lax laws in the nation. That may end in 2019. Lawmakers are taking another shot at outlawing phones that aren't hands-free.

Romano: If Rick Scott stays on the job he should finish the job

Gov. Rick Scott smiles as he speaks to supporters at a Nov. 7 election watch party in Naples, as he led incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in voting results. Scott was officialy elected a U.S. senator on Nov. 20, when the state certified election results two weeks after tight margins prompted tumultuous recounts. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, file)
Scott delayed joining the U.S. Senate to finish his term as governor. If he’s going to stay, there’s plenty left to do in Florida.

Cheap and hostile is not the way to attract teachers in Florida

What is the issue in Pinellas County classrooms that have teachers unwilling to sign a union contract? The head of the teacher’s association says pay is not the main problem - it is the working conditions imposed by various regulation. (Washington Post)
How unhappy are Florida teachers? Well, in Pinellas County they think it's more important to fight for classroom flexibility rather than getting a little closer to the national pay scale for teachers.