Monday, July 23, 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 this rendering of Janet Echelman's proposed art piece for the Pier District, the project is centered on the north end of Spa Beach. A new proposal would move the project about 600 feet south toward the Pier approach.  [City of St. Petersburg]

Romano: One last shot at saving St. Pete Pier art

(Holds a painting against a wall.)Does it look good here?(Moves it lower.)Okay, how about it here?(Moves it to the left.)Are you sure you want this?ē ē ēNow try that with...
Published: 07/19/18
When it comes to judicial appointments, Gov. Rick Scott is speaking out of both sides of his mouth. Scott says the U.S. Supreme Court should be above partisan politics, and yet the governor has ignored decades of precedent, court opinions, voter mandates and simple common sense in order to pack Florida courts with conservative judges.  [SCOTT KEELER]

Romano: Excuse me Gov. Scott, but youíre a hypocrite

Hypocrisy, thy name is Rick Scott.And, yes, I owe Shakespeare an apology.But I think Floridaís governor owes all of us an apology.This isnít about one manís opinion, and it isnít about philosophical differences. This is about a...
Published: 07/17/18
Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, alongside other sheriffs and Homeland Security officials, announced an agreement in January on the issue of detaining immigrants in local jails. Gualtieri has traversed federal, state and local bureacracies on numerous issues during his seven years in office. [JIM DAMASKE]

Romano: The best politician in Tampa Bay is not a politician

Some politicians bark, and some like to preen. Itís all part of an elaborate act to attract attention and create an image.But the very best politicians?They donít act like politicians at all.I was reminded of that last week while...
Published: 07/13/18
Updated: 07/14/18
The more than decade-long stadium drama that surrounds the Tampa Bay Rays entered a new phase Tuesday when Rays principal owner Stu Sternberg unveiled the design of the ballpark the team wants built in Ybor City.
 (Populous Architects)

Romano: Itís time to decide if Tampa Bay is a big-league market

Letís start with the obvious:Whoa!That goes for the design and price tag of the stadium the Tampa Bay Rays proposed in Ybor City on Tuesday. It was visually intriguing and economically daunting.So feel free to be excited, to be...
Published: 07/11/18
The view for an Ybor City stadium for the Tampa Bay Rays may not be as attractive as the waterfront plan they had in St. Petersburg in 2007 but there may be less obstacles to the plan this time around. [Luis Santana]

Romano: The first thing the Rays need to build is consensus

And so the construction of a baseball stadium begins today. Not with bulldozers and cranes. That will come much later, if at all.The first thing that must be built is a consensus, and that is the purpose of todayís announcement by the Tampa Bay...
Published: 07/10/18
Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam, seen here in a campaign stop in Tampa in April, has remade his image in order to appeal to hardcore conservatives in the upcoming primary election. [Monica Herndon/Tampa Bay Times]

Romano: Florida elections need to come out of the Dark Ages

For his first 22 years in public office, sincerity may have been the best thing he had going for him. Agree with his politics or not, it was hard to ignore the aw-shucks charisma of Adam Putnam. He was genuine, he was conservative, he was everybodyís...
Updated one month ago
Voters exit a polling place during early voting in Miami in 2016. Write-in candidates closed 20 primaries for state House and Senate seats in Florida that year and yet no write-in received more than 0.2 percent of the vote. [Max Reed/The New York Times]

Romano: The sneaky way politicians are stealing your votes

There are 85,000 or so registered voters in Hillsborough County who will not have a say in who represents them in state House of Representatives elections this fall.And just so you know, your state Legislature is okay with that. So is the clown...
Updated one month ago
Mikese Morse, 30, faces charges including premeditated first-degree murder in a hit-and-run crash in New Tampa on June 24, 2018. Pedro Aguerreberry, 42, was killed during a family bike ride and his two sons, ages 8 and 3, were injured. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]

Why Floridaís Baker Act wasnít enough to stop a killing

Year after year, the numbers rise. They outpace population, capacity and logic.The number of Florida residents being brought to mental health facilities under the stateís Baker Act has more than doubled since 2002, and there is no end in...
Updated one month ago
Max Pierre, 59, plays the saxophone outside Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, June 26, 2018. Pierre plays short, recognizable tunes for fans, usually at the end of the game, as they leave the stadium, in the parking lot directly in front of gate 5. Many of the fans recognize him as they leave, giving him the final score, or waving hello.

Romano: If the Rays are playing inside, heís playing outside

The longest-running show in town is a few minutes behind schedule. A midday sun and a pre-show beer will sometimes do that.The headliner sets up on a sidewalk, in the shade of a tree and a port-a-potty, and waits for the traffic light to turn...
Updated one month ago
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, speaking with President Donald Trump (left) and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions (right) about school safety during a White House meeting earlier this year, has used the power of her office to push Republican agendas regardless of the effect on Florida residents. [AP Photo/Evan Vucci]

Romano: Yelling in a theater is like earning a liberal merit badge

As the narrative goes, Democrats are motivated in 2018 because President Donald Trump has made America a less tolerant place where decorum is nonexistent and anger is palpable.So now the response is a liberal version of intolerance and...
Updated one month ago