Saturday, September 22, 2018


Sue Carlton

Sue Carlton

Sue Carlton is a native Floridian from a longtime Southern family that her father always said consisted of thieves and cattle rustlers run out of Georgia. She grew up in Miami and joined the Tampa Bay Times in 1988. Over the years she has covered community news, politics, cops, government, and her all-time favorite, criminal courts. For nearly nine years she wrote about the kind of strange cases that only seem to happen here, about intriguing legal issues and courthouse politics. On that beat, she authored a lengthy narrative series on a trooper who killed his wife and co-authored a series on a suburban mother murdered by her teenage daughter and her friends. Sue was the deputy editor of the features section and was the Tampa city editor before she became a columnist in 2005. Three times a week, she writes about politics, outrages, observations, court cases of the day and whatever else comes up. She lives in Tampa with her husband and their very good dog. Phone: (813) 226-3376 or toll-free 1-800-333-7505, ext. 3376

Red Tide is killing fish on Pinellas County beaches, including these last week at Pass-a-Grille beach. [MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE   |   Times

Carlton: The siege of Red Tide: No walk on the beach

This week, on one of the last mornings of summer, I went walking on one of our Gulf beaches, the sunrise warming my back. It could not have been prettier — the sky cloudless, the water a quiet blue, a lone Brown Pelican skimming the surface.If...
Published: 09/21/18
Florida Governor Rick Scott is opposed to the automatic restoration of voting rights for convicted felons who have completed their sentence. Voters can  overrule him in November if they approve Amendment 4.

Carlton: Should felons who have done their time get to vote? Citizens of Florida, it’s in your hands

It’s not often that we citizens — busy with work, paying the bills, living our lives — find ourselves with the power to right a fundamental wrong.But here in Florida, we’re about to get that chance.On the November ballot — among all...
Published: 09/20/18
LUIS SANTANA   |   Times (2017)
Richard Gonzmart put up this 1,800-pound bronze sculpture of a Native American princess outside his Ulele restaurant in December. Tampa says it\u2019s on city property.

Carlton: The mayor, the restaurateur and the giant statue that had to go: A Tampa tale

You would have thought the controversy over whether chickens should be left alone to keep boldly roaming the streets of historic Ybor City — and the impressive pro-chicken lobby that showed up to argue on their behalf — would be the quintessential...
Published: 09/15/18
Hurricane Irma lashes palm trees in Lutz as the storm approached the Tampa Bay area last year. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times.]

Carlton: The destructive, unpredictable whim of a hurricane

Here’s what a lot of us think, truth be told, every time those computer models start stretching their colored tentacles toward the place we live:Please not here.Please not us.A fierce and powerful hurricane...
Published: 09/14/18
The Frederick B. Karl County Center, which houses many Hillsborough government offices. [Times files]

Carlton: Politicians fail to take the politics out of politics, but nice try, commissioners

Where are my manners?I nearly forgot to send a note of condolence to those Hillsborough County commissioners who thought they could stack the deck with an allegedly nonpartisan but probably very partisan power play.So, nice try, guys.
Published: 09/12/18
Updated: 09/18/18
Pam Iorio

Carlton: Pam Iorio, USF’s next president? Politics say no but who knows

Here’s an interesting idea that probably won’t happen: Former Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio gets tapped to be the next president of the University of South Florida.This week came the (somewhat) surprising news that USF president Judy Genshaft will...
Published: 09/12/18
Jordan Belliveau spent almost his entire life under the watchful eye of state child welfare workers, and yet the 2-year-old was killed less than three months after being reunited with his birth mother. [Photo courtesy the Warren Family]

Carlton: How many times can we write the story of a child that could have been saved?

You have read this story before. Too many times.Somewhere in Florida, a child is in circumstances scary enough for the state to step in and take him away.The parent — or parents — do what’s required to get the child back. They take...
Published: 09/08/18
Carlton: A white man holding hands with a black child: What do we see there?

Carlton: A white man holding hands with a black child: What do we see there?

Last Saturday afternoon, a man in a Tampa Bay Lightning shirt and khaki shorts waited in line at a Tampa Walmart. Beside him was a little boy wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the superheroes Captain America, Iron Man and the Hulk.The man was...
Updated one month ago
Cars sit locked in evening rush hour traffic on Dale Mabry Highway near Raymond James Stadium.
 [ZACK WITTMAN  |  Times]

Carlton: Just when you thought a transportation tax might float with voters, the school board tips the boat

Members of the Hillsborough County School Board live in, you guessed it, Hillsborough County. Presumably they have driven its highways, county roads and city streets, ridden over its bridges and perpetual potholes and found themselves stuck in traffic...
Updated one month ago
David A. Straz Jr., philanthropist and retired banker, is pouring a lot of money into his run for mayor. [JAMES BORCHUK   |   Times (2016)]

Carlton: Pssst ... Wanna buy a Tampa mayor’s election?

Sometimes the world seems a cynical place in which everything has a price if there’s enough cash to pay for it.But can you really buy a mayoral election?Tampa’s about to find out.The race to run what’s been called America’s Next...
Updated one month ago