Sue Carlton, Columnist

Sue Carlton

Columnist

My dad always said the Carltons were thieves and cattle rustlers run out of Georgia, which makes me a bona fide Floridian going back generations. I grew up in Miami and landed in Tampa, a town that said “bland” to the world but turned out anything but. I live in an old bungalow in an old neighborhood with my husband and a very enthusiastic dog. I’ve covered everything - crime, courts, the homeless. I’ve come to love this place of outrages and injustices, history and culture, Deep South and café con leche, downtown growing up and a parade of political characters let’s just call interesting. And lucky me, I get to write about all of it three days a week.

Ban butts from our beaches? Sorry, smokers did it to themselves

A cigarette butt in the sand on Treasure Island. State Sen. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, plans to offer legislation in the 2019 session banning smoking on Florida's beaches. [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]
Pity the poor smoker, welcome fewer public places than dogs these days. Now lawmakers consider banning their noxious butts from our beaches. Sorry, smokers, your time is up.

Just when the race to replace Bob Buckhorn is getting interesting, a Greco jumps in

https://www.tampabay.com/storyimage/HI/20190116/ARTICLE/190119769/TS/1/TS-190119769.jpg
The police chief, the politicians, that rich guy, the transportation wonk and the long shots: Just as the Tampa mayor's race heats up, a Greco takes the plunge.

Carlton: For Epiphany, why don't girls get the glory of diving for the cross, too?

Ilias Skandaliaris, 17, of Tarpon Springs, raises the cross during Epiphany this year. The feat of finding the cross during St. Nicholas Cathedral's Epiphany Celebration is an honor for boys only. Girls can't participate. Even now, at a moment in time when we tell girls there's virtually nothing they can't do.  [TAILYR IRVINE   |   Times]
It might be presumptuous for a columnist to suggest allowing girls to dive for the cross during Epiphany in Tarpon Springs. But what about a daughter of the church? On evolving.

On felons voting, what will Tallahassee do to the will of the people this time?

With a grin on his face, Rodney Johnson, 47, walks out of the County Center after registering to vote for the first time on Tuesday. Johnson was released from prison in 2000. Since the passing of Amendment 4 Johnson is allowed to register to vote.
Floridians just approved automatic restoration of felons' voting rights. But what will Amendment 4 and the will of the people look like once Tallahassee's had a crack at it?

Carlton: Now a reasonable sheriff wants to arm teachers, and the world is officially gun mad

Students are evacuated by police out of Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., after a shooting on Feb. 14, 2018. (Mike Stocker/Sun Sentinel/TNS) 1258745
Teachers need to teach, not be armed for the next inevitable attack. But now a reasonable sheriff says this makes sense, another sign of the insanity of gun violence.