Monday, July 23, 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

A rooster roams the porch of a business located in an historic home on N 19th Street in Ybor City. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]

Carlton: Victorious Ybor chickens make Tampa Tampa

A city can be judged on its progress by, say, having sleek rail that gets people where they need to go. Or by being home to big-name corporations or impressive sports venues. Or by the sheer number of tall buildings it boasts.At least for...
Published: 07/21/18

Carlton: Rotary Clubs support no-women-allowed dinner. What year is this?

Going "stag" sounds so old-fashioned — boys night out, sans the gals.But it’s not so outdated in certain Rotary clubs in the Brandon suburbs and still rural Plant City. There, the decades-old no-women-allowed tradition of the yearly stag Wild...
Published: 07/20/18
Marion Hammer is a Florida lobbyist for the NRA.

Carlton: Backlash to the NRA’s Hammer shouldn’t distract from the gun debate

So the formidable Marion Hammer, who sticks to her guns no matter how many children, churchgoers or everyday Americans die, finds herself the target of some nasty backlash.The powerful Florida lobbyist for the National Rifle Association is...
Published: 07/16/18
Updated: 07/17/18
Ed Solomon posts his political views in the front yard of his South Tampa home. This week two anti-Trump signs got a complaint and a visit from Tampa code enforcement. Would free speech win the day? [Sue Carlton | Times)

Carlton: A lawn, a sign, and a question of free speech

For a minute there, it looked like the fight over free speech might be waged right there on Ed Solomon’s South Tampa lawn across from the elementary school.At 84, Solomon is retired and no stranger to politics. He can talk at length about the...
Published: 07/13/18
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn greets Florida Gov. Rick Scott before a March 2017 roundtable discussion with Tampa community leaders and business owners. [Times files (2017)]

Carlton: Forget politics — we’ve got a mayor-governor bromance going here!

There’s a difference between Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Florida Gov. Rick Scott.And no, I don’t mean the fact that Buckhorn is a Democrat who stuffed envelopes in the fourth grade for Robert Kennedy and later stumped for both Bill and...
Published: 07/10/18
Updated: 07/11/18
The No Straws St. Pete campaign aims to persuade restaurants and residents to stop using plastic straws. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]

Sue Carlton: Trying to join the plastics boycott, one straw at a time

As a recovering diet soda addict and current ice tea enthusiast, I consider myself something of a connoisseur of plastic straws.I have drunk from straws in cities near and far, straws long and short, bendy and straight, straws from fancy...
Updated one month ago
Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister, left, stands with his new Chief Deputy Donna Lusczynski, center, and her brother Lawrence Weindorf during her promotion ceremony held at the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office in Tampa, Florida. Donna Luczynki became the first woman to be Chief Deputy of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office on May 7. (OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times)

Carlton: History-making chief deputy is a straight-faced poker player and, oh yeah, a woman

The chief — something Donna Lusczynski is still not used to being called — plays poker. Probably pretty good at it, too.The first woman in the 171-year history of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office to attain the rank of chief deputy —...
Updated one month ago
Twelve days before he was accused of killing a man and injuring two children, Mikese Morse visited a Tampa police substation and predicted he would hurt someone if he wasn't  detained, records show. He was taken into protective custody under Florida's Baker Act. But he was set free a week later. [Tampa Police Department, Times file]

Carlton: A father killed, two boys hurt. Is Florida’s stingy mental health spending partly to blame?

On a Sunday morning, a father and his two young sons went for a bike ride in the New Tampa suburbs. The boys, 3 and 8, wore bike helmets to keep them safe.The man driving the Dodge was just five days out of a mental health facility. This time...
Updated one month ago
Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who wants voters to send him to the U.S. Senate in November, just announced that the state will start taking private bids to build a badly needed high-speed rail line between Tampa and Orlando. Seven years ago, he refused to accept $2.4 billion in federal funds for that same high speed rail line. [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]

Carlton: Suddenly the governor’s riding the rails? Okay, we’ll take it

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who wants voters to send him to the U.S. Senate in November, just announced that our state will start taking private bids to build a badly needed high-speed rail line between Tampa and...
Updated one month ago
The ground skink tends to hang out in leaf litter, but are sometimes found lurking in Florida homes.[Photo provided by Steve A. Johnson, University of Florida, IFAS]

Carlton: That snake-like thing living under your refrigerator? It’s a skink. Welcome to Florida

At first I thought it was a snake.Because wouldn’t it be typically Florida to come home and find a snake poking its nose out from under your stove? Which wouldn’t be a problem or anything. I would just have to move out is all.But no, the...
Updated one month ago