Thursday, May 24, 2018
News Roundup

A dubious judicial legacy, and other Tampa tales

Tampa lawyer Laura Ward wants to be a judge. And campaigning with her in her race against former chief prosecutor Karen Stanley is her father, former Hillsborough Circuit Judge Ed Ward.

Those on the campaign trail say he is everywhere. He has sent letters to legal notables, working connections. He's on her website and in her speeches. A pamphlet she leaves at voters' doors shows him smiling in what appear to be judicial robes, holding his daughter when she was little.

"Her father, retired Judge Ed Ward, raised her to respect our justice system and to treat people with fairness and equality," the pamphlet says.

What it does not say is how that judicial career of nearly two decades ended in headlines.

Ed Ward resigned in 2000 after the Judicial Qualifications Commission accused him of sexual misconduct: kissing a female judge without her consent, inviting a judicial assistant into his office for beer and sending suggestive emails to two other women.

Ward said that did not constitute sexual harassment. He resigned and agreed not to serve as a judge again. The JQC declined to pursue formal removal from the bench.

These days, he works in mediation and arbitration — and on his daughter's campaign to be where he once was.

The politics of this are interesting. Will that part of the past matter? Should it, since clearly a campaign decision was made to put him front and center as a factor for voters to consider?

His daughter the candidate says he has always been a "phenomenal father." She touts her own ethics, knowledge and hard work, and says she hopes people will see "that I've got strong support from my family and many others in the community, and I am running on my own integrity and merit."

A transportation slam: This week, a hotel developer and frequent flier called Tampa out for having taxis akin to pigsties. Deplorable, said Lou Plasencia. Embarrassing.

This matters for a city on the alleged move. Cab rides can make a town, or at least an impression. I recall faux fur across the dashboard in New Orleans, a Manhattan cabbie deliberately ramming a car that cut us off and a ride to the Key West airport seated next to the driver's golden retriever.

The Tampa slam is also bad news for the Hillsborough Public Transportation Commission under fire for legitimate questions about its necessity. This could give legislative efforts to gut it for the greater good — excuse the expression — gas.

Tampa is enjoying a downtown hotel boom — elegant Le Meridien in the old federal courthouse, this week the sleek Aloft, reborn from a dreary office that blocked the river, a building the mayor called not just ugly but "butt ugly." No more.

Not to nitpick, but whither that rooftop bar that was talked about? We've been spoiled by the Birchwood's glorious water views in St. Petersburg and the Epicurean's high slice of Hyde Park.

Turns out the old building would have required alterations too expensive and cumbersome to hold up all those people and their cucumber-kale martinis. Still, enthusiasts tout all the hipsters to gather at the wide bar downstairs with its tall windows facing the pool and the river beyond it.

I had a look, and yep, turns out it's another one of those views we didn't even know we had.

Comments
North Korea demolishes nuclear test site as journalists watch

North Korea demolishes nuclear test site as journalists watch

PUNGGYE-RI, North Korea — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made good on his promise to demolish his country’s nuclear test site, which was formally closed in a series of huge explosions Thursday as a group of foreign journalists looked on. The explosi...
Updated: 10 minutes ago
Ohio mom killed in street-racing crash ‘made mark in this world,’ says uncle she was visiting

Ohio mom killed in street-racing crash ‘made mark in this world,’ says uncle she was visiting

TAMPA — Before Jessica Raubenolt and her 21-month-old daughter were fatally struck by a speeding black Mustang on Wednesday, the gray skies had turned blue so she took the baby out in the stroller. Her husband David had just completed his flight cert...
Updated: 14 minutes ago
Flashing beacons, lower speed limit are in the works on Tampa’s deadly Bayshore

Flashing beacons, lower speed limit are in the works on Tampa’s deadly Bayshore

TAMPA — Work is underway to improve pedestrian safety on Bayshore Boulevard, the signature Tampa roadway popular among walkers, joggers and bicyclists where a mother was struck and killed by a car Wednesday while pushing her 21-month-old daughter acr...
Updated: 15 minutes ago
Tutor looks to empower athletes in Wesley Chapel

Tutor looks to empower athletes in Wesley Chapel

Rashay Hudson operates a tutoring business in Wesley Chapel, and NaDorian Hudson has played basketball his entire life, including in college and the ABA. Now, the husband and wife duo are combining their areas of expertise with a new program for kids...
Updated: 29 minutes ago
Their job was to guard our nuclear missiles. Their crime was buying, selling and using LSD

Their job was to guard our nuclear missiles. Their crime was buying, selling and using LSD

WASHINGTON — One airman said he felt paranoia. Another marveled at the vibrant colors. A third admitted, "I absolutely just loved altering my mind." Meet service members entrusted with guarding nuclear missiles that are among the most powerful in Ame...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Bar builder finds solid success in Tampa

Bar builder finds solid success in Tampa

TAMPA — Ever since he was a little boy, Chris Davenport loved to build things with Legos and erector sets. As he grew older, he spent time working with his dad, a carpenter, and then took welding classes in high school. While in college studying engi...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Metro Diner brings fare to South Tampa

Metro Diner brings fare to South Tampa

Metro Diner, having already established several locations across Florida, including St. Petersburg, now brings its large portion-sized comfort food options across the bay.The local diner is slated to open Tuesday (May 29) at 4011 W Kennedy Blvd and w...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Organic eatery closes doors to Davis Island site for more space

Organic eatery closes doors to Davis Island site for more space

Tasty Roots says goodbye to its current Davis Island location on Saturday (May 26) as it closes to prepare for the opening of a new location in the heart of South Tampa at 3415 W Bay to Bay Blvd.For the last three years, locals have flocked to Tasty ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Scoring drought brings Lightning season to a close

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Scoring drought brings Lightning season to a close

The Lightning will miss out on the Stanley Cup final after being shut out by the Capitals in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final. The Bolts were the highest-scoring team during the regular season but failed to score in almost all of the final eigh...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays morning after: Chris Archer, David Price sure matched up like they meant it

Rays morning after: Chris Archer, David Price sure matched up like they meant it

For two guys who said they didn't make much of matching up, they sure dueled like they did in Boston's 4-1 victory that was decided after they left.Chris Archer, the Rays current top starter, worked six impressive innings, allowing one run and four h...
Updated: 2 hours ago