Sunday, August 19, 2018
Politics

Carlton: The 2015 Not Entirely True Year in Review, Part 1

For the first half of 2015, a somewhat true, slightly askew Year in Review.

We'd sooner take that guy with the hair on The Apprentice seriously: With the new year comes a rumor that former Hillsborough County Commissioner Jim Norman might run again, despite the scandal over a vacation home bankrolled for his wife by a local millionaire businessman, a controversy that felled Norman's state Senate career. Never happen, right? Running on the Nothing To See Here platform, Norman raises more than $100,000 by year's end.

Hey, St. Pete, we got water too! A critical section of downtown Tampa's winding Riverwalk opens to runners, walkers and bikers. St. Petersburgians who have for decades strolled their prettier waterfront allow themselves an eye roll at the overexcited upstarts across the bay.

Goodbye doesn't mean forever: In a coup d'etat, the Hillsborough County School Board narrowly manages to fire its nationally regarded superintendent, MaryEllen Elia, with everyone vowing an end to political squabbling and a renewed focus on education. In that spirit, students are promptly taught the definition of "nanosecond," since that's how long the peace lasts.

Lock up your … well, everyone: In yet another chapter in the simmering sister city rivalry between St. Petersburg and Tampa, four-time Tampa mayor and undisputed world champion hugger, kisser and squeezer of friend and foe alike Dick Greco moves to tony downtown St. Petersburg. This shocks Greco's hometown and prompts current Mayor Bob Buckhorn to request the Tampa Bay Rays in return.

You may be a really bad guy, but bless you for this anyway: For reasons unclear, a man imprisoned in Pennsylvania asks a Florida federal judge for an emergency restraining order to keep uber-celebrity-for-no-apparent-reason Kim Kardashian and her husband, Kanye West, from ever entering the Sunshine State. The request is denied by the judge, who somehow managed not to add the words: If only. The inmate had similarly sought to have on-air dancing by the Weather Channel's Jim Cantore and the show The Bachelor banned.

And I decree you must wear shoes, too: The chief justice of the Florida Supreme Court strikes a blow against fashion freedom, ruling that the state's judges can no longer wear anything but plain black robes — no colors or embellishments, none of the cute pins judges sometimes wear to make kids feel more comfortable in court. The chief dropped the fashion hammer in the name of judicial dignity after stories of judges going casual, including one Florida judge who took the bench in camouflage. Sadly, we are not making that up.

The man who could not not opine: Political activist Sam Rashid resigns from a prestigious committee that nominates federal judges after he calls some local judges the rather profane equivalent of not-too-smart donkeys on Facebook. Surely this could never happen again — until it does, when Rashid later refers to a local public relations businesswoman as a "tax-payer subsidized slut," also on Facebook. For that one, he resigns from the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority.

Don't make us tell you again: In a monumental, much-heralded decision, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that same-sex marriage is legal in every state. Rumor has it that justices considered adding the line: Yes, Florida, this means you, too.

Ewwww alert: Over at the James A. Haley VA Medical Center, workers report that three large dead rats fell through the hospital's kitchen ceiling one night during renovation work.

Never happen! In June, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush officially announces he's running for president, saying, "As long as some weird-haired gazillionaire celebrity blowhard doesn't somehow hypnotize the American people into thinking he could actually run a country, I'm golden!"

Speak of the devil, Donald Trump says he's in, too.

On Thursday, read Times columnist John Romano's take on the second half of 2015. Sue Carlton can be reached at [email protected]

     
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