Tuesday, May 22, 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]

     
Comments
Romano: A pathetic legacy for Florida’s all-or-nothing Democrats

Romano: A pathetic legacy for Florida’s all-or-nothing Democrats

Explain this to me: In the world of partisan politics, how is being an independent thinker a bad thing? When it comes to general elections, we seem to like rogues and mavericks. We want outsiders and swamp scrubbers. Folks appreciate a good finger-...
Published: 05/22/18
‘World’s most expensive Witch Hunt’: Trump lashes out at New York Times, Democrats

‘World’s most expensive Witch Hunt’: Trump lashes out at New York Times, Democrats

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump lashed out Sunday at "the World’s most expensive Witch Hunt," trashing a new report in the New York Times that said an emissary representing the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates offered help...
Published: 05/20/18
Obama’s education secretary: Let’s boycott school until gun laws change

Obama’s education secretary: Let’s boycott school until gun laws change

Former Education Secretary Arne Duncan pushed a radical idea on Twitter: Parents should pull their children out of school until elected officials pass stricter gun control laws.His tweet came hours after a shooting rampage at a Houston-area high scho...
Published: 05/20/18
China offers to buy more US products to reduce trade imbalance

China offers to buy more US products to reduce trade imbalance

WASHINGTON - China offered to boost its annual purchases of U.S. products by "at least $200 billion" Friday as two days of talks aimed at averting an open breach between the two countries ended in Washington, a top White House adviser said.Larry Kudl...
Published: 05/19/18
Hillsborough candidate falsified contract for fund-raising gospel concert, lawsuit says

Hillsborough candidate falsified contract for fund-raising gospel concert, lawsuit says

TAMPA — A concert organizer is accusing Hillsborough County Commission candidate Elvis Piggott of falsifying a contract and prompting the headline act to pull out of a gospel show.In a lawsuit filed in Hillsborough Circuit Court, Corey Curry claims h...
Published: 05/18/18
Gina Haspel confirmed as CIA chief despite scrutiny of her role in interrogation program

Gina Haspel confirmed as CIA chief despite scrutiny of her role in interrogation program

WASHINGTON - The Senate voted Thursday to confirm Gina Haspel as the next CIA director after several Democrats were persuaded to support her despite lingering concerns about her role in the brutal interrogation of suspected terrorists captured after ...
Published: 05/17/18
GOP pushes for speedy confirmation vote for CIA nominee

GOP pushes for speedy confirmation vote for CIA nominee

WASHINGTON — Republicans are pushing for a speedy confirmation vote as early as Thursday after the Senate intelligence committee endorsed President Donald Trump’s CIA nominee Gina Haspel to lead the spy agency. But opponents concerned about Haspel’s ...
Published: 05/16/18
Gina Haspel, Trump’s pick to lead CIA, wins support of Senate Intelligence Committee

Gina Haspel, Trump’s pick to lead CIA, wins support of Senate Intelligence Committee

WASHINGTON - The Senate Intelligence Committee moved Wednesday to recommend Gina Haspel for CIA director, setting up a floor vote that her opponents say will signal to the world whether the United States condemns or condones torture.The committee vot...
Published: 05/16/18
Carlton: Time for Hillsborough’s Uncle Tom Road to go — but artfully.

Carlton: Time for Hillsborough’s Uncle Tom Road to go — but artfully.

In Hillsborough County — where one of the world’s largest Confederate flags still flies near a busy interstate — you may not be surprised to learn there’s an Uncle Tom Road.The name is a flash point and a slur, shorthand for a black person who will d...
Published: 05/16/18
Clearwater Vice Mayor Doreen Caudell drops out of Pinellas Commission race

Clearwater Vice Mayor Doreen Caudell drops out of Pinellas Commission race

With six months to go before the Nov. 6 election, Clearwater Vice Mayor Doreen Caudell on Monday dropped her bid against Pinellas County Commissioner Pat Gerard for the at-large District 2 seat.Caudell said she decided she’d better be better suited f...
Published: 05/14/18