Thursday, September 20, 2018


Christopher O'Donnell

Christopher O'Donnell

Christopher O'Donnell is a general assignment and local government reporter with the Tampa Bay Times. He was born and grew up in London, England, where he worked for IBM and Citi as a computer programmer and IT analyst. After moving to Florida in 2001, he earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of South Florida before landing a job with the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. During a seven-year stint there, he earned a Florida Society of News Editors award for his coverage of K-12 education. Before joining the Times, he spent three years with the Tampa Tribune and covered city government in both St. Petersburg and Tampa and led coverage of the Tampa Bay Rays' quest for a new ballpark. Away from work, Chris rides his road bicycle on local trails and is an avid soccer fan.

The Second District Court  of Appeal on Wednesday agreed with a circuit judge who blocked Hillsborough from holding a referendum on making constitutional offices like sheriff and tax collector non-partisan.  [Scott Keeler - Times]

Appellate court sides with Hillsborough Dems, blocks referendum on non-partisan offices

TAMPA – Party affiliation will remain a part of the elections for Hillsborough County's sheriff and other constitutional officers following an appeals court decision Wednesday that kills a move to let voters decide.The 2nd...
Published: 09/05/18
The Florida branch of Americans for Prosperity plans to campaign against an initiative to pay for transportation  projects through a one percent sales tax increase.

Koch network to campaign against proposed Hillsborough transportation tax

TAMPA – Americans for Prosperity has helped derail several plans to raise taxes for public transit over the past few years, including ones in Nashville  and Little Rock.The anti-tax, small government group, which for...
Updated one month ago
Traffic moves slowly north on Dale Mabry Highway near Waters Avenue in Tampa. A proposed sales tax hike that voters will decide in November is earmarked for projects including road improvement. [Times files (2013)]

Needs are great, but will Hillsborough voters go for two tax hikes at once?

TAMPA — Getting voters to raise their own taxes is never an easy ask, which explains why referendums in Hillsborough County are few and far between.
Updated one month ago
Republican Commissioner Victor Crist will face Democrat Mariella Smith in the race for Commission District 5.

Hillsborough Commissioner Crist will face Democrat Smith

TAMPA — Republican Commissioner Victor Crist and first-time Democratic candidate Mariella Smith will square off in November for the District 5 seat on the Hillsborough County Commission.Crist, a commissioner since 2010,...
Updated one month ago
Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan is seeking to switch from the District 5 to District 2 because of term limits.  [DIRK SHADD  |  Times]

Hillsborough’s Hagan easily wins Republican commission primary

TAMPA – Ken Hagan, Hillsborough County's longest tenured commissioner, will go to the general election seeking a fifth term in office.With most precincts reported Tuesday night in the Republican primary for the District 2 seat,...
Updated one month ago
Republican Todd Marks will face Democrat Kimberly Overman in the Hillsborough Commission District 7 race.

Marks will face Overman for Hillsborough commission seat

TAMPA — Attorney Todd Marks emerged as the winner of a bitterly fought Republican primary battle for District 7 easily beating local businessman Aakash Patel.He will face financial planner Kimberly Overman, who handily won a...
Updated one month ago
The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office is among the constitutional offices where candidates would run as non-partisans under a proposal from the partisan County Commission. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]

Judge bans Hillsborough commission from seeking vote on non-partisan offices

TAMPA – A judge has blocked Hillsborough County from holding a referendum on whether to make elections for constitutional offices like sheriff, property appraiser and tax collector non-partisan.In an order issued late...
Updated one month ago
[Steve Madden]

Zombie campaigns still spending as FEC says no crackdown until 2019

Four months ago, the federal agency that oversees elections announced that it would finally begin cracking down on former lawmakers who hoard and spend leftover campaign donations long after they leave office.That didn’t seem to...
Updated one month ago
Hillsborough County Commission candidates for Districts 2, 4 and 5 squared off at a debate organized by the Tiger Bay Club of Tampa on Friday.

Transportation and sprawl Hillsborough’s biggest woes, say commission candidates

TAMPA -Planners predict some 600,000 people will move to Hillsborough County by 2045, further straining the county's overburdened road network.So it's no surprise that candidates running for the Hillsborough County Commission identified...
Updated one month ago
The Tampa group

Hillsborough to regulate massage parlors in crackdown on prostitution

TAMPA – Hillsborough County has followed the city of Tampa in cracking down on illicit services like prostitution by moving to regulate massage parlors and bathhouses.County commissioners voted unanimously Wednesday to adopt a...
Updated one month ago