Sunday, November 18, 2018


Christopher O'Donnell, Times Staff Writer

Christopher O'Donnell, Times Staff Writer

I’m a political junkie and I love literature so this job fits like a glove. But journalism wasn’t my first career. I was born and grew up in England and programmed computers for a living. I switched to reporting when I moved to Florida in 2001. I got my first break at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune after earning a journalism degree from the University of South Florida. I joined the Tampa Bay Times in 2016 after a three-year stint at the Tampa Tribune, where I covered city halls on both sides of Tampa Bay. When I’m not shouting at cable news, I love watching real football from England (alright, soccer) and riding my road bike on trails.

DCF: No mistakes in case of 4-year-old girl whose mother drowned her

A review of the child protective investigation of the mother of Je'Hyrah Daniels says there was no evidence to show the girl was at risk of harm before her death.
Published: 11/16/18
Former state lawmaker Arthenia Joyner is Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn's pick for a citizens committee to oversee spending of the new transportation sales tax. [Tampa Bay Times]

Buckhorn names Arthenia Joyner to transit committee

The former Democratic state senator is the first person named to the 13-member transit surtax oversight committee.
Published: 11/15/18
A rendering of a new $892 million Rays ballpark planned for Ybor City. The team and elected officials have yet to agree a financing package for the stadium. The team faces a Dec. 31 deadline to give St. Peterburg notice of whether it plans to leave Tropicana Field ahead of the end of its 2027 lease.  [Populous Architects]

Time running out for officials to reach stadium deal with Rays

With elections in the rearview mirror, focus shifts to efforts to move the Tampa Bay Rays to Ybor City.
Published: 11/13/18
Updated: 11/14/18
Unidentified cyclists make their way along a portion of the Upper Tampa Bay Trail this summer in Tampa. [CHRIS URSO | Times]

Joggers, cyclists now wait to see where future of Upper Tampa Bay Trail leads

Hillsborough commissioners are not recommending a realignment of the Upper Tampa Bay Trail to make room for a 300-unit apartment block. But whether trail users can claim victory is unsure.
Published: 11/13/18
TAILYR IRVINE   |   TimesKim Overman checks the election results during the Kim Overman watch party for Hillsborough County Commission District 7 at C House on November 6, 2018 in Tampa.

Hillsborough now firmly blue

A growing urban and suburban population has shifted Hillsborough's politics, pundits say.
Published: 11/07/18
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti talks election results on 'Jimmy Kimmel Live!'  [Still from video]

Los Angeles mayor hails Hillsborough transit vote on ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’

Eric Garcetti tells the ABC-TV host that the citizen-driven, voter-approved, penny on dollar sales tax for transportation is one of the midterm election's most exciting results.
Published: 11/07/18
Members of All for Transportation celebrate at their campaign office in downtown Tampa as election results show voters approved a sales tax hike to pay for roads, buses and transit.

Hillsborough voters approve sales tax hikes for transportation, schools improvements

The 30-year transportation measure will add a penny on the dollar to the sales tax and raise about $276 million per year. Voters were equally enthusiastic about a 10-year, half-cent sales tax for Hillsborough County Schools.
Published: 11/07/18
Mariella Smith, 2018 candidate for Hillsborough County Commission, District 5

Hillsborough Commission District 5 election results: Mariella Smith unseats Victor Crist

Democrats now control a majority on the Hillsborough County Commission for the first time since 2004.
Published: 11/06/18
Updated: 11/07/18
Hillsborough County Commissioner Les Miller. [JAMES BORCHUCK  |  Times]

Democrats taking control of Hillsborough commission for first time since 2004

The most-watched races were for two countywide seats where Democrats Mariella Smith was on her way to oust Republican incumbent Victor Crist in District 5 and Kimberly Overman looked nearly certain to best Todd Marks in District 7.
Published: 11/06/18
Hillsborough County Commissioner Stacy White defeated Democrat Andrew Davis.

Hillsborough Commission District 4 election results: Stacy White re-elected

White, who was elected to the commission in 2014 after a four-year stint as a Hillsborough School Board member, was viewed as a strong favorite to retain the mostly rural and suburban seat.
Published: 11/06/18