Monday, August 20, 2018


Sue Carlton

Sue Carlton

Sue Carlton is a native Floridian from a longtime Southern family that her father always said consisted of thieves and cattle rustlers run out of Georgia. She grew up in Miami and joined the Tampa Bay Times in 1988. Over the years she has covered community news, politics, cops, government, and her all-time favorite, criminal courts. For nearly nine years she wrote about the kind of strange cases that only seem to happen here, about intriguing legal issues and courthouse politics. On that beat, she authored a lengthy narrative series on a trooper who killed his wife and co-authored a series on a suburban mother murdered by her teenage daughter and her friends. Sue was the deputy editor of the features section and was the Tampa city editor before she became a columnist in 2005. Three times a week, she writes about politics, outrages, observations, court cases of the day and whatever else comes up. She lives in Tampa with her husband and their very good dog. Phone: (813) 226-3376 or toll-free 1-800-333-7505, ext. 3376

When stand your ground and open carry laws pushed by the National Rifle Association were being debated, some law enforcement officers and prosecutors worried about potential fallout. A recent example is the controversial shooting of Markeis McGlockton by Michael Drejka outside a Clearwater convenience store. [screengrab from video provided by Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.]

Carlton: How guns changed everything in Florida (Or, why you should never hit your horn)

A lesson is becoming evident regarding guns and Florida:The rules are gone. There are officially no rules.The way the world once worked, you could righteously hit your horn because someone cut you off in traffic. You could ask a person...
Published: 08/11/18
Gov. Rick Scott\u2019s office came under fire for backing a ban on early voting on campuses.

Carlton: Sorry, Gov. Scott, but college students can early vote after all. Hey, USF, talking to you here...

Good news, at least for those of us who keep believing in that old-fashioned notion that voting should be open and accessible to everyone who’s qualified.Even if they’re, say, young voters. And even if certain politicians do not like the...
Published: 08/10/18
Tanja Vidovic, who won a lawsuit against the City of Tampa, speaks about the harassment she endured at 
Tampa Fire Rescue during a sexual harassment prevention  forum earlier this year. [GABRIELLA ANGOTTI-JONES   |   Times]

Carlton: The female firefighter who spoke up is in trouble again. Truth or retaliation?

In the latest smoldering situation at Tampa Fire Rescue — this one about a firefighter who won her lawsuit and her job back only to promptly find herself in hot water — isn’t timing an interesting thing?The back story: Three years ago, some...
Published: 08/08/18
Times files (2003)
The Channelside Hooters\u2019 lease is up at the end of January, but the CEO hopes to relocate close by.

Carlton: Has downtown Tampa outgrown tackiness, and Hooters, too?

Surely it’s a sign that downtown Tampa might be outgrowing its former funkiness:Hooters — the world famous "breastaurant" that calls its own self tacky — is losing its lease and leaving its prominent perch at the edge of the Channelside...
Updated one month ago
Pinellas County 
Sheriff Bob Gualtieri discuss the controversial

Carlton: On ‘stand your ground,’ blame the law, not the lawman

It’s hard to hear the sheriff’s logic when the outrage is so loud — and so understandable, given a law that says people can shoot first and ask questions later.The latest Florida "stand your ground" case to get national attention, caught on...
Updated one month ago

Carlton: Why jail deaths matter

There was plenty to raise eyebrows in the recent Tampa Bay Times investigation about people who die in the custody of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and its jails.Such as: How many?And: What happened?As the...
Updated one month ago
A jogger enjoys Clearwater Beach earlier this year. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]

Carlton: A lesson for the governor: Floridians are fierce about their beaches

Before we talk about Gov. Rick Scott and whether he did or did not privatize Florida beaches — spoiler alert: not really — I would like to say this for the record:Anyone lucky enough to own a house on the beach where the public has long...
Updated one month ago
A referendum that would put the question of adding a penny sales tax for transportation to the November ballot in Hillsborough County is close to getting enough signatures. Proponents say the goal is to provide money to reduce traffic jams like this one between the Clearwater Memorial Causeway Bridge and Clearwater Beach. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]

Carlton: A mad dash to improve transportation instead of staying stuck

Trying to fix transportation around here is like a recurring bad dream. You keep running, but you never catch up.
Updated one month ago
A rooster roams the porch of a business located in an historic home on N 19th Street in Ybor City. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]

Carlton: Victorious Ybor chickens make Tampa Tampa

A city can be judged on its progress by, say, having sleek rail that gets people where they need to go. Or by being home to big-name corporations or impressive sports venues. Or by the sheer number of tall buildings it boasts.At least for...
Updated one month ago

Carlton: Rotary Clubs support no-women-allowed dinner. What year is this?

Going "stag" sounds so old-fashioned — boys night out, sans the gals.But it’s not so outdated in certain Rotary clubs in the Brandon suburbs and still rural Plant City. There, the decades-old no-women-allowed tradition of the yearly stag Wild...
Updated one month ago