C.T. Bowen, Pasco/Hernando Editor of Editorials

C.T. Bowen

C.T. Bowen has been reporting and writing about Pasco County since moving to Florida from upstate New York in 1987. He joined the Times editorial board 11 years later and assumed responsibility for Hernando County editorial commentary in 2008. His wife, Mary Beth, is a public school teacher and they have two sons.

Phone: (727) 869-6239

Email: bowen@tampabay.com

  1. Column: Park trades isolation for downtown destination


    In a city that touts its long-ago ties to the motion picture industry, this may be one of the most notable entertainment/hospitality expansions in New Port Richey since silent-screen star Thomas Meighan saw a for-sale sign along the Pithlachascotee River.

    Or not. After all, it's just a simple lease agreement paying the city less than a thousand bucks a year. Maybe what we have here is a city finding a suitable use for a redevelopment project dating to the Clinton Administration....

  2. Enraged People Against Rape's story recounted to aid sexual assault victims


    The mementos are numerous. Boxes of scrap books. Newspaper clippings. Video tapes of television news broadcasts. Plaques on the walls. Letters. Lots of letters of appreciation, including a couple from a then-U.S. senator from Delaware named Joseph Biden Jr.

    They could fill a book. But, they didn't, they just helped document a story that did produce a book, E.P.A.R., by Judi Barrett, a 73-year-old retired hairdresser now living in Bayonet Point....

  3. Bowen: Persevering to be honored at the top of the class


    It is a long, impressive resume for Dr. Robin Conwit.

    She graduated magna cum laude from Colgate University and then medical school at the State University of New York at Buffalo. She completed a residency in neurology at George Washington University and a fellowship at the National Institute of Health. She's been a principal investigator on clinical trials for ALS studies (Lou Geherig's Disease), a faculty member at Johns Hopkins and currently is at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in Bethesda, Maryland....

  4. Bowen: Improving Pasco services doesn't dead end with roads


    I'm starting to understand Commissioner Jack Mariano's logic.

    Well, not entirely, but at least when it comes to the fees Pasco County charges to use its parks. It's $2 per vehicle to park at the county's beach and wilderness parks. Families also have to pay a surcharge if their kids are part of a youth sports league using county fields.

    Mariano complains about this annually. Usually multiple times. He has suggested a small property tax increase to offset the costs. Other commissioners have argued correctly that the parking charge is a user fee. It's still a bargain compared to surrounding counties' parks and they wonder why east Pasco residents should pay higher property taxes just so the beach parking lot 40 miles away can be a freebie....

  5. Bowen: Find a new ending to Pasco gas tax sequel


    The summer sequels are upon us. Gas Tax 2 is about to dominate the conversation for the next three months.

    Was it really just 12 months ago that we watched and listened to the thrilling debate, the political intrigue and the sort-of, maybe half-hearted acquiescence turn to thunderous opposition to appease the Republican Party loyalists? Mr. Smith Goes to Washington this was not.

    The main plot is repeated in 2014, but with a twist borrowing heavily from the Reagan administration. Here's how it goes:...

  6. Bowen: Hernando commission decisions undermine sales tax pitch


    Supporters of Hernando County's proposed Penny for Progress, a one-cent-on-the-dollar sales tax that could be shared among the school district, county government and city of Brooksville, frequently point to the successes in Pasco County as the political goal to emulate.

    Pasco voters approved the sales tax increase in 2004 to pay for schools, roads, public safety and environmental preservation. In 2012, the electorate blessed the tax for another decade with nearly 70 percent of the turnout supporting renewal. Even former objectors acknowledged the benefits of less-crowded schools, safer roads, preserved green space and new ambulances, patrol cars and heart defibrillators....

  7. Bowen: Spina's return no joking matter at city hall


    Let's get the punch lines out of the way. Steve Spina has more comebacks than Brett Favre. His new nickname is Boomerang. His swan song has more choruses than 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall.

    Rim shot.

    The list of jokes could be lengthy. Except the interim city manager for Zephyrhills has an even longer list. Just check the office whiteboard. Spina, 60, who assumed his former position May 1 after three years of teaching at the University of South Florida, recites the tasks that have his attention:...

  8. Bowen: County codes seek spiffy, but settle for shabby


    Pasco Commissioner Kathryn Starkey has a simple description for the devices known as air dancers or air puppets — those giant, air-filled, string-bean-like characters with flapping arms that businesses use to attract attention.

    "Very cheesy,'' Starkey said.

    Who can argue?

    Starkey was one the founders of Scenic Pasco, the citizens group that successfully lobbied the county to change its sign ordinance a dozen years ago to cut back on road side clutter....

  9. Column: Keeping people in the public-private partnership


    Hang around enough government meetings and the formerly foreign language becomes all too familiar. A latest catch phrase is P3; government speak for public-private partnership.

    That phenomenon has been around for quite a while — think of developers being required to build collector roads, not just the neighborhood streets serving their own home buyers. But this strategy grew much more common as cash-strapped governments looked for assistance in providing services. Pasco County is using this approach in developing planned tourism destinations at a baseball complex at Wiregrass Ranch and at a wake boarding operation at SunWest Park. In these instances, government owns the real estate, but private vendors will build and manage the operations....

  10. Column: Remaking Kass will take cash, commitment


    Heather Olejniczak can see trash and discarded furniture from the front of her Spring Hill Nutrition store on the east side of the Kass Circle business district. She wants a community cleanup.

    This isn't radical thinking. Ask the county to waive any tipping fees at the landfill. Get a trash collection company to donate a Dumpster and please haul it away afterward. Spread the word. Arm the locals with trash bags, gloves and bug spray and have at it some Saturday morning....

  11. Column: Hernando Beach challenge: Lure visitors, protect locals


    The sunset-colored sign beckons drivers from U.S. 19 and Spring Hill Drive to Hernando Beach and its promise of water-front living, fresh seafood and thousands of acres of unspoiled Florida. To get there, you just need to navigate the traffic leaving Walmart, ignore the aroma of a dying sewage treatment plant, and turn left at the entrance to the county-owned trash transfer station.

    The view gets better. Honest....

    Now that the dredging project is done, what does the future hold for Hernando Beach?
  12. C.T. Bowen: Try selling joint sales tax plan to jilted School Board


    Hernando County Administrator Len Sossamon has a dilemma — his own bosses.

    After county commissioners assumed the role of playground bully and kicked sand in the faces of their School Board counterparts, Sossamon wonders if they can all play nice together for the good of the community.

    Two words: Fat chance.

    Even Sossamon's allies concur.

    "Why would the school system want to do anything with the county at this point?'' asked Commissioner Diane Rowden....

  13. Column: Selling highway takes more than graphs and charts


    Pasco County might be its own worst enemy in trying to build public support for a proposed elevated toll road above the State Road 54/56 corridor crossing the county's southern tier.

    The March 10 town hall meeting disintegrated into catcalls, boos, finger-pointing, threats of political retribution and overall rancor topped by the occasional shout-out of a barnyard vernacular synonymous for skepticism....

  14. Column: Hernando's decaying democracy


    There is apparently a new rule for people petitioning Hernando County commissioners — you can be seen, but not heard.

    Last year, this new rule did in a drone research application at the county-owned airport; education impact fees; and most recently, fluoridating the public water supply. In each case, they were done in (but later reversed in the case of the airport research) by a close-minded commission majority unwilling to consider opposing viewpoints supported by economics, science or even a consultant's report compiled at the request of commissioners and partly paid for by the county....

  15. Editorial notebook: Foreman's critique misses self-reflection


    Hernando School Board member Matt Foreman believes county commissioners wasted nearly $40,000 in public money. He is right.

    He said commissioners gave the school district the runaround and failed to give due consideration to a consultant's report calling for a higher impact fee to build classrooms and upgrade school technology. He is right again.

    Foreman said commissioners did a disservice to the school board and the community at large by failing to explain the rationale behind their 4-1 vote to continue a moratorium on school impact fees. He called such action disingenuous. Who can disagree?...