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Daniel Ruth, Times Columnist

Daniel Ruth

Daniel Ruth has been scribbling away for four decades as a reporter, film critic, television critic and columnist for the Tampa Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Tampa Bay Times. He also has worked as a radio talk show host as well as an adjunct professor for the University of South Florida, the University of Tampa and Columbia College in Chicago. Daniel is a Peter Lisagor Award recipient for his columns in Chicago and has been honored by the Pinellas County Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union with the Irene Miller Vigilance In Journalism Award.


  1. Ruth: Hunting bears for no reason


    Somehow it is fitting that one of the leading voices in support of declaring open season on bears is Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission chairman Richard Corbett, who happens to be a shopping mall developer.

    Of course Corbett wants to cull the bear numbers. These critters are more than a nuisance. They are competitors wasting everybody's time, loitering on land that might otherwise serve a much more useful purpose in being paved over....

  2. Ruth: Confederate group flies the flag of stupidity


    It always has been a supreme irony that the First Amendment free speech protections that allow the flying of a ridiculously massive Confederate flag over the intersection of I-75 and I-4 upon approaching Tampa benefits its sponsor, the Sons of Confederate Veterans, whose seditious forbearers attacked the United States.

    What do you think the chances are if the Confederacy had prevailed in the Civil War, the flying of the American flag would be denied anywhere south of the Mason-Dixon Line today?...

  3. Daniel Ruth: Courtney Campbell Trail a boon for those who like to sweat


    Oh happy day. Or whatever.

    Earlier this week, Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos formally unveiled the completed section of the Courtney Campbell Causeway Trail. And thus sweat aficionados are now able to cycle, jog or skate across nearly 10 miles of pathway running parallel to the causeway across upper Tampa Bay, linking Pinellas and Hillsborough counties.

    Great joy ensued, especially if you happen to get excited about this sort of stuff....

  4. Ruth: It's raining rats, but please stay calm


    Ahem, if you are a patient at the James A. Haley VA Medical Center in Tampa and you see rat-atouille on the menu, play it safe and head for the vending machine.

    For all the problems the Veterans Administration has confronted recently with embarrassing claims of excessive wait times for service and altered paperwork, now this: Rats falling from the sky. Oh dear. If you're looking for some good news, at least the vermin had the common decency to be dead....

    Workers at the James A. Haley VA Medical Center in Tampa reported at least three dead rats falling from the kitchen ceiling during repair work.
  5. Ruth: Remembering my father


    Trying to understand my father's life is like opening up a book in the middle. It's a pretty good story, although I don't know very much about how it began. And it's a tale that ends all too tragically soon.

    This is both the blessing and curse of Father's Day when the honored patriarch has been absent so long.

    I knew my father for only 27 years. Yet his presence has continued to haunt my life for the nearly four decades since his death in 1977 at age 53. His influence has never ebbed, nor have my own efforts to seek his approval. The grave can be a very demanding taskmaster....

    John Ruth with his wife, Ruth, in 1945. His life is a tale that ends all too tragically soon.
  6. Ruth: Recycling controversy is red flag for Kriseman


    To paraphrase Roy Scheider's memorable line from Jaws — "Uh, Mayor Rick Kriseman? I think you're gonna need a smaller truck."

    Like all mayors, no doubt Kriseman has spent his time in office wrestling with big issues, big questions. How should St. Petersburg's beloved waterfront be reimagined? How to resolve the fractious pier debate? What to do about Tropicana Field and the Tampa Bay Rays? ...

  7. Ruth: Time for action, not more talk, on transit


    Almost from the first day I set foot in Tampa in 1973, there was talk about developing a mass transit system. For more than 40 years, city planners, county planners, regional planners, university planners and a dense alphabet soup of planning agencies have issued the results of master plans, studies, focus groups, research papers and all manner of futuristic proposals supporting the notion of some day, eventually, maybe creating some kind of light rail system throughout Tampa....

  8. Ruth: From peaceful parks to killing fields


    Is orange about to become the new fashion trend de rigueur for Florida's state parks?

    That's the color hunters wear to alert other shotgun-toting Elmer Fudds in the woods that they are not to be confused with a beaver in the cross-hairs.

    Taking the concept of stupid to an entirely new level of, well, stupid, Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Jon Steverson is considering opening up state parks to hunters, as if there already isn't more than ample acreage elsewhere to knock off unsuspecting critters for the dining and dancing pleasure of the Rambo class....

  9. Ruth: Jeb Bush needs reason for seeking presidency besides his name


    Monday is the big day when Jeb Bush — that scamp — is expected to stop teasing everyone and reveal (finally!) what his presidential plans are for 2016.

    What will he do? What will he do? Pins and needles.

    Sure, the former Florida governor has been raising gobs of money for his campaign — er, make that his highfalutin'-sounding super-duper political action committee, Right to Rise, which ought to be more properly called Right to Cast Goo-Goo Eyes Toward Jeb....

    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is expected to announce his presidential plans Monday.
  10. Ruth column: Schools face leadership of a newer sort


    It was tempting at first blush to think newly minted Hillsborough school superintendent Jeff Eakins had decided to go all Dalai Lama on everyone when he named Alberto Vazquez-Matos to become his chief of staff.

    After all, in coming into his new job, Vazquez-Matos told the Tampa Bay Times' Marlene Sokol that he intends to bring a belief in the management concept of "servant leadership."...

  11. Daniel Ruth: Neighbor's geese cause flap in Pinellas


    Can't we all (HONK!), just (HONK!) get along (HONK!)?

    Apparently not, as feuding residents in East Lake can attest. And by the way, watch your step. Things are getting messy on East Lake Drive.

    Neighborhood disputes are nothing new — the homeowner who likes to throw wild and crazy parties, the family that has turned their front yard into a toxic waste dump, the grump who is constantly giving the stink eye to children at play....

    Some of James and Linda Parishes geese bathe, feed and rest on a fenced piece of land on the Parishes property on East Lake Drive. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]

  12. Ruth: The House speaker's hypocrisy on health care


    From time to time I arrive home to discover Gracie the Goldendoodle has had her way with the garbage. It's not pretty, and yet the hound will look at me with those baleful eyes that shamelessly suggest, "Garbage? What garbage? I didn't create that mess. It must have been the cat, even though there is no feline anywhere in the house."

    And that is why I'm thinking of renaming her … Steve Crisafulli....

    House Speaker Steve Crisafulli’s bottom line: If you are poor in Florida, even if you are working at a job at poverty-level wages and get sick, we don’t care.
  13. Ruth: At least Tampa isn't as cold as Chicago


    When sports teams battle for a championship, it is a well-worn journalistic shtick for scribblers to toss insults in the general direction of the opposing city.

    This tradition generally occurs when writers have too much time on their hands, which appears to be the case of Rex Huppke of the Chicago Tribune. Mr. Huppke penned a puckish diatribe intending to insult, lambaste and otherwise belittle Tampa and the entire state of Florida merely because our hockey team, the Tampa Bay Lightning, is facing off against the Chicago Blackhawks for the Stanley Cup....

    Lord Stanley’s Cup is right at home in wacky Florida. Here, Nolan Pratt raises it at sunset in the Gulf of Mexico at Clearwater Beach after the Lightning’s championship victory in 2004.
  14. Ruth: Posturing St. Petersburg council members blind to economic opportunity at Trop


    How to put this as gently and humanely as possible so as not to offend the very tender sensibilities of St. Petersburg City Council members Wengay Newton, Jim Kennedy, Bill Dudley and Steve Kornell.

    Will you people please wake up?

    Too subtle?

    Because this arithmetic-challenged quartet of chaps can't seem to be able to count, they have put at risk the economic future of the city. Not one of them seems to grasp that one way or the other, the Tampa Bay Rays eventually will leave downtown St. Petersburg for a more profitable location....

  15. Ruth: No wonder the youngsters are all about Uber


    First, a small confession. Last weekend, the Marigold of Macy's and I used Uber for a night on the town in Tampa. And for all those hard-working licensed cabbies trying to make a living in the hardscrabble, competitive and regulated livery business, yes, I did feel a bit guilty about using the rogue, controversial ride-sharing service.

    But I got over it.

    We lost our Uber virginity recently while visiting Chicago to attend a wedding. The staff at the Kinzie Hotel informed us it would be a lot less expensive to use Uber than to hail a cab to get us to the South Side Serbian church in Bridgeport and then to the reception about 8 miles away. So we officially became Uberites....

    If taxicab companies don’t confront the realities of the marketplace, they may be headed for oblivion.