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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.

Email: druth@tampabay.com

  1. Ruth: Uniting Tampa Bay, one former mayor at a time


    Residents of St. Petersburg draw near and pay heed. Soon, very soon, a man from the east will descend into your midst, a man of indeterminate hair color, a man of even more indeterminate age, a man who has never met a woman he could not resist complimenting.

    And what the normally staid St. Petersburg residents might regard as overly enthusiastic flesh-pressing is simply this man's unique Tampa way of saying, "Hello." Do not be alarmed. But you have been advised....

    Former Tampa Mayor Dick Greco and his wife, Linda, are relocating to a swanky condominium in downtown St. Petersburg.
  2. Dan Ruth: Backyard gun ranges come before common sense


    A few days ago, Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch proposed drafting a county ordinance that would ban people from building backyard gun ranges.

    Insert a "Duh!" anywhere you want here.

    The reason for Welch's effort is because recently those Founding Grovelers in the Florida House of Lemmings killed legislation that would prohibit residential gun ranges. Go ahead, reread that last sentence as often as you want. It still won't make any sense....

  3. Ruth: Remaking Clinton, one burrito bowl at a time


    Subject: Hillary Clinton wants to be president of the United States.

    Message: After nearly 25 years on the national political stage, she has discovered she cares deeply about the much-beleaguered American middle class.

    Reaction: Better late than never.

    To underscore her bourgeoisie bona fides, the Evita of Chappaqua embarked on a populist road trip from New York to Iowa, even stopping for some fast food at a Chipotle restaurant near Toledo to demonstrate she can rub great unwashed elbows with the best of ambitious politicians. Nothing says "Hail to the Chief" more than a burrito bowl....

  4. Ruth: Rubio's case of Potomac fever


    Much could happen before U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio's expected announcement that he will run for president.

    It is entirely possible young master Rubio will awaken Monday and mutter to himself, "Ohmygawd, what was I thinking?" And thus he will decide to seek a second term in the Senate.

    Backing away from a presidential campaign likely will prove to be a freshman beanie too far for Rubio, who has had visions of Air Force One dancing in his head since he went to Washington. Can you blame him? After all, for more than four years the senator has been surrounded by fawning minions, advisers and consultants telling him he is the sabal palm of presidential timber....

  5. Ruth: Pier A tale of two cities


    It was toward the end of a meeting with the Tampa Bay Times editorial board a few days before he was sworn in for a second term when Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn was asked an idle question.

    Just for the fun of it, if he were mayor of St. Petersburg, how would Buckhorn have handled the fractious debate over what to do about the Pier, the city's answer to Fred Sanford's junk-strewn front yard?...

  6. Ruth: Money talks and the poor lose in Tallahassee


    Moneyed-up politicians say the darndest things. Aren't they adorable?

    This was a rarer event in the best little whorehouse in Tallahassee than one of the state's rent-a-statesmen returning a campaign contribution. Someone committed an act of candor. Was that a pig flying?

    But there was the Florida Senate's Tom Lee, R-Check? For Me? Oh You Shouldn't Have, openly acknowledging the Legislature has become essentially one big Ye Mystic Krewe of Tammany Hall....

  7. Ruth: Selling off the presidency (w/video)


    From time to time, especially after being exposed to a Hillary Clinton stemwinder that sounds like Roseanne Barr singing the national anthem, some Democratic Party liberals yearn for the more melodic Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren to please, please, please enter the presidential campaign.

    And while the Republican field of possible presidential candidates is beginning to look like Animal House's toga party, former Gov. Jeb Bush has emerged as the leading Bluto Blutarsky of fundraising bacchanalia....

  8. Ruth: The risks of naming neighborhoods historic


    There is a certain cachet in knowing one's neighborhood is considered a "historic" place. It conjures up images of George Washington having slept down the street, or Babe Ruth going on a bender around the corner, or a paparazzi sighting of Justin Bieber next door. History can be in the eye of the beholder.

    At the moment, only three of St. Petersburg's neighborhoods are considered "historic" sites — Roser Park, Lang's Bungalow Court and Granada Terrace. Just three....

  9. Ruth: St. Petersburg City Council throws spitballs at Rays deal


    Talk about a brush-back pitch. This was almost as if Sal Maglie, Bob Gibson, Don Drysdale, Greg Maddux and Early Wynn had found themselves sitting on the St. Petersburg City Council.

    You're right. Bad analogy perhaps. Those great chin-music ballplayers never would have been associated with something so bush league as the pouting perpetrated by St. Petersburg City Council members Jim Kennedy, Wengay Newton, Bill Dudley, Amy Foster and Steve Kornell, who tossed a big, dripping spitball toward Mayor Rick Kriseman's head....

  10. Ruth: The high price of a setup in defending Mr. Sponge


    You could make a pretty good case that there are more gags about lawyers than almost any other profession. Try this experiment. Here's the punch line; you fill in the joke: Stephen Diaco, Robert Adams and Adam Filthaut. Cue the laugh track. See how easy that was?

    Don't you suspect Diaco has had a Matlock moment as he stands on the brink of losing his reputation, his career, his livelihood, his law firm — everything — all in the misguided service of representing professional slack-jawed radio disc jockey Bubba the Love Sponge? ...

  11. Dan Ruth: The Pier's time has passed: Move on


    This what happens when well-intentioned good faith collides headlong into St. Petersburg's Snell Isle/Old Northeast rump government.

    For 12 agonizing hours, five city residents appointed by Mayor Rick Kriseman and led by Mike Connors, the city's public works administrator who chairs the Pier Selection Committee, attempted to perform an act of civic duty by ranking the finalists to replace the pier monstrosity, which by any reasonable interpretation looms over the waterfront as a crime against architecture....

  12. Ruth: Cruz's presidential ego trip


    Well, it's official. The Elmer Gantry of the Republican Party has announced he is willing to walk away from his 20-minute legislative career in the U.S. Senate to pursue the presidency.

    What would we call the nascent presidential campaign of Ted Cruz, R-The Yellow Poseur of Texas, who barely figured out where the Senate men's room was located before coveting the White House? The hustings equivalent of speed dating?...

  13. Ruth: Legislators ignore campus concerns about guns


    It's an image that pretty much sums up the way business is done in the Florida Legislature, where a picture is worth a thousand shrugs.

    To no one's surprise, last week the Senate Higher Education Committee cavalierly approved a measure to permit the carrying of concealed weapons on the state's public university campuses. As back-room deals go, this fix was more preordained than the Black Sox scandal....

    Campus police department representatives opposed the gun bill, but their opinions didn’t matter.
  14. Ruth: Competition makes reviving Pier aquarium questionable


    Perhaps the biggest mystery surrounding the long-shuttered Secrets of the Sea Aquarium is why we need yet another fishy attraction in the Tampa Bay area.

    But there it is, once more arising from the depths of obscurity to perhaps reopen in October at the city of St. Petersburg's former 9,000-square-foot cruise terminal at 250 Eighth Ave. SE.

    For years, the modest little aquarium was housed within the dreary inverted pyramid, representing about the only sign of life at the Pier. But all that changed in 2013 when the building was closed, coming about as close to an ancient ruin as you are going to find in the city. At the time whatever aquatic life was left at the Pier aquarium was shipped off to other venues like the University of South Florida St. Petersburg University Student Center or local saloons that happen to feature fish tanks....

  15. Ruth: Toledo campaign sets low standard


    It might be worth taking a brief pause here to remind everyone this is not some high-stakes cutthroat race to the White House, or a fight to assume the Florida Governor's Mansion, or even to take a seat in the U.S. Senate or House.

    This is simply a contest to become a member representing District 6 on the Tampa City Council. And yet the face-off between Jackie Toledo and Guido Maniscalco has become a sort of Mayberry's answer to All The King's Men meets Primary Colors....