Howard Troxler, Metro Columnist

Howard Troxler

Howard Troxler's columns appear Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday in the Times Metro and Tampa sections.

Born March 19, 1959, in Burlington, N.C., Troxler writes a mix of reporting, analysis, satire and commentary on state and local matters. He considers himself politically unpredictable with libertarian leanings ("I'm for gay marriage WITH gun ownership"), but readers routinely conclude he is hopelessly biased against whatever it is they happen to be for. He is married to a woman who has more sense than he does and lives in St. Petersburg with no children and three cats.

Email: htroxler@tampabay.com

  1. Fixing Florida will be fun to watch ... as a fan

    State Roundup

    My last column. Best wishes, y'all.

    There is no other Florida in the world.

    Now, right off the bat, you should know that sentence is stolen. Borrowed, at least.

    It comes from Marjory Stoneman Douglas' 1947 book about the Everglades, River of Grass.

    "There are no other Everglades in the world," she began. It's one of the most famous sentences ever written about our state....

  2. Don't read this; it's no good anyway

    News

    Man, this is a lousy newspaper, ain't it?

    I know so because people tell me every day.

    For starters there is the liberal thing. The entire enterprise that is the St. Petersburg Times exists to promote the Socialist Collectivist Agenda, to cover up the truth about Obama (and Clinton before him), to brainwash the feeble-minded, and to convince everybody not only to vote Democrat like morons, but to throw their paychecks into a big pot each week, so that the money can be showered upon the lazy and undeserving....

  3. 'I'm too busy' is not an option

    State Roundup

    My father, who died in 2008, was a welder. He came home from working like a dog all day, washed off the sparks and the grime — and sat down to read the newspaper, which in those days came out in the afternoon.

    He had a good idea of what the president and Congress were doing. You should have heard him talking about the Democrats and the unions.

    He read the editorial page. He yelled at the columnists, except the rare ones he liked. "That one has some sense," he would growl, shaking the newspaper. ...

  4. How to fix money in Florida politics

    State Roundup

    There's an old joke that members of the Florida Legislature should be labeled like NASCAR drivers to show who is paying for them.

    And you know what? In the end, I think something like that is the right idea.

    We probably can't make them wear labels directly on their clothes. But maybe we can come close.

    The modern problem in Florida is that traditional "campaign contributions," given directly to a candidate under strict limits, are less and less important....

  5. Howard's end: A look back through columnist Howard Troxler's career

    Perspective

    Howard Troxler's first column appeared in the Times on May 8, 1991. His last one will run in a few days. I'm proud to have known Howard for 20 years and marveled as he distilled a complicated issue to its essence in 550 words time after time after time. He doesn't just assert. He persuades. He never called people names, but he was happy to name names and call people out when they deserved it. He likes democracy and common sense. He doesn't like bullies or blowhards. Here is an excerpt from an early essay and, on Page 4P, more samples of his career's worth of columns. You'll see what I mean. ...

  6. Florida cracks down on everybody (except Decent People)

    State Roundup

    And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

    — Matthew 7:3

    Public employees, as we all know, are parasites who should be punished. This is why we have not given them a general salary increase in several years.

    This year, besides effectively cutting their pay further by requiring a pension contribution, Gov. Rick Scott also has ordered state employees to undergo drug testing — no matter whether there is any reason to suspect drug use, nor whether they are in a job where it actually makes sense....

  7. 'Fair districts' for Florida is only a beginning

    State Roundup

    Let's talk about fair voting districts for Florida.

    There are 4.6 million registered Democrats in Florida, 4 million registered Republicans, and 2.6 million voters registered as something else.

    And yet, when you divide Florida into district elections, Republicans dominate utterly.

    Republicans hold 19 of 25 seats in Congress and two-thirds of the seats in both houses of our Legislature....

  8. Government secrecy in Florida is out of hand

    State Roundup

    We have a simple and important principle in Florida:

    What the government does is the public's business.

    Put another way, the taxpayers of Florida have the right to know what their government is doing.

    In our state Constitution, we require our government to operate in the "sunshine," to hold meetings and make decisions in public.

    In our state law, we declare that the records of the government are open to public inspection....

  9. Florida unwisely repeals its growth laws

    State Roundup

    I do not think enough Floridians realize what this governor and this Legislature have done — are doing — to our state.

    Let me tell you, brothers and sisters:

    It's bad.

    It's awful. It is just about the end of Florida as we know it, and a return to bad old days that we ought to have put behind us forever.

    From the end of World War II until the mid to late 1970s, Florida sold itself on the cheap to anybody with a dollar and a shovel....

  10. Yeah, but they still get to keep the 'Taj Mahal'

    State Roundup

    So now there are formal misconduct charges against Paul M. Hawkes, the main judge in the "Taj Mahal" courthouse scandal in Tallahassee.

    This is partly satisfying, but mostly unsatisfying.

    Partly satisfying, because unless everybody else in the world is lying, he deserves it.

    Hawkes, who was put on the 1st District Court of Appeal by then-Gov. Jeb Bush, snookered the taxpayers out of a $50 million palace....

  11. Florida cracks down on democracy

    State Roundup

    At first I thought this crackdown on democracy in Florida, signed Thursday by Gov. Rick Scott, was mostly about Republicans sticking it to Democrats.

    But after being flooded with some of the angriest e-mail ever, I see it's about more than that.

    It's also about the certainty that Bad People (drug addicts, drunks, terrorists, welfare queens, illegal immigrants and, of course, liberals) have hijacked our democracy and they Must Be Stopped....

  12. Governor, veto this awful voting bill

    State Roundup

    I'm not going to sign a bill that I believe discourages people from voting.

    — Gov. Rick Scott

    Really, governor?

    Well, sir! Here is exactly what will happen to a lot of Floridians if you do sign House Bill 1355.

    They will go to vote on the next Election Day.

    And they will be stopped.

    They will be blocked from casting a regular ballot. They will be told there is a problem. They will be diverted into the "provisional ballot" line. They will be told that there has to be a separate proceeding to decide whether their vote will even count....

  13. Field notes on Harry, a dog

    Human Interest

    Readers often have asked which column was my favorite. Here's a contender from May 8, 2000.

    I still miss him.

    FIELD NOTES ON

    HARRY THE DOG

    1. Introduction

    2. Physical description

    3. General attributes

    4. Behavior toward dogs

    5. Behavior toward cats

    1. Introduction. The dog Harry was acquired 3/25/00 in the manner by which cat owners often come into dogship, which is to say, nuptially. It was a package deal. My intent now is to provide useful and empirical description of this new species....

  14. If there were online comments on the Declaration of Independence

    State Roundup

    And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

    End of the Declaration of Independence. Click here to view comments, add yours.

    (Click.)

    GEORGE3: This is the most idiotic piece of cr*p I ever read. Maybe next time they should try getting somebody who can actually write....

  15. The new and improved FSU course catalog, brought to you by Charles G. Koch

    State Roundup

    FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY

    "Pecunia veritas est"*

    2011 COURSE CATALOG

    ECON 201: FREE MARKET THEORY. Sponsored and faculty approved by: Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation. Evils of government regulation; wisdom of tax cuts for the rich; rehabilitation of trickle-down theory. 3 credit hours.

    POLI SCI 400: ADVANCED SOROS. Sponsored and faculty approved by: Soros Fund Management. Topics include advancement of international socialist conspiracy; legalization of drugs. 3 credit hours....