John Romano, Times Columnist

John Romano

Records have been destroyed and witnesses have gone missing, but Tampa Bay Times metro columnist John Romano would have you believe he was a product of the Pinellas County school system and the University of South Florida. He worked at the Evening Independent and the Palm Beach Post before being hired in the Times' sports department in 1985. Showing a remarkable lack of staying power, he has worked on beats covering USF, the University of Florida, Orlando Magic, Buccaneers and Rays before succeeding Hubert Mizell as a columnist in 2001. He became the metro columnist in 2012.

Email: romano@tampabay.com

Twitter: @Romano_TBTimes

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  1. Romano: Don't be fooled by anti-Amendment 2 hysteria

    Elections

    If you trust the polls, medical marijuana in Florida is losing. Or, to put it another way, hysteria is winning.

    Turns out, it's a pretty simple equation. The more outlandish the accusations get for opponents of Amendment 2, the less likely common sense will prevail Nov. 4.

    Please, don't misunderstand me. There are plenty of commonsense reasons to oppose the amendment. Perhaps enough reasons to convince you to vote no....

  2. Sophia the shepherd gives Iraq vet a chance at a normal life

    Human Interest

    He understood danger. Knew its responsibilities and rhythms. Live long enough beside it, and danger becomes routine in a soldier's world.

    It was the mundane that spooked Ron Flaville. He might panic if a Walmart aisle got too crowded. Or he could freak out in a restaurant with too many windows.

    Therapy didn't help. Booze and meds were not the answer. Medically retired from the Army, Flaville found it easier to simply stay locked in the house. This was his universe before salvation arrived with its wagging tail....

    Mary Peter with her dog Shasta. Partners for Patriots, a nonprofit organization in Brooksville, provides training, and sometimes dogs, for veterans suffering from PTSD.
  3. Romano: Debate between Scott and Crist just a lot of unanswered questions

    Elections

    Scenes from third grade, circa 1961:

    Little Rick Scott listens thoughtfully to the teacher's question before answering in a soft, yet sincere, voice.

    "If a boy delivers 150 newspapers in his housing project each day, seven days a week, at 1 cent per paper,'' he says, "he'll be earning more than $40 a month.''

    "That's wonderful,'' the teacher replies, "but the question was how many planets are in the solar system.''...

    Charlie Crist speaks during a televised debate on Oct. 10.
  4. Romano: A dog bite dispute in Pasco County gets 'Judge Judy' justice

    Human Interest

    This is a story of justice disguised as entertainment. Or maybe entertainment disguised as justice. Either way, it's about a woman bit in the face by a neighbor's dog.

    It starts routinely enough on an April day in a nondescript neighborhood in New Port Richey, where Melody Kelly was waiting outside for her husband, along with her Shih Tzu named Molly.

    From two doors down, a neighbor's dog came charging toward them. Fearing for her own dog, Kelly, 50, said she picked Molly up as the other dog began circling them....

    Photo of Melody Kelly, 50, of New Port Richey at a hospital after being bitten by a neighbor's pit bull in April.
  5. Romano: The curious case of Pam Bondi vs. Common Sense

    Politics

    IN THE PEOPLE'S COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION, STATE OF FLORIDA.

    COMMON SENSE,

    Appellant,

    V.

    PAM BONDI,

    Appellee.

    Appellant, Common Sense, claims to have been ignored by Attorney General Pam Bondi when she chose to challenge court rulings that had overturned the state's ban on same-sex marriages. Common Sense raises numerous issues on appeal, including constitutional freedoms, growing public acceptance and Bondi's own selective enforcement of Florida's laws....

    Common sense claims to have been ignored by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi when she chose to challenge court rulings that had overturned the state’s ban on same-sex marriages, John Romano writes.
  6. Romano: A little more compassion, a little less politics needed in Pasco immigration debate

    Local Government

    Such a thankless job, these poor members of the Pasco Planning Commission have.

    Paperwork and hearings. Business and residential concerns. Zoning out the wazoo.

    And now, darn it all, they have to solve America's immigration problem.

    In case you haven't heard, that appears to be the opinion of a handful of residents who have descended on the Planning Commission like a swarm of jingoistic locusts....

  7. Romano: Lawmakers find their voice on Duke Energy — right before election

    Energy

    My, my, my.

    Such outrage. Such indignation. Such a load of bull.

    The past few weeks have brought a parade of elected officials stumbling over one another for a chance to snipe and sneer at one of the local power companies.

    And, make no mistake, their whining had an impact.

    With a growing crew of politicians backing them for the first time since the discovery of the kilowatt, the invertebrates on the Public Service Commission actually stood up for consumers on Thursday and ordered Duke Energy to provide a $54 million refund....

  8. Romano: A bus ride shows the risks and possibilities of Greenlight Pinellas

    Elections

    So, the skeptic and the businessman hop on a bus bound for nowhere special.

    The businessman (St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce chief Chris Steinocher) has been asked to convince the skeptic (me) of the virtues of the Greenlight Pinellas referendum.

    We begin at midday on a half-filled bus idling near Williams Park in St. Petersburg. The driver has yet to close the doors, and Steinocher is already in high gear....

  9. Romano: Extreme rhetoric in medical marijuana debate obscures real people affected

    Elections

    He arrived nonchalantly late, the way any good rock star should.

    Famed attorney John Morgan sized up the other Amendment 2 panelists on the high school stage in Lakeland, and then quickly made his way to greet Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.

    The crowd waved signs, their voices thundered, and the evening had the emotional charge of a pep rally instead of a medical marijuana forum.

    Meanwhile, Cathy Jordan sat in a wheelchair near her husband, Bob, in the first row. The frivolity of the crowd was not lost on either of them....

  10. After cancer isolates her from the world, teen to get a taste of freedom

    Life

    The bruised face of a teenage girl stares into the camera. This is what passes for a selfie in the life of a quarantined cancer patient with a hospital room for a last known address.

    Ashley Krueger was supposed to don a surgical mask and head home that very day. No stops in between; just her North Port home. Such is life for a 19-year-old confined to bedrooms, hospital rooms, and examining rooms for what seems like an eternity....

    Courtesy of the Krueger family.
  11. After cancer isolates her from the world, teen to get a taste of freedom

    Human Interest

    The bruised face of a teenage girl stares into the camera. This is what passes for a selfie in the life of a quarantined cancer patient with a hospital room for a last known address.

    Ashley Krueger was supposed to don a surgical mask and head home that very day. No stops in between; just her North Port home. Such is life for a 19-year-old confined to bedrooms, hospital rooms, and examining rooms for what seems like an eternity....

    Ashley Krueger and her parents are planning a journey to New York to see The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway.
  12. Largo city commissioner's attitude is far more offensive than the dirty jokes on his iPad

    Local Government

    So, it's a small scene in a grander Seinfeld episode.

    Jerry, it seems, is convinced that his dentist has converted to Judaism simply so he can tell Jewish jokes with impunity. Exasperated, Jerry finds a priest to share his suspicions.

    "And this offends you as a Jewish person?" the priest asks.

    "No, it offends me as a comedian," Jerry replies.

    Which brings me to the Largo City Commission....

    Largo City Commissioner Curtis Holmes has hired an attorney.
  13. Romano: Does the Florida in Rick Scott's TV ads have any vacancies?

    Politics

    The time has come for me to move on.

    I have discovered a new and spectacular locale that defies belief. It is a place where the economy is bustling, and the problems are inconsequential.

    People are always smiling, the environment is pristine and no one seems to care about, or need, health insurance of any type.

    No doubt about it, I want to live in Rick Scott's commercials.

    Seriously, it looks like everyone has a job in Commercial Florida. And they don't seem to mind if the job is only part-time or that they are being paid minimum wage....

  14. Romano: Florida's write-in loophole shows disdain for voters

    Elections

    For 14 years, you have been the victim of a scam.

    Maybe not directly, and maybe not persistently, but there is little doubt you have been affected. What's worse is this scam is an open secret and has thrived with the tacit approval of lawmakers who sometimes benefit from it.

    Its basic premise?

    To prevent roughly half of the electorate in any given district from being able to vote in specific races....

  15. Romano: At Al Lang, not quite baseball, not quite soccer

    Local Government

    Let's be clear on a couple of points:

    No. 1, Bill Edwards is absolutely right.

    It's time for St. Petersburg to stop thinking of Al Lang Field as a baseball stadium.

    The place has not been the permanent home of a minor-league team since the Class A St. Petersburg Devil Rays were sold off in 2000. And it has not had a regular spring training tenant since the Rays moved to Port Charlotte in 2009....

    Once firm in the opinion that baseball should always have a place at Al Lang Stadium on  St. Petersburg's waterfront, city officials now agree with the Tampa Bay Rowdies owner that soccer should reign supreme at the former spring training mecca. [stpete.org]