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. Charlie Crist's stance on candidate debates is "grand hypocrisy'

    Gubernatorial

    Charlie Crist's coronation as the top Democrat in the state is fast approaching.

    The assumption is he will breeze through the primary in another three weeks, and officially become the liberal voter's answer to Gov. Rick Scott in November.

    His ascension to the top of his new party's ticket has seemed a fait accompli for so long, it's easy to forget that he has done very little to actually earn it....

  2. Big sugar bagged some big ones w secret Texas hunting trips

    Blog

    In some quiet town in southeast Texas, business must be looking up.

    Trophies from King Ranch, a nearby hunter's paradise, are presumably arriving daily at all the best taxidermy shops. And these are not your run-of-the-mill mounts.

    We're talking exotic game. Prized targets.

    We're talking about the coveted House Speaker of Florida. A preening Agricultural Commissioner. Even the elusive Florida Governor, a breed more skittish than most....

  3. Romano: Big Sugar bagged big names with secret King Ranch hunting trips

    Politics

    In some quiet town in southeast Texas, business must be looking up.

    Trophies from King Ranch, a nearby hunter's paradise, are presumably arriving daily at all the best taxidermy shops. And these are not your run-of-the-mill mounts.

    We're talking exotic game. Prized targets.

    We're talking about the coveted House Speaker of Florida. A preening Agricultural Commissioner. Even the elusive Florida Governor, a breed more skittish than most....

  4. Romano: Dunedin Elementary case shows problem with Florida school grades

    News

    One small problem with school grades:

    They're a sham.

    All of the money, all of the time, all of the kvetching surrounding Jeb Bush's school grading scheme is utterly worthless because the proper context is rarely considered.

    What do I mean by that?

    The single most predictive factor in a school's grade is the poverty level of the student body. You tell me how many students are eligible for the free/reduced lunch program, and I can usually tell you a school's grade....

  5. Romano: Kriseman took a risk on Holloway — but it was a smart one

    Local Government

    Mock the process, if you are so inclined.

    After all, it took the mayor six months and $15,000 in headhunter fees to discover his idea of a perfect police chief was a few miles up the road.

    And contemplate sinister plots, if you must.

    For there have been enough division, rancor and politicking surrounding the job of St. Petersburg's police chief to give conspiracy theories a legit launching point....

    St. Petersburg's new chief, Tony Holloway, has a proven track record in two cities, the unique perspective of a lifelong neighbor, and none of the inevitable baggage that comes from choosing one internal candidate over another. [JIM DAMASKE | Times]
  6. Romano: Corporations have hijacked education in Florida

    K12

    We don't trust our teachers.

    No way. The education of children cannot be handed to the people who spend the most time with them in the classroom.

    We don't trust our school administrators.

    Nope, they're as unreliable as the teachers. And that goes for superintendents and School Board officials, too.

    When it comes to the important stuff — the promotion of students, the job evaluations of educators, the funding of schools — we place all of our trust somewhere else....

  7. Romano: Gov. Rick Scott silent on jobs Obamacare would provide

    Gubernatorial

    Once there was a businessman who wanted to be governor.

    He talked about a lot of things on the campaign trail, but there were two issues that came up with rigid regularity.

    One was health care.

    The other was jobs.

    Rick Scott, as a candidate, liked to link the two together. The Affordable Care Act, he insisted, was a horrendous idea that would kill jobs. If you listened to Scott long enough, you got the feeling that Obamacare would lead to the end of Western civilization....

  8. Pinellas has new look, fresh buzz but is still growing older

    Human Interest

    Pardon me for saying, but you're looking older.

    It's nothing dramatic, and there is really no reason to panic. After all, with age comes wisdom and discounts at Denny's. But the truth is, the years are beginning to pile up.

    Especially for you, Pinellas County.

    And you too, Hernando.

    Census figures released last week show a slight uptick in age for the entire country, but maturity is on a roll in certain parts of Tampa Bay....

  9. Romano: State failed to seek all the truth in murder case

    Criminal

    We trust the state to take bad guys off the street.

    Track them down, send them to trial and lock 'em up.

    In this, there can be no leeway. No pity, no uncertainty, no failure. Victory is the clanging sound of a cell door.

    But at what point does justice outweigh victory?

    And when is the truth more important than a conviction?

    You might have heard last week about the case of Paul Hildwin, a Hernando County man who has spent 28 years on death row for a murder he insists he did not commit....

  10. Another costly homeowners insurance mistake for Florida

    Banking

    A moment of silence, please. Another property insurance company in Florida has gone belly-up.

    You need not weep or offer feigned condolences, but you may want to pay attention. Because, one way or another, this will likely have an impact on your wallet.

    You see the company in question, Sunshine State Insurance, has left about $36 million in unpaid claims and refunds in its wake, according to a story in Sarasota's Herald-Tribune ....

  11. Romano: Pitiful showing for legislative elections proves the case that districts were rigged

    Politics

    Is it too late to submit evidence in the redistricting trial in Tallahassee?

    Maybe slip it under the judge's door after hours? Compose a random tweet? Follow him into the men's room and casually start a conversation?

    Granted, closing arguments have been submitted and a verdict is not too far away but the heart of the case was essentially proved on Friday.

    That's when the deadline for potential legislative candidates expired, and the illusion that our votes actually matter was put to rest....

  12. Romano: Trust your gut on Greenlight Pinellas

    Local Government

    Forget the cheerleaders. For that matter, forget the critics, too.

    When it comes to this fall's monumental decision on Greenlight Pinellas, it might be best to ignore the bombast and trust your gut.

    Because no matter what either side would have you believe, the feasibility of mass transit will never be as simple as yes or no around here.

    You can believe in mass transit with all your heart and still wonder if this market is too fragmented to support light rail. Conversely, you can be concerned about the size of the investment and still recognize that perpetual status quo is an invitation to decay....

  13. Romano: Rick Scott hides, dodges and ducks — and the voters don't get answers

    Gubernatorial

    It's an interesting strategy the Governor's Office has adopted.

    Apparently, Rick Scott will sit down for television interviews only if his people are allowed to handpick the subjects, questions, reporters and, presumably, ferns.

    This is a bold concept, bordering on nervy. A clear don't-mess-with-me vibe.

    All of which got me thinking:

    What if you made similar demands?

    What if you told the governor that you will agree to vote for him only if he stops hiding from questions, running away from microphones and avoiding accountability?...

  14. It could get mighty quiet in the Trop this summer

    Local Government

    Typically, this is when things start picking up at Tropicana Field.

    The kids are out of school, the Rays are usually in contention and the thought of spending a hot, muggy night inside an air-conditioned big-league stadium sounds wondrous.

    But what happens when you remove the part about the Rays being in contention?

    In other words, should you be concerned that Tampa Bay's notoriously underwhelming attendance figures are going to get even uglier now that the Rays are sinking on the field?...

    Rays first baseman James Loney (21) tosses a glove to a fan after the Rays’ 2014 home opener against the Toronto Blue Jays.
  15. Bulletproof backpacks, blankets are sad accessories for school shootings

    Crime

    It has been 15 years since two heavily armed teens walked into Columbine High and obliterated the notion that classrooms might somehow be immune to life's horrors.

    Since then, the mayhem has only multiplied. Thirty-two killed at Virginia Tech. Twenty-six at Sandy Hook Elementary. We have read about dozens of remorseless killers and even more defenseless victims. School shootings have become so commonplace, they have seemingly lost much of their shock value....