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Joni James, Deputy Editor of Editorials

Joni James

Joni James is a native of North Carolina and a 1989 graduate of Wake Forest University. She worked for newspapers in Winston-Salem, N.C.; Indianapolis; Rochester, N.Y.; and Eugene, Ore., before moving to Florida in 1996. She joined the Tampa Bay Times in 2003, after working as a reporter for the Orlando Sentinel, the Miami Herald and the Wall Street Journal. Before joining the editorial board in 2008, she worked as a political reporter, deputy Tallahassee Bureau chief, an assistant city editor and state editor. She and her husband, Mark Howerton, live in St. Petersburg with their daughter.

Phone: (727) 893-8739


Twitter: @JoniJamesWFU

  1. James: On campus, women must practice safety (w/video)


    It was on an evening in the dormitory, days before classes started in my junior year, that I came closest to being sexually assaulted. A handsome, charming member of the golf team, out prowling the near-empty campus with a friend, struck up a conversation with me and my dormmate.

    We chatted for more than an hour in the summer heat. His attention was flattering and at some point I ended up alone in my room with him. He kissed me, and before I knew it he was on top of me, pushing his hand into my crotch. Stop, I said. When he didn't, I pushed him hard with both hands and knees, knocking him off balance....

  2. The woman who started trauma fees tells her side


    As Tallahassee grapples with what to do about trauma center response fees, the woman responsible for starting the process that allowed hospitals to charge the fees speaks up in an op-ed in Sunday's Tampa Bay Times that is already posted online. Connie J. Potter details how she expected hospitals to use the fees and all that she sees is now wrong with Florida's trauma network.  ...

  3. Tampa Bay Times video editorial: The senators' gun decision and the children of Newtown


    The Tampa Bay Times editorial board debuts a video editorial style to address the failed Senate vote on gun control in the wake of the Newtown shootings. Click on Full Story to watch the video.

  4. TBTimes Editorial: Weatherford, Corcoran Medicaid plan does not add up


    From a Wednesday editorial in the Tampa Bay Times:

    (House Speaker Will Weatherford) continues to support a plan authored by Rep. Richard Corcoran, R-Land O' Lakes, that provides insufficient payments for a modest portion of poor adults to buy private health coverage. Florida Health Choices Plus would be paid for with state taxpayer dollars at an estimated cost of $237 million per year. The plan forgoes $51 billion in federal funding over 10 years that flows with Medicaid expansion, leaves hundreds of thousands of poor Floridians without health coverage and forces Florida taxpayers to continue paying $430 million annually for the state's Medically Needy program. The math does not add up......

  5. TBTimes Editorial: DEP's Vinyard needs to go


    From Tuesday's Tampa Bay Times' editorial page:

    Regulators who break the rules cannot be trusted with enforcing them. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection broke the rules protecting the state's wetlands to benefit a well-connected landowner, then punished the one employee who challenged her bosses on it and tried to do her job. Gov. Rick Scott should remove DEP Secretary Herschel Vinyard Jr. and at least one of his deputy secretaries, because Floridians can no longer trust the agency to protect the environment and fairly enforce the rules....

  6. Dan Ruth: Jamie Grant's disappearing seed money


    Tampa Bay Times' op-ed columnist Daniel Ruth in Tuesday's newspaper:

    If Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford ever decides to create a Select Committee for Cronyism, Three-Card Monte Schemes, Misdirection and Obfuscation, he has the perfect candidate to tap as chairman: young master Rep. Jamie Grant, R-It's Good To Be Me....

    Read full column here....

  7. Tampa twins pose with Marco Rubio


    9911532.jpgApparently Tampa twins Jill Kelley and Natalie Khawam's social calendar extended beyond military parties at Kelley's Bayshore home. Former Tampa Republican Angelette Aviles tweeted out an undated photo Wednesday showing the sisters with Marco Rubio....

  8. Not all Florida ballots are equal


    Bad news if you are under 21 and voted with a provisional ballot at the poll for Florida's Aug. 14 primary: There's a 29 percent chance your vote didn't count. If you are Hispanic and voted a provisional ballot, there's a 33 percent chance. Statewide, 22 percent of all provisional ballots weren't counted in the primary. And nearly 2 percent of all absentee ballots that were returned to elections offices weren't counted....

  9. TBTimes Ed Board: Obama has earned 2nd term


    The Tampa Bay Times editorial board recommends the re-election of President Barack Obama "without hesitation." 

    "Four years ago, Barack Obama offered an inspiring message of hope and change to an uneasy nation bogged down in two wars and facing economic collapse. The rosy idealism quickly gave way to the harsh realities of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. The recovery has proven more difficult than anyone imagined. But conditions would be far worse without the president's steady leadership. This is not the time to reverse course and return to the failed policies of the past. Without hesitation, the Tampa Bay Times recommends Barack Obama for re-election as president...."...

  10. TBTimes Ed Board: Latvala, Lee, Galvano for Tampa Bay Senate seats


    The Tampa Bay Times editorial board on Saturday will publish its recommendations in print for three contested Florida Senate seats in Tampa Bay. All three recommendations went to Republicans, who "focus more on Florida's long-term needs than short-term political gains," the editorial reads. They are:

    District 20: Jack Latvala

    District 24: Tom Lee

    District 26: Bill Galvano....

  11. Florida House recommendations out from TBTimes Editorial Board


    Five Republicans, six Democrats and one Independent earned the Tampa Bay Times editorial board's recommendation for contested Florida House seats in the Nov. 6 general election.

    District 34: Nancy Argenziano
    District 35: Rose Rocco
    District 57: Jake Raburn
    District 58: Dan Raulerson
    District 59: Gail Gottlieb
    District 62: Janet Cruz
    District 63: Shawn Harrison
    District 65: Carl Zimmermann
    District 66: Mary Louise Ambrose
    District 67: Ed Hooper
    District 68: Dwight Dudley
    District 69: Kathleen Peters...

  12. TBTimes Editorial Board weighs in on Pinellas County Commission, School Board and school levy


    Sunday's Tampa Bay Times includes the editorial board's recommendations for Pinellas County Commission: Janet Long for District 1, Charlie Justice for District 3 and Ken Welch for District 7.

    Also published this week were recommendations for Pinellas County School Board -- Elliott Stern in District 1; Rene Flowers in District 7 -- and a yes vote on extending the county's optional property tax for schools....

  13. TBTimes Ed Board: Nugent, Bilirakis, Young, Castor and Rooney for Congress


    Saturday's editorial page in the Tampa Bay Times features the editorial board's recommendation for the five contested U.S. congressional races - all for the incumbents in districts 11, 23, 13, 14 and 17. "Congress faces big challenges, including reducing the federal deficit, overhauling the tax code and reforming entitlements. While House districts have been redrawn, most Tampa Bay incumbents lack credible opponents." To read the congressional recommendations click here....

  14. TBTimes Ed Board: No on Amendments, yes on justices


    The Tampa Bay Times editorial board kept it simple: Just say no on all 11 state constitutional amendments. And in Thursday's paper it will do the same: Just say yes on merit retention for all Florida Supreme Court justices and appellate judges.

    A round up of the board's recommendations thus far -- with links to original editorials -- can be found at here. The list will be updated daily as additional recommendations are published....

  15. Daniel Ruth: Rick Scott, Ringmaster of RPOF circus


    From Dan Ruth's Friday op-ed column in the Tampa Bay Times: "...Yet, while (Florida Gov. Rick) Scott's letter was waxing ridiculous about the sanctity of the voting booth, his own party was busily at work trying to cook the books. This was a bit like Mexico's Zetas cartel claiming to be outraged over epidemic drug trafficking, oblivious to all the shooting in the streets..."Read full column here....