TAMPA — The paralegal at the center of scandalous allegations of a DUI setup talked to prosecutors behind closed doors Thursday.
But the attorney for Melissa Personius contends there was no plot by the paralegal's bosses to get C. Philip Campbell, their opposing counsel, arrested on a DUI charge in the middle of a heated trial.
"It wasn't like, 'Get this guy drunk, get him in a car so we can get him busted.' Nothing like that," attorney Norman Cannella Jr. said Friday. Campbell "was unfolding his own demise himself."...
If you know anything about Tampa's not-exactly-shy Mayor Bob Buckhorn, it will not surprise you that he had dreams of being a fighter pilot.
In fact, after college, Buckhorn was picked for Navy flight school, only to be diagnosed with degeneration of his cornea. It was a misdiagnosis, as it turned out, but it sent him off to Tampa and politics instead of to the skies.
If you know Buckhorn, it also will not surprise you that he never lost his fascination with pilots. So on a recent visit to MacDill Air Force Base, he was tickled when a squadron at the 6th Air Mobility Wing held a ceremony to give him his own fighter pilot "call sign." Yes, just like in Top Gun....
TAMPA — Grisham-like allegations that lawyers set up an opposing attorney for a DUI arrest mid trial heated up Thursday when federal agents seized the cellphones of a lawyer and a Tampa police sergeant.
The scorching trial of shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge Clem versus his radio nemesis earlier this year took a back seat to the question that has been the buzz of the legal community ever since:...
The twisted tale of the prom and the parent, the principal and the teacher, and in the end, the police, had some great teachable moments.
Mostly for grownups.
Diana Byrnes' daughter Caroline, a junior at River Ridge High in New Port Richey, wanted to go to her prom at the Lowry Park Zoo. She busted deadline to buy the ticket. Her mom and her principal squared off. And it is fair to say when police get involved, the prom ended badly....
Sounding suspiciously inclusive, Hillsborough County commissioners are talking about making it easier for a Hispanic person to have a seat on their board.
That's right. The very same commission that could not muster the goodwill to pass a domestic partner registry, the one that thought an applicant opposed to Muslims and gays would be great for a diversity board, agreed to explore giving a Hispanic representative a better shot....
05/17/13 Human Interest
If you follow horse racing and politics, you might have noticed a hooved contender for today's Preakness with an interesting name — one that sounds a lot like a horse of a (recently) different color around here.
Okay, so who's betting on "Govenor Charlie?"
Of course, a horse named Govenor Charlie (no "r") in a big race brings to mind our own freshly Democratic former Gov. Charlie....
If you are forming a panel to empower minorities, should a racist get a seat at the table?
Does a man who believes women are inferior belong in a women's rights group?
Does tolerance mean tolerating bigots — who are, by definition, intolerant?
And does Terry Kemple — conservative Christian activist and Hillsborough School Board candidate who speaks out against gay rights — belong on a board that's supposed to be about diversity?...
Every town has its characters, its politicians and misfits, its go-to good guys and inevitable bad ones. And somewhere in there, a town needs a dreamer.
We have Ed Turanchik.
He was a Hillsborough County commissioner, and if it is possible to have your head in the clouds and still be the smart guy in the room, that was him. He pushed for commuter rail nobody was buying and thought this would be a great place for the 2012 Summer Olympics, only for some reason they picked London instead....
It's disheartening how much we sometimes try to make Florida look like Everywhere Else.
We pave the state in highways and strip malls that might as well be in Ohio or Indiana — no offense to those vowel states. But what's best about this place is the Spanish moss dripping from the oaks, the old brick buildings we somehow did not mow down in the name of "progress," the beaches that are, not to brag or anything, incomparable....
Pinellas County is pondering whether to keep charging homeless people $6.25 for a state ID card that can be key to getting them back on their feet. Meanwhile, in Hillsborough, the tax collector is walking the walk.
Or driving the bus, so to speak, if things work out as planned.
This week Doug Belden told the Times that, as in some other counties, he is dropping the $6.25 processing fee for an ID card for homeless people — maybe a few bucks to you and me, but a whole lot more to someone with nothing....
Nowhere is this town's dilemma over the homeless better illustrated than on a single city block off Tampa Street.
Just north of downtown, this particular stretch is not quite a part of the shiny skyscrapers, bustling restaurants and picturesque parks that signal a city taking off — though Tampa boosters sure hope one day it will be.
Still, amid the old buildings and vacant lots is exactly the kind of business those boosters dream about: The Bush Ross law firm, a lovely building that practically reeks of affluence and Important Legal Doings. As a bonus, it sits across from Stetson law school, an even more impressive structure that also signals desirable development even on this end of downtown....
It has been the proverbial long winter, economy-wise.
Building cranes slowed and homes were foreclosed and jobs disappeared. Government budgets got cut to the bone and more, and then —
Wait — did somebody say "spring?"
Technically, it has been spring for a while now — look at our jacaranda trees in full, purple bloom. But economy-wise, there are signs, too.
Suddenly you notice buildings going up around you again, and the headlines say consumer spending and local home sales are both up. All of which sounds suspiciously like happier days to come....
Look at that — Hillsborough County government can be progressive, at least when it comes to cats.
This week commissioners approved a smart plan to reduce the terrible number of animals killed at the county shelter yearly. Well, except Commissioner Standing-Up-For-Squirrels Crist, but more on that in a minute.
The commission, which can sometimes be cowed by the crowd, did this in the face of opposition to the "community cat" program, the single hot topic in the comprehensive proposal....
Years ago, I was a reporter covering a trial at a downtown Tampa courthouse with a jury that deliberated all night and into the wee hours. When a bailiff stepped outside for some fresh air under the stars, I went along for something to do.
"Watch," he said, and pointed to the cats.
In all of the years I had walked to and from this courthouse — walked all around downtown, even — I had never seen them. But apparently at night, the town was theirs. They crept along sidewalks and ducked into storm sewers, all these feral and free-ranging cats somehow surviving....
I'm always looking for signs that Tampa is a city on the move — a little less Pahokee, a little more Philly, if you know what I mean.
This week we found out we are apparently more a Dick's Sporting Goods berg than a Saks city (sigh), but still, there are good signs. Mention Tampa as a potential venue for big bowl games or major political events and no one laughs — not anymore, anyway. And it is a distinct possibility that one day soon we will be judged hip enough to rate a Trader Joe's....