Tony Marrero, Times Staff Writer

Tony Marrero

Tony Marrero, a native of Baltimore, joined the Times in 2009. He covers breaking news, crime and courts in Hernando County.

Phone: (352) 848-1431

Email: tmarrero@tampabay.com

Twitter: @TMarreroTimes

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  1. Pinellas elections supervisor sends 250,000 mail ballots

    Blog

    Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark on Tuesday mailed 250,563 ballots to domestic voters for the Nov. 4 general election.

    That's about 40 percent of the 622,092 total registered voters in Pinellas. 

    Clark mailed 2,696 ballots on Sep. 19 to absent military and overseas voters.

    For the Aug. 26 primary, Clark's office mailed 252,498 ballots and about 45 percent of those were returned. ...

  2. Minimum wage advocates want eventual increase to $15

    Politics

    ST. PETERSBURG — Jeff Roby stood on the third step of City Hall, the lush fronds of a palm tree swaying above his head. He and fellow members of a fledgling movement are pushing for a $15 minimum wage, and they figured this would a good place to start.

    "We're not calling on the St. Petersburg City Council, as it said in the Declaration of Independence, to risk their lives, or even their fortunes," said Roby, 66, of Gulfport. "We're not asking them, not right now, to spend any money, meaning our tax money. But we are wondering about their sacred honor."...

  3. Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority board reaffirms confidence in CEO Brad Miller

    Blog

    ST. PETERSBURG -- Six weeks before the most important vote in the agency's history, the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority board of directors has reaffirmed its confidence in chief executive officer Brad Miller.

    The board on Thursday heaped praise on Miller's leadership despite some controversies in recent weeks. The sentiments were a refrain of the comments board members made last month, when a few critics of PSTA and opponents of the looming Greenlight Pinellas transit referendum demanded Miller's resignation for the agency's mishandling of a federal grant. The authority had to return $354,000 to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security after officials decided that the feel-good commercials promoting PSTA paid for by the grant didn't focus enough on safety and security....

  4. Sen. Jack Latvala endorses Greenlight Pinellas transit tax

    Transportation

    DUNEDIN — The fight for the Greenlight Pinellas referendum may be won or lost in north county.

    Supporters of the 1-cent transit tax are battling a perception among skeptical north county residents who don't think the plan offers enough benefits for them.

    On Thursday, Yes on Greenlight trotted out a prominent Clearwater Republican who told them it does.

    Standing in downtown Dunedin, state Sen. Jack Latvala announced he will be voting yes on Nov. 4....

    “Frankly, if we’re going to be a major-league county, we need to have some sort of better mass transit.”
Jack Latvala, Republican state senator
  5. Mayor mugs with Cheech and Chong

    Local Government

    Smoking is not allowed in airports anymore but selfies still are and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman took full advantage last Saturday in the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

    Kriseman tweeted out a pic taken with a sunglass-wearing Richard "Cheech" Marin and sleepy-eyed Tommy Chong, the veritable stoner comedy duo.

    A subtle smoke signal on the upcoming statewide medical marijuana referendum, perhaps? ...

    The mayor’s selfie with Cheech and Chong.
  6. New Pinellas Commission members will get to vote for 2015 chairman

    Blog

    CLEARWATER -- The two new members who join the Pinellas County Commission in November will get to vote on who serves as chairman in 2015.

    The current board decided this week to wait until Nov. 18, when the new members are sworn in, to take that vote. Longtime commissioner Susan Latvala, who currently serves as vice chairwoman, is retiring, and Commissioner Norm Roche lost his re-election bid....

  7. Blog

  8. Pinellas offers help with stormwater fees for mobile homes

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER — Some Pinellas County mobile home park residents and commercial property owners who pleaded for help with stormwater fees will get some relief, though not as much as many had hoped for.

    The County Commission on Tuesday agreed to tweak the formula used to calculate the fee for those types of properties and extend the period when property owners can apply for credit for features such as ponds....

  9. How the Greenlight Pinellas transit plan would affect your wallet

    Elections

    ST. PETERSBURG — Supporters of the Greenlight Pinellas transit plan promise the expanded bus service and light rail system between St. Petersburg and Clearwater would transform the county and the region.

    For plenty of voters, though, the decision will come down to one question: How much is it going to cost me?

    The answer: It depends.

    If approved on Nov. 4, the plan would increase the county sales tax by a penny, to 8 cents on the dollar. The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority's existing property tax levy would be eliminated....

    If approved on Nov. 4, the Greenlight Pinellas transit plan would increase the county sales tax by a penny, to 8 cents on the dollar. The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority's existing property tax levy would be eliminated. [LARA CERRI | Times]
  10. Kriseman mugs with Cheech and Chong

    Blog

    Smoking is not allowed in airports anymore but selfies still are and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman took full advantage Saturday in the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

    Kriseman tweeted out a pic taken with a sunglass-wearing Richard "Cheech" Marin and sleepy-eyed Tommy Chong, the veritable stoner comedy duo.

    A subtle smoke signal on the upcoming statewide medical marijuana referendum, perhaps? ...

  11. Pinellas reaches deal with area hospitals over health care for the poor

    Local Government

    Contract talks between Bayfront Health St. Petersburg and Pinellas County broke down this year after hospital officials disputed figures that showed it was caring for far fewer indigent patients than in previous years.

    The county uses the numbers to decide how much to reimburse Bayfront for caring for patients in the county's health plan.

    The dispute will officially end Tuesday, when the County Commission considers a deal that pays Bayfront $570,000 in the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1 to provide inpatient care for uninsured adults ages 18 to 64....

  12. Pinellas Commission candidates square off over Greenlight, red-light cameras

    Elections

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Greenlight Pinellas transit referendum got much of the microphone time when Pinellas County Commission candidates stepped into the Tigers' Den on Thursday.

    The six hopefuls running for two seats on the commission took questions from Suncoast Tiger Bay political club members on a variety of subjects at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club. But talk of the transit tax dominated the about-40-minute session and highlighted the division among the candidates....

  13. Gerard, Hooper continue to trade barbs in Pinellas commission race

    Elections

    The chairman of the Pinellas Republican Party has filed a complaint with the Florida Elections Commission against County Commission candidate Pat Gerard, accusing her of running an illegal raffle for campaign signs.

    Michael Guju, a Palm Harbor attorney, said he filed the complaint Sept. 9 after someone told him about the raffle. He declined to identify the person.

    "It's so manifestly obvious that it violates the law, any competent candidate or their campaign should know better than to do that," Guju said. ...

  14. Another week, another testy exchange between Pinellas Commission candidates Pat Gerard and Ed Hooper

    Blog

    Pinellas County Commission candidate Pat Gerard has called on her opponent, Ed Hooper, to give back the money his consulting firm was paid by the Clearwater Aquarium while he served in the Legislature.

    Gerard, a Democrat running for the District 2 seat currently held by Norm Roche, accused Hooper last week of being untruthful when he said that none of the clients of the Consus Group benefited from his work as a lawmaker. She noted the company was paid several thousand dollars in 2011 to represent the aquarium as it sought a development permit from the city for an expansion project. Hooper's partner, Joe Burdette, was listed in city filings as one of the aquarium's "agents." ...

  15. Organizer scraps Nov. 23 St. Pete half marathon and 5K

    Health

    ST. PETERSBURG — The company that canceled this year's edition of the Rock 'n' Roll half marathon in St. Petersburg has scrubbed another event.

    The starting gun will not sound for the Women's Running Half Marathon & 5K slated for Nov. 23 in downtown St. Petersburg. In a letter posted on its website, California-based Competitor Group Inc. said the event has been "postponed until further notice."...