John Romano, Times Columnist

John Romano

Times Columnist

Finding the right career can be hit-and-miss. In my case, it was swing-and-miss. When Major League Baseball scouts declined to watch me play, or even acknowledge my existence, journalism seemed like a plausible fallback plan. I started covering prep sports for St. Petersburg's Evening Independent as an 18 year old college freshman, and have worked for newspapers ever since. I have a daughter in college, a son in high school and a wife in charge. And I still can't hit the curveball.

Cars + cell phones = another blunder for Florida politics

If some legislators and advocacy groups have their way, scences such as this one on Himes Avenue in Tampa will be more and more rare. Bills have been introduced in the state Legislature for the 2019 session that will outlaw the use of cell phones not equipped with hands free devices. (Times files)
When it comes to drivers and cell phones, Florida has some of the most lax laws in the nation. That may end in 2019. Lawmakers are taking another shot at outlawing phones that aren't hands-free.

Romano: If Rick Scott stays on the job he should finish the job

Gov. Rick Scott smiles as he speaks to supporters at a Nov. 7 election watch party in Naples, as he led incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in voting results. Scott was officialy elected a U.S. senator on Nov. 20, when the state certified election results two weeks after tight margins prompted tumultuous recounts. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, file)
Scott delayed joining the U.S. Senate to finish his term as governor. If he’s going to stay, there’s plenty left to do in Florida.

Cheap and hostile is not the way to attract teachers in Florida

What is the issue in Pinellas County classrooms that have teachers unwilling to sign a union contract? The head of the teacher’s association says pay is not the main problem - it is the working conditions imposed by various regulation. (Washington Post)
How unhappy are Florida teachers? Well, in Pinellas County they think it's more important to fight for classroom flexibility rather than getting a little closer to the national pay scale for teachers.

No black Supreme Court justices in Florida? ‘This will be Rick Scott's legacy'

Clearwater's Joseph Woodrow Hatchett, right, the first black state Supreme Court justice belown the Mason-Dixon line,  is mobbed by well wishers and autograph seekers in the rotunda of the Supreme Court after being sworn in before a standing room only crowd of over 300 people on Sept. 2, 1975. (Times files)
Gov. Rick Scott has named more than 30 appellate court judges since 2011. Not a single one was black. And now the state's Supreme Court will be without a black justice for the first time since 1982.

While Tampa is counting dollars on Rays stadium, St. Pete is counting the days

The proposed ballpark in Ybor City carries a price tag of nearly $900 million. City and county officials are hopeful that surrounding development fees and taxes will provide enough revenue to fund at least half of the stadium’s cost. (Populous Architects)
Three years ago, St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman gambled Tampa could not come up with a sweet enough deal to lure the Rays across the bay. With a month left before a deadline his opinion has not changed.