Sue Carlton, Columnist

Sue Carlton


My dad always said the Carltons were thieves and cattle rustlers run out of Georgia, which makes me a bona fide Floridian going back generations. I grew up in Miami and landed in Tampa, a town that said “bland” to the world but turned out anything but. I live in an old bungalow in an old neighborhood with my husband and a very enthusiastic dog. I’ve covered everything - crime, courts, the homeless. I’ve come to love this place of outrages and injustices, history and culture, Deep South and café con leche, downtown growing up and a parade of political characters let’s just call interesting. And lucky me, I get to write about all of it three days a week.

Carlton: Tallahassee, don't tread on St. Pete's ban on plastic straws

Craft Kafe in St. Petersburg has used paper straws since the city banned the use of plastic straws. Some Florida lawmakers have introduced legislation that would prevent cities like St. Petersburg from banning the use of plastic straws. BOYZELL HOSEY  |   Times
St. Petersburg is the kind of town you would expect to ban plastic straws. Some state lawmakers want to make it their call.

Candidate admits: I am short and wonky. And other mayor tales.

Tampa voters have plenty of choices for mayor, including city councilman Harry Cohen, who has embraced his essential wonkiness.  [BRONTE WITTPENN | Times]
Tampa voters don't lack for choices in their upcoming election for mayor, including one candidate embracing his essential wonkiness.

The fed who took the Tampa courthouse by surprise wants round two, please

Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren, a not-from-here political newcomer with an ambitious plan for criminal justice reform, wants a second term. [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]
State Attorney Andrew Warren may not totally get Tampa's unique political flavor, but he's ready for term two anyway.

Carlton: Good public officials believe in public records and the public's right to know

St. Petersburg Housing Authority CEO Tony Love during a recent City Council meeting. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
When a member of the St. Pete Housing Authority's governing board wanted to look at records, she got a big price tag instead. But there's a reason they call them public records.

Gasparilla, groping and ink stamp allegations: How things change, and stay the same

Tara Harrelson gets stamped by a member of the Ye Mystic Crewe of Gasparilla during the Gasparilla Parade of Pirates along Bayshore Boulevard on Jan. 26, 2013. (Times file, 2013)
Via social media, a woman says a pirate in the big parade pulled down her top to ink-stamp her chest - stamping chests being a Gasparilla tradition. How things change, and stay the same.