Opinions to go Online

The unique perspective and provocative opinions of Joe O’Neill

Gubernatorial Race: Charley’s Angles

We all know that running mates don’t win elections for those who top a ticket. Bobby Brantley didn’t carry the gubernatorial day for Bob Martinez any more than Jeff Kottkamp and Jennifer Carroll did for Charlie Crist and Rick Scott, respectively. Rod Smith couldn’t help the fumbling Alex Sink. But campaigns can never totally discount [...]

Channelside Up

After all the frustrating subplots, from bankruptcy to bad blood, we have finality. Thanks to an 11th hour bankruptcy court settlement, we are where we hoped we would ultimately be. Jelly-side up. Jeff Vinik is officially the new owner of Channelside Bay Plaza. If wherewithal, track record and vision mean anything, then Channelside finally got [...]

Judicial Matters

* Appointing judges to the bench is not a fail-safe system, as we know. Depends on who’s doing the appointing. But isn’t there something inherently uncomfortable about judicial candidates campaigning, fund-raising and self-promoting? Too often it seems like good, well-intentioned people being forced to act like, well, politicians. * Speaking of judicial races, The Hillsborough [...]

Clearwater Image

Media stories about Clearwater Beach crime too easily conflate criminal incidents. A recent Tampa Bay Times headline read: “More Partiers, More Problems For Clearwater.” Yes, reported crimes are up–along with a hefty increase in the number of visitors. In fact, nearly 1 million out-of-towners now come calling annually. To insiders, however, the issue is not [...]

Sports Shorts

* Forbes magazine recently released its ranking of the top 30 sports franchises in the world. The Glazers were the only family with more than one team: Manchester United, valued at $2.8 billion, was third, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, at $1.07 billion, was 30th. For the record, the Glazers bought the Bucs 19 years [...]


* “This is the moment of truth for Russia.”–Secretary of State John Kerry. * “If President (Vladimir) Putin does not change his approach to Ukraine, then Europe and the West must fundamentally change our approach to Russia.”–British Prime Minister David Cameron. * “Hamas is not as corrupt as the Palestinian Authority, but it is far [...]

Congressional Districts: Taking One For The Team

One man/one vote, you bet. One bunch of voting men of color, creed, ethnicity or political persuasion shoehorned together for partisan political purposes, you better not. Would that THAT were the demographic reality. Instead, manipulating the boundaries of electoral districts–to maximize the impact of supporters’ votes and minimize that of opponents–is as old as the [...]

The Nan Rich Impact

Consummate underdog Nan Richwon’t win the Democratic gubernatorial primary. She has comparatively little money, insufficient statewide name recognition and no debate forums to upstage Charlie Crist. But she won’t be without impact. In addition to keeping Crist tacking to the left, the former state senator from Weston said some things on the campaign trail recently [...]

Mural Art Makes A Difference

You’ve got to love what the father-and-son team from Idaho did with that 60-year-old West Tampa water tower. At 126 feet, it literally towers over North Himes Avenue and West Spruce Street. Now the iconic landmark sports bilingual murals–in the design of a cigar band–that say “Welcome to West Tampa.” One question. Couldn’t someone have [...]

Where There’s Smoke, There’s Ire

The Pasco County School District can’t stay out of the news. And it has nothing to do with standardized tests or school letter grades. It has everything to do with common sense. First, it was for giving serious consideration to doing away with the graduation ritual of honoring class valedictorians and salutatorians. They’ve been hammered [...]