Best Of 2022

Born and raised in Clearwater, Rep. Michele Rayner-Goolsby previously worked as a public defender and legislative aide. She was also counsel for the NAACP’s local Legal Defense Fund. In 2020, she became the first openly queer Black woman in the Florida legislature, beating Rep. Wengay Newton for House District 62. Just a few weeks ago, she beat Newton again and will run against jailed insurrectionist republican candidate Jeremy Brown this fall. Since taking office, she’s tackled issues like reproductive rights, criminal justice reform, and housing justice head-on.

People, Places and Politics

People, Places and Politics
As Governor DeSantis cracked down on the ever-elusive CRT boogeyman in public schools, James Michael Shaw Jr. had a different idea: educate the public. But the local lawyer had to do it in a creative way. He made a promo video for a “forbidden” Critical Race Theory event, which would let people know what the words actually meant, rather than just stoking fear in the public, as DeSantis is known to do. @jamesshawjr on Twitter
Tampa Police headquarters is chock full of controversy. Last year, the department was caught in close to two scandals a month. This year, the controversies are adding up. Through a public records request, CL caught the department using geofencing, a spying tactic that has caused uproar around the country, because average citizens can often get caught in an unconstitutional digital dragnet. TPD didn’t offer comment for the story.
Winner: Gabby Bakes
2. Booze & Bubbles
3. Pop Goes the Waffle
The Times editorial board knew that Judge Jared Smith had denied a 17-year-old abortion and that he was found to have abused his judicial discretion in making that decision. But the board still endorsed—or “recommended” in the paper’s eyes—the right-wing evangelist judge. As CL uncovered more disturbing behavior from Smith, the Times continued to stand by its man. But the endorsement didn’t work, and in a rare upset, Smith, an incumbent judge, lost to Nancy Jacobs. You gotta give it to the Times for sticking it out until the end. @tbtimes_opinion on Twitter
Winner: Angie Soul
2. Outdoorsy Diva
3. What’s Cooking With Julie
Winner: Thomas Mantz - Feeding Tampa Bay
2. Steve Weintraub
3. Laurie Stogniew
The Ybor Misfits started as an apartment living room project, but has grown into a local institution. So much so that the group has teamed up with the cigar-famous J.C. Newman Family to create a micro-sanctuary in Ybor, which can house several chickens in need. The Misfits also fought the city’s attempt to eradicate the chickens a few years back, which would have destroyed an important aspect of Tampa history. @theybormisfits on Instagram
Winner: St. Petersburg
2. Dunedin
3. Tampa