tbo: Tampa Bay Online.
Monday, Jun 18, 2018
  • Home
Steve Otto Columns

Otto: Big Stink could be Tampa’s new normal

Usually, when a story smells bad to a reporter, he or she has to do some digging to find out what’s wrong.

It wasn’t all that difficult around here these past few days. An aroma that was so pungent some people were forced to stay inside or wonder about that fish they had in the refrigerator, blanketed an area from Plant City to Brandon and much of Tampa and Temple Terrace.

Officials said the cause was a new pesticide called Paladin being used by strawberry farmers, which contains dimethyl disulfate, the source of the Big Stink.

They also claimed the stuff is harmless to humans and smells a little like garlic.

It doesn’t.

I know what a town that smells like garlic smells like. A number of years ago I was driving toward a political convention in California and got within about 10 miles of the town of Gilroy, the garlic capital of the world. Every year they have a garlic festival and you can smell the stuff for miles in every direction. I immediately made a detour for the town and tried the garlic ice cream ... not the best choice.

Anyhow, what is permeating our town smells more like that odor from the red tide that used to regularly settle in along Bayshore Boulevard in South Tampa, sort of a combination of dead fish and rotten guavas.

Apparently the farmers plan on continuing with Paladin every planting season, which means the “new normal’’ for that part of the county is going to be a little fishy.


Patty and Richard out in Lutz wrote in, saying, “We know you are not a sports reporter, but see if you can answer this one. As season-ticket holders of USF football since day one, we sat and watched debacle at RayJay in dismay. But to add to the evening’s disappointments, for the first time ever there was not one vendor cruising the stadium steps. You could not buy a peanut, cotton candy or beer. We had our new, special clear plastic bag, but had to get up to go to the concession stands. Any idea of why?”

No, although I’ve heard that as the Bulls folded there was a rush to the concession stands to buy Tums and Rolaids.


Finally I received a notice from the Egypt Shrine that they are going to give their Community Service Award to Ed Maley on Wednesday.

I haven’t seen Maley in the last dozen years or so since he moved his Florida School of Judo out of his sweatbox gym on South MacDill Avenue. The old building was the sort of place Rocky would have loved. He never turned on the air conditioning and his weight room looked like a garage.

The “professor,’’ as he calls himself , is an eighth-degree black belt. I first ran across him when I was a kid and my dad was stationed in Omaha, where the Air Force had decided to bring in someone to teach its pilots the martial arts. That someone was Ed Maley.

While he was there, he set up a judo school for the children of the military and I was one of those.

Today, Maley is in his 80s and still teaching in Brandon and South Tampa. He has instructed thousands of Tampa’s youth, not just in the martial arts but in the arts of discipline and doing the right thing.

The program starts at 7:30 at the A La Carte Event Pavilion and is free and open to the public.

Weather Center