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Richard Danielson, Times Staff Writer

Richard Danielson

Richard Danielson covers city government and politics in Tampa. He grew up in Clearwater and joined the Times in 1987. This is his second tour at City Hall (the first was from 1992 to '97). His other reporting assignments at the Times have included covering higher education and local government, politics and courts in Pinellas and Pasco counties. He also has worked as the Times' Palm Harbor bureau chief and Clearwater city editor. In his current assignment, he is the main contributor to PolitiFact Florida's Buck-O-Meter, which tracks Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn's performance on 34 campaign promises.

Phone: (813) 226-3403


Twitter: @Danielson_Times

  1. First construction on Vinik's downtown Tampa project targeted for August

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — In December, when Jeff Vinik unveiled his plans for a $1 billion waterfront development near Amalie Arena, the idea was to start moving dirt this summer, after the Tampa Bay Lightning's season ended.

    Now, with Vinik's hockey team one win away from playing for the Stanley Cup, his development team is working behind the scenes on plans for the redevelopment, and the schedule is shaping up for a late summer start....

  2. Tampa to pay $112,500 to settle negligence case over wrong drug given by paramedic

    Local Government

    TAMPA — A paramedic's mistake in giving an auto accident victim a paralyzing drug instead of a painkiller will cost city taxpayers $112,500.

    The City Council this week approved the settlement to 68-year-old Arlene Lawin of Tampa, who suffered a bad ankle injury when another car collided with hers at Cleveland Street and Moody Avenue in 2012.

    At the scene, Tampa Fire Rescue paramedics evaluated Lawin, put her on a backboard and meant to give her fentanyl, a potent pain medication, according to court records....

  3. Homeless charity sues Tampa, contends panhandling laws are unconstitutional

    Local Government

    TAMPA — The nonprofit group Homeless Helping Homeless is suing the city of Tampa in federal court, contending the city's bans on panhandling are unconstitutional and threaten to force it out of business.

    Filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Tampa, the lawsuit targets two city ordinances. One, passed in 2011, outlaws begging on city streets every day but Sunday while allowing newspaper vendors to work the curb seven days a week....

  4. Confirmed as Tampa police chief, Eric Ward promises to follow feds' recommendations on bike tickets

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — With scores of rank-and-file officers, union leaders and police brass crowding the chamber, the City Council on Thursday confirmed Eric Ward as Tampa police chief.

    The vote — 6-0, with Lisa Montelione absent — set off 20 seconds of sustained applause for Ward, 48, who is a 26-year veteran of TPD and the city's second black police chief. He succeeds Jane Castor, who retired this month....

  5. Tampa property owners could be asked to pay much of $250 million cost of easing flooding

    Local Government

    TAMPA — It could cost the city of Tampa up to $250 million to alleviate storm-driven floods that have swamped roads and vexed neighborhoods citywide for decades.

    And under a possible plan unveiled Thursday, that could mean a five-fold increase in the annual city storm water assessment paid by most owners of medium-sized homes in Tampa, from $36 to $180 a year.

    The City Council did not indicate it would agree to such an increase, but it did vote to schedule discussions of a plan to pay for a series of major drainage-improvement projects in areas such as the South Tampa peninsula, Southeast Seminole Heights and the University Square area of North Tampa....

    Flooding on N Florida Avenue just north of Hillsborough Avenue caused traffic to back up after a U.S. postal delivery truck stalled in the axle-deep storm water in May 2014. The Tampa City Council is scheduled to discuss ways to address the city's long-standing problems with flooding after heavy rains.
  6. No shutdown, Hillsborough lawmakers predict for special session


    TAMPA — No shutdown.

    That was the message, prediction and all-but-ironclad promise from eight Hillsborough County legislators to more than 100 executives at a Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce lunch Wednesday.

    "There's absolutely no question in anyone's mind that we will pass a budget," House Majority Leader Dana Young, R-Tampa, told a reporter after the lunch, "and I wish you all would stop printing that the government's going to shut down, because that's not going to happen."...

    "There's absolutely no question in anyone's mind that we will pass a budget," House Majority Leader Dana Young, R-Tampa, told a reporter Wednesday, "and I wish you all would stop printing that the government's going to shut down, because that's not going to happen." [SCOTT KEELER | Times]
  7. Tampa chamber's third trip to Cuba looks to lay the foundation for future business


    TAMPA — A 35-member business delegation returned from a four-day trip to Cuba over the weekend optimistic about the Tampa Bay area's prospects to renew relations and commerce once the U.S. trade embargo on the island is lifted.

    "This chamber's role is to position the Tampa Bay region to be ready to do business in Cuba, with Cuba, importing and exporting, when the switch gets flipped," Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce chairman Ronald Christaldi said at a news conference Monday....

    Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce chairman Ronald Christaldi talks to doctors and nurses at the Institute of Oncology & Radiology in Havana. [Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce]
  8. Tampa to spend $1.35 million to create downtown train horn 'quiet zone'

    Local Government

    TAMPA — The ceremony last week was meant to mourn Tampa's 31 police officers killed in the line of duty, a tribute that could not have been more serious or somber.

    But the police, chief judge, top county prosecutor, mayor, City Council members and families of murdered officers didn't get the peace the occasion demanded. Instead, a CSX train crossing downtown blasted its horn repeatedly through most of the memorial....

    An aerial view of downtown Tampa.
  9. Tampa's efforts to lead in Cuban relations get national attention


    The New York Times took a close look Sunday at the work of business and political leaders in Tampa to position the city as a future gateway to Cuba, and the Miami Herald followed up Wednesday with its own front-page, above-the-fold story....

    That Tampa-Havana connection: Natalie and Shantalie Peraza walk past a mural in Ybor City last week.
  10. Hillsborough State Attorney Mark Ober blasts Barry Cohen over town hall tactics


    Mark Ober the cardboard cut-out might not have a lot to say at tonight's town hall meeting on race relations organized by Tampa defense attorney Barry Cohen.

    But Mark Ober the Hillsborough State Attorney had plenty to say Wednesday about Cohen and his vow to prop up a two-dimenstional facsimile of Ober if the county's top prosecutor doesn't show up for the forum....

  11. Developer proposes apartments and garage near University of Tampa

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — A South Florida developer wants to rezone 2.5 acres south of Kennedy Boulevard near the University of Tampa for an apartment block with 272 units and more than 500 parking spaces.

    Altman Development of Boca Raton proposes to put the project just south of the triangular block that's home to Mise en Place and the Oxford Exchange.

    The site is bordered by Grand Central Avenue on the north, W Cleveland Street on the south and S Magnolia and S Cedar avenues on the west and east. Currently, most of it is covered by parking and three small office buildings....

  12. ACLU calls for stop to Tampa's bike stop program as police chief defends it

    Local Government

    TAMPA — Flanked by top union officials, police Chief Jane Castor told the City Council on Thursday she "vehemently" disagrees with a Tampa Bay Times investigation questioning why black riders have gotten 80 percent of bike tickets written by police.

    That said, Castor said her agency's ability to do its job is based on trust. That's why she asked the U.S. Department of Justice's Community Policing Office to do an independent review of Tampa's bike enforcement efforts....

    At a Wednesday briefing, Tampa police Chief Jane Castor defended the rate of bike citations issued.
  13. FDOT to kick in $1 million to help plan Tampa streetcar expansion

    Mass Transit

    TAMPA — The Florida Department of Transportation has committed $1 million to help City Hall figure out how to expand Tampa's underused and underfunded downtown streetcar.

    "We've got to fix the streetcar," Mayor Bob Buckhorn said in a recent interview. "We can maintain the status quo for a while. The larger issue is, what do we do with it? What are the future expansion plans? What's the route? How do you pay for it?"...

    Streetcar conductor Joe Del Vecchio greets passengers at the Whiting Street station.
  14. Tampa looking at long-range project to turn reclaimed water into drinking water


    TAMPA — To grow, Tampa needs water.

    To get more of it, the city is looking at 60 million gallons of reclaimed water a day that it now discharges into Tampa Bay.

    "We're just dumping it into the bay now," Mayor Bob Buckhorn said. "I want to find a way to either monetize it or do good by the environment."

    So Buckhorn's administration is looking at building a pipeline to pump about a third of that water from the city's sewage treatment plant at Port Tampa Bay north to areas along the Tampa Bypass Canal....

  15. Dick Greco's move reflects a shift in attitudes

    Human Interest

    If nothing else, former Tampa Mayor Dick Greco's bombshell decision to move to St. Petersburg strikes a blow for a growing subset of bay area residents: Those who embrace a life lived on both sides of Tampa Bay.

    We're not just talking cross-bay commuters, 71,000 of whom crowd the bridges each day.

    Harder to count but increasingly easy to find are those with friends and calendars that take them to all points of the bay area's compass....

    Former Tampa Mayor Dick Greco recently announced he is “going across the bridge.”