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

Email: danielson@tampabay.com

Twitter: @Danielson_Times

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  1. Quinton Robinson becomes second challenger to Tampa City Councilman Frank Reddick

    Blog

    Businessman Quinton F. Robinson has filed to run for Tampa City Council District 5 seat, which covers East Tampa, Ybor City, downtown, the port and parts of West Tampa.

    Robinson, 38, is the third candidate in the race. Police Sgt.

    Activist Becky Rubright files to challenge Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn

    Blog

    Saying "somebody had to," politicial activist Becky Rubright has filed papers to challenge Mayor Bob Buckhorn next spring.

    "I'm mostly doing it because I don't believe anybody should be running unopposed," Rubright said Monday. "It's a travesty to the democratic process and undermines the whole system."...

  2. Activist Becky Rubright files to challenge Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn

    Local

    TAMPA — Saying "somebody had to," political activist Becky Rubright has filed election papers to challenge Mayor Bob Buckhorn this spring.

    "I'm mostly doing it because I don't believe anybody should be running unopposed," Rubright said Monday. "It's a travesty to the democratic process and undermines the whole system."

    While acknowledging that Buckhorn has a high approval rating, she said, "He's a little more pro-business, and we need a little more focus on the people who actually live here."...

    Becky Rubright says nobody should run unopposed.
  3. Tampa, St. Petersburg supporting lawsuits in favor of same-sex marriage

    Politics

    Tampa and St. Petersburg are joining a growing number of Florida cities that support lawsuits seeking to overturn the state's ban on same-sex marriage.

    "I support gay marriage," Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said last week.

    "This is about fundamental fairness," St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman said. "Several courts have already weighed in and indicated that the state law was not constitutional. I personally am hoping that decision gets upheld. I find it to be an incredible waste of taxpayers' dollars that the state continues to fight this."...

    Aaron Huntsman, left, and William Lee Jones embrace during a celebration July 17 in Key West  after a Florida Keys judge ruled against Florida's ban on same-sex marriage.
  4. Bill Gates investment fund will partner with Vinik on Channelside

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Bill Gates' riches will help fuel Jeff Vinik's vision.

    An investment fund controlled by Microsoft's billionaire founder will help finance the Tampa Bay Lightning owner's ambitious plan to build a massive entertainment, office, residential and retail district around the Amalie Arena.

    "This has the potential to be a billion-dollar development," said Vinik's top lieutenant, Tod Leiweke, during a 90-minute interview at the arena Thursday....

    The Channelside district, shown looking toward the north and west, includes the Amalie Area to the right and downtown Tampa in the background.
  5. HCC wins $350,000 federal grant for diesel training center

    Economic Development

    TAMPA — Hillsborough Community College has won a $350,000 federal grant to help create a new diesel technology training center.

    In light of last week's U.S. Census report showing that the Tampa Bay area's median household income is below $50,000 — putting it dead last among the country's 25 largest metro areas — officials said the timing could not be better.

    "Any time we can focus on creating higher-wage jobs, it's important to our entire community," U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, said Wednesday....

  6. Lights on Tampa 2015 to spotlight illumination and creativity in motion

    Visual Arts

    TAMPA — Muscle-powered rings of light shooting up the 31 stories of the "Beer Can Building."

    A herd of shaggy horse-dancers.

    Underwater lights that change with the movement of the people walking by above.

    These are some of the seven downtown art installations the city is sponsoring next Feb. 20-21 as part of its "Lights on Tampa" public art program.

    "Bigger and better," Mayor Bob Buckhorn said in announcing the lineup for what he called "a signature festival for Tampa."...

    Urban Pixels by Urban Conga is series of lighted shapes or forms that can function as movable lawn furniture or perhaps as a building block to make something else. This kit of parts encourages interaction and play.  (Courtesy of City of Tampa)
  7. Jeff Vinik believed to be buyer looking at Tampa's Marriott Waterside

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Someone is looking to buy the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina.

    Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik's development team has talked to City Hall about the idea.

    And Mayor Bob Buckhorn believes the prospective buyer and Vinik are one and the same.

    "I am ever hopeful, cautiously optimistic and will be extremely pleased if he's able to do this," said Buckhorn, who said he spoke to Vinik's representatives about their desire to buy the Marriott in the last two to three weeks. "I know that they were interested, and they were going to pursue it."...

    The 719-room Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina.
  8. More bike lanes coming to Tampa's Bayshore Boulevard

    Roads

    TAMPA — Tampa's showpiece boulevard is getting more bike lanes to make it safer for both cyclists and motorists.

    The City Council this week approved spending $505,882 to create a bike lane on Bayshore Boulevard from south of Rome Avenue to just south of Howard Avenue.

    Watch for construction to start in October and be done by April. That means the contractor, Florida Safety Contractors of Tampa, will have to coordinate its work with Gasparilla planners....

  9. Tampa to fine landlords, renters for illegal house parties

    Local Government

    TAMPA — Landlords and their tenants will soon face $450 city fines when their rental houses host parties with under-aged drinking or illegal drug use.

    The penalties can't start too soon for homeowners like Gary Smith.

    Smith lives on N Ola Avenue in northern Seminole Heights across from a 4,000-square-foot house that he said has been used as a "frat house" for a couple of years....

  10. Developer proposes 23-story residential tower in Tampa's downtown

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — After nine years without any movement, the idea of a residential tower on downtown's N Franklin Street is getting new life.

    Carter & Associates, an Atlanta-based national real estate developer, is considering building a 23-story tower with 375 apartments or condominiums. The tower would go up on the 1-acre block bordered by N Franklin Street, E Tyler Street, N Florida Avenue and E Cass Street — what's known as the "Grant block."...

  11. Obama makes rounds at MacDill before arriving at downtown Tampa hotel

    War

    TAMPA — President Barack Obama arrived Tuesday evening at Tampa's MacDill Air Force Base in advance of meeting with military leaders to talk strategy against Islamic State militants.

    Air Force One touched down at 6:30 p.m., ahead of schedule. Obama was greeted by U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa; Army Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, commander of U.S. Central Command; Army Lt. Gen. Joseph L. Votel, commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command; and Air Force Col. Daniel H. Tulley, the commander of the 6th Air Mobility Wing at MacDill....

     Uniformed service personal from MacDill AFB take photos of the President as he walks up to them on the tarmac Tuesday, Sept., 16, 2014 in Tampa, FL.
  12. GOP convention surplus, plus matching funds, means $5M for 82 charities

    Politics

    The local organizers of the 2012 Republican National Convention last week began distributing $2.83 million left over from the event to more than 80 charities, most of them in the Tampa Bay area.

    In addition, Tampa Bay Host Committee organizers said they have secured $2 million in matching funds, bringing the entire distribution to nearly $5 million.

    Recipients include All Children's Hospital, Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Chi Chi Rodriguez Youth Foundation, Belleair Community Foundation and Eckerd's Friends of the Children mentoring program....

  13. Lightning owner Jeff Vinik withdraws plan for office project near Amalie Arena

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Back to the drawing board for Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik.

    After losing Syniverse as a prospective high-profile tenant, Vinik's real estate development team has withdrawn a rezoning application to build an office building near Amalie Arena.

    It also is dropping, at least for now, a related request to close Eunice Avenue for the project.

    Both withdrawals came in a letter to City Hall last week....

  14. President Obama's visit will snarl Tampa traffic

    Blog

    President Barack Obama is scheduled to fly into MacDill Air Force Base late Tuesday for a briefing at U.S. Central Command, but city officials say his visit will also affect traffic in and around the southern part of downtown Tampa.

    Commuters and residents will see the impact on the road, at parking garages and at businesses, city officials said, without providing further detail. Obama is expected to spend the night in Tampa and to meet with military leaders on Wednesday as they work on military plans for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria....