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. 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....

  2. 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."...

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


    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....

    President Barack Obama greets members of the military at MacDill Air Force Base after landing in Tampa on Tuesday evening. [JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]
  4. GOP convention surplus, plus matching funds, means $5M for 82 charities


    TAMPA — The local organizers of the 2012 Republican National Convention this week began distributing $2.83 million in money left over from the event to scores of 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.

    The host committee did not say how much any one charity will receive, but released a list of more than 80 educational institutions, arts groups, civic improvement organizations, child and family welfare organizations, charitable foundations and others....

  5. 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....

  6. President Obama's visit will snarl Tampa traffic


    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....

  7. Obama visit expected to impact traffic in downtown Tampa


    Downtown Tampa traffic to be affected

    TAMPA — President Barack Obama is scheduled to fly into MacDill Air Force Base late today 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.

    Obama is first traveling today to Atlanta to visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for an Ebola crisis briefing....

  8. At Fanboy Expo Tampa, the fans are the show

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — Nothing like Fanboy Expo Tampa to bring out a kaleidoscope of humanity.

    The celebrities — stars who made their names for everything from The Six Million Dollar Man to The Walking Dead — are the draw, but really the fans are the show.

    Saturday's edition of the three-day event, expected to draw a total of 5,000 people, turned the Hilton Tampa Downtown into a pop-culture jukebox....

    Liz Anderson, 33, left, and Patti Moore, 26, pose for a picture with The Walking Dead’s Scott Wilson, very much alive, unlike his character. He was the big draw Saturday at the Fanboy Expo Tampa. It continues today downtown.
  9. With other ideas in the mix, Tampa money not guaranteed for Rays stadium


    TAMPA — Mayor Bob Buckhorn raised his city's profile in the discussion about the future of the Tampa Bay Rays by saying in 2011 that City Hall could, in theory, contribute up to $100 million toward a new ballpark in downtown Tampa.

    Three years later, Tampa still expects to have millions in cash on hand after it pays off its convention center bonds. But it also has other potential contenders emerging for that money....

  10. Standard & Poor's upgrades Tampa general credit rating to AAA

    Local Government

    TAMPA — For the third time in three years, a major bond rating agency has upgraded its assessment of the city of Tampa's credit.

    Standard & Poor's on Friday raised its rating on what's considered to be the city's general credit rating from AA+ to AAA, its highest rating for municipalities.

    "We view the city's management conditions as very strong, with strong financial practices," Standard & Poor's wrote in a five-page report on the decision....

  11. No challengers in sight, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn launches his re-election campaign


    TAMPA — Saying he has "the only job I ever really wanted," Mayor Bob Buckhorn filed papers Friday to seek a second term in Tampa's municipal elections on March 3.

    "There is a lot of momentum moving Tampa forward, and I want to finish the job I was hired to do," he said.

    So far, Buckhorn is the only candidate in the race, and people who follow city politics say they aren't hearing of strong challengers getting ready to step forward. Candidates can get in the race until qualifying ends in mid-January....

  12. Tampa City Council gives initial approval to 400-room Vinik hotel near Amalie Arena

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — The first in what is expected to be a series of projects to create an entertainment district around the Amalie Arena cleared an early hurdle Thursday night.

    The City Council voted 6-0, with Mary Mulhern absent, to give initial approval to a 400-room hotel proposed by Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik.

    The rezoning, which comes up for a second hearing and a final vote Oct. 2, is expected to allow Vinik and his partners to move ahead, pick a hotel operator, then develop more detailed plans for a 2.8-acre parking lot just west of the arena....

    Lightning owner Jeff Vinik's companies propose to build the hotel at the corner of S Florida Avenue and Old Water Street in Tampa.
  13. Tampa unveils $20M plan to redevelop Riverfront Park (w/gallery)

    Local Government

    TAMPA — Bob Buckhorn has worked for nearly 3½ years to put his stamp on Tampa's urban core but never like this.

    On Tuesday, the Tampa mayor unveiled an ambitious plan to transform a large but all-but-forgotten park on the edge of downtown into a destination.

    Estimated cost: more than $20 million.

    "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," Buckhorn said during a news conference at Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park, 23 acres on the west bank of the Hillsborough River across from the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. "It's not inexpensive, but I think it is worth doing."...

    An artist’s rendering shows the great lawn proposed for Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park. The planned makeover includes a 16,250-square-foot “river center.”
  14. Would protests provoke Ferguson-style response in Tampa? No, police say

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — Disturbed by weeks of unrest in Ferguson, Mo., with its scenes of rifle-pointing police in riot gear, armored military vehicles and the use of tear gas, the City Council sought reassurance Thursday that Tampa wouldn't see the same kind of bristling confrontation if tensions rose here.

    "I'd like to hear that that's not what we're going to see," council member Mary Mulhern said....

    Police arrest a man as they disperse a protest last month in Ferguson, Mo. [AP photo]
  15. Tampa moves to fine landlords for house parties

    Local Government

    TAMPA — Landlords whose tenants throw house parties allowing underage drinking or illegal drug use could be fined under an ordinance that won initial City Council approval Thursday.

    For two years, homeowners in West Riverfront and North Hyde Park have complained that parties at houses rented by University of Tampa students have disrupted their sleep, clogged their streets with taxicabs and littered their yards with red plastic cups....