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. Taser stun and arrest could cost Tampa taxpayers $100,000

    Local Government

    TAMPA — It was a late Thursday afternoon in 2008, and Eddy Leon Graddy was standing on the sidewalk on N Nebraska Avenue when three Tampa police officers rolled up.

    What happened next left Graddy with a broken arm and a Taser barb in his back, prosecutors with a criminal case that fell apart and taxpayers with legal bills that soon could include a $100,000 settlement.

    On Thursday, the City Council is scheduled to consider paying Graddy the settlement to drop a federal lawsuit against the city and the three officers....

  2. Tampa lawyer in DUI scandal to leave expressway authority

    Local

    TAMPA — A Tampa lawyer whose firm has been the focus of federal and Florida Bar investigations into the DUI arrest of an opposing lawyer during a high-profile trial has asked to leave the board of the Tampa-Hillsborough Expressway Authority.

    Stephen C. Diaco, 45, has been on the authority's board since 2007 and served as its chairman from 2009 until last week when the board, informed of his desire to leave, selected banker Curtis Stokes to replace him....

    Stephen Diaco faces FBI and Florida Bar inquiries.
  3. Jeff Vinik, Tampa officials looking at changing streets near Times Forum

    Business

    TAMPA — Decades ago, when Tampa's waterfront was warehouses and blue-collar jobs, the jumbled street grid at the southern end of downtown might not have been a problem.

    But now that Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik has bought up 24 acres around the Tampa Bay Times Forum, he and city officials want to set the stage for an active, easy-access and pedestrian-friendly entertainment district....

    Shown is a parking lot at the corner of South Florida and Old Waters Street in Tampa.  According to zoning documents filed the city, the Vinik group is considering building a 400-room hotel and a high-rise condominium with 50 units on the parking lot next to the Tampa Bay Times Forum, visible at upper left.
  4. Mary Mulhern vs. Harry Cohen?

    Blog

    Is term-limited Tampa City Council member Mary Mulhern considering running against the colleague she sits next to on the council dais — South Tampa representative Harry Cohen?

    Yes, Mulhern acknowledged Thursday, but that’s only one of a lot of things she’s looking at.

    “I’m thinking about everything,” said Mulhern, who will be out of her current job after her four-year term ends next March. She’s also exploring potential opportunities in the private sector, as well as considering county or other offices scheduled to come up for election in 2016. “There’s nothing I’m not thinking about.”...

  5. Brad Baird named Tampa's top utility administrator

    Local Government

    TAMPA — Mayor Bob Buckhorn has named Water Department director Brad Baird the city's new administrator of public works and utility services.

    Baird, a professional engineer who has worked for the city for 31 years, will replace Mike Herr, who is leaving to become city manager in Plant City.

    "From stormwater to wastewater, I doubt there is anyone who knows more about the city of Tampa's utilities systems than Brad," Buckhorn said. He described Baird as "proactive and solutions-oriented."...

  6. Tampa park honors lunch counter sit-in leader Clarence Fort

    Local Government

    TAMPA — As a 20-year-old barber in 1960, Clarence Fort used to listen to his customers talk about the lack of hope and fairness for Tampa's black residents.

    Jobs were scarce, theaters segregated. Downtown five-and-dime stores took their money but refused to let them sit down at the lunch counter for a hamburger or a Coca-Cola.

    So on Feb. 29, 1960, as the new president of the NAACP Youth Council, Fort and the Rev. A. Leon Lowry led 50 Blake and Middleton high school students in a sit-in at F.W. Woolworth's lunch counter on Franklin Street....

    Clarence Fort, 76, stands at Tampa’s new Osborne Pond and Community Trail, which will be named in honor of Fort.
  7. Condo fire prompts evacuation, cautious response near St. Joseph's Hospital

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — Police and fire responded to the Habana Park condominiums near St. Joseph's Hospital Tuesday for what officials said was an arson and suicide in an upstairs unit.

    About 12:40 p.m. a resident in a downstairs unit called 911 because there was water coming out of the light fixtures on the ceiling of the condominium unit.

    Firefighters went upstairs to Unit 142 at 4702 Michael Court, but the man there would not answer the door, so they backed out to a safe location. They sent for a manager with a key and police were called to the scene....

  8. Jeff Vinik proposes office building north of Times Forum

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik's vision for the Channel District is coming into focus, and it includes bringing in hundreds of white-collar workers along with tourists and sports fans.

    The latest piece of his plan is a 202,000-square-foot office building that Vinik's companies propose to build north of the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

    And a rezoning application filed last week suggests a tenant for that building could be Syniverse, a fast-growing high-tech firm now based in New Tampa....

    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn says he’s excited by the prospects of a new, large office complex in downtown Tampa.
  9. Coast Bike Share seeks to change Tampa's cycling culture

    Roads

    TAMPA — Consider the paradox.

    When it launches in September, Coast Bike Share will put 300 new rental bikes on Tampa's streets for downtown workers, residents, college students and tourists.

    But the rules of the road often will require them to ride on the street, especially downtown. That's the core of a metro area known as the second most dangerous place in the nation for pedestrians and bicyclists....

    Coast Bike Share will offer 300 bicycles at 30 Tampa stations dotting downtown, Ybor City and surrounding neighborhoods.
  10. Legendary Hillsborough environmental chief Roger Stewart dies at 89

    Environment

    TAMPA — He incensed real estate developers. He poured fuel on a flickering local green movement. He directed national TV cameras to sewage spills in Tampa Bay and then took the heat from hometown politicians.

    Roger P. Stewart, an Air Force pilot-turned-environmentalist, kept Hills­borough County elected officials on edge for three decades in a hard-fought battle to put natural resources over profit....

    Roger Stewart was surprised by his staff at the EPC with an ice cream social for his retirement.  Stewart was the executive director of the Environmental Protection Commission for 32 years.
  11. Tampa approves removing some rowing teams' graffiti along Hillsborough River

    Local Government

    TAMPA — The City Council on Thursday night voted to allow a clean scrubbing for a 650-foot stretch of riverfront seawall now painted over with about two dozen rowing team logos, a half-dozen roughed-in Greek fraternity names and a couple of four-letter words.

    The city will pay $40,000 for the project, with another $40,000 coming from the nonprofit Friends of the Riverwalk.

    Mayor Bob Buckhorn wants the wall cleaned because the city plans to install interactive underwater lights — they will change color as people walk by — along the Riverwalk as part of the Lights On Tampa 2015 public art program....

    Graffiti that include rowing team logos will be scrubbed from 650 feet of seawall from the Kennedy Boulevard bridge north to Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park’s southern edge.
  12. Last hurrah at the Bro Bowl

    Blog

    Skateboarders gathered Sunday at the Bro Bowl in advance of next month’s anticipated closure, demolition and eventual relocation of the skateboard basin as part of a $6.9 million update of Perry Harvey Sr. Park.

    Also in attendance: non-skater retiree Joel Jackson, 72, who designed the skate bowl in the 1970s while working as an urban planner at Tampa City Hall....

    Bro Bowl designer Joel Jackson, center, holding poster, with skateboarders on Sunday.
  13. Two big Tampa water main breaks divert traffic, disrupt businesses

    Local Government

    TAMPA — With nearly 2,200 miles of water mains, the city of Tampa averages about eight breaks a day, but doesn't see many like the two that bedeviled traffic and businesses Tuesday.

    They were big.

    A 20-inch transmission main broke Monday evening under S Dale Mabry Highway just south of Gandy Boulevard. Tuesday morning, a 12-inch transmission main split open downtown at Ashley Drive and Tyler Street....

    Florida Department of Transportation officials hope to have Dale Mabry reopened by late tonight.
  14. Riverwalk builder says it retrained workers, moved operation after dumping video

    Local Government

    TAMPA — In its first public statement since a video showed liquid concrete being dumped into the Hillsborough River, the company building a new section of the Riverwalk said Friday it has retrained workers and changed where it washes out equipment.

    Tampa officials this week demanded that Johnson Bros. Corp. of Lithia, which has an $8.8 million city construction contract, address the video by saying in writing what happened, why it happened and what it would do to remedy the situation....

    The company building a new section of the Riverwalk said Friday it has retrained workers and changed where it washes out equipment after a video showed liquid concrete being dumped into the Hillsborough River. 
  15. Parking for SoHo's bar scene appears feasible on Platt Street

    Local Government

    TAMPA — As crowds of bar-hoppers on S Howard Avenue grow ever bigger, their appetite for parking is wearing out the patience of surrounding homeowners.

    So now Tampa officials are looking at providing at least some relief to SoHo neighborhoods by adding on-street parking along Platt Street.

    A recent review suggests on-street parking and also a bike lane with a buffer from other traffic could be put on part of Platt without creating "unacceptable congestion," said Jean Duncan, the city's newly appointed director of transportation and stormwater services....

    Times files (2005)