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. Legendary Hillsborough environmental chief Roger Stewart dies at 89


    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 checks a sample of water from Curlew Creek. He fought against local officials and developers who dumped waste into the bay.
  2. 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.
  3. Last hurrah at the Bro Bowl


    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.
  4. 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....

    The northbound lanes of Dale Mabry carry about 34,000 vehicles a day between Ballast Point and Gandy boulevards.
  5. 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. 
  6. 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)
  7. Contractor cleans up act after dumping Riverwalk concrete into Hillsborough River

    Local Government

    TAMPA — The company building an $8.8 million section of the Riverwalk fired at least one worker and disciplined others after a video this week showed a crew dumping waste concrete into the Hillsborough River.

    "That's shocking," city spokeswoman Ali Glisson said of the incident.

    The contractor, Johnson Bros. Corp. of Lithia, has apologized, she said Thursday.

    "What they appear to be doing — washing out their concrete bucket at the end of the day into the river — would definitely be in violation of their contract," she said. "It's beyond stupid. They should know better."...

    A worker with Johnson Bros. Corp. of Lithia dumps excess concrete into the Hillsborough River on Tuesday. The firm has apologized and plans to do the rest of its concrete washouts on land.
  8. Tribridge to add 200 IT jobs in Tampa by 2016

    Economic Development

    TAMPA — Tampa-based technology services company Tribridge plans to add up to 200 local jobs, nearly doubling its Tampa workforce by 2016 with the assistance of $1 million in government subsidies.

    "Based on our projected growth, we need lots of people," Tribridge chairman and CEO Tony DiBenedetto said Wednesday.

    Tribridge employs 600 nationwide, with more than 240 working at two locations in the West Shore business district. Locally, salaries average in the upper $80,000s....

    Tony DiBenedetto, chairman and CEO of Tribridge, said, “Based on our projected growth, we need lots of people.”
  9. Plan for Tampa's Riverfront Park has community center, boathouse

    Local Government

    TAMPA — The emerging plan for the makeover of Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park includes a two-story "river center" with something upstairs for neighbors and downstairs for rowing crews and dragon boat teams.

    The top floor of the river center could include a community room, park planners told residents Tuesday night at Blake High School. Because the park generally slopes down to the river, visitors could park on the high ground near Laurel Street and walk right into the second floor....

    A revised Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park may have a “great lawn,” a two-story “river center” and views of downtown.
  10. Tampa opens Water Works Park, looks for big things to follow (w/video)

    Local Government

    TAMPA — Construction crews worked until 10 p.m. Monday, but 12 hours later Water Works Park made its debut on a Tuesday morning steamy enough to make the adults in the crowd wish that they, too, could cool off at the new splash pad.

    "This is a day I have wanted for a very long time," Mayor Bob Buckhorn said. "Not just one year or two years, but 20 years."

    The city spent $7.4 million to transform Water Works Park — long closed to the public and partly used as a police fuel depot — into 5 acres with something for everyone....

    Richard Gonzmart will soon open Ulele restaurant, which is next to the restored Ulele Spring, in the foreground, part of the new Water Works Park.
  11. Tampa City Hall reorganizes to focus on roads and flooding

    Local Government

    TAMPA — Mayor Bob Buckhorn unveiled a City Hall reorganization on Monday aimed at putting a bigger priority on roads and drainage, with plans to boost spending on major projects.

    "We will now have one department" — known as Transportation and Stormwater Services — "to manage the city's real estate along our roads and right of way," Buckhorn said. The announcement comes after Buckhorn said he has been looking at realigning public works functions "to make them more efficient."...

  12. South Tampa landlord guilty of running illegal rooming house

    Local Government

    TAMPA — South Tampa landlord Kevin Kladakis is adamant.

    He rents apartments at his Palma Ceia four-plex at 3110 W San Carlos St. His tenants might have roommates, he says, but it is not a rooming house.

    Last week, however, a special magistrate reached a different conclusion after neighbors of Kladakis' property packed a code enforcement hearing to testify against him.

    Homeowners complained of high turnover as renters come and go monthly, even weekly. They said Kladakis' tenants have been loud, gotten into fights, walked around with open beers, hauled mattresses to and from the building and scared women in the neighborhood with catcalls....

    A special code enforcement magistrate ruled this house at 3110 W San Carlos St., Tampa, is being operated as a rooming house.
  13. Tampa misses out on $270,000 in ambulance fees


    TAMPA — The city missed out on an estimated $270,000 in revenue in ambulance fees two years ago because of a previously undiscovered billing problem, according to an internal audit, so now officials have made some changes.

    In 2012, Tampa Fire Rescue ambulances took nearly 17,350 patients to the hospital, but only about 16,400 of them received bills.

    That's because the vendor that handles billing and collections for the city, Advanced Data Process Intermedix, has no record of 943 of those runs. Tampa officials use a secure data link to send patient transport records to ADPI for billing....

  14. Tampa City Council delays vote on erasing some rowing team graffiti

    Local Government

    TAMPA — A divided City Council on Thursday postponed voting on whether to erase a single stretch of graffiti, much of it painted by visiting college rowing teams, from a Hillsborough River sea wall.

    To its fans, the rowing graffiti is urban art. No one turned out to defend it, but council members Mary Mulhern and Yvonne Yolie Capin said the idea of removing it is provoking lots of opposition on blogs and social media. And they agreed it should be saved....

    Mayor Bob Buckhorn wants to remove 650 feet of graffiti that span Kiley Gardens and the Kennedy Boulevard bridge.
  15. Harry Cohen seeking second term on Tampa City Council


    Harry Cohen on Tuesday filed to run for re-election to the Tampa City Council District 4 seat representing South Tampa.

    Cohen, 44, is a lawyer and former chief deputy clerk of the circuit court for Hillsborough County. He works for the clerk’s office part-time on a wide-ranging project to update the agency’s information technology....

    Tampa City Council member Harry Cohen, left, listens to Craig Ricks in 2011 during Cohen’s volunteer shift as a server at the Trinity Cafe, a charity that serves sit-down meals to the homeless and hungry.