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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. Buckhorn joins supporters of Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal


    TAMPA — After spending 20 hours in the last row of coach flying to Mumbai before the Bollywood Oscars, Mayor Bob Buckhorn has a vivid sense of just how far the Tampa Bay area is from Asia.

    Still, Buckhorn said Friday, the distance shouldn't keep local businesses and officials from supporting the Obama administration's efforts to pass the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership.

    That's the trade deal, a decade in the making, designed to facilitate commerce between the United States and 11 nations on the Pacific Rim. Supporters say it could expand U.S. access to 40 percent of the world's economy, with every $1 billion in new trade supporting 5,000 stateside jobs. The pact is linked to the Trade Promotion Authority, a form of fast-track approval for trade agreements....

  2. Tampa lawyer sues over anonymous online review in case with First Amendment overtones


    If someone online makes false statements that anonymously trash your professional reputation, should you be able to find out who posted the review?

    Yes, says Tampa divorce and family law attorney Deborah Thomson, a central figure in a precedent-setting case now on appeal in the state of Washington.

    Thomson, 44, is a partner at The Women's Law Group in Carrollwood. Last year she filed a defamation suit against an anonymous reviewer on the attorney ratings web site She has asked courts in Seattle, where Avvo is based, to enforce a subpoena for information that would unmask her anonymous critic....

    Tampa attorney Deborah Thomson is trying to unmask an anonymous online critic she said made false, misleading and defamatory statements about her.
  3. 29-story towers, grocery store proposed between Channel District and Ybor City

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Developer Donald Phillips has applied for city zoning to build two 29-story residential towers and space for a grocery store on what is now a Peoples Gas storage yard between downtown, the Channel District and Ybor City.

    The proposed Gas Worx project would have three buildings with 1,432 apartments or condominiums in the two towers, according to a rezoning application filed with City Hall last week....

    The Gas Worx project would bring 1,432 apartments or condominiums to 7.6 acres between Ybor City and the Channel District. 
  4. Tampa chamber urges Legislature to expand health care coverage


    As the Legislature heads into next week's special session on the budget, the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce on Thursday restaked its position in support of expanding Medicaid.

    “On behalf of our over 1,200 members in Tampa and across the Tampa Bay region, we strongly urge our legislators to pass meaningful health care reform," chamber president and CEO Bob Rohrlack said in a prepared statement. "This has been a priority issue for our chamber for years, one which many other business organizations have since rallied around, and it is imperative that our elected officials resolve this issue during this upcoming special session.”...

  5. 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....

  6. 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....

  7. 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....

  8. 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....

  9. 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.
  10. 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]
  11. 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]
  12. 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....

    Mayor Bob Buckhorn talks about the view of downtown Tampa behind him from Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park as he lays out the plans for the park west of downtown Tampa on the Hillsborough River. The plans for the park are the result of community planning sessions and briefings with hundreds of residents and area business owners to create a collective vision for the nearly 25-acre park.
  13. 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.
  14. 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....

  15. 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....