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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

Email: danielson@tampabay.com

Twitter: @Danielson_Times

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  1. Tampa City Council members say thanks — and no thanks — to honoring MaryEllen Elia

    Politics

    TAMPA — The Hillsborough County School Board is not the only locally elected body with mixed feelings about outgoing school superintendent MaryEllen Elia.

    Though Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn is a big fan of Elia, the City Council split Thursday on giving Elia a commendation thanking her for 10 years of service as superintendent. The vote for the commendation, suggested by council member Harry Cohen, was 5-2, with Mary Mulhern and Frank Reddick voting no....

    “The powers that be in Tampa and Hills-borough County just circled the wagons around this powerful person.”
Mary Mulhern, City Council member
  2. Tampa City Council members say thanks — and no thanks — to honoring MaryEllen Elia

    Blog

    The Hillsborough County School Board is not the only local elected body with mixed feelings about outgoing school superintendent MaryEllen Elia.

    While Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn is a big fan of Elia, the City Council split Thursday on giving Elia a commendation thanking her for 10 years of service as superintendent. The vote for the commendation, suggested by council member Harry Cohen, was 5 to 2, with Mary Mulhern and Frank Reddick voting no....

  3. Tampa City Council members say thanks — and no thanks — to honoring MaryEllen Elia

    Blog

    The Hillsborough County School Board is not the only local elected body with mixed feelings about outgoing school superintendent MaryEllen Elia.

    While Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn is a big fan of Elia, the City Council split Thursday on giving Elia a commendation thanking her for 10 years of service as superintendent. The vote for the commendation, suggested by council member Harry Cohen, was 5 to 2, with Mary Mulhern and Frank Reddick voting no....

  4. Tampa chamber backs bringing Cuban consulate here

    Politics

    TAMPA — The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce Wednesday came out in support of establishing a Cuban consulate in Tampa or Hillsborough County once the United States and Cuba normalize diplomatic relations.

    "The chamber has been a supporter of re-instituting ties with Cuba, most recently through our support of increasing flights to the nation from Tampa," chamber president Bob Rohrlack said in a statement announcing the position. Supporting a Cuban consulate here, he said, "is an outgrowth of many years of hard work and discussions about how best to renew our status as the U.S. gateway to Cuba."...

  5. Bob Buckhorn, City Council incumbents win in Tampa; March 24 runoff for District 6 seat

    Elections

    TAMPA — Mayor Bob Buckhorn breezed to a second term Tuesday night in a city election with the lowest voter turnout since the Nixon administration.

    With nearly all votes counted, Buckhorn piled up nearly 96 percent of the vote against a write-in candidate. Joining Buckhorn in re-election were four sitting City Council members. But a fifth, open City Council seat, District 6, will be decided in a March 24 runoff....

    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn sailed to victory with nearly 96 percent of the vote Tuesday. 
  6. Could this be Tampa's primary election with the lowest turnout in 40-plus years?

    Blog

    By 4 p.m. Tuesday, 5,125 Tampa voters had showed up at the polls.

    If that pace doesn't pick up a lot in the final hours, total turnout might not hit 12 percent, making this Tampa's primary election with the lowest turnout since at least 1971.

    For someone who has seen Tampa elections when they were a bigger deal, it can be disheartening.

    “When I first ran for mayor,” former Mayor Dick Greco said, “60,000 people voted. ... Today they’re expecting, like, 15 percent.”...

    A total of 2,791 Tampa voters showed up at the polls in the first five hours of voting Tuesday.
  7. On election day, a matter of perspective

    Blog

    By his count, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn says he's been involved in seven citywide campaigns since coming to Tampa in the 1980s, so he sounded a touch wistful — "my last vote in my last mayoral campaign" — as he left the polls Tuesday.

    But the mayor's wife, Dr. Cathy Lynch Buckhorn, saw the bright side.

    "It's much less stressful," she said, than it was in 2011, when Buckhorn fought his way out of a five-candidate primary, then headed into the runoff with almost nothing left in the bank. "I wasn't out holding as many signs as the last time."...

    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn gestures as he talks with voter Laurence Salkin, a water taxi operator known around town as "Capt. Larry," and Jim Porter, a volunteer for Tampa City Council member Harry Cohen, after voting Tuesday morning at the Marjorie Park Marina on Davis Islands.
  8. Tampa Election Day by the numbers

    Blog

    7 a.m. to 7 p.m. — Polls open. If you arrive at the polling place after 7 p.m., you will not be allowed to vote. 

    211,158 — Registered voters eligible to vote in Tampa’s election

    15,753 — Absentee ballots mailed in before Election Day

    2,592 — Votes cast during early voting

    8.7 percent — Turnout so far from absentee and early voting...

  9. Light turnout seen at many polling places in Tampa's city elections

    Elections

    TAMPA — Tampa voters went to the polls Tuesday to consider Mayor Bob Buckhorn's re-election and decide five City Council races.

    But not many went.

    As of 5 p.m., 5,840 Tampa voters had showed up on Election Day to cast ballots. That put turnout on a pace to hit 12 percent, a level that would make this Tampa's primary election with the lowest turnout since at least 1971.

    Still, Buckhorn said that doesn't make the election any less important....

    Turnout was light early Tuesday morning at the Precinct 115 polling place on S Manhattan Avenue. [SKIP O'ROURKE   |   Times]
  10. Tampa elections and Cuban sandwiches make for a campaign issue to chew on

    Local

    TAMPA — Lettuce and tomato on a Cuban sandwich?

    Tampa politics doesn't have much that could qualify as a purity test, but this might be it.

    So when voter Danny Thro got a campaign mailer from City Council member Mike Suarez that had a picture of a Cuban with lettuce and tomato, he paused.

    "I'm a vegetarian and imagine a Cuban sandwich to be my weak spot if I ever go back to eating meat," Thro said Monday in an email to the Tampa Bay Times. "Maybe that's why I looked so closely."...

    The Cuban sandwich pictured on City Council member Mike Suarez's campaign mailer includes lettuce and tomatoes, but Suarez said he's not trying to take a side.  (03/02/2015)
  11. Tampa voters go to the polls today

    Elections

    TAMPA — Amid talk of low turnout, Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer sees a reason to be encouraged about today's city elections in Tampa.

    This is the last day to vote in the mayor's race and five City Council elections. For some traditionalists, it is the only day to vote.

    "In Tampa, we have people who like to vote on election day," Latimer said Monday. At this point in the election, with early voting over, nearly 2,000 more voters have cast ballots than did at the same point four years ago, Latimer said, which suggests that turnout could be robust....

  12. What nonpartisan election? Florida Democratic Party takes another swipe at Jackie Toledo

    Blog

    Jackie Toledo isn't the only candidate in Tampa City Council District 6 who has a third-party political committee working on her behalf — or taking shots at her.

    On Monday, the day before the election, the Florida Democratic Party dropped its second mailer attacking Toledo in District 6. (The first came last month.)...

  13. Tampa elections and Cuban sandwiches make for a campaign issue to chew on

    Blog

    Lettuce and tomato on a Cuban sandwich?

    Tampa politics doesn’t have much that could qualify as a purity test, but this might be it.

    So when voter Danny Thro got a campaign mailer from City Council member Mike Suarez that had a picture of a Cuban with lettuce and tomato, he paused.

    “I'm a vegetarian and imagine a Cuban sandwich to be my weak spot if I ever go back to eating meat,” Thro said Monday in an email to Bay Buzz. “Maybe that's why I looked so closely.”...

    The Cuban sandwich pictured on City Council member Mike Suarez's campaign mailer includes lettuce and tomatoes,  but Suarez said he's not trying to take a side.
  14. Maniscalco supporter: What Toledo campaign consultant said doesn't match what I saw

    Blog

    Asked Wednesday night whether he knew Auston Molina, whose name had surfaced in connection with a new political action committee Moving Tampa Forward, Jackie Toledo campaign consultant Anthony Pedicini said, “No, I don’t think I do.”...

  15. Tampa council races focus on transportation, neighborhoods

    Elections

    TAMPA — Memories of the recession are fading. Building permits and property tax revenues are on the rise. And business tycoon Jeff Vinik plans to make a $1 billion bet on the future of downtown.

    So the campaigns heading into Tuesday's city elections have featured more optimism than pessimism, with relatively little controversy but plenty of talk about transportation and neighborhoods....