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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 local government in Pinellas and Pasco counties, state and federal courts and higher education. 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: rdanielson@tampabay.com

Twitter: @Danielson_Times

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  1. Activists want Tampa's Citizens Review Board to subpoena police

    Local Government

    TAMPA — The City Council wants to make changes to Mayor Bob Buckhorn's new Citizens Review Board for police, but the changes do not include giving the panel the authority to subpoena police officers.

    They should, say activists who see the ability to compel testimony as a key to making the review board effective and credible.

    As established by Buckhorn, the 11-member board would review closed internal affairs cases involving the use of force or police pursuits. It also could consider Police Department policies, procedures or any matter of public interest and make recommendations for improvement, Chief Eric Ward said. In a vote Thursday, the council signaled it wants to pick most of the members on the board....

    Tampa police Chief Eric Ward’s study included boards with subpoena power.
  2. Tampa might ramp up stormwater fees over time

    Local Government

    TAMPA — Surely, Pete Montero said, "There's some kind of error."

    Montero went to City Hall with a notice he received last week outlining Tampa's proposed stormwater fees for his house in the V.M. Ybor neighborhood.

    On the front, the notice listed a fee of $82.

    On the back, it listed a fee of $98.

    No, officials said, that's not a misprint. The city will hold a public hearing Aug. 27 on a proposal for two different stormwater assessments....

    Marianna Chavez, 54 stands in front of her home looking at N. Hesperides St. that has been flooded for the past 2 weeks. 

Tampa was hit with another round of rain showers creating yet another day of local flooding around Tampa area streets. This intersection of N. Hesperides and W. Knollwood was closed due to flooding. Aug. 8, 2015 [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
  3. After a summer of rain and flood, Tampa doubles yearly stormwater fee

    Local Government

    TAMPA — For the first time in more than a decade, property owners in Tampa will pay more next year to help keep the city's drainage system unclogged and flowing.

    The City Council voted unanimously Thursday to raise Tampa's annual stormwater assessment from $36 to $82 per year for the owners of medium-sized houses. Property owners with bigger buildings and more paved surfaces will pay more; those with smaller houses and decks will pay less....

    Marianna Chavez, 54 stands in front of her home looking at N. Hesperides St. that has been flooded for the past 2 weeks. 

Tampa was hit with another round of rain showers creating yet another day of local flooding around Tampa area streets. This intersection of N. Hesperides and W. Knollwood was closed due to flooding. Aug. 8, 2015 [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
  4. Tampa City Council wants more picks for Citizens Review Board for police

    Local Government

    TAMPA — There was accusation, acrimony and the airing of long-standing grievances.

    And that was just the City Council talking with its attorneys.

    After one of its most tense meetings in recent memory, the council voted Thursday to try to change the makeup of Mayor Bob Buckhorn's new Citizens Review Board for police.

    The idea of creating a review board has energized critics of the Tampa Police Department, many of them black, who say the agency unfairly targets poor and minority neighborhoods. Meanwhile, council members complain Buckhorn ignored their wishes when he signed an executive order to create the panel on Aug. 28....

  5. Tampa attorneys, activists disagree about Tampa's Citizens Review Board for police

    Local Government

    TAMPA — Make no mistake, Mayor Bob Buckhorn says: He, not the City Council, can create a Citizens Review Board to scrutinize police.

    "The charter is very, very, very clear," said Buckhorn, who got a six-page opinion from City Attorney Julia Mandell before signing an executive order to set up the new board last week. "That authority … resides in the office of the mayor — pure and simple."...

    Tampa City Council Chairman Frank Reddick was the first to suggest a citizen review board of Tampa police. [DANIEL WALLACE | Times (2012)] 
  6. Pressured from the outside, Bob Buckhorn creates Citizens Review Board for Tampa police

    Local Government

    TAMPA — Pushed by black residents, civil rights groups and an assertive City Council, Mayor Bob Buckhorn on Friday created a Citizens Review Board to recommend ways to improve police relationships with the community it serves.

    "We can always do better," Buckhorn said. "We have heard the voices at City Council, and we respect those voices. But we are going to create a solution that works for us, not that works for some other outside group."...

    “We can always do better,” said Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn.
  7. Tampa council delays votes on stormwater fee increases

    Local Government

    TAMPA — After 90 minutes of impassioned pleas on both sides of the question, the City Council paused Thursday to get more information before voting whether to raise stormwater fees.

    Most of the three dozen speakers agreed Tampa has chronic problems with flooding, but differed on whether and how to address them.

    "I thought I would never say this, but here it goes: City Council, please raise my taxes," said Marlin Anderson, president of the Sunset Park Area Homeowners Association. "Please raise my taxes to pay for this stormwater improvement that is so desperately needed."...

  8. Tampa Bay Young Republicans elect all-female executive board

    Blog

    The 150-member Tampa Bay Young Republicans this week elected its first all-female executive board. Its members are:

    • President Janine Kiray, who was re-elected to a second term. She is a Florida native, University of South Florida graduate and legislative assistant to state Rep. Chris Latvala, R-Clearwater. 

    • Vice president Holly Holobyn, an Indiana native, Indiana University graduate and a casualty adjuster for USAA in Tampa. She previously was the group’s secretary....

  9. Tampa set for public hearing on stormwater fee increase

    Local Government

    TAMPA — Is it any surprise Tampa floods, considering how settlers didn't hesitate to pave over creeks to put down roads?

    An 1887 city map shows a stream bed with the note "Creek (Dry in summer)" right down the middle of Jackson Street.

    A 1903 map shows a creek flowing from the northwest through present-day Hyde Park and emptying into Hillsborough Bay.

    "We built on a swamp," says City Council member Mike Suarez, who heard about the old maps, "and we get swampy sometimes."...

  10. Tampa's Coast Bike Share to cut monthly prices, raise them for daily rides

    Transportation

    TAMPA — Since its launch last December, most people who have rented bicycles through Coast Bike Share have been tourists, conventioneers, cruise ship passengers and other out-of-towners.

    And, not surprisingly, most of those visitors have paid $5 for a one-day Coast membership.

    But here's the thing: Most of the locals who ride the sky-blue bikes also buy one-day memberships, even when they ride a few times a month....

    Daily rental of a Coast Bike Share bicycle will soon climb from $5 to $8 per hour of riding time. But Coast will also cut the cost of its monthly membership, which includes 60 minutes daily riding time, from $30 
to $15.
  11. Tampa City Council to consider proposal to raise stormwater fee

    Local Government

    TAMPA — Water-logged Tampanians might be ready to pay more for better drainage.

    After some of the city's heaviest rain since the Nixon administration, the City Council will hold a public hearing Thursday on the idea of raising the city's stormwater fee for the first time in a decade. It is one of Tampa's biggest checkbook issues in years.

    But while council members have gotten plenty of complaints about flooding this summer, they have heard less about the proposed increase....

  12. Murals to brighten a drab Tampa parking garage

    Local Government

    TAMPA — With its five decks of sun-bleached concrete, downtown's William F. Poe Parking Garage is nothing to look at — at least not yet.

    But City Hall and two local artists plan to change that.

    Starting in October, Leon "Tes One" Bedore of Tampa and Ales "Bask" Hostomsky of St. Petersburg will spend eight weeks covering the outside of the 932-space garage with murals — some fluid with motion, some childlike in their whimsy, all in colors that pop and all with the theme "Stay Curious."...

    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn on the $100,000 project: “I love ’em. They’re big. They’re bold. The colors jump out at you.’’
  13. Florida Crystals starts building $60 million midrise apartments in Tampa's Channel District

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — What Port Tampa Bay wants to do in a big way, a South Florida developer is doing on a smaller scale nearby in the Channel District.

    On a block south of E Kennedy Boulevard between 11th and 12th streets, FCI Residential is spending $60 million to replace an unused warehouse that once served the shipping industry with an Art Deco-inspired apartment house teeming with young professionals....

    FCI Residential, a division of sugar producer Florida Crystals Corp., is building a mid-rise apartment project in Tampa's Channel District. The $60 million project is rising from an old industrial site and will have 300 units in eight stories, plus a six-and-a-half story parking garage. Rent is expected to average just under $2,000 a month. The building will have an Art Deco-inspired design and ground-floor retail near its entrance along Kennedy Boulevard.
  14. Summer marked by slowdown in bike ticketing by Tampa police

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — Tampa police dramatically decreased their bicycle ticketing after a Tampa Bay Times investigation this spring found stark racial disparities in the long-standing practice.

    Police gave out 59 bike tickets from May through July, fewer than any other summer in more than a decade, according to department records. A Times analysis found Tampa police wrote three times more tickets in the same period last year....

    Renaldo Longstreet, 34, right, and his friend Quinn Hayes pedal their bikes Tuesday on N Rome Avenue in West Tampa. “Quinn and I had our bikes flipped by Tampa police three months ago, but we were never given tickets for no lights,’’ Longstreet said. A decline in bicycle tickets comes in the wake of a Times investigation published in April that found Tampa police issued more bike citations than any other law enforcement agency in Florida.
  15. Tampa to expand rec center weekend hours, give teens free rec cards

    Local Government

    TAMPA — With school starting next week, City Hall plans to spend $100,000 to keep recreation centers open on weekends and provide teens with free recreation cards.

    The city extended its "Stay and Play" recreation program, which started in June in response to an outbreak of gun-related violence that resulted in 18 homicides, four of them of teenagers, in the first half of the year. The number of killings has since risen to 23....

    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn says Stay and Play reduced “potentially violent situations” this summer.