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Richard Danielson, Times Staff Writer

Richard Danielson

Richard Danielson covers city government and politics in Tampa. He joined the Times in 1987. 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. Tampa City Council votes to accept travel invitation from Cuban ambassador

    Blog

    The invitation came to Tampa City Council chairwoman Yvonne Yolie Capin in a June 9 letter from Cuban ambassador to the United States José Ramón Cabañas Rodriguez.

    “If it is appropriate,” he wrote, “the Cuban government and the Cuban people would welcome an official delegation of the Tampa City Council to visit Cuba. This would be an opportunity for you and your colleagues to learn firsthand what Cuba is doing regarding drug interdiction, illegal immigration, collaborative marine biology and tourism, among other issues....

    The Tampa City Council voted 6-0, with Frank Reddick out of the room, to respond to a travel invitation from Cuban ambassador to the United States José Ramón Cabañas Rodriguez.
  2. Bob Buckhorn and Tampa council say county vote on Confederate statue doesn't speak for them

    Local

    TAMPA — It was the Hillsborough County Commission that voted not to remove a statue honoring the Confederacy, but Tampa officials are worried that the city, not the county, will pay the price.

    "One of the things that is disturbing is that the national media is reporting that it is Tampa that did not remove the monument," City Council member Harry Cohen said.

    "These decisions can have all sorts of unintended consequences," he said. "Businesses can decline to come here. People can decline to visit here. Conventions can decline to bring their business here because they see the community as acting in a nonwelcoming way. It's bad enough that we have a Confederate flag flying above I-75. This adds insult to injury."...

    The Hillsborough County Commission voted 4-3 this week to leave in place a Confederate monument outside the old County Courthouse. It was dedicated in 1911 with a speech calling African-Americans “ignorant and inferior’’ and saying a president who would appoint a black resident to a job in the South “engenders sectional bitterness, encourages lynchings, injures the Negro,” and is “a traitor to the Anglo-Saxon race.” [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  3. Poll: Jane Castor leads field of possibles for 2019 Tampa mayor race

    Blog

    The election is still nearly two years away, but a poll of the 2019 Tampa mayor's race this week found that a plurality of voters with an opinion liked former police chief Jane Castor more five other prospective candidates.

    The automated telephone poll, commissioned by Tampa insurance executive Guy King and done by StPetePolls.org, surveyed 647 registered voters in Tampa on Monday. It had a 3.9 percent margin of error and a 95 percent confidence level....

    Jane Castor
  4. Former police chief Jane Castor tops early poll looking at 2019 Tampa mayor's race

    Elections

    TAMPA — The election is still nearly two years away, but a poll of the 2019 Tampa mayor's race this week found that a plurality of voters with an opinion liked former police Chief Jane Castor more than five other prospective candidates.

    The automated telephone poll, commissioned by Tampa insurance executive Guy King and done by StPetePolls.org, surveyed 647 registered voters in Tampa. It had a 3.9 percent margin of error and a 95 percent confidence level....

    Former Tampa police Chief Jane Castor is one of the five potential candidates of 2019 Tampa mayoral race identified in a poll commissioned by an insurance executive.
  5. Tampa gets seven restaurant proposals for Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park

    Economic Development

    TAMPA — A restaurant at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park?

    Count us in, say seven bidders who turned in proposals to City Hall by Monday's deadline.

    The project would consist of renovating a 2,600-square-foot building overlooking the lawn at the popular downtown park. The prospects include some well-known Tampa names:

    • Columbia Food Services

    • Four Green Fields...

    City Hall put out a request for proposals to open a restaurant in an underused office space overlooking Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. Seven companies responded by Monday’s deadline.
  6. Three Tampa landmarks up for national historic status

    Human Interest

    Three Tampa landmarks could soon be listed on the National Register of Historic Places: The Oaklawn Cemetery near downtown, the Kennedy Boulevard Bridge and the Columbus Drive Bridge. The National Parks Service is expected to consider state recommendations to add the cemetery and Columbus bridge to the registry in the next several months. The state's review board could consider the Kennedy bridge recommendation at its next meeting on Aug. 10....

    The Kennedy Boulevard Bridge is being considered for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. LUIS SANTANA   |   Times
  7. Mulberry teens, 15 and 18, killed when cars collide at Plant City intersection

    Accidents

    MULBERRY — The local high school has an enrollment of 1,000 but to some it feels like a tight-knit family. Many of Mulberry High School's students have spent all of their school days within the city limits, said principal Michael Young.

    So when news spread Friday that two students died a day earlier in a Plant City car crash that left a third in critical condition, the entire community was blanketed with a "heavy presence of mourning," Young said. ...

    Edilberto Nava-Marcos, 18, was in critical condition.
  8. Mulberry teens, 15 and 18, killed when cars collide at Plant City intersection

    Blog

    MULBERRY — Crisis counselors were at Mulberry High School on Friday after three teenagers with connections to the Polk County school were in a Plant City crash Thursday that killed a brother and sister and critically injured their cousin, a senior who was scheduled to graduate that same evening.

    The teens who died — brother and sister Pepe Salgado, 18, and Frinzi Salgado-Diaz, 15 —  were passengers in a 2002 Toyota Corolla driven by Edilberto Nava-Marcos, 18, also of Mulberry. Nava-Marcos was transported to Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center and was listed in critical condition....

    Frinzi Salgado-Diaz
  9. Yolie Capin for Tampa mayor? Not out of the question

    Blog

    Tampa City Council chairwoman Yvonne Yolie Capin got The Question well into her appearance at the Friday morning public affairs discussion group Cafe Con Tampa.

    Does she plan to run for mayor in 2019? County Commission?

    “I will tell you this,” the two-term Democrat told about 75 people at the Oxford Exchange. “I was asked by someone, ‘Tell me what you’re not running for.’ I said, ‘I’m not running for governor.’ ”...

    Yvonne Yolie Capin
  10. Straz Center parking squeeze infuriates patrons, motivates search for solutions

    Transportation

    TAMPA — When the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts opened 30 years ago, it welcomed just 30,000 patrons its first year.

    These days, the Straz Center gets more than 600,000 patrons annually — but no new parking spaces have been added nearby. To the contrary, an apartment complex now under construction has gobbled up 500 spaces long used by concertgoers.

    The Florida Orchestra played recently before full or near-capacity crowds at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg and Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, but had open seats in a smaller theater at the Straz....

    Crescent Communities of Atlanta is building 394 apartments and a parking garage next to the Ashley Drive off-ramp from Interstate 275, taking away 500 Straz parking spaces.
  11. Air tests at Tampa golf course do not find controversial pesticide at levels deemed hazardous by EPA

    Blog

    Environmental monitoring at the Babe Zaharias Golf Course in Forest Hills found amounts of the controversial pesticide Curfew far below limits set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

    The Hillsborough Environmental Protection Commission set up an air-sampling canister on the edge of the 16th fairway at the golf course on May 9, the day that a contractor for the Tampa Sports Authority applied the pesticide. The canister was installed during application, was placed outside the 30-foot buffer zone that regulators require and remained in place for another 24 hours....

    A contractor for the Tampa Sports Authority applied the pesticide Curfew at the Babe Zaharias Golf Course on May 9.
  12. Bob Buckhorn apologizes amid uproar over his joke about pointing machine gun at journalists

    Blog

    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn says he’s told the joke many times, but it’s never blown up in his face until now.

    Speaking last week to a Tampa convention of special operations commandos and defense professionals, Buckhorn recalled the thrill of firing blanks from twin .50-caliber machine guns as part of a military exercise last year — and of the satisfaction of pointing the muzzle flashes at local reporters....

    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn fires a .50 caliber machine gun from a rigid hull inflatable boat during a Special Operations Capabilities Demonstration at the Tampa Convention Center last year.
  13. Four-term Hillsborough Sheriff David Gee to retire Sept. 30

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — Sheriff David Gee said Friday he plans to retire on Sept. 30 after nearly four decades in law enforcement and 13 years as the low-key but well-regarded leader of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

    "This decision has not been made lightly and was one of the most difficult decisions that I have made in my career," Gee said in an e-mail to his staff. He said he wants to devote "full attention and support" to family....

    2009: David Gee announces that a body, believed to be a missing 2-year old, has been found in a septic tank near home. [Times files]
  14. Four-term Hillsborough Sheriff David Gee to retire Sept. 30

    Blog

    TAMPA — Sheriff David Gee announced Friday he plans to retire on Sept. 30 after nearly four decades in law enforcement and 13 years at the helm of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

    “This decision has not been made lightly and was one of the most difficult decisions that I have made in my career,” Gee said in an e-mail to his staff. He said he wants to devote “full attention and support” to family....

    Sheriff David Gee will soon retire after 13 years at the helm of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. He will retire effective Sept. 30.
  15. Tampa's historic Cuscaden pool expected to reopen by Memorial Day

    Local Government

    TAMPA — Repairs to the historic Cuscaden Park pool are scheduled to start Monday, and officials now expect the pool to be open again for Memorial Day.

    Fixing a leaky drain and sealing two other drains will cost about $10,000 — a tiny fraction of the $3.2 million the city spent last year renovating the 80-year-old pool in the V.M. Ybor neighborhood.

    "This is considered a permanent fix," city contract administration director Michael Chucran told the City Council on Thursday....

    Work to repair a leaky drain and better seal two other drains is scheduled to begin next week at the city of Tampa's historic Cuscaden Park pool on N 15th Street. The pool is expected to re-open for Memorial Day. OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times