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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

  1. Progress, but no agreement for Bob Buckhorn and Frank Reddick


    TAMPA — City Council Chairman Frank Reddick walked out of Mayor Bob Buckhorn's office Friday with a sense of having made some progress and the gift of a baseball.

    But Reddick did not leave with an agreement about the number of members the City Council will appoint to Tampa's new Citizens Review Board for police.

    Rather, Reddick and Buckhorn talked about various possible scenarios for the 11-member board, which is being created to review closed internal affairs cases involving the use of force and police pursuits, as well as other policies and issues of public concern....

    Frank Reddick had called for seven council appointees to the panel.
  2. 27 percent of Tampa Bay area renters pay at least half their income in rent, study says


    More than a quarter of the Tampa Bay area’s renters spend at least half of their pre-tax household income on rent and utilities, according to a survey from the renter advocacy campaign Make Room.

    That’s a level that’s considered to be a “severe” burden on the 114,342 local renters who are paying it, said Make Room, whose sponsoring partner is the Maryland-based nonprofit Enterprise Community Partners....

  3. At Vinik-Cascade project, healthy design will mean choices, not bans


    TAMPA — Thanks to a new partnership with some New York-based wellness gurus, Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik's plan for a $2 billion downtown development now includes a major commitment to promoting healthy living.

    But still, this is America.

    And America is about freedom and choice.

    So while salad could be plentiful and sugary drinks scarce in at least some office buildings, planners say the new district will still be a place where you can find a burger and a beer....

    “We should offer fresh fruit. We should offer fresh vegetables,” said Jeff Vinik of the project.
  4. Tampa City Council rescinds $75,000 for Go Hillsborough project

    Local Government

    TAMPA — The City Council voted Thursday to pull back about $75,000 it pledged to the Go Hillsborough transportation project.

    The council voted on Sept. 3 to pay $74,985 to the engineering firm Parsons Brinckerhoff, which is managing Go Hillsborough's efforts to get public feedback on the idea of a 2016 referendum on whether to raise the sales tax to help pay for transportation projects....

  5. $2 billion Vinik project to focus on healthy design through partnership with New York firm



    To Jeff Vinik's list of big ambitions for what he now describes as a $2 billion project near downtown Tampa, add this:

    To create the world's first city district designed to make those who live and work there more healthy.

    Vinik on Tuesday unveiled a partnership to do that with Delos, a New York-based real estate company that tries to build health and wellness strategies into its projects....

    Under a partnership announced Tuesday, all buildings in Jeff Vinik's downtown Tampa project will be designed with a focus on seven categories of building performance, including air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind. That includes a 400- to 500-room hotel planned next to Amalie Arena, as well as a 650,000-square-foot office tower, the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute, and approximately 200,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and entertainment space.
  6. Tampa City Hall urged: Add Beth Leytham to Riverfront Park project team


    TAMPA — On one thing, there is no argument: In 2013, City Hall suggested to a planning firm hired to redesign Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park that it expand its team to include Tampa public relations consultant Beth Leytham.

    That's the same Beth Leytham now facing questions — first raised by WTSP 10News and that she disputes — about whether she worked behind the scenes to nudge Hillsborough County officials toward giving a $1.35 million consulting contract to a firm that employs her as a subcontractor....

    Tampa officials say Beth Leytham's work getting the public involved in the InVision Tampa downtown planning project made her a logical person to want on a team working on the redesign for Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park.
  7. Forecast: A rainy week leading to a pleasant weekend


    The beginning of this week will be plenty wet, according to WTSP 10 Weather, but the weekend is expected to be "cooler" and "not as humid."


    "This is a fantastic weekend coming up," said meteorologist Bobby Deskins.

    Daytime temperatures should hover in the mid 80s starting Friday, and overnight they'll dip into the lower 70s. Deskins said those mild conditions should last through Sunday....

  8. Tampa council's Lisa Montelione wants review of city lobbying rules


    TAMPA — A few days after the chairwoman of the Hillsborough County Commission called for tighter rules on lobbyists, the Tampa City Council wants a review of its lobbying regulations.

    Some of the reasons for the city review overlap with what's going on at the county, where the Go Hillsborough transportation initiative is mired in questions about whether public relations consultant Beth Leytham has gotten government work because she's close to influential elected officials....

    Council member Lisa Montelione wants a policy update.
  9. Tampa City Council’s Lisa Montelione wants review of city ethics and lobbying rules in wake of Go Hillsborough controversy


    First Hillsborough County Commission Chairwoman Sandy Murman called for tighter rules on lobbyists in light of the controversy over the Go Hillsborough contract with an engineering firm and its politically connected subcontractor.

    Now the Tampa City Council is asking for a review of city lobbying regulations, too....

    Tampa City Council member Lisa Montelione
  10. Tampa council, mayor move toward compromise on Citizens Review Board for police


    TAMPA — Protesters shouted "No compromise!" on Thursday, temporarily shutting down a City Council discussion of Tampa's new Citizens Review Board for police.

    But after a four-hour delay and another discussion, the council and Mayor Bob Buckhorn each took a step toward finding common ground.

    First the council voted to ask Chairman Frank Reddick to meet with the mayor and explore opportunities for compromise....

    Fans weren’t in a hurry to return to their seat following halftime as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers play the St. Louis Rams at Raymond James Stadium. The Bucrs won 18-17.
  11. Tampa council gives initial okay to expanded RayJay liquor sales


    TAMPA — A proposal to expand liquor sales to all of Raymond James Stadium won initial approval from the Tampa City Council Thursday night.

    The Tampa Sports Authority currently has a city permit to sell beer and wine throughout the stadium, but can only serve distilled spirits to the 15,000 or so fans in the club level and luxury suites.

    Sports authority officials say expanding liquor sales to the entire 65,890-seat facility would put the stadium on an equal footing with Amalie Arena and Tropicana Field....

    Booze is common at tailgate parties outside Raymond James Stadium, but the Tampa Sports Authority wants to expand its ability to sell liquor inside the stadium to the entire facility. Currently, cocktails are only available in the club-level and luxury suites.
  12. Raymond James Stadium seeks to expand liquor sales


    TAMPA — You can buy a cold beer or glass of wine at a Tampa Bay Buccaneers home game, but, for now, you can't get a cocktail unless you hold a pricey club-level ticket or sit in one of the luxury suites at Raymond James Stadium.

    That could change soon.

    The Tampa City Council has scheduled the first of two public hearings for 6 p.m. today on a request to allow liquor sales throughout the 65,890-seat stadium....

    If the Tampa City Council approves, the Tampa Sports Authority could get permission to sell mixed drinks throughout Raymond James Stadium.
  13. No conflict of interest seen for Tampa attorney in Citizens Review Board debate


    TAMPA — Just because the mayor and the City Council disagree doesn't create a conflict of interest for a city attorney who happens to side with the mayor.

    That's the takeaway from an eight-page opinion submitted to City Hall this week by Gwynne A. Young, a Carlton Fields attorney who is the immediate past president of the Florida Bar.

    City Attorney Julia Mandell hired Young for $10,000 to sort through legal issues brought up during the roiling debate over Tampa's new Citizens Review Board for police....

    Tampa City Attorney Julia Mandell’s advice about a Citizens Review Board was questioned.
  14. Outside attorney: No conflict of interest for Tampa city attorney in Citizens Review Board debate


    Just because the mayor and the City Council disagree — say, for example, about who has the authority to create a Citizens Review Board for police — that doesn’t create a conflict of interest for a city attorney who happens to side with the mayor.

    That’s the take-away from an eight-page legal opinion submitted to City Attorney Julia Mandell this week by Gwynne A. Young, a Carlton Fields attorney who is the immediate past president of the Florida Bar....

  15. Buckhorn to be at White House for event greeting Pope Francis


    Mayor Bob Buckhorn heads to Washington D.C. this week to participate in a White House event on Wednesday to greet Pope Francis, City Hall said Monday.

    After arriving in Washington following a three-day visit to Cuba, the pope is expected to meet with President Obama, deliver an address to a joint session of Congress and meet with homeless clients at the headquarters of Catholic Charities of Washington....

    Pope Francis