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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. Governor's race is over, but at Tampa City Hall, arguing about it isn't


    TAMPA — Did Mayor Bob Buckhorn's decision not to support Charlie Crist for governor lead him to make it harder for a City Council aide to work for the Crist campaign?

    Council Chairman Frank Reddick thinks so, and he said so at Thursday's council meeting.

    "This whole thing is political," Reddick said of a bureaucratic tug-of-war over who had the authority to set the circumstances in which legislative aide Lorena Hardwick worked for the Crist campaign....

  2. Tampa acts to repeal part of panhandling ban

    Local Government

    TAMPA — The City Council took the first step Thursday toward repealing part of its controversial bans on panhanding.

    Council members voted 6-1 to repeal the city's ban on soliciting in the right of way and an accompanying exemption that allowed newspaper vendors to work the streets seven days a week. A second and final vote will take place July 16.

    Chairman Frank Reddick cast the sole vote against repeal....

  3. Miami apartment developer working on plans for Tampa Tribune site

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — A Miami luxury apartment developer has taken a step toward trying to build what city officials believe will be a riverfront residential complex on what is now the headquarters of the Tampa Tribune.

    The Related Group filed a request with the city of Tampa on Wednesday asking whether removing the Tribune building site from a larger rezoning from 1999 would be a substantial change to the property's approved development plan....

  4. I-275 express lane plan gets hostile reception in Tampa's Seminole Heights


    TAMPA — A plan to add express toll lanes to Interstate 275 found few friends Tuesday night among Seminole Heights residents who said state transportation officials are focusing on commuters when they should be focused on communities.

    "This project has been developed by the Florida Department of Roads, not the Florida Department of Transportation," Seminole Heights civic activist and business owner Kimberly Overman told DOT officials during a standing-room-only meeting at the Seminole Heights Branch Library....

  5. Downtown Tampa's historic Kress building back on the market

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — It looks like the rebirth of the historic S.H. Kress & Co. building will take awhile longer.

    The dream has been around for at least a decade, and it appeared it was about to come true last fall when a development team filed plans with City Hall to incorporate the grand old department store into a 22-story tower with a hotel, apartments and more.

    But Kress owner Jeannette Jason said this week that she no longer has a contract to sell the four-story building on N Franklin Street to Walson Ventures, a partnership between Tampa developers Alex Walter and Casey Ellison. The contract hasn't been in place since December because of issues on her end of the transaction, she said....

    The Kress building features a terra-cotta renaissance revival facade and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
  6. Tampa aims for second consecutive budget that doesn't tap reserves

    Local Government

    TAMPA — For the second straight year, City Hall is looking to adopt a budget that doesn't dip into the city's rainy day fund, but it's not going to be easy, officials said Thursday.

    Yes, property tax revenues are expected to grow, thanks to a projected 8.3 percent increase in city property values.

    But personnel costs are on the rise, too — mainly because of 3.5 percent pay raises negotiated with the city's three unions in 2013 and increases in health care costs, which are projected to average 9 to 10 percent....

  7. Bob Buckhorn scheduled for Capital Tiger Bay in Tallahassee on June 26


    Here's another sign — not that anyone needed it — that Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn is open to raising his statewide profile: On June 26, he heads to Tallahassee for an appearance before the Capital Tiger Bay Club. Buckhorn, a second-term mayor, is seen as a possible Democratic candidate for governor in 2018....

    Bob Buckhorn has launched his own political action committee, One Florida, and regularly appears on a Miami AM-radio politics and public affairs show.
  8. Another Stanley Cup bet, another humbled Tampa politician


    In a sign of solidarity, the City Council has displayed a blue Tampa Bay Lightning rally flag during the team's pursuit of the Stanley Cup.

    But Thursday morning, the flag was gone, replaced by a display of Chicago Blackhawks red on the council dais.

    Like Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, Tampa City Council member Mike Suarez made a bet on the Stanley Cup with his Chicago counterpart and now has to pay up....

    Mike Suarez had to wear a Chicago Blackhawks jersey to a City Council meeting to satisfy a bet with a Chicago alderman.
  9. Legislature's $17M expected to make downtown USF med school a 'go'

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — The $17 million the Legislature earmarked to move the University of South Florida's Morsani College of Medicine to downtown Tampa is a green light for the project, officials said Tuesday.

    "Great news," said Mayor Bob Buckhorn.

    "A watershed moment," said Mark Walsh, USF's assistant vice president for government relations.

    "A strong commitment," said Jim Shimberg, an executive for Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik, who wants the medical school to anchor his $1 billion redevelopment in the southern part of downtown....

    An artist’s rendering shows a plaza near the University of South Florida’s proposed medical school building in Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik’s development around Amalie Arena. The Legislature proposes to appropriate $17 million to move the Morsani College of Medicine to Vinik’s project in downtown Tampa. [Strategic Property Partners] 
  10. Tampa doesn't get state money for major water initiative


    TAMPA — Next year's state budget will not include $2.5 million City Hall sought for a water initiative that Mayor Bob Buckhorn has hoped would be a legacy project.

    The city wanted the money for a $3 million pilot project to study ways it could turn reclaimed water that it now discharges into Tampa Bay into drinking water.

    Tampa sends about 60 million gallons of highly treated reclaimed water to the bay every day. It is looking at building a pipeline to pump about a third of that from the city's sewage treatment plant at Port Tampa Bay north to areas along the Tampa Bypass Canal....

    Tampa was hoping to get state money for a $3 million pilot project to study ways it could turn reclaimed water that it now discharges into Tampa Bay into drinking water.
  11. Bob Buckhorn gets ready to pay up on Stanley Cup bet


    With Chicago fans still cheering the Blackhawks Stanley Cup win, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn texted Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel close to midnight Monday.

    Emanuel called back, crowd noise in the background.

    "He said, I'm lookifng forward to all the goodies that you're sending — and get that check ready," Buckhorn said Tuesday.

    In a wager on the series, Buckhorn had promised that if the Blackhawks won the championship, he would send Emanuel some Original "1905" Salad from Tampa's Columbia Restaurant and 122 Cuban sandwiches (the Stanley Cup turns 122 this year). He also agreed to donate to Emanuel's favorite charity for young children, Becoming a Man....

    Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn made a bet on the outcome of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
  12. USF's downtown med school move survives in new state budget

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida legislators late Monday night completed work on a new state budget, securing $29 million for two major construction projects at the University of South Florida and rejecting a third.

    In an avalanche of spending deals ratified shortly before midnight, lawmakers agreed to give $17 million to USF to move the Morsani College of Medicine to a new downtown Tampa location and to contribute $12.3 million to USF St. Petersburg's College of Business....

    House appropriations Chairman Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes, and Sen. Tom Lee, R-Brandon, discuss the final budget agreement reached late Monday night in Tallahassee.
  13. Tampa council supports Tampa Heights opposition to planned I-275 expansion

    Local Government

    TAMPA — Sometimes so many people cram themselves into the council chambers at Old City Hall that the temperature of the room starts to rise.

    That happened this week when about 100 residents from Tampa Heights and Seminole Heights turned out to turn up the heat on a planned highway project they want to block.

    The Interstate 275 expansion and toll lane project would destroy the Tampa Heights Community Center and community garden — both located on property owned by and leased from the Florida Department of Transportation....

  14. Tampa moves to repeal one panhandling ban challenged in court

    Local Government

    TAMPA — The City Council moved today to repeal a Tampa ordinance banning solicitation on public roads, a local law whose constitutionality is being challenged in federal court.

    The council first met for about an hour in a session closed to the public to discuss legal strategy. Then, because Florida law does not allow the council to take formal action while in closed session, it reconvened in public and voted to schedule an initial vote at 10 a.m. June 25 to repeal its solicitation in the right-of-way ordinance....

  15. City Council approves West Tampa redevelopment plan

    Local Government

    TAMPA — With a low rate of homeownership and a median household income less than half the city's average, West Tampa could use a boost.

    On Thursday, City Council members approved a plan to do just that, creating a new community redevelopment area, or CRA, for 964 acres bordered by the Hillsborough River on the east, Columbus Drive on the north, Armenia Avenue on the west and Kennedy Boulevard on the south....