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: South Florida ruling against red-light camera citations won't affect our program

    Local Government

    TAMPA — Tampa plans no changes to its red-light camera program following a legal setback for red-light camera citations in a South Florida city with the same vendor and similar procedures.

    "The bottom line is this: We, at this point, are going to continue to go forward," City Attorney Julia Mandell said Friday.

    In light of a court case out of Hollywood, Fla., City Hall has reviewed its contract with American Traffic Solutions (ATS) and the steps for issuing traffic citations from 23 Tampa intersections monitored by red-light cameras....

  2. Tampa could allow drinks on the Riverwalk

    Local Government

    TAMPA — So how cool would it be to stroll on Tampa's Riverwalk with an ice-cold beer in your hand?

    It could happen.

    The City Council took the first step toward that Thursday by giving its initial approval to a new ordinance allowing open containers of alcohol on the Riverwalk — under certain conditions.

    For one, you couldn't bring your own.

    Instead, you'd have to buy the drink from one of eight places — including hotels, restaurants, museums and the Tampa Convention Center — now licensed to sell alcohol along the Riverwalk....

  3. Tampa Bay area officials studying South Florida ruling in red-light camera case

    Blog

    A South Florida court ruling Wednesday set red-light camera opponents abuzz statewide.

    In a case involving the city of Hollywood, Florida’s 4th District Court of Appeal dismissed a citation against motorist Eric Arem.

    The court, based in West Palm Beach, ruled that Hollywood officials delegated too much authority to the vendor of their system when it came to issuing traffic citations....

    Bruce B. Downs Boulevard and Fletcher Avenue, a red-light camera intersection.
  4. Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik will donate land for downtown USF medical school

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Jeff Vinik wants the University of South Florida to build a new medical school on his downtown property so badly that he's willing to give the school an acre of his land to seal the deal.

    The Tampa Bay Lightning owner made the offer this week to USF president Judy Genshaft and Dr. Charles Lockwood, senior vice president for USF Health and dean of the Morsani College of Medicine, according to a university spokesman....

    Lightning owner Jeff Vinik has amassed a significant chunk of southern downtown around the team’s home at the Amalie Arena: the Channelside Bay Plaza outdoor mall, the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina and 24 empty acres around the arena. He is set to unveil plans to transform the area into a walkable entertainment district and he also wants to attract major employers in high-end industries to his redevelopment project, including, perhaps, the University of South Florida’s new medical school.
  5. Hillsborough approves deal for $100M in downtown development funds

    Local Government

    TAMPA — One vote down. One to go.

    On Wednesday, Hillsborough County commissioners unanimously approved a proposal designed to do two big things.

    First, it would steer more property tax revenues generated within Tampa's downtown community redevelopment area, or CRA, to county government.

    Also, it would set aside up to $100 million in city and county funds to support high-profile downtown redevelopment projects over the next three decades....

  6. Jeff Vinik hires Tallahassee lobbyists amid talk of USF med school move

    Legislature

    TAMPA — Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik has hired heavy-hitting lobbyist Brian Ballard and two others to represent his interests in Tallahassee.

    A Lightning spokesman would not comment Tuesday on the goals to be given the lobbyists, who weren't talking much, either.

    But it would come as no surprise for them to lobby the Legislature for millions of dollars for a new downtown medical school for the University of South Florida — a project USF is considering putting on Vinik's land near Amalie Arena....

    Lobbyist Brian Ballard and two others have been hired to represent Jeff Vinik’s interests in Tallahassee.
  7. Ex-Tampa mayor Dick Greco: Clearwater should work with Scientologists

    Special Topics

    Check out the Church of Scientology's latest glossy Freedom magazine, and you'll see some advice for the city of Clearwater from former Tampa Mayor Dick Greco.

    The message, conveyed in a two-page spread with Greco's likeness and byline: Team up with Scientology.

    "There are two major partners — the City and the Church — that can make a plan that will carry the city to prosperity for decades to come," according to a guest column labeled "by former Tampa Mayor Dick Greco."...

    Former Tampa Mayor Dick Greco is listed as author of an op-ed piece in Scientology’s Freedom magazine.
  8. University of Tampa student Tyler Barrett files to challenge City Council’s Harry Cohen

    Blog

    Last week was midterm week and thus a busy week at the University of Tampa, but it wasn’t so hectic as to keep UT junior Tyler Barrett from launching his candidacy for City Council District 4....

    Tyler Barrett has filed to run in Tampa City Council District 4.
  9. Tampa redevelopment efforts outside downtown face key vote

    Local Government

    TAMPA — Downtown projects generate the most cash and grab the headlines, but Tampa's redevelopment efforts outside the urban core also face a key vote this week.

    After about a year of negotiation, Tampa and Hillsborough County officials propose to renew all of the city's existing "community redevelopment areas," plus create a new one.

    County commissioners are scheduled to vote on the proposal Wednesday. The City Council plans to take it up Oct. 23....

  10. Seminole Heights activist Susan Long files to challenge Tampa City Council's Mike Suarez

    Blog

    Old Seminole Heights civic activist Susan Long on Friday filed to run for the citywide Tampa City Council seat currently held by Mike Suarez....

    Susan Long is a candidate for Tampa City Council District 1.
  11. Buckhorn fundraising tops $100,000

    Blog

    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn's re-election campaign raised $100,190 during its first 2½ weeks....

  12. Tampa issues a record $2B in building permits in 12 months

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — The last 12 months have been a banner year for construction in Tampa, with builders pulling permits for more than $2 billion in projects.

    That's a record, city officials said Thursday, that surpasses the previous high mark of nearly $1.8 billion worth of permits issued in permits during 2007 at the height of the real estate bubble.

    For Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the numbers were more encouraging than surprising....

  13. $100M deal proposed to aid downtown Tampa redevelopment

    Local Government

    TAMPA — As the value of downtown Tampa real estate has grown since the 1980s, it has generated millions of dollars a year in new property taxes.

    But because of a deal that goes back three decades, Hillsborough County officials have watched every penny of their share of that new revenue go to City Hall to aid in downtown's redevelopment.

    Now that could change.

    While the city would enjoy continuing to get everything, a new city-county proposal could let the county keep most of the money it now contributes to downtown redevelopment. Still, the city and county could work together to put up as much as $50 million each in redevelopment funds, for a total of up to $100 million of financing, to support future downtown projects....

  14. Work starts on Selmon Greenway trail

    Transportation

    TAMPA — It doesn't look like much now, but the Selmon Greenway trail should be attracting cyclists and joggers by spring.

    Construction on the 1.7-mile trail started about two weeks ago. It is expected to open in mid March.

    The goal: to make walking around downtown easier and promote transportation alternatives.

    "It's all about mobility, and it's all about choices," said Sue Chrzan at the Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority, which is creating the trail....

  15. Joseph Citro files to run for open Tampa City Council seat

    Blog

    Joseph V. Citro on Monday filed to run for the City Council seat that will come open next spring when Mary Mulhern leaves because of term limits.

    With Citro’s decision to run in District 2, a citywide seat, there are now announced candidates for all seven City Council seats, which come up for election on March 3.

    But it is expected that current City Council chairman Charlie Miranda may also run in District 2. Miranda, who represents parts of West Tampa and South Tampa in District 6, must leave that seat at the end of March after completing his second term in the seat. (Tampa’s charter allows a term-limited council member in one of the three citywide seats to switch and run in for one of the four single-member district seats, and vice versa.) So far, Miranda has not said what he plans to do. Historically, he has waited until January before launching his campaigns for the March election. He declined to discuss his plans or comment on anyone else getting in the race....

    Joseph V. Citro is running for the citywide District 2 seat on the Tampa City Council.