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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

Email: danielson@tampabay.com

Twitter: @Danielson_Times

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  1. Tampa's efforts to lead in Cuban relations get some national attention

    Blog

    The New York Times took a close look Sunday at the work of business and political leaders in Tampa to position the city as a future gateway to Cuba.

    Tampa's efforts got a compare-and-contract treatment with Miami, touching on U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor's call for an end to the embargo to the welcome mat put out for a Cuban consulate to efforts to have a U.S.-Cuba signing ceremony here....

    That Tampa-Havana connection: Natalie and Shantalie Peraza walk past a mural in Ybor City last week.
  2. Hillsborough State Attorney Mark Ober blasts Barry Cohen over town hall tactics

    Blog

    Mark Ober the cardboard cut-out might not have a lot to say at tonight's town hall meeting on race relations organized by Tampa defense attorney Barry Cohen.

    But Mark Ober the Hillsborough State Attorney had plenty to say Wednesday about Cohen and his vow to prop up a two-dimenstional facsimile of Ober if the county's top prosecutor doesn't show up for the forum....

  3. Developer proposes apartments and garage near University of Tampa

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — A South Florida developer wants to rezone 2.5 acres south of Kennedy Boulevard near the University of Tampa for an apartment block with 272 units and more than 500 parking spaces.

    Altman Development of Boca Raton proposes to put the project just south of the triangular block that's home to Mise en Place and the Oxford Exchange.

    The site is bordered by Grand Central Avenue on the north, W Cleveland Street on the south and S Magnolia and S Cedar avenues on the west and east. Currently, most of it is covered by parking and three small office buildings....

  4. ACLU calls for stop to Tampa's bike stop program as police chief defends it

    Local Government

    TAMPA — Flanked by top union officials, police Chief Jane Castor told the City Council on Thursday she "vehemently" disagrees with a Tampa Bay Times investigation questioning why black riders have gotten 80 percent of bike tickets written by police.

    That said, Castor said her agency's ability to do its job is based on trust. That's why she asked the U.S. Department of Justice's Community Policing Office to do an independent review of Tampa's bike enforcement efforts....

    At a Wednesday briefing, Tampa police Chief Jane Castor defended the rate of bike citations issued.
  5. FDOT to kick in $1 million to help plan Tampa streetcar expansion

    Mass Transit

    TAMPA — The Florida Department of Transportation has committed $1 million to help City Hall figure out how to expand Tampa's underused and underfunded downtown streetcar.

    "We've got to fix the streetcar," Mayor Bob Buckhorn said in a recent interview. "We can maintain the status quo for a while. The larger issue is, what do we do with it? What are the future expansion plans? What's the route? How do you pay for it?"...

    Streetcar conductor Joe Del Vecchio greets passengers at the Whiting Street station.
  6. Tampa looking at long-range project to turn reclaimed water into drinking water

    Water

    TAMPA — To grow, Tampa needs water.

    To get more of it, the city is looking at 60 million gallons of reclaimed water a day that it now discharges into Tampa Bay.

    "We're just dumping it into the bay now," Mayor Bob Buckhorn said. "I want to find a way to either monetize it or do good by the environment."

    So Buckhorn's administration is looking at building a pipeline to pump about a third of that water from the city's sewage treatment plant at Port Tampa Bay north to areas along the Tampa Bypass Canal....

  7. Dick Greco's move reflects a shift in attitudes

    Human Interest

    If nothing else, former Tampa Mayor Dick Greco's bombshell decision to move to St. Petersburg strikes a blow for a growing subset of bay area residents: Those who embrace a life lived on both sides of Tampa Bay.

    We're not just talking cross-bay commuters, 71,000 of whom crowd the bridges each day.

    Harder to count but increasingly easy to find are those with friends and calendars that take them to all points of the bay area's compass....

    Increasingly, commuters are being joined by those whose lives take them to many places for work, worship and play.
  8. Once unruly, the scene at Hulk Hogan's beach club calms down

    Local Government

    TAMPA — It has been a quiet spring at Hogan's Beach, the Courtney Campbell Causeway restaurant and bar owned by professional wrestler Hulk Hogan.

    And that's a welcome change for nearby businesses and Dana Shores homeowners who last year complained about thundering concerts and hordes of bar patrons who parked illegally, tailgated noisily, littered indiscriminately and urinated freely on neighboring properties....

    Luis Santana  |   Times  (2014)  Legendary wrestler and sports icon Terry Bollea aka Hulk Hogan poses for a patriotic portrait at his restaurant and bar Hogan's Beach in Tampa.  [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
  9. Tampa City Council, chamber want future U.S.-Cuba diplomatic accord signed here

    Local Government

    TAMPA — The City Council on Thursday volunteered Tampa to be the place where history is made.

    The idea is that sooner or later, Cuba and the United States will sign a treaty or other document normalizing diplomatic relations after more than half a century of Cold War hostility.

    The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce thinks that document should be signed here. Supporters would love to see the yet-to-negotiated agreement called "the Tampa Accord" or "the Tampa Treaty" — or in any case, something with "Tampa" in the name....

    “Tampa has a history with Cuba like no other, and the world doesn’t know it. They think it’s Miami. … Miami doesn’t want it. Fine. We’ll take it.”
Yvonne Yolie Capin, 
Tampa City Council member
  10. Mac n' Cheese Throwdown, Bloody Mary fest: Tampa's RiverFest aims to build on success of Riverwalk

    Events

    TAMPA — The city aims to activate the entire 1.8-mile length of the Riverwalk with a new event — RiverFest, scheduled for the weekend of May 2 and 3, and anchored by the second annual Mayor's Mac n' Cheese Throwdown.

    Six city parks along the Riverwalk will offer music, food vendors, kids activities, things to do with pets and other entertainment during the free event, organized in conjunction with the nonprofit Friends of the Riverwalk....

    Michael Silver, 35, gets a hand with a spoonful of mac and cheese from Dianne Triplett during the Mac N Cheese Throwdown in Curtis Hixon Park in 2014. The contest, hosted by Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Friends of the Riverwalk, highlighted more than 25 local eateries. 
  11. Reports of unequal treatment for women prompt changes at Tampa Fire Rescue

    Fire

    TAMPA — Prompted by reports of a lack of privacy, outdated facilities, and harassment and verbal abuse directed against female firefighters, Mayor Bob Buckhorn on Tuesday announced changes "to accommodate all" at Tampa Fire Rescue.

    The initiatives include both construction at the firehouses and additional diversity training for firefighters.

    "The nature of the fire service across the country is changing, the demographics of fire service is changing, and Tampa Fire Rescue needed to make some changes," Buckhorn said in an interview at City Hall....

    Privacy curtains will be installed in Tampa firehouses with open dorms, fire personnel will receive more diversity training and the command staff will get lessons on nondiscrimination policies.
  12. PAC linked to GOP campaign firms funded attack ads in Tampa council race

    Elections

    TAMPA — A Tallahassee-based political action committee with ties to Republican campaign firms is now listed as the major donor to Moving Tampa Forward, the mysterious group whose attack ads stirred up last month's City Council runoff between Guido Maniscalco and Jackie Toledo.

    The Committee for Responsible Representation gave $16,500 of Moving Tampa Forward's $23,500 in contributions, according to a report filed late Friday with the Florida Division of Elections. The other $7,000 came from a law firm run by former Fort Myers Mayor Wilbur C. Smith III....

    Guido Maniscalco won the District 6 City Council runoff by 151 votes.
  13. PAC with ties to GOP campaign firms paid for anti-Maniscalco, pro-Toledo ads

    Blog

    A Tallahassee-based political action committee with ties to Republican campaign firms is now listed as the major donor to Moving Tampa Forward, the mysterious political committee whose third-party attack ads stirred up last month’s Tampa City Council runoff between Guido Maniscalco and Jackie Toledo.

    The Committee for Responsible Representation contributed $16,500 of the $23,500 that Moving Tampa Forward has said it received, according to a report filed late Friday with the Florida Division of Elections. The other $7,000 came from a law firm run by former Fort Myers Mayor Wilbur C. Smith III....

    Gainesville political consultant Stafford Jones chairs the Committee for Responsible Representation, which gave Moving Tampa Forward $16,500.
  14. PAC tied to GOP campaign firms paid for anti-Maniscalco, pro-Toledo campaign ads

    Blog

    A Tallahassee-based political action committee with ties to Republican campaign firms is now listed as the major donor to Moving Tampa Forward, the mysterious political committee whose third-party attack ads stirred up last month’s Tampa City Council runoff between Guido Maniscalco and Jackie Toledo.

    The Committee for Responsible Representation contributed $16,500 of the $23,500 that Moving Tampa Forward has said it received, according to a report filed late Friday with the Florida Division of Elections. The other $7,000 came from a law firm run by former Fort Myers Mayor Wilbur C. Smith III....

  15. Tampa City Council seeks chief's response to female firefighters' complaints

    Local Government

    TAMPA — Acting at the behest of City Council member Lisa Montelione, the council voted unanimously to demand answers from Fire Rescue Chief Tom Forward on the department's response to complaints of unequal treatment of female firefighters.

    "I kick myself for not doing something earlier," Montelione said Friday, after the council voted Thursday night. "These problems have been around for a very long time, and some of them don't take much to correct," but not correcting them "shows a total lack of caring for the basic needs of your employees."...

    Lisa Montelione wants to hear about several issues.