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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


Twitter: @Danielson_Times

  1. Tampa apartment construction squeezes Straz Center parking


    TAMPA — The construction of an apartment complex on the northern edge of downtown is causing major traffic problems for patrons of the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts.

    "My sense from them is that it's really becoming a very critical situation," said Harry Cohen, the Tampa City Council's appointee to the Straz Center board.

    When the hit musical Into the Woods played the Straz Center last week, theater managers had to hold the curtain for 30 minutes because patrons were having problems finding places to park. And they held the curtain for other shows in the Straz's smaller halls that night, too....

    Crescent Communities of Atlanta is building 394 apartments and a parking garage on this 5 acres next to the Ashley Drive off-ramp from Interstate 275. That, a Tampa official says, is exacerbating a parking squeeze for patrons of the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. [Richard Danielson   |   Times]
  2. Tampa honors six more pioneers with bronze busts on the Riverwalk

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — The six men and women honored Thursday on the Tampa Riverwalk's Historical Monument Trail lived at different times, fought for different causes and confronted different challenges, but they had one thing in common.

    Faced with hardship, they didn't flinch.

    One lost a job after demanding equal pay for black and white teachers. One mortgaged her home to bring music and opera to Tampa. One saw fellow doctors try to ban him from Tampa General Hospital because he treated everyone. One shrugged off repeated threats on his life....

    Mayor Bob Buckhorn, left, and chairman of the Historical Monument Trail Steve Anderson unveil a bronze sculpture of civil rights attorney Francisco A. Rodriguez Jr.
  3. Luis Viera wins Tampa City Council District 7 runoff


    TAMPA — After outspending his opponent nearly 5 to 1, political newcomer Luis Viera on Tuesday night won the runoff election to represent northern Tampa and New Tampa on the City Council.

    With all votes counted, Viera, a 38-year-old lawyer, defeated emergency room doctor Jim Davison 2,588 votes to 2,523 votes — a winning margin of just over 1 percent — in the runoff for council District 7. Viera will serve the 2⅓ years remaining in the term of Lisa Montelione, who resigned her seat to run for the Florida House of Representatives....

    Luis Viera won with a margin of just over 1 percent.
  4. Special election today in Tampa City Council District 7


    TAMPA — Polls open at 7 a.m. today for a special Tampa City Council election in northern Tampa and New Tampa.

    The race is a runoff in council District 7, where the seat came open after Lisa Montelione resigned mid-term to run for the Florida House of Representatives.

    Emergency room doctor Jim Davison and attorney Luis Viera emerged from a field of six candidates — including a former police officer, a retired teacher, a journalist and another doctor — on Nov. 8....

    Jim Davison is a candidate for Tampa City Council District 7.
  5. $30 million later, old Tampa armory to reopen as Jewish Community Center

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — The day the Fort Homer W. Hesterly Armory was dedicated in 1941 was overshadowed by a nation's outrage and grief.

    Japan had attacked Pearl Harbor the day before. The new armory opened as Tampa's 116th Field Artillery marshaled for war.

    "Grim," the Tampa Morning Tribune said, noting the "serious civilian crowd."

    On Thursday, 75 years to the day later, the old building will be rededicated, though under much different circumstances....

    The Bryan Glazer Family JCC will have 14 kilns in the Roberta M. Golding Center for the Visual Arts and is operated by the City of Tampa in conjunction with the Tampa Museum of Art.  [JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]
  6. Ybor City finally gets some relief from heavy truck traffic


    TAMPA — For 50 years, the rumble and roar of heavy trucks on 21st and 22nd streets was part of the fabric of life in Ybor City, but that's changing.

    Richard Gonzmart, 63, remembers being 12 and hearing his father talk about the 18-wheelers that thundered by on both sides of the family's Columbia Restaurant.

    "It was damaging the structure of our building," he said.

    Up to 6,000 trucks a day used the pair of roads. Tankers leaving the port fully loaded with fuel and heading north on 22nd Street would shake buildings to their foundations, dent the asphalt and cause parts of the road to collapse....

    Ybor City businesses welcome the forthcoming ban on all but local truck traffic along the rebuilt, one-way arteries of 21st and 22nd streets.
  7. Jim Davison'€™s talk about New Tampa secession drives Bob Buckhorn to back Luis Viera for City Council


    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn typically does not take sides in City Council races, but he said Thursday morning he is backing Luis Viera in the runoff of a special City Council election in District 7.

    “I had not planned on it, but as the campaign went on and I was hearing more and more outrageous and patently false statements coming out of Mr. (Jim) Davison, I decided to step in,” Buckhorn said....

    Tampa City Council candidate Luis Viera
  8. Should New Tampa ever talk about seceding from city? Candidates in council runoff split


    TAMPA — The question of whether New Tampa should ever consider seceding from the rest of the city to get more of its taxes back animated a debate Wednesday night in the City Council runoff between Jim Davison and Luis Viera.

    Maybe, said Davison, though he didn't say he's for the idea. At a minimum, he said, New Tampa should not give up its leverage by saying it would never think about pulling out of the city....

    Jim Davison is a candidate for Tampa City Council District 7.
  9. Steve LaBour, first Tampa City Hall neighborhood liaison, dies at 60


    TAMPA — Steve LaBour, who helped organize and empower dozens of civic associations as Tampa's first-ever neighborhood liaison, died Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016. He was 60.

    Mr. LaBour died in Charlotte, N.C., where he had moved in 2013 to be close to family. The cause of death was complications from diabetes, said his sister, Phyllis Scutt of Indian Land, S.C.

    When then-Mayor Sandy Freedman hired Mr. LaBour after her election in 1987, the city had just a handful of organized neighborhood associations. By the time she left office in 1995, there were more than 50, thanks largely to his efforts....

    Steve LaBour was hired by then-Mayor Sandy Freedman and was the first person ever to serve as the city of Tampa's neighborhood liaison.
  10. Early voting starts Thursday in special Tampa City Council runoff


    TAMPA — Elections are done most everywhere else, but voters in northern Tampa and New Tampa still have a choice to make for the City Council.

    Emergency room doctor Jim Davison and attorney Luis Viera will meet in a runoff election Dec. 6, when voters will pick a replacement for Lisa Montelione, who left her District 7 council seat in mid-term for what turned out to be an unsuccessful run for the state House of Representatives....

    Jim Davison
  11. Tampa's Theresa Manuel, pioneering black Olympian, dies at 90


    TAMPA — Theresa Manuel, who soared over hurdles both on the track and off as the first black woman from Florida to compete in the Olympics, died Monday (Nov. 21, 2016) in Tampa. She was 90.

    A longtime teacher and coach at Middleton and Hillsborough high schools, Ms. Manuel had been in the hospital last week and was discharged Saturday but stopped eating on Sunday and declined quickly....

    Theresa Manuel of Tampa displays an Olympic flag in 2011. She made history as the first black woman from Florida to compete in the Olympics, running the hurdles, a relay and throwing the javelin in London in 1948. [MELISSA LYTTLE   |   Times (2011)]
  12. Alternative transportation — electric shuttles, ferry, rental bikes — rolling up mileage on both sides of Tampa Bay


    One month in, Tampa's new Downtowner free electric shuttles have covered 7,840 miles, carried 13,000 riders and made a lot of trips to Publix.

    That's clear by this heat map of Downtowner destinations. The University of Tampa, Skyhouse Channelside Apartments, Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina and the Publix just across from downtown on Platt Street all are hot destinations....

    This heat map shows the most popular destinations for Tampa's month-old free Downtowner shuttle service. Riders use an app to schedule pickups by the 12-shuttle fleet.
  13. Bob Buckhorn and Jeff Vinik talk infrastructure, jobs, politics on NY media tour


    With President-elect Donald Trump and federal officials talking about a big infrastructure bill next year, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik said Monday that new spending aimed at “moving people around” is critically important for the Tampa Bay area....

    Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said the bay area needs transportation improvements more than any other kind of infrastructure during an appearance on CNBC Monday afternoon.
  14. Tampa City Council looks to boost city contracts with minority firms

    Local Government

    TAMPA — The City Council wants to look to cities like Atlanta and Denver for ideas on improving Tampa's program to steer city contracts toward companies owned by women and minorities.

    This month's council vote to explore those ideas follows a series of discussions between the council and the Tampa Organization of Black Affairs, a nonprofit and nonpartisan group that focuses on economic development, political engagement and youth education....

    James Ransom of the Tampa Organization of Black Affairs says the city needs to increase its spending with minority-owned businesses.
  15. Ybor City could get slice of redevelopment cash that's been going to downtown Tampa

    Local Government

    TAMPA — After a year of concern, uncertainty and study, the City Council appears ready to tweak its community redevelopment plans in a way to help Ybor City.

    Specifically, Ybor City business leaders would like a slice of the new property tax revenue expected to be generated by the future development of the old Gas Worx property. In June, Ybor City investor Darryl Shaw paid $10 million for the 7.6-acre industrial site....

    The industrial site known as the Gas Worx, along the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway between Channelside Drive and the Nick Nuccio Parkway, might be moved out of the downtown Community Redevelopment District.