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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 seeks buyer for city block in center of downtown

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — It's been nearly 20 years since the Cold Storage Cafe — a lively coffee shop, bar and hub of political gossip — was closed and demolished.

    Now Tampa officials think the site across from City Hall is ripe for commerce again. They are inviting developers to submit proposals for mixed-use projects featuring office, retail, hotel rooms or housing.

    In announcing the request for proposals, Mayor Bob Buckhorn called the site, a city-owned parking lot on N Florida Avenue just east of City Hall, "essentially the most prominent undeveloped parcel" in downtown....

    This block along N Florida Avenue, between E Kennedy Boulevard and E Jackson Street, is worth an estimated $2.7 million.
  2. Price tag on Ybor City investor's latest acquisition? $10 million

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Ybor City investor Darryl Shaw has paid $10 million for an industrial site that another Tampa developer once targeted for two high-rise towers.

    Shaw bought the Gas Worx property — yes, it's really spelled with an "x" — from Tampa Electric Co. late last month, according to Hillsborough County property records.

    The 7.6-acre site lies between Ybor City and the Channel District, and is on the other side of the Nick Nuccio Parkway from the Tampa Park Apartments, a much discussed possible site for a Tampa Bay Rays ballpark....

    A company headed by BluePearl Veterinary CEO Darryl Shaw has paid $10 million for a Peoples Gas property between Ybor City and the Channel District. The 7.6-acre site consists of two parcels, one just north and one south of the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway, between Channelside Drive on the east and Nick Nuccio Parkway on the west. [RICHARD DANIELSON | Times] 
  3. Hillary Clinton names Virginia Sen. Timothy Kaine as her vice presidential running mate



    Hillary Clinton on Friday evening named U.S. Sen. Timothy Kaine of Virginia as her vice presidential running mate.

    Minutes after 8 p.m., Clinton tweeted her selection: "I'm thrilled to announce my running mate . . . a man who's devoted his life to fighting for others."

    The announcement came after Clinton spent Friday on the I-4 corridor, the fulcrum on which America's biggest swing state turns, to respond to two words in Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's acceptance speech — "I alone," as in "I alone can fix it" — with two words of her own: "Stronger together."...

  4. The inside dope on Clinton’s VP? Maybe not


    With speculation rampant about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s choice for vice president, and whether she’ll announce the selection in Tampa on Friday, the website for the Florida State Fairgrounds seemed to offer some clarity Thursday, at least for a little while.

    Late Thursday afternoon, the fairground’s online calendar said Clinton's campaign rally on Friday would feature “Hillary & Running Mate” and “Announcing her VP.” A fairgrounds staffer told The Buzz the information came from the campaign website....

    AFTER: The Buzz asked the campaign about that, and the website was soon changed.
  5. Bob Buckhorn proposes $906 million Tampa budget

    Local Government

    TAMPA — When Mayor Bob Buckhorn took office, putting together a city budget had real drama to it.

    His first year in office, he had to close a revenue shortfall of more than $34 million. His second year, it was nearly $28 million.

    This year, not so much.

    Thanks to a fourth straight year of rising property values, Buckhorn on Thursday proposed a $905.9 million city budget for 2017 that does not dip into city reserves....

    Backed by his finance and budget staff and other city department directors, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn presented his $905.9 million proposed city budget for 2017 to the City Council on Thursday.
  6. Tampa launches $35 million redevelopment of Riverfront Park

    Local Government

    TAMPA — Monday wasn't the first time Tampa has tried to do something bold and visionary and transformative at the 23 acres of Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park.

    But at $35.5 million, City Hall has never put this kind of money into the effort.

    "This park is not cheap," Mayor Bob Buckhorn said at a mid-morning ceremony to kick of 18 months of construction at the park, which is just across the Hillsborough River from the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. "But I think we also understand as a community the value of parks in our city. They are the common ground."...

    Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park, formerly known as the Bicentennial Park, after it was redeveloped and re-opened in the 1970s.
  7. No referendum likely this November on Tampa police review board


    TAMPA — With about two weeks to the deadline, organizers of a petition drive to hold a referendum aimed at replacing Tampa's new police review board with a stronger investigative panel have turned in no signatures and don't expect to reach their goal.

    The activist coalition Tampa for Justice launched the petition drive in mid-March. ...

    Tampa City Council member Frank Reddick and activists from the umbrella group Tampa for Justice called for a referendum to create a stronger police review board during a news conference this spring at the Hillsborough County NAACP office.
  8. Tampa ministers call for 'unity in the community' in response to killings


    TAMPA — Relationships and accountability.

    In response to a week of killing where the news got worse and worse, more than a dozen ministers, elected officials and top law enforcement officers kept circling back to those ideas during a "unity in the community" news conference Tuesday at Tampa City Hall.

    "We all feel the pain of those who live in Falcon Heights, Minn.," Tampa City Council member Frank Reddick said of the Minneapolis suburb where Philando Castile was shot and killed by police during a traffic stop. "We feel the pain of those in Baton Rouge," where Alton Sterling was shot dead by police. "We also feel the pain of those in Dallas," where Micah Johnson killed five officers and wounded nine others....

    Col. Chad Chronister of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and the Rev. Joe Johnson of Holsey Temple CME Church pray Tuesday after a news conference at Tampa City Hall. 
  9. A violent week across the country leaves Tampa Bay dealing with shock, grief

    Public Safety

    After a violent and trying three days in America, civil rights activists and law enforcement officers from across Tampa Bay found themselves grappling with their own emotions — and the grief of a bruised nation.

    "I'm still trying to get my arms around where we're going as a country," Clearwater Police Chief Dan Slaughter said Friday, hours after he ordered members of his department to wear memorial bands around their badges in tribute to the five police officers killed in the ambush in Dallas....

    Omali Yeshitela, founder and chairman of the International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement in St. Petersburg, On Friday addressed the recent deaths of black men in encounters with police officers in Louisiana and Minnesota. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  10. In Tampa, a tale of two projects: the Heights and Vinik-Cascade

    Real Estate


    Tens of millions of dollars in road, drainage and sewer work is expected to start in August on two massive projects at the southern and northern ends of downtown Tampa.

    One, the Jeff Vinik-Cascade Investment project, has been the talk of Tampa for more than two years.

    The second is the Heights, just north of Interstate 275, near Ulele and Water Works Park. You haven't heard as much about it, but that's changing, and for good reason....

    The Heights project in downtown Tampa is under construction and is scheduled to open next year with apartments, market and restaurants.

Photo courtesy Soho Capital
  11. Harbour Island tower rising, but legal challenge persists

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — The Related Group's new apartment tower on Harbour Island is already about three stories tall and is on its way to 21, but islanders who oppose the project have not given up their efforts to block the project.

    Since January, more than 80 residents and property owners on the island have pressed a lawsuit — the second filed over the city's approval of the tower — to have a judge declare the city's building permit null and void on the grounds that Tampa officials miscalculated the number of parking spaces available for the project....

    Harbour Island residents want the Manor tower halted on the grounds that Tampa officials miscalculated the parking available.
  12. Investigation exonerates Tampa police union president in throat-slashing gesture complaint


    TAMPA — The president of Tampa's police union has been cleared of an allegation that he made a throat-slashing gesture during the contentious City Council meeting where Frank Reddick was ousted as council chairman.

    Vincent Gericitano, president of the Tampa Police Benevolent Association, which represents about 1,000 sworn officers, denied making the gesture. He did not respond to requests for comment Friday, but told internal affairs investigators he was shocked when Reddick interrupted the April 7 meeting to accuse him of making the gesture....

    Tampa City Council member Frank Reddick accused the president of Tampa’s police union of making a throat-slashing complaint at a meeting where Reddick was ousted as chairman. [Times files] 
  13. Gandy businesses surveyed ahead of Selmon Expressway elevated lane project


    TAMPA — Construction is still a year and a half away, but officials have begun work on plans to minimize disruption to businesses on Gandy Boulevard when they extend the elevated lanes of the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway.

    This week, the board of the South Tampa Chamber of Commerce voted unanimously to support the $192 million project.

    "With several new businesses recently opened on Gandy Boulevard, and more currently under development," the corridor needs relief from traffic congestion, and the elevated lanes will provide it, South Tampa chamber president Kelly Flannery said in an email sent to members Tuesday. "As the project progresses, our No. 1 priority will continue to be to educate and support the businesses along Gandy Boulevard."...

     A planned $192 million project will build elevated toll lanes over Gandy Boulevard in Tampa between the eastern end of the Gandy Bridge and the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway.
  14. Trump presidency would be economic 'disaster,' Buckhorn says at Tampa business


    TAMPA — With a campaign built on invective and a business record that includes lawsuits and corporate bankruptcies, presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump would be a "disaster" for the U.S. economy, Mayor Bob Buckhorn and other supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said Tuesday.

    "Twitter is not an economic policy," Buckhorn said at a Clinton campaign event at Allegra Design Print Mail in downtown Tampa. "His infrastructure policy consists of building a wall. I don't know that we can move forward with a President Trump."...

  15. As construction picks up, state pension change burdens Tampa budget

    Local Government

    TAMPA — With construction on the rebound and property taxes on the rise, Tampa's budget outlook is steadily getting brighter. But some recent bad news about employee pensions has darkened one corner of the picture.

    Thanks mostly to a change mandated by the Legislature, officials say City Hall will have to contribute an additional $5 million-plus next year to make sure the city's two employee pension funds have the money needed to pay future benefits....

    City property tax revenues are expected to grow an estimated 6 percent in 2017, thanks largely to construction projects like this one on Davis Islands early this year. But a state-mandated change to the city's pension funds, plus tax losses created by the trend of people abandoning their home telephone lines for cell phones, are expected to make it harder to draft a city budget that does not draw on reserves.