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Richard Danielson, Times Staff Writer

Richard Danielson

Richard Danielson covers city government and politics in Tampa. He joined the Times in 1987. 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 Bay area business leaders lobby on contentious transit bill


    TALLAHASSEE — More than a dozen top business local executives went to Tallahassee with an appeal in the days following last week's political showdown between three GOP senators from Tampa Bay over a regional transit bill.

    Keep talking. Please.

    The nonprofit Tampa Bay Partnership had planned the lobbying trip anyway.

    But the delegation arrived just a day after Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, watched in frustration as fellow Republican senators Jeff Brandes of St. Petersburg and Tom Lee of Thonotosassa amended his bill to overhaul the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority (TBARTA) during a tense meeting of the Senate Community Affairs Committee....

    Rick Homans is president of the Tampa Bay Partnership.
  2. Proposed update to Tampa tree protection rules designed to add clarity, predictability

    Local Government

    TAMPA — As a young lobbyist for the Builders Association of Greater Tampa, one of Bob Buckhorn's first tasks in the mid-1980s was to work on the city's evolving tree code — a subject that rarely fails to combine technical detail with passionate advocacy.

    Today, three decades later, Buckhorn is still working on it.

    An update of the city's tree and landscape code is headed to a City Council workshop Thursday, about a year behind the schedule City Hall set in late 2015....

    Proposed changes to the tree and landscape code are based on a study of Tampa’s tree canopy.
  3. Darryl Shaw is quiet, humble - and $63 million later, Ybor's big new player

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Darryl Shaw first ventured into Ybor City real estate in 1988, just after he finished a bachelor's degree in international business at Brown University.

    It didn't end well.

    The 22-year-old moved to Ybor and bought a run-down building on E Seventh Avenue with plans to convert it to office space. Then the balcony collapsed during renovation. The city condemned the building, which had to be demolished. End of that career....

    The New World Brewery at 1313 E Eighth Ave., is one of many Ybor City properties that have been bought over the last three years by limited liabiity companies involving Darryl Shaw, the CEO of the Tampa-based BluePearl chain of specialty and emergency animal hospitals. The building may be demolished as Shaw and business partner Ariel Quintela bring new apartments and other mixed-use redevelopment to the area. OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times
  4. Top Canadian official warns border adjustment tax and Trump 'Buy American' policy could hurt Florida


    TAMPA — As Canada's first astronaut in space, Marc Garneau has a long history with Florida: He's visited the state more than 100 times, blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center aboard three space shuttle missions and each time safely touched down again in Florida.

    This week Garneau is back, this time with warnings about what could be a bumpy ride ahead for two close friends, Canada and the United States....

    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, left, and Canadian Minister of Transport Marc Garneau discussed possible changes to U.S.-Canada trade on Thursday at Tampa City Hall.
  5. Tampa extends moratorium on new local rules for medical marijuana dispensaries


    With competing bills in the Legislature on how to implement the voter-approved constitutional amendment to legalize medical marijuana, Tampa City Hall has decided to wait a little longer before drafting its own zoning or other rules for pot dispensaries....

    The Tampa City Council on Thursday voted to extend a moratorium on rezonings or permits for medical marijuana dispensaries. A 90-day moratorium that the city enacted before the Legislature’s spring session is scheduled to expire on May 17. The council voted to extend it to Aug. 15.
  6. Algae bloom in Hillsborough River reservoir leads to Tampa tap water complaints


    TAMPA — An algae bloom in the Hillsborough River reservoir has put a bad smell and taste in tap water for city water customers.

    "We tested the water. It is safe to drink, and we are treating the reservoir," city spokeswoman Ashley Bauman said Friday.

    Since April 1, the city has received 58 customer complaints about foul-smelling tap water and 22 complaints about water with an objectionable taste. The city characterized that number as unusually high. ...

    The city’s dam on the Hillsborough River, as seen from the air over Rowlett Park. When it warms up and no water flows over the dam, algae blooms can form and put a bad smell and taste in Tampa’s drinking water. City officials say the water is safe, but they are treating it and expect the algae to be under control in a few days. SKIP O’ROURKE  | Times (2000)
  7. Tampa says Vila Brothers Park isn't for parking, but latest city work there concerns neighbors


    Just days after City Hall said it would let the Bryan Glazer Family Jewish Community Center use Vila Brothers Park for overflow event parking just three more times, tops, residents got an unsettling surprise.

    On Monday, Armory Gardens Civic Association president Sandy Sanchez noticed a city work crew at the park installing a line of heavy wooden posts around the playground. When she asked why, she said city employees told her it was to protect the playground from the cars that would be parking in the park, which is just across N Armenia Avenue from the JCC....

    A city of Tampa work crew installed heavy wooden posts around the playground at Vila Brothers Park this week.
  8. Tampa limits Jewish Community Center's use of Vila Brothers Park for overflow parking

    Local Government

    TAMPA — Three more.

    That's how many times City Hall is letting the Bryan Glazer Family Jewish Community Center use Vila Brothers Park for overflow parking.

    City chief of staff Dennis Rogero sent a letter dated Thursday to the JCC saying it could use the open field at the West Tampa park "for one event per month between now and June 30."

    After that, he said, "the City expects you to make alternative plans for overflow parking."...

    Heike Frijouf, left, sits at the playground at Vila Brothers Park with Theodora Morgan and Carlos Ramirez as about 200 cars use part of the park for overflow parking during a charity luncheon at the Bryan Glazer Family Jewish Community Center on March 21. City Hall this week limited the JCC to using the park for three more events through the end of June. MONICA HERNDON   |   Times
  9. Tampa to pay $80,000 to settle lawsuit over Taser to the eye

    Local Government

    TAMPA — City taxpayers will pay $80,000 to settle an Ybor City bar patron's lawsuit over injuries he said he suffered when a dart-like prong from a police officer's Taser pierced his eyeball.

    The City Council on Thursday approved the settlement with 27-year-old Faraj Faraj of Westlake, Ohio.

    Faraj sued the city in 2015, contending that he suffered permanent injury when Officer Christopher LaFramboise arrested him as Club Prana closed about 3 a.m. on Jan. 15, 2011....

    The Tampa City Council meets at 9 a.m. today and is scheduled to discuss whether to pay an Ohio man $80,000 to settle a lawsuit he filed alleging that he was injured when a prong from a Tampa police officer's Taser lodged in his eye.
  10. Bob Buckhorn unveils 'Autism Friendly Tampa' initiative in state of the city speech


    TAMPA — Democrat Bob Buckhorn has dropped the idea of running for governor, but that didn't stop him from taking shots Tuesday at the Republican-led Florida Legislature and President Donald Trump in his annual state of the city speech.

    Tampa lives under looming uncertainty, the mayor said, because Congress could take away revenues, eviscerate partnerships and decimate programs important to the city. Meanwhile, he said, the Legislature has opened an "unprecedented attack" on the city's ability to govern itself....

     Mayor Bob Buckhorn announced a new initiative to make Tampa parks and recreation programs more friendly to people with autism during his annual state of the city speech Tuesday at Kiley Garden next to Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. MONICA HERNDON   |   Times
  11. Tampa Bay area mayors to Legislature: Hands off our City Halls


    The Florida House of Representatives is making an unprecedented effort to seize power and local control from cities that drive the state's growth and economic development, the mayors of Tampa and St. Petersburg said Monday.

    “I have never seen the assault on local government on all fronts — our ability to self-govern, our ability to pass laws that are appropriate for our communities — as I have in this legislative session,” Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn told a crowd of about 300 at an Economic Club of Tampa lunch....

    St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, left, and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, right, discussed business, regional cooperation, the search for a stadium site for the Tampa Bay Rays, transportation and bills pending in the Legislature at a lunch of the Economic Club of Tampa on Monday. Tampa Bay Times editor and columnist Ernest Hooper, center, moderated the discussion.
  12. Tampa clears industrial site near Hillsborough River for redevelopment

    Local Government

    TAMPA — What's remarkable about the 12 acres that the city of Tampa owns near the Hillsborough River is not what's there now: heavy trucks, pipes and acres of asphalt splotched with grease.

    What's remarkable is what could be there someday: new homes, families and sunny places to eat or shop.

    So, on Wednesday, Mayor Bob Buckhorn promised a transformation of the old industrial site on N Rome Avenue. And to get it going, he used a tractor-mounted claw to smash into an old cinderblock building known as "the outhouse."...

    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn talks to reporters Wednesday about how the city plans to use the space after crews demolish the city's old water and waste water maintenance yard on Wednesday. Once the 12 acres is cleared, City Hall plans to pursue development of apartments there. [CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times]
  13. USF researchers scan Tampa's Oaklawn Cemetery for lost graves

    Human Interest


    The city's oldest cemetery is the final resting place for at least 1,000 early Tampa residents — pioneers, Confederate soldiers, victims of yellow fever, pirates, 13 mayors and slaves — but there might be even more.

    So this week, anthropologists and students from the University of South Florida brought ground-penetrating radar and other equipment to Oaklawn Cemetery and the adjacent St. Louis Catholic Cemetery to search for and map unmarked graves....

    Oaklawn Cemetery dates to 1850. Many original grave markers were carved from wood, rotting or disappearing over time.
  14. Tampa looking at residential parking permits to replace 5-minute parking signs

    Local Government

    TAMPA — Now that Tampa's longtime 5-minute parking rule is off the books, City Hall is looking at a residential parking permit program to bring order to the vehicular scrum that vexes neighborhoods where homeowners compete with visitors to park on the street.

    The rules and the costs won't be set until June 15 or later, but an expansion of residential permits now used in Ybor City and some other neighborhoods appeared likely during a City Council workshop Thursday....

    For years, Tampa residents posted "5-minute parking" signs, like this one on S Desoto Avenue near Bayshore Boulevard, to keep people from parking for extended periods in front of their homes. But the city repealed the ordinance last month after the state determined that the local law was unenforceable. Now the City Council is looking at a residential parking permit program. BRIAN CASSELLA  |  Times (2008)
  15. Stu Sternberg: Top choices for Rays new stadium are unavailable

    The Heater

    PORT CHARLOTTE — Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg revealed some complications in his team's search for a new stadium on Thursday, yet said he's still confident they will find a new home in the Tampa Bay area.

    What were the Rays' top five choices for a new stadium — three in Tampa and two in St. Petersburg — are unavailable. That may push the team's time line for finding a new site from August to the end of 2017....

    Tampa Bay Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg talks with reporters before the start of the game between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Fla. on Thursday, March 23, 2017.