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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. Bob Buckhorn apologizes amid uproar over his joke about pointing machine gun at journalists


    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn says he’s told the joke many times, but it’s never blown up in his face until now.

    Speaking last week to a Tampa convention of special operations commandos and defense professionals, Buckhorn recalled the thrill of firing blanks from twin .50-caliber machine guns as part of a military exercise last year — and of the satisfaction of pointing the muzzle flashes at local reporters....

    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn fires a .50 caliber machine gun from a rigid hull inflatable boat during a Special Operations Capabilities Demonstration at the Tampa Convention Center last year.
  2. Four-term Hillsborough Sheriff David Gee to retire Sept. 30

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — Sheriff David Gee said Friday he plans to retire on Sept. 30 after nearly four decades in law enforcement and 13 years as the low-key but well-regarded leader of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

    "This decision has not been made lightly and was one of the most difficult decisions that I have made in my career," Gee said in an e-mail to his staff. He said he wants to devote "full attention and support" to family....

    About 1980: David Gee as a deputy with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office patroling eastern Hillsborough County.
  3. Four-term Hillsborough Sheriff David Gee to retire Sept. 30


    TAMPA — Sheriff David Gee announced Friday he plans to retire on Sept. 30 after nearly four decades in law enforcement and 13 years at the helm of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

    “This decision has not been made lightly and was one of the most difficult decisions that I have made in my career,” Gee said in an e-mail to his staff. He said he wants to devote “full attention and support” to family....

    Sheriff David Gee will soon retire after 13 years at the helm of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. He will retire effective Sept. 30.
  4. Tampa's historic Cuscaden pool expected to reopen by Memorial Day

    Local Government

    TAMPA — Repairs to the historic Cuscaden Park pool are scheduled to start Monday, and officials now expect the pool to be open again for Memorial Day.

    Fixing a leaky drain and sealing two other drains will cost about $10,000 — a tiny fraction of the $3.2 million the city spent last year renovating the 80-year-old pool in the V.M. Ybor neighborhood.

    "This is considered a permanent fix," city contract administration director Michael Chucran told the City Council on Thursday....

    Work to repair a leaky drain and better seal two other drains is scheduled to begin next week at the city of Tampa's historic Cuscaden Park pool on N 15th Street. The pool is expected to re-open for Memorial Day. OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times
  5. Tampa's historic Cuscaden Park pool closed for repairs, again

    Local Government

    TAMPA — Nine months after finishing a $3.2 million renovation, Tampa has closed the historic Cuscaden Park pool for more repairs, and prospects for reopening it before Memorial Day are bleak.

    "Here we go again," said City Council member Frank Reddick. With summer coming, he has asked for a report Thursday on how soon before the pool reopens. "I'm worried about it."

    The closure is the latest problem for a neighborhood gathering spot with a rich history....

    Tampa’s Cuscaden Park pool is closed Tuesday due to drainage repairs. A reopening date has not yet been determined.
  6. Tampa again comes up short in quest to hold city-only sales tax referendum for transit


    TAMPA — For the fifth year, the Legislature adjourned this spring without giving Tampa and Orlando something each city wants — the ability to hold its own sales tax referendum to help pay for better mass transit.

    But at least this time, it was more interesting.

    "We've never been as close," said Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, who has worked on the idea with other big-city mayors since the 2013 legislative session....

    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, foreground, and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer listen in April to a state Senate committee discuss a bill to allow a city-only sales tax referendum for transit in both cities.
  7. Tampa again seeks restaurants for convention center, Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park


    TAMPA — City Hall is back out in the market seeking private-sector partners to open restaurants in two spots close to the Riverwalk.

    One is a 10,000-square-foot space at the Tampa Convention Center.

    The other is a 2,600-square-foot space overlooking the lawn at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park.

    With hundreds of new downtown apartments in the works, Mayor Bob Buckhorn says the business prospects will only get better for a restaurant in either location....

    This space, 9,994 square feet at the northwest corner of S Franklin Street and Channelside Drive, was once home to the Tampa Bay History Center. Tampa officials now would like to see a restaurant there to serve visitors at the Tampa Convention Center. Proposals are due June 9. RICHARD DANIELSON  |  Times (2016)
  8. Bob Buckhorn: Last-minute USF change 'just smells'


    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said Monday he planned to talk to House Minority Leader Janet Cruz and other Tampa Bay area legislators about the end-of-the-session change that would keep the University of South Florida from achieving the state's “pre-eminent” status along with the University of Florida and Florida State University....

    “You can’t change the rules in the middle of the game,” Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said Monday morning before starting a round of calls to Tallahassee over a last-minute legislative change expected to cost the University of South Florida millions of dollars in education funding. “It’s just so unfair. USF had done everything they had been asked to do."
  9. Tampa council requests monitoring of pesticide application at Forest Hills golf course


    TAMPA — The City Council wants environmental regulators to monitor the application of a controversial pesticide that the Tampa Sports Authority plans to put on the Babe Zaharias Golf Course next week.

    We can do that, a Hillsborough County Environmental Protection Commission official told the council this week.

    Air quality test results could take a couple of weeks. But it's the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services that actually regulates the pesticide, known as Curfew, and would be responsible for follow-up if the tests find problems....

    About a half-dozen protesters picketed outside the Tampa Sports Authority's office at Raymond James Stadium on Thursday. The group opposed the authority's plan to apply the controversial pesticide Curfew at the Babe Zaharias Golf Course, which the Sports Authority manages, near Forest Hills. RICHARD DANIELSON  |  Times
  10. Gov. Rick Scott tours state to rally support for endangered budget priorities


    Just as top legislators reached a budget deal Wednesday, Gov. Rick Scott launched a three-day tour to rally support for Enterprise Florida’s business recruitment efforts, Visit Florida’s tourism promotion and other budget priorities.

    “We have a job to do the next three days,” Scott said at CWU, a Tampa federal contracting company, as part of his 10-city “Fighting for Florida’s Future” tour. The tour was meant to encourage Floridians to pressure their state legislators to reverse votes to cut funding to Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida. “You can make it happen. … You’ve got to call your House members, you’ve got to call your senators and let them know.”...

    Florida Gov. Rick Scott speaks while flanked by employees at CWU, Contracting Worldwide Unlimited, Inc., on Wednesday in Tampa. Scott made a stop at CWU to help promote his "Fighting for Florida's Future" tour to rally support for Enterprise Florida, Visit Florida and other budget priorities.
  11. Tampa trolley study identifies seven expansion alternatives

    Mass Transit

    TAMPA — There are a half-dozen ways Tampa could expand the TECO Line Streetcar — north to Tampa Heights, west to Hyde Park, looping through downtown — but each has its own mix of costs, benefits and challenges.

    So Tuesday night, consultants studying the future of the Tampa trolley took the options to about 75 residents, business owners and neighborhood activists at Hillsborough Community College's Ybor City campus....

    A study considering the possible expansion of the TECO Line Streetcar has identified seven possible alignments.
  12. Vinik-Cascade partnership floats idea of more tax money for bigger project


    TAMPA — The development plan has grown from $1 billion to $3 billion, so the Jeff Vinik-Cascade Investment partnership is talking to local officials about expanding the public's financial commitment to the project, too.

    Discussions are in the early stages, say officials and executives with Strategic Property Partners, the Tampa real estate company set up by Vinik and Cascade, a private capital fund launched by Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates. No hard numbers have been mentioned, and no financial request has been made....

    Construction continues Monday on some of the $34 million in infrastructure improvements being done north of Amalie Arena for Strategic Property Partners’ $3 billion redevelopment project.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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....

    Joe Capitano Sr. is a longtime Ybor City investor, developer, landlord, civic leader, activist and philanthropist. Photo courtesy Matt Nassif