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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

Email: rdanielson@tampabay.com

Twitter: @Danielson_Times

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  1. NAACP president foreshadows issues in 2019 Tampa mayor's race

    Politics

    TAMPA — Tampa's next election for mayor is 18 months away, but the president of the Hillsborough County Branch NAACP offered a glimpse Friday of a couple of possible facets of the campaign.

    First, if Jane Castor runs for mayor as expected, she will get some criticism about the thousands of tickets Tampa police officers wrote to black bicycle riders when she was chief.

    "To this day, we have never received an apology from the Tampa Police Department," the NAACP's Yvette Lewis told about 75 people at Café con Tampa, a weekly political discussion group....

    NAACP Hillsborough Branch president Yvette Lewis speaks Friday morning to Caf? con Tampa, a weekly political discussion group.
  2. Tampa not alone in eyeing highly treated waste water as possible drinking water source

    Water

    TAMPA — The Tampa Bay area has a long history of local governments jockeying to control sources of water, but not water into which people have pooped.

    That could change.

    Tampa and Hillsborough County both want to take reclaimed water — essentially, highly treated wastewater that's nearly pure enough to drink — and put it to a new use. For Tampa, this would mean taking several extra steps to purify the water further and adding it to its drinking water supply, something already done from California to Israel....

    Water gushes from a pipe at the Howard F. Curren Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant.  Tampa officials are talking about using reclaimed water - essentially, highly treated waste water that's nearly pure enough to drink - to augment the citty's existing water supply. Ttreated waste water that comes out of the Curren plant would be pumped int the aquifer 900 feet below-ground, then withdrawn from 300 feet down, treated further and added to the city's drinking water supply. CHRIS URSO  |  Times
  3. Christine Burdick retiring after 15 years leading Tampa Downtown Partnership

    Economic Development

    TAMPA — Tampa Downtown Partnership president and CEO Christine Burdick is retiring after a 15-year run that saw the city's urban core take some big steps along the path from dead zone to playground.

    Burdick, 68, plans to focus on special projects through her retirement on Jan. 1, with chief operating officer Lynda Remund helping manage day-to-day operations at the nonprofit partnership....

    Christine Burdick has worked as president and CEO of the nonprofit Tampa Downtown Partnership since April 2002. EDMUND D. FOUNTAIN   |   Times (2011)
  4. Port Tampa Bay sets record with $55.4 million in operating revenue in 2017

    Business

    TAMPA — Port Tampa Bay posted its biggest operating revenues ever this year — $55.4 million — beating its previous record from two years ago.

    The total reflects revenue solely generated by port operations, not property tax revenue or grants, officials said.

    The increase for the 2017 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, was driven by growth in cruise ship business, where the number of cruises sailing out of Port Tampa Bay rose 26 percent, but also in other areas....

    Passengers wait to catch rides outside Cruise Terminal 3 after disembarking from The Carnival Paradise at Port Tampa Bay earlier this year. Growth in cruise ship business, expanded leases and shipping of commodities like petroleum, cement, phosphate and steel helped generate a record $55.4 million in operating revenues for the port during the 2017 fiscal year. [JAMES BORCHUCK  |   Times]
  5. Tampa City Council moves ahead with new rules for 5G wireless antennas, but blasts Legislature because it can't do more

    Local Government

    TAMPA — The City Council on Thursday moved ahead with proposals to minimize the visual clutter created on city streets by the next generation of wireless antennas, many as small as a pizza box, but some as big as a family-sized refrigerator.

    But before it voted, the council complained that the Legislature passed a law this spring that pre-empts the city's authority regulate many aspects of where new 5G wireless antennas will go, and thus, they said, to be responsive to residents' concerns about their impact on neighborhood aesthetics....

    Tampa officials expect the spread of 5G wireless technology to result in a a flood of applications to put new small cell antennas and other equipment on poles like this one, many of them in the city's right of way. This pole is in Orlando, and the equipment shown here did not meet the city of Orlando's code for small cell antennaes at the time it was installed. It later was changed to meet the code.
  6. Online poll helps Tampa leaders know what people are thinking about

    News

    TAMPA — A city of Tampa online survey of the public's priorities for the next 18 months rated improving streets and easing flooding as the top priority of nearly 89 percent of respondents.

    Nearly tied for second were police-community relations and transportation options, including light rail. Both were rated as important by nearly 75 percent of those surveyed.

    The lowest priorities: additional workforce housing (32.3 percent) and keeping the Tampa Bay Rays in the area (39.4 percent)....

    Mayor Bob Buckhorn
  7. Harry Cohen: Political tide will turn toward compromise — and Tampa is going to need it

    Blog

    With only a few hours’ sleep separating him from a 1:30 a.m. adjournment of the City Council meeting, Harry Cohen said Friday that this year’s messy end to Tampa’s budget process foreshadows both the challenges and the promise of the way city politics is changing....

    Tampa City Council member Harry Cohen
  8. In marathon meeting, Tampa City Council further trims Bob Buckhorn’s property tax increase

    Blog

    It wasn’t easy, quick or pretty, but the Tampa City Council voted early Friday morning to make another reduction to Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s proposed property tax increase for 2018....

    The Tampa City Council was working into the night Thursday on the city budget for 2018.
  9. Tampa's budget discussion scrambled by last-minute negotiations

    Local Government

    TAMPA — City Hall's budget-making process got a lot more complicated and maybe more uncertain Thursday night.

    Council members voted 4-3 to reject the property tax rate that they had tentatively approved last week and were working into the evening to come up with a new tax rate on which to base the city's $900-plus million budget for 2018. Voting against the proposed tax rate were Yvonne Yolie Capin, Mike Suarez, Guido Maniscalco and Harry Cohen....

  10. David Straz forming committee to explore possible run for Tampa mayor in 2019

    Elections

    TAMPA — Banker, philanthropist and patron of the arts David A. Straz Jr. said Thursday that he soon will announce the formation of an exploratory committee to help him decide whether to run for mayor of Tampa in 2019.

    Straz also plans to open a bank account to help the committee in its work, but says it will be months before he announces whether he'll run.

    "I'm thinking about it now," Straz told the Tampa Bay Times. "I'm exploring the possibility. I won't have a decision on that until about the first of the year."...

    David A. Straz says he’ll decide if he will run by mid 2018.
  11. Tampa hires second contractor to pick up Hurricane Irma debris

    Hurricanes

    TAMPA — After South Florida intercepted a fleet of rental trucks needed by its storm debris pickup contractor, Tampa has hired a second contractor and agreed to pay both companies more money to clean up after Hurricane Irma.

    The city also has lowered its estimate of how much storm debris there is to haul away. Last week, the job looked like it could entail removing as much as 300,000 cubic yards of debris....

    A city of Tampa truck loaded with debris from Hurricane Irma pulls into a temporary storage yard on N Rome Avenue last week. There, workers from Tetra Tech, the city's debris monitoring contractor, photograph and check the load from an elevated platform to create a record that the city can use later to seek reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. RICHARD DANIELSON  |  Times
  12. Pinellas, Hillsborough join forces to enter Amazon bidding war

    Economic Development

    Pinellas and Hillsborough counties will join forces in an effort to convince Amazon to build a new world headquarters in the Tampa Bay area.

    ROBERT TRIGAUX: Tampa joins most competitive pursuit — to capture Amazon's new HQ2 (Sept. 8, 2017)...

    Amazon announced Sept. 7 that it has opened the search for a second headquarters, promising to spend more than $5 billion on the opening. [AP file Photo/Richard Drew
  13. Tampa heading into several tough budget years

    Local Government

    TAMPA — Less pain now, more pain later.

    That's one way to look at the decision the City Council faces when it votes on Mayor Bob Buckhorn's proposed 2018 budget this week.

    The council decided last week to raise property taxes, but not by as much as Buckhorn asked. In doing so, it also opted not to put as much money aside for a couple of upcoming fiscal shocks.

    Buckhorn proposed raising Tampa's property tax rate from $5.73 to $6.63 in taxes for every $1,000 of assessed value. That would have added $140 next year to the tax bill of the average owner-occupied home in the city, and an average of $279 for taxpayers who live in South Tampa, where home values are highest....

    The Tampa City Council will hold a final public hearing on the proposed 2018 city budget and property tax rate at 5 p.m. Thursday on the third floor of Old City Hall, 315 E Kennedy Blvd.
  14. Jameis Winston, Feeding Tampa Bay to provide groceries to families hit by Hurricane Irma

    Hurricanes

    TAMPA — Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston, Feeding Tampa Bay and the nonprofit Corporation to Develop Communities of Tampa will distribute food and gift cards Tuesday to an estimated 400 families who suffered power outages and lost food after Hurricane Irma.

    The event will take place 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday at the CDC of Tampa, 1907 E Hillsborough Ave.

    Winston is scheduled to present some of the 400 $25 Publix gift cards he has donated for families who need to buy items for their homes....

    Tampa Bay Bucaneers quarterback Jameis Winston, center, in green shirt, serves a meal at a disaster assistance registration center in St. Petersburg on Sept. 15. Winston has purchased 400 $25 gift cards from Publix and is scheduled to present some of them to families who lost groceries after Hurricane Irma from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Corporation to Develop Communities of Tampa at 1907 E Hillsborough Ave. in Tampa. LARA CERRI   |   Times
  15. South Florida poaches debris pickup trucks once headed to Tampa Bay

    Hurricanes

    The Tampa Bay area has an estimated 2 million cubic yards of debris from Hurricane Irma waiting at the curb — enough to fill a line of dump trucks stretching 735 miles, or from Tampa to Tupelo, Miss.

    But many trucks that could help make those tree limbs disappear are instead heading to South Florida, where hauling fees have shot up since the hurricane.

    That has left several bay area communities and their private storm debris contractors scrambling....

     Tree debris from the winds of Hurricane Irma lay along the curb and in Demens Dr. South near the intersection of 16th St. S., St. Petersburg, 9/22/17