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First Coast Connect

6/28/2017: Racial Rift Among Florida Democrats; Travel Ban Hold Lifted; Servpro Hurricane Season

Today on “First Coast Connect,” we spoke with Florida Times-Union Tallahassee Bureau Chief Tia Mitchell (01:15) regarding her recent column regarding a rift between the Florida Democratic chairman and African-American officials and if the party takes them for granted. Local attorney David Ward and director of World Relief-Jacksonville Jose Vega (23:02) discussed the refugee crisis and the Supreme Court’s decision to lift the hold on President Trump’s travel ban. Servpro chief operations manager Chandler St. Peter (44:31) told us about environmentally friendly ways to prepare for hurricane season. 


Democrats African-Americans   

Earlier this month there was a bit of a dust-up during the Florida Democratic Party’s Leadership Blue fundraiser with former Vice-President Joe Biden. Party Chairman Stephen Bittel scrapped the formality of introducing the elected officials in attendance to the crowd. That angered several of those officials, but Bittel, who is white, singled out African-Americans telling Sen. Lauren Brook (D-Plantation), who is also white that black caucus members were acting “childish” and “like 3-year-olds,” according to reports in Politico and the Miami Herald. He quickly apologized, but it again has some African-Americans asking if their longtime loyalty to the Democratic Party has been worth it and if they are being given the respect they deserve.                

Travel Ban Hold Lifted

Local supporters of refugees are still trying to determine the impact of the U.S Supreme Court decision to partially lift the stay of President Trump’s travel ban. The ban now goes into effect Thursday. Meanwhile others have been traveling the world to help thousand of refugees who escape from ISIS. Ward has spent much of the past year helping the refugees get to countries like Australia that more generous immigration policies than the U.S. Vega’ s organization helps refugees who come to Jacksonville.       

‘Going Green’- Servpro Hurricane Season  

Servpro Jacksonville South & Arlington is one of three Storm Certified Response Teams in Florida. St. Peter said there are several ways to can prepare your home ahead of any tropical system to help prevent storm damage. He said they are still working on homes in St. Augustine and Ponte Vedra Beach that sustained damage during Hurricane Matthew. He also said they use several environmentally friendly products to do so.   

Kevin Meerschaert can be reached at, 904-358-6334 or on Twitter at @KMeerschaertJax


Kevin Meerschaert has left WJCT for new pursuits. He was the producer of First Coast Connect until October of 2018.