01/19/18: Offshore Drilling, African-Americans Receive More Jaywalking Tickets In Fla.

Jan 19, 2018

On this week’s Roundup: Florida gets a reprieve from offshore drilling while police hand out more jaywalking tickets in the state to African-Americans and another accuser comes forward with allegations of sexual harassment against a former top state lawmaker.

The Politics Of Offshore Drilling

The Trump Administration wants to open up America’s coastline to oil drilling.

After Republican Gov. Rick Scott’s plea, the administration amended that to say Florida shouldn’t be included.

That in turn triggered accusations of playing politics from Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, who said on the Senate floor, “Design a plan for the entire U.S., publish it on Monday and take it back on Tuesday for Florida for political reasons.”

We took a look at the issue with Florida Director for the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy Susan Glickman, Congressman Francis Rooney from Naples and Miami Herald Environmental Reporter Jenny Staletovich.

Jaywalking Ticketing Rates Among Florida’s African-Americans

A state law says pedestrians who don’t use a crosswalk to cross the street can be ticketed by police and forced to pay a fine.

A Florida Times-Union/ProPublica investigation looked at these tickets in four large counties from 2012 to 2017. The investigation alleges many mistakes by law enforcement.

For example, black residents make up 16 percent of the population in Miami-Dade, but they received 29 percent of the tickets that were given in error, according to the Times-Union/ProPublica reporting. In Broward county, black people make up 30 percent of the population, but they got 61 percent of the bad tickets.

Ben Conarck, a reporter with The Florida Times-Union and Topher Sanders, reporter for ProPublica joined us to share their findings.

Former State Senator Jack Latvala Faces More Sexual Harassment Allegations

Another accuser has come forward to talk about her experience with now former state Senator Jack Latvala and sexual harassment in the state capitol.

Laura McLeod was a long-time lobbyist who recently gave up that career.  She is now a legislative aide for State Senator Lauren Book.

McLeod’s account of her experiences with Latvala - including an affair with him 20 years ago - is in the Miami Herald this week. McLeod shares text messages and journal entries to relay the complicated nature of the relationship between her and Latvala.

Evidence that she and others provided to a special master’s investigation in the Senate led retired judge Ronald Swanson to conclude there was probable cause that Latvala had violated Senate misconduct rules and had sexually harassed a legislative aide.

Mary Ellen Klas wrote in the Miami Herald that Tallahassee’s political culture and social scene are fueled by campaign contributions. Marital infidelity seems to be an open secret - and those with the most political power - mainly men in the legislature - are able to use “sex as both a tool and a weapon.”

Ellen joined us now from WFSU in Tallahassee.