6/8/2018: Symbols of the Confederacy, Democratic Governor's Race

Jun 8, 2018

This week on The Florida Roundup we discussed nine symbols of the Confederacy that have been removed in Florida over the past three years. Dozens more remain. We also looked at the increasingly crowded field of Democrats vying for governor.

From monuments to road names, Florida has removed Confederate symbols in the past few years. But scores remain standing.

Some candidates for statewide public office here in Florida, like State Representative Jay Fant, who’s running for Attorney General, have said they think monument removals should be made illegal.

Last fall Hollywood, Florida changed the names on three of its city streets. The streets had been named for three Confederate generals. Now they are called Freedom, Liberty and Hood streets.

Rodney Hurst, a civil rights icon in North Florida, and the author of books about the era, It was Never About a Hot Dog and a Coke and Unless We Tell it...It Never Gets Told, joined us for a discussion.

He’s also a member of Jacksonville’s Task Force on Civil Rights History and joined us to discuss the issue.

Securing Florida’s Elections

It took the Rick Scott administration two months to apply for federal funding to help keep state elections secure, but it only took the feds one day to approve it.

The $19.2 million dollars from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission will be used to protect security procedures and help detect threats to voting systems such as the hacking that was believed to have been attempted by Russians in 2016.

It was an unusual set of events. Two weeks ago Secretary of State Ken Detzner said he would not apply for the funds.  Detzner said it would require legislative approval, but he was quickly overruled by Governor Scott.

The money will be divided among the state and all 67 counties.

Broward County Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes admitted her county is not ready to fend off cyber-attacks.

“We’ve been doing hurricane plans and security plans, that’s just been a standard part of what we do, so now it seems that we need to have a whole new section on cyber security,” said Snipes.

She said her office has started taking steps for November's election, including ordering a new server.

The Broward Elections Supervisor has had other problems. Last month, a judge ruled the office violated federal and state laws when it prematurely destroyed ballots from a 2016 congressional race.

So how safe is your vote? With their insights, we welcomed WLRN Reporter Caitie Switalski, Politico Senior Report Matt Dixon and Leon County Supervisor of Elections Mark Earley.

The Democratic Race For Governor

One more is in while another decided against running. It was a week of comings and goings in the Democratic race to be Florida governor.

Palm Beach businessman Jeff Greene announced his candidacy this week. He could change the dynamics of the race because he is a billionaire who can self-finance his campaign.

In 2010 Greene spent $24 million of his own money in a failed race for the U.S. Senate Democratic nomination.

Also this week, former Democratic Congressman Patrick Murphy, who was mulling a bi-partisan race for governor with former Republican Congressman David Jolly announced he won’t run and endorsed Gwen Graham.      

Dixon offered some analysis.