Hurricaine Sally; Vote-By-Mail; Census Consequences; Bars Reopening

Sep 18, 2020

Four months’ worth of rain fell in just four hours in Pensacola on Wednesday as Hurricane Sally hit the far western portions of Florida. The Category 2 storm resulted in rescue efforts to save Floridians from storm surge and floodwaters. Tens of thousands in the Panhandle remain without power as more rain threatens the area this weekend.

Damages include part of the Pensacola Bay Bridge falling into the ocean, significant water main breakage, and several feet of standing water throughout the city.

Tom Ninestine, the managing editor of WUWF in Pensacola, joined us to discuss clean-up efforts, evacuations, and the help the city needs.

Vote-By-Mail

The Trump and Biden campaigns are spending millions of dollars targeting the most reliable type of voters - people over 60. While there has been a big jump in voter turnout among the youngest voters, senior citizens vote in higher concentrations.

Joe Byrnes, a reporter at WMFE, spoke with us about how the candidates reach voters in The Villages and COVID-19’s effect on politics in retirement neighborhoods.

Florida voters across all demographics are deeply committed to the long-term solvency of Social Security as a bedrock of financial security, according to a new AARP Florida Politics poll

AARP Florida Director Jeff Johnson spoke with us about what Florida’s seniors are expressing regarding voting by mail and whether the pandemic could potentially affect their vote.

Census Consequences

As the election nears, another deadline looms with enormous consequences.  The census is scheduled to conclude at the end of this month unless a federal court requires it to continue through October. The allocation of billions of dollars, political boundaries, and seats in Congress will be decided based on the results.

Mike Schneider, a reporter for the Associated Press, joined us to discuss Florida’s response rate, the court challenge that could extend the census, and the implications of federal healthcare spending.

Bars Reopening

This week, bars reopened across much of Florida at 50% capacity. Before the reopening, patrons could dine in bars. Most bars in the majority of South Florida remain closed. 

We spoke with Fla. Department of Business and Professional Regulation Secretary Halsey Beshears, who said bars would face penalties if they do not follow COVID-19 restrictions.

Katherine Hobbs can be reached at newsteam@wjct.org or on Twitter at @KatherineGHobbs.