The Sunshine Economy

9 a.m. and 7 p.m. Mondays

The Sunshine Economy, takes a fresh look at the key industries transforming South Florida into a regional powerhouse. From investments in health care, storm preparedness, international trade, real estate and technology based start-ups, tune in to learn more about one of the worlds most vibrant and diverse economies.

Tom Hudson
Credit WLRN

Ways to Connect

Andrew Milne / courtesy of The Related Group

Jorge Pérez has built hundreds of condominiums in South Florida since the last housing market collapse. In fact, he has built thousands of condos in his career. They have fueled a multi-billion dollar fortune for him and reshaped the region’s skyline.

His company, The Related Group, is not putting shovels in the ground right now though. He thinks real estate in South Florida is coming in for a soft landing, but not because the American economy is softening.

Joey Flechas / Miami Herald

Florida's 27th Congressional District has miles of coastline. The district stretches from near Black Pointe Marina in south Miami-Dade County to the Venetian Causeway, and all of Key Biscayne and Miami Beach.

"Whatever is going on in the rest of the country, we're not denying climate change," says Donna Shalala, the Democrat running for Congress in the district. "For us, it's life and death."

Miami Herald

In the battle over control of the U.S. House of Representatives, the race to replace the longest-serving member of the Florida Congressional delegation plays a big role. The campaign to succeed Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R) in Congress pits a veteran of Democratic politics and community leader against a political newcomer who is a former Spanish-language television news host.

 

Republican Maria Elvira Salazar and Democrat Donna Shalala are running in the 27th Congressional district in Miami-Dade County, but the outcome will echo across the region.

Tom Hudson

Gambling in Florida is a perennial issue for politicians and the public. It will be on this fall’s ballot for voters in two forms. One proposed constitutional amendment would ban greyhound racing. The other question is much larger: should voters have the exclusive right to expand gambling? If approved by at least 60 percent of voters, it would take that power away from state lawmakers.

Frost photo: Tom Hudson, Clayton photo: courtesy SEC

Miami biotech billionaire and philanthropist Dr. Phillip Frost says he was stunned by the stock trading fraud charges filed against him earlier this month by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Frost denies the allegations, saying in a statement, they "are belied by common sense, my history of supporting promising scientific technology, and the facts."

Frost declined WLRN's invitation for an interview.

courtsey: Securities and Exchange Commission

Stock fraud, quarterly financial results and crypotcurrencies were a few of the topics WLRN discussed with the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission over the course of two interviews.

The SEC is the nation's top stock market cop. We spoke with Chairman Jay Clayton in July when he visited the agency's regional office in Miami. A second interview was recorded last week with Clayton in his Washington D.C. office.

Tom Hudson

The White Sands Inn and Hawks Cay Resort are only four miles apart in the Middle Keys, but they represent two very different types of hotels along the island chain. They also represent two very different realities in the year since Hurricane Irma hit Monroe County.

Hawks Cay is one of the largest hotels in the Keys with 177 rooms and 250 rental villas, and it is one of the largest private employers in the Keys. During the business season, it employes 350 people. It's owned by a real estate investment group based in New York City.

Luis Hernandez / WLRN

Florida teachers’ unions are planning to sue the state over a new law that threatens their long-term survival.

Spirit Airlines is a major economic force in South Florida: it is the second largest carrier at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport; it is a top five employer in Broward County with more than 3,000 regional employees; and it is one of the largest South Florida companies with more than $2.5 billion in annual revenue.

Tom Hudson

The companies Ron Antevy and Rodrigo Griesi help run are very different. One is homegrown, the other was exported to South Florida from Brazil. One has about 200 people on its local payroll. The other has one local employee, but is part of the global gig-economy -- working with freelancers all over the world. One company is more than 20 years old. The other started only five years ago.

Tom Hudson

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez thinks that transportation woes in the region have gotten worse, but he thinks drivers have become more courteous.

Those two statements came at the beginning and at the end of an interview with the mayor focused on transportation in the region.

This is how we started our interview:

WLRN: Would you agree that transportation is in crisis in Miami-Dade County?

Gimenez: No. Does it need improvement? Yes, it does. Has it gotten worse? Yes, it has. 

And this is how it ended:

Tom Hudson

Katlin Svadbik and Mauricio Aristides are co-workers. She’s 25 years old, from Miami, and is finishing her sophomore year at New World School of the Arts College.  He’s 49 years old, born in Chile, grew up all around South America, studied archaeology in Mexico and came to South Florida in 2005.

AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

The mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School almost 10 weeks ago has ushered in a new era of activism. A vocal group of students at Stoneman Douglas has led school walkouts, marches and social media campaigns protesting gun violence. They have inspired student groups across the country to do the same.

 

Sammy Mack

If you're like a lot of Floridians and get your health insurance through an employer, some of your health care decisions may be made for you before you ever set foot in a doctor's office, hospital or lab. 

Tom Hudson

It seems appropriate that the first item on the list of Chinese goods facing the threat of a U.S. tariff in the gathering storm over trade -- Thorium -- is named for the Norse God of Thunder.

 

The last item on America’s $50 billion, 1,300-item list is parts of seats made of bamboo. The U.S. imported about $1 million worth of it from China last year.

 

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