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Crist's Run For Governor, DeSantis Sending Police To Mexico Border, Broward BLM Controversy

West Broward High School students included a Black Lives Matter spread in their yearbook. But the school administration took issue.
Courtesy of The Edge Yearbook
West Broward High School students included a Black Lives Matter spread in their yearbook. But the school administration took issue.

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist makes his case for governor, again. Gov. DeSantis announced that Florida will be sending law enforcement officers to help states at the U.S.-Mexico border. Plus, West Broward High School students included a Black Lives Matter spread in their yearbook but the school administration took issue.

On this Thursday, June 17, episode of Sundial

Rep. Charlie Crist Runs For Governor

Democratic Congressman Charlie Crist recently announced his campaign to become Florida’s next governor. Crist has a long history in Florida politics, serving in the state Senate, as education commissioner, as state Attorney General and eventually becoming Governor, as a Republican, in 2007.

He spoke with guest host Daniel Rivero on Sundial about how his experience as both a Democrat and Republican, positions him well to achieve bipartisan support in the state.

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“I told some Republicans after I got elected governor as a Republican, they wanted me to do something that would affect voting in Florida for example, things I thought would suppress the vote. I told them I didn’t get elected the governor of Republicans of Florida, I got elected the governor of the people of Florida. And I always try to comport myself that way,” Crist said.

The St. Petersburg U.S. representative was a Republican governor for four years but lost a statewide U.S. Senate race, as an independent candidate, and another run for governor as a Democrat.

During our conversation, Crist pointed to his record as an environmentalist. As governor, he had plans to restore the Everglades through the purchase of land used for sugarcane production and turning it back into a free flow of water. He argued the plan was stalled due to the economic crash in 2008, but as governor he hopes to pursue that project again.

Progressives have criticized Crist’s shifting attitudes towards gun control policies. As governor, Crist signed a Florida law allowing individuals to bring guns to work as long as they are kept locked within their cars. Recently during a campaign stop in Miami Beach, he advocated for an assault weapons ban and stronger background checks.

“I’m pro Second Amendment, I understand what’s in the constitution and people have a right to bear arms. I also understand when that was written, you had to muzzle load a gun. And we had no automatic weapons. So it strikes me, banning automatic, assault weapons is appropriate and just and common sense,” said Crist on Sundial.

Host Daniel Rivero corrected Crist that fully automatic weapons are currently illegal under federal law but semi-automatic, assault-style weapons are still able to be purchased under Florida law.

Rep. Charlie Crist Runs For Governor

DeSantis Sending Police To Mexico Border

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced yesterday that Florida will be sending law enforcement officers to Texas and Arizona. The governors of the two states asked for assistance in dealing with immigration at the border in a letter sent last week. Sheriffs from six Florida counties were with DeSantis at a press conference, pledging to support the effort. WLRN’s Americas editor Tim Padgett explained how the governor's move is unusual.

“I cannot recall an instance of Texas or any of the other border states in the past calling on the other states to provide additional law enforcement for protection. [Immigration] is under the federal purview; it is not in the portfolio of local law enforcement,” Padgett said.

There are few details at this point as to how many law enforcement officials will be sent and how much the move will cost taxpayers. The request from Texas and Arizona comes as the U.S.-Mexico border is seeing an unprecedented number of migrants at the border crossing. Last month, there were approximately 180,000 apprehensions of undocumented immigrants at the border, according to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. It’s a 20-year high and up 76% since February.

The Biden administration has faced tough criticism for its handling of the border crisis. Vice President Kamala Harris recently made a diplomatic visit to three Central American countries, where she spoke with leaders about the route causes for migration to the U.S.

“The Biden administration is trying to find ways to improve conditions in places like the northern triangle of Central America so that people will feel that they have a future in their home countries and they don’t have to escape by the thousands every day. Because of gang violence and really intense poverty," Padgett said.

He also discussed the recent Peruvian elections on the program. You can read his commentary on local reactions to the election results here.

DeSantis Sending Police To Mexico Border
Gov. Ron DeSantis says Florida may have "vanquished the ghosts of Bush versus Gore." Video image: The Florida Channel

Broward High School BLM Controversy

West Broward High School administrators brought this year's yearbook distribution to a halt because it included a Black Lives Matter spread, according to yearbook teacher David Fleischer.

“Our student body is affected by it. And I didn't want the conversation about [Black Lives Matter] to stop. That's a main reason we put things in the yearbook and so people can remember what happened. And I want those who have our yearbook to remember that Black Lives Matter was something that happened and it's still important,” said Elise Twitchell, the co-editor of the yearbook.

Eventually, the yearbooks were distributed again. This time — with a letter from the school principal saying the political views in the book “are not sponsored by the [School] District.”

The yearbook’s editorial team wanted to include their own letter in response but they say they were not allowed to.

“The Edge does not believe that any page or spread in the book is political in nature and stands by the editorial decisions it made,” said the letter.

Fleischer worried about the message the school district is sending to Black students. He says he has been trying to set up meetings with the district but they have been unresponsive.

Broward High School BLM Controversy

Chris knew he wanted to work in public radio beginning in middle school, as WHYY played in his car rides to and from school in New Jersey. He’s freelanced for All Things Considered and was a desk associate for CBS Radio News in New York City. Most recently, he was producing for Capital Public Radio’s Insight booking guests, conducting research and leading special projects at Sacramento’s NPR affiliate.
Leslie Ovalle Atkinson is the former lead producer behind Sundial. As a multimedia producer, she also worked on visual and digital storytelling.