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Pride Parade Accident, How Florida And California Handled COVID, & A Tough Housing Market

One person is dead and another critically injured after a pickup drove into pedestrians at the Stonewall Pride Parade in Wilton Manors, Florida in Broward.
One person is dead and another critically injured after a pickup drove into pedestrians at the Stonewall Pride Parade in Wilton Manors, Florida in Broward.

Tragedy strikes a South Florida Pride parade. Florida and California took radically different approaches to the coronavirus pandemic. More than a year into the pandemic, we examine their strategies and results. Plus, South Florida's hot housing market.

This post has been updated.

On this Monday, June 21, episode of Sundial

Pride Parade Accident

A man crashed his truck into a crowd of people at a pride parade in Wilton Manors this weekend.

One man was killed. And another was seriously injured. Police say the tragic incident was an accident.

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“Our local law enforcement agencies and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are to be commended for their diligent work investigating this incident that we now know was a tragic accident. Our community remains heartbroken for the innocent life lost and the gentleman who was injured,” said Wilton Manors Mayor Scott Newton in a statement, after declining to join Sundial.

Monday evening, authorities released the names of the individuals involved in the deadly accident at Wilton Manors Pride over the weekend. James Fahy from Fort Lauderdale was killed by a truck that accidentally drove into the Pride parade. Jerry Vroegh was injured and sent to the Broward Health Center but has been returned home. Gary Keating sustained minor injuries from the vehicle. The driver was identified as 77-year-old Fred Johnson Jr. from Oakland Park. All four were members of the Ft. Lauderdale Gay Men’s Choir.

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis was at the scene Saturday. That same evening he called it “a terrorist attack against the LGBTQ community,” incorrectly stating that the incident wasn’t an accident.

He recanted that statement on Sunday acknowledging that he was mistaken.

“I think that people will be able to finish out the month, be able to celebrate the strides that the LGBTQ community has made, while also recognize the issues that are before us,” said Steve Rothaus, a longtime reporter and expert on South Florida's queer community. “Although this time it wasn't a terrorist attack, and probably never should have been said that it was in the first place, ... it is possible. Five years ago, 49 people were killed in the Pulse nightclub by a single person.”

Jason Parsley, the editor of South Florida Gay News also joined Sundial for this conversation.

Pride Parade Accident

How Florida And California Handled COVID

California and Florida took radically different approaches to the pandemic.

Last week, California fully reopened for the first time since the start of COVID.

The state’s Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom took a much more stringent approach than Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has allowed the state to be open since last year.

WLRN, with NPR member station KQED in San Francisco, documented the state’s differing strategies to dealing with COVID-19 — and the results are a two-part series that aired last week.

KQED political correspondent Marisa Lagos joined WLRN’s Caitie Switalski Muñoz on Sundial to discuss their reporting.

How Florida And California Handled COVID
On a Friday in May, the Miami Gardens vaccination site at the closed-down Brentwood Community Pool saw 4-5 people come, seeking a shot to protect against COVID-19.

A Tough Housing Market

The housing market is exploding in South Florida.

Houses in Miami-Dade County, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach are expected to rise 10% in value over the next year, according toZillow. And that’s after rising nearly the same percentage already this past year.

“Developers are focusing on the higher end or the luxury simply because that's where margins are higher. That is the incentive for them,” said Eli Berrecha, director of the Hollo School of Real Estate at Florida International University. “And that's exacerbated the problem of the affordable housing units.”

At a time when housing affordability was already difficult for millions living here, the market has gotten even tighter.

“The human cost is very high,” said Annie Lord, the director of Miami Homes for All. “We are going to see a much greater number of evictions move forward and be processed and enforced. And really, it's coming at a time when it's really not quite matched perfectly with the financial assistance that is flowing through the county and through several of our cities from the federal government, and that funding for rental assistance to help people pay back their landlords if they're in arrears or even to help pay forward, it's that money is still kind of getting out the door.”

She added that the eviction moratorium shouldn’t be lifted this month so that there would be more time for households to receive the assistance they need.

A Tough Housing Market

This post was updated to include new information on the victims and the driver of the vehicle in the Pride parade accident.

Leslie Ovalle Atkinson is the former lead producer behind Sundial. As a multimedia producer, she also worked on visual and digital storytelling.