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Dems request special session on rent; colada inflation; Wildlife Thursday: Key deer

Emily Michot
Miami Herald

Rents are rising. Is it up to lawmakers to control the situation? We look at the rising cost of living — everything from gas to our precious Cuban coffee. Plus, could moving Key deer off the Florida Keys help save them?

On this Thursday, May 5, edition of Sundial:

Dems request special session on rent

Has your rent gone up? Chances are it has. If not, you probably know someone who has experienced an increase.

That’s because South Florida has had the largest rent increase in the country — median prices went up 57 percent from the previous year. Our hometown has passed the New York area as the least affordable housing market in the nation.

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A group of Democratic lawmakers is calling on Gov. Ron DeSantis to address protections for renters in the special session happening the week of May 23 that will focus on property and homeowners insurance.

Representative Michael Grieco, whose district includes parts of Miami, Miami Beach and North Bay Village, joined Sundial to discuss the bills filed in the 2022 regular session that he’s hoping will be reconsidered.

Dems request special session on rent

Measuring Inflation with coladas

According to the consumer price index, inflation is the highest it has been in almost 40 years. Rents are up, gas prices are climbing, but in Miami, we have our own inflation metric: the Cuban colada.

In some places, the price has doubled, tripled, even quadrupled. This means the $1 colada — once a staple at ventanitas across Miami — is now a relic.

Miami Herald food editor Carlos Frías recently went on a quest throughout Miami to investigate the disappearance of the $1 colada. He was confronted with a new, grim reality where coladas can cost as much as $4.05 in Hialeah.

He also found that another Cuban staple hasn’t been spared from supply chain issues.

“One of the most common things at Cuban restaurants is the little wedge of lime. We put it over our palomilla steaks, our chicken steaks. I've seen several restaurants that have yellow lemons. And I've asked and they said there's a shortage of limes,” Frías said.

Frías joined Sundial to talk about how he measured the “Cafecito Index” and why the rising costs of coladas are just the canary in the coal mine for South Florida businesses. He also talked about his recent nomination for a James Beard Award, which he said is like winning an Oscar for folks in the culinary world.

Colada inflation

Wildlife Thursday: Key deer

About 10,000 years ago, sea levels rose and the islands of the Florida Keys were cut off from the mainland. The white-tailed deer living on the islands were also cut off from the mainland and main herd. Over many generations, they evolved to become the Key deer: the smallest subspecies of white-tailed deer.

They're unique because Key deer only live in the Florida Keys and you can't find them anywhere else in the world. They’re also very good swimmers.

Chris Bergh told Sundial that even though they are good swimmers, rising sea levels are threatening their survival and could ultimately wipe them out. Bergh is the Nature Conservancy’s South Florida program manager based at the organization’s office on Big Pine Key. The Conservancy works to tackle solutions to climate change and complex climate issues all over the globe.

Wildlife Thursday: Key Deer

Elisa Baena is a former associate producer for Sundial.<br/>
Leslie Ovalle Atkinson is the former lead producer behind Sundial. As a multimedia producer, she also worked on visual and digital storytelling.