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Electoral College Vote, Affordable Housing And Sea Rise, And ‘Their Eyes Were Watching God’

A man walks through a flooded area in front of an apartment complex. The water reaching just below his knees.
Carl Juste
Miami Herald
Homero Giviria, 76, walks to his job at Aventura Mall barefooted with his dry shoes in a plastic bag through Biscayne Lake Gardens apartment complex in Aventura, Florida on Monday, December 23, 2019.

The Electoral College voted Monday to affirm President-elect Joe Biden's victory. Miami Beach has an affordable housing problem and sea rise could make it worse. And a look back at the American classic 'Their Eyes Were Watching God.'

On this Monday, Dec. 14 ,episode of Sundial:

Electoral College Vote

Following weeks of lawsuits and unsubstantiated claims of election fraud, the Electoral College met Monday to vote for the new President-elect.

The vote has again brought up discussions about how the Electoral College works and debates over its future.

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“I believe when our forefathers created how the checks and balances should be done in this country, they did it that way for a reason,” said Shevrin Jones, a Democratic state senator based in Broward County and a delegate for the Florida Democratic Party in the Electoral College. “ Should we re-look at how things should be done because times have changed? Of course, but then we have to also be careful that we're not diverting away from the checks and balances that exist that keep America, America.”

He added that he has not heard any discussion among the electors about changing the system and he is more concerned with those who refuse to accept the election results.

This past election was in many ways a loss for Florida Democrats, who lost several House seats in Congress as well as in the state legislature.

“One of the things I believe we did wrong, we allowed the Republicans to label us as something that we weren't and we didn't fight back hard enough. For instance, I mean, we did not fight hard enough when they were calling us socialists. We could have fought harder on that,” Jones said on Sundial.

Electoral College Vote
State Rep. Shevrin Jones

Affordable Housing And Sea Rise

Miami Beach has an affordable housing problem — that’s not particularly notable news. But sea rise could make the problem worse, according to a new study from the organization Climate Central.

It found that sea rise could put coastal subsidized housing at risk and on the front lines for routine flooding.

Also, the coveted view of an oceanfront continues to hike up prices leaving some with no choice but to leave home.

“Now you have these sort of colliding problems of an affordable housing extreme shortage and sea rise that makes that affordable housing more expensive in many ways and kind of less inhospitable to living right now,” said WLRN’s environmental reporter Jenny Staletovich on Sundial.

She produced this story in partnership with Climate Central reporter Ayurella Horn-Muller and Southerly, an independent, non-profit media outlet that covers the intersection of ecology, justice, and culture in the American South.

Listen to the two-part series here.

Affordable Housing & Sea Rise
Villa Maria 1.jpg

"Their Eyes Were Watching God"

The American classic by Zora Neale Hurston, titled “Their Eyes Were Watching God” centers on a middle-aged Black woman named Janie Crawford, who returns to the town of Eatonville, Florida after a long absence.

Crawford is a confident woman who has unique and challenging relationships with men, her family, and the townsfolk.

For more perspective on Hurston’s life and legacy we spoke with N. Y. Nathiri, the executive director of the Association to Preserve the Eatonville Community, Inc. (P.E.C.) and general manager of the annual Zora Neale Hurston Festival of the Arts and Humanities. She also has a unique link to Hurston.

We read the iconic story for our Sundial Book Club last year. You can listen to that conversation here.

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Suria is Sundial's fall 2020 high school intern and a production assistant.
Leslie Ovalle produces WLRN's daily magazine program, Sundial. She previously produced Morning Edition newscasts at WLRN and anchored the midday news. As a multimedia producer, she also works on visual and digital storytelling.