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Miami's police chief saga, Broward students leave the district, and talking about climate change

Matias J. Ocner
Miami Herald
City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, left, talks with Art Acevedo during a press conference at Miami City Hall on Monday, March 15, 2021.

On this Monday, October 11, edition of Sundial:

Police Chief Art Acevedo vs. Miami City Commissioners

The back-and-forth criticisms between Miami’s city commissioners and Police Chief Art Acevedo are still an ongoing conversation. The city commission has questioned his leadership and character after Acevedo stated that it’s almost as if Miami were controlled by the “Cuban Mafia.”

Some of the commissioners, including Joe Carollo, want Acevedo fired. They can’t directly fire him, but they can vote to remove Acevedo which would put pressure on Miami City Manager Arthur Noriega to make a decision.

By Monday evening it was announced that Acevedo would be fired. In a statement Noriega said:

"Today, I suspended Police Chief Art Acevedo with the intent to terminate his employment, consistent with the City Charter. The relationship between the Chief and the organization has become untenable and needed to be resolved promptly. In particular, the relationship between the Chief and the Police Department he leads - as well as with the community - has deteriorated beyond repair. Relationships between employers and employees come down to fit and leadership style and unfortunately, Chief Acevedo is not the right fit for this organization."

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Meanwhile, Acevedo wants the Federal Bureau of Investigation to investigate some of the city commissioners for patterns of misconduct.

WLRN's Danny Rivero has been following this story. He said the controversy and pushback from the city commission began as soon as Acevedo started his new position. The city commission was surprised that Miami Mayor Francis Suarez hired Acevedo after not following the structured hiring process.

“[Suarez] basically went around [the process], and he recruited Chief Acevedo from Houston after talking to the Houston mayor,” said Rivero. “As soon as the police chief came on, there was a lot of grumblings of, ‘Hold on, we’ve been interviewing people and you totally sidestepped it and went around it.’”

Rivero mentioned that Suarez hasn’t commented on the city commissioners’ opinions of Acevedo.

10-11-2021 SUNDIAL SEG A Miami Police Chief.mp3

Thousands Of Broward Students Are No Longer In Broward Classrooms

The first day of school for Broward County Public Schools was nearly three months ago. Officials predicted an increase in student enrollment, but in reality, thousands of students left the district.

Some parents put their children in homeschool, private school, or an online program. However, there are still students who did not return to their public school and did not give an explanation.

Anna Fusco is the president of the Broward Teachers Union. She’s concerned about the missing students’ overall wellbeing and education. Fusco credited Interim Superintendent Vickie Cartwright for seeing the potential impact of going door-to-door in search of the students.

“The community will see us out there, we can reconnect with the families and the students because Broward Schools has been open,” Fusco said. “They’ve been ready and they want to make sure that the families know that we’re here and that it’s safe to come back.”

Fusco said there are multiple reasons why parents aren’t letting their children go back to brick-and-mortar schools. Many of them were concerned their young kids could contract COVID-19 and bring it back home, especially if they have a family member with severe immunocompromised conditions.

10-11-2021 SUNDIAL SEG B Missing Students (1).mp3

Dr. Katharine Hayhoe Discusses Climate Change

Climate change is a prominent topic in South Florida. Even though it involves the environment, it’s become a political conversation over the years as Republicans and Democrats debated its existence and the best economic solutions.

Dr. Katharine Hayhoe is the chief scientist at The Nature Conservancy, a global environmental nonprofit organization. She’s also a professor, a climate communicator, and an author.

Hayhoe also advocates for women getting involved with climate change solutions. Hayhoe was a panelist at The Nature Conservancy’s virtual event, “Women in Climate" and mentioned that women and children are more affected by hurricanes and other natural disasters — especially in low-income countries and communities.

“When we bring a greater diversity of voices to the table to talk about solutions, we end up with better solutions,” said Hayhoe. “Solutions that are more robust that they consider more perspectives.”

Her new book, “Saving Us: A Climate Scientist's Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World,” details how to talk about climate change in an effective way.

10-11-2021 SUNDIAL SEG C Climate Change.mp3

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Amber Amortegui is a senior studying journalism at Palm Beach Atlantic University. Born and raised in Davie, Fla., Amber is a native South Floridian who embraces one of America’s most diverse regions.