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Community IDs, Puerto Rico’s housing crisis, and a podcast covering the peculiar parts of Miami history

In this May 21, 2020 file photo, a Puerto Rican flag flies on an empty beach at Ocean Park, in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Associated Press
In this May 21, 2020 file photo, a Puerto Rican flag flies on an empty beach at Ocean Park, in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Miami-Dade County approves community IDs. Puerto Rico started a tax program to try and attract more outside investment — but it might actually be hurting locals. And how much do you know about your community’s history? A new podcast dives into South Florida’s hidden history.

On this Monday, February 7, edition of Sundial:

Community IDs 

Millions of Americans don’t have government-issued identification. Access and affordability are a hurdle for some. That hurdle is even bigger for certain residents here in South Florida, who are undocumented or experiencing homelessness.

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That’s changing in Miami-Dade County, as commissioners approved a plan for community identification cards last week.

Two commissioners voted against the plan, stating concerns about potential fraud.

Aaron Lauer is the associate pastor of Coral Gables Congregational Church and a leader of the interfaith group called PACT, which has been advocating in favor of these IDs.

He explained what these cards would do and would not do:

"It's also just something you can use at hospitals. People who are reporting crime to the police — a lot of times they hesitate doing that because they don't have a form of local photo identification …" Lauer said. "A community ID — you can't use it to drive, you can't use it to vote, you can't use it to get on an airplane."

Lauer added that people need to be able to identify themselves with a photo ID to get access to county services and small business services.

Community IDs
An election official checks a voter's photo identification at a polling site in Austin, Texas.

Puerto Rico’s housing crisis

Puerto Rico is facing a new challenge: locals in certain communities are being priced out of their neighborhoods.

A few years ago the island created a tax program to invite more investment into housing. It was meant to help the island get out of debt.

What happened? Rich investors showed up, boosting housing costs and even trying to privatize beaches.

Sundial spoke with New York Times business reporter Coral Murphy Marcos who went to some of these smaller communities in the U.S. territory and investigated the impacts of this tax incentive. Find her reporting here.

Puerto Rico’s housing crisis
A Puerto Rican flag hangs from the balcony of a house in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on May 1.

This Day In Miami History Podcast

Have you ever wondered why public transportation is lacking in South Florida? Or maybe why you’re hearing peacock mating calls in the middle of the night?

These answers are often found in history — a hidden history.

A new podcast called “This Day in Miami History” is finding answers to these kinds of peculiar questions.

“Ultimately, we all choose to amplify and glorify histories that we want and choose to ignore histories we don't like," said Matthew Bunch, the host of the podcast. "And the most honest retelling of history is to look at exactly what happened then, what people were saying."

Bunch is also a teacher at Mast Academy high school in Miami and an online producer for the Miami Herald.

This Day In Miami History Podcast

Leslie Ovalle Atkinson is the former lead producer behind Sundial. As a multimedia producer, she also worked on visual and digital storytelling.
Caitie Muñoz, formerly Switalski, leads the WLRN Newsroom as Director of Daily News & Original Live Programming. Previously she reported on news and stories concerning quality of life in Broward County and its municipalities for WLRN News.