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Heard on Sundial: Elections; Miami's Police Chief; And Trash Pickup During this Pandemic

Miami Herald
Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina said on Friday, April 17, 2020, that he tested positive for the coronavirus.

On this Tuesday, April 28th, episode of Sundial:


Broward County Supervisor of Elections Peter Antonacci


New York is the latest in a series of states that have delayed their Democratic presidential primary.

Florida held its primary back in March, in the midst of the pandemic, with many voting rights advocacy organizations expressing concerns about access and the potential spread of the virus. Two Broward County poll workers tested positive for the novel coronavirus — they were working at the Martin Luther King Community Center and the David Park Community Center in Hollywood on Florida’s primary day.    


“Many poll workers brought their own mask. We had some masks available, on the short notice and the unavailability of masks at that moment. Not everyone had masks. We will have those for August and November. We had as much cleaning gear as possible at these polling sites,” says Peter Antonacci, Broward County’s Supervisor of Elections. 

Elections officials are now preparing for voting in August and November, with the reality that community spread of the virus is still possible. We spoke with Broward Supervisor Peter Antonacci about the lessons learned from the March primary and the preparations underway in November. We also discussed concerns about the security of Florida’s elections’ system, after Palm Beach County’s elections office was the target of a ransomware attack in 2016.    

Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina 

For the first time in more than 60 years, the city of Miami didn’t report a single homicide over a seven week period. Miami’s Police Chief Jorge Colina says they’ve seen a drop in a number of different key crime figures since the pandemic started, but is concerned they’ve seen an increase in calls about domestic abuse and car break-ins. Colina has been in self-quarantine for the past week and a half after he tested positive for the virus. We spoke with him about how policing is changing during the pandemic and his personal recovery.  


Collecting Trash During a Pandemic


With millions in South Florida staying at home from work, waste collectors across the region are seeing more trash building up. “We’ve seen about a 15% increase in the amount of trash we are getting from homes,” says Becky Haltermon Robinson, Public Affairs Manager for the Solid Waste Authority of Palm Beach County. They’ve also seen a 25% increase in the sheer tonnage of recyclables coming into their site since the pandemic started. We spoke with Robinson about the changes they’ve seen in trash and recycling, the dropoff from restaurants and how to be careful you’re not spreading the virus on boxes and other surfaces thrown out. 

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Chris knew he wanted to work in public radio beginning in middle school, as WHYY played in his car rides to and from school in New Jersey. He’s freelanced for All Things Considered and was a desk associate for CBS Radio News in New York City. Most recently, he was producing for Capital Public Radio’s Insight booking guests, conducting research and leading special projects at Sacramento’s NPR affiliate.