Friday's Afternoon Update
What you need to know about Florida today
Florida failed to spend millions for election security, COVID-19 protection at polls
With days to go, Florida has failed to spend more than $10 million designated for election security, COVID-19 protection at the polls and a surge in mailed ballots. A large piece of that pie is $3.5 million that Secretary of State Laurel Lee requested from the Legislature earlier this year for the state’s 67 county supervisors of elections to shore up their systems. The counties didn't ask for that money. And it remains unspent, sitting in a state account as "unbudgeted reserve." More from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
Business leadership group names new chairman, expands range of priorities
The Tampa Bay Partnership, a privately funded, regional research and public policy organization made up of business and civic leaders, has evolved over the past few months as the coronavirus pandemic ravaged the economy and changed so many aspects of our lives that we took for granted. Much like CEO leadership organizations nationwide, the partnership has broadened its focus from issues affecting economic development and local businesses to the wellbeing of the entire community, says Jennifer Mikosky, the group’s vice president of communications. More from the Business Observer.
Tropics watch: New tropical depression possible this weekend
The National Hurricane Center is tracking four tropical waves in the Atlantic, but only one shows signs of further development. Shower activity continues to become better organized in association with a tropical wave located over the eastern Caribbean Sea, and a tropical depression could form over the weekend or early next week while the system moves westward across the central and western Caribbean Sea. More from the Tallahassee Democrat.
For Miami Beach hotels, a foreclosure — and openings. What next?
After more than two years of delays, the Esmé Miami Beach was supposed to open in time for this year’s Art Basel. A retrofit of the former Clay Hotel, the Esmé had suffered setbacks due to Hurricane Irma but was poised to return as a focal point along Española Way. Then came COVID. Now, the Esmé is slated to open in March — but with contingency plans should the pandemic linger. More from the Miami Herald.
Open primaries in Florida will happen if ballot measure passes, Florida Supreme Court rules
If Floridians approve a proposed constitutional amendment to turn closed partisan primaries into open, top-two referendums that all voters can participate in, then that will be the law, the Florida Supreme Court conclusively has determined. In a unanimous ruling, the court rejected a petition filed by Central Florida Urban League’s Glenton Gilzean Jr., who argued the All Voters Vote ballot measure – Amendment 3 – would "bleach" Florida electoral districts where minority electorates now elect minority representatives. More from the Center Square.
The CSI Companies
While office development slowed during the pandemic, The CSI Companies took the step of leasing a speculative three-story Gate Parkway area building for its new headquarters. “Jacksonville is CSI’s national headquarters and we wanted to make a statement about our commitment to employees and to the city,” said Chief Operating Officer Chris Flakus. The CSI Companies provides national staffing in the technology, financial, accounting, health care and other professional industries.
» More from the Jacksonville Daily Record.
Out of the Box
Iguanas may be growing more tolerant to the cold, and that’s bad news for Florida
When temperatures drop, so do green iguanas — from the trees. But evolution, it seems, could be robbing South Floridians of a tradition as common as checking the heat index on New Year’s Day. Research shows that in recent years, several species of lizards have grown more tolerant of cold temperatures. It’s a discovery with big implications for Florida, where bouts of cool weather keep invasive iguanas contained to the southern regions of the state and helps keep populations under control.
» Read more from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
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