Express Lane: Peter Schorsch schools DeSantistans, Cape Coral typifies coastal over-development, interior flooding and Leon GOP throws in with John Dailey

Note: We’re publishing early today

Ron DeSantis for better or worse has attracted a lot of new Floridians, ones let’s just say that are showing how unFloridian they are in reaction to Ian. Here are some choice Tweets from Saturday courtesy of Florida Politics Publisher Peter Schorsch.

It was quite odd to see DeSantis doing Friday night lights, given one his own leading lieutenants Pete Antonacci had passed away hours earlier in the capitol while Florida was hurriedly preparing for Ian. In 2017, as Irma approach Florida, Governor Rick Scott effectively cancelled everything on his schedule from Labor Day until landfall the following Sunday- that’s six days. DeSantis on the other hand was taking in a football game four days before landfall.

Maybe we cut Christina Pushaw some slack because natural disasters in California and Ukraine are different than in Florida (I don’t say this to be patronizing, as someone who knows a fair number of non-Floridians who moved here, they never quite grasp these things the first-go-round(. BUT, as we’ve written for years on this site, THE CONE DOES NOT REPRESENT THE ONLY AREAS IMPACTED BY A STORM. Heck, once again we go to the example of Rick Scott who in preparing the state for Irma, said that very thing repeatedly in his press conferences. Besides, the NHC discussion which was accessible on the same page as the key messages mentioned the uncertainty of the 3-5 day track and that upper level winds, dry air, wind shear and a trough might intervene with Ian. The trough referenced was projected to be sitting around the Suwannee River by Tuesday, so logically that could steer the storm further south. That’s why Tampa Bay was the other possible landfall – BUT the trough moved south and eventually steered the storm into SW Florida.

In fact, on Monday night, our Kartik Krishnaiyer was annoyed that Collier and Lee were not in the Hurricane Warning area and had not yet pulled the trigger on orderly evacuations. Given Governor DeSantis own knowledge of storms, as a Floridian, he almost certainly knew, Ian “pulling a Charley” was possible, if not likely by this point.

The “dear leader” complex among so many MAGA types in Florida toward DeSantis is alarming. The Governor could say, that he opposes mandates (including mandatory evacuations), doesn’t think the large scale evacuations Rick Scott triggered in Irma were practical and he choose a different course. That’s fair, because that is what he did and that is his (purported) ideology. But as usual, a legion of Tweeters most of whom probably have little knowledge of tropical weather or the history of Hurricanes in this state have chosen to weigh in. And sorry, we don’t take The Weather Channel as a serious new source with tropical weather, as we have discussed in the past. Watch your local TV meteorologists instead, is always the best advice.

This is Peter’s money tweet. The bottom line is thanks to this Governor we have a ton of new Floridians who have never experienced tropical weather before. The Governor could have conveyed a level of seriousness to them, instead of not doing a press briefing for almost 24 hours while he attended a High School Football game.

But as much as DeSantis may not have done enough, the ultimate onus for the disaster that is Ian falls on over-development of the coastline areas and places near wetlands, the NHC’s errors in forecasts and warnings/watches and people’s own lack personal accountability. Have a plan June 1 and stick to it. If you don’t want to have a plan or evacuate in the worst case scenario, maybe Florida isn’t for you.

Michael Grunwald, the author of The Swamp and a former guest on The Florida History Podcast has a must-read article about Cape Coral and Florida’s bad habit of selling homes and creating retail developments in the most Hurricane-prone areas. Cape Coral is far from alone in this category, but with a population of almost 200,000 people within the city proper, it’s quite possibly the most grotesque example on unchecked over-development in the state. Then again Port St Lucie, Palm Bay and Northport could all fit the same description.

While we are on the topic of over-development, much of the flooding that has taken place in the interior of the state has its roots in over development of areas near wetlands. A good chunk of the Orlando Metropolitan Area fits this description and the more you encroach on wetlands, the less water that can be absorbed quickly over larger areas. Pavement makes matter even worse.

As Vote By Mail ballots drop, the Leon County Republican Party has effectively come out in support of establishment Democrat John Dailey for Mayor. Dailey is hemorrhaging support in the Northeast part of the city, the GOP stronghold in Tallahassee, compared to in his 2018 win. So the Leon GOP has given him a helping hand and while not outright endorsing him, has given voting against Kristin Dozier a more prominent placement on this mailer than voting for Ron DeSantis or Marco Rubio!

One comment

  1. I am so sorry for all of those who’s homes and livelihoods have been swept away. The complacency can be a fatal mistake. I have no words of wisdom, I am just so sad for all of the survivors and for the loved ones lost.


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