Winners & Losers

This week’s biggest Winners & Losers

Who’s up and who’s down in the Sunshine State?

We try to keep this weekly feature light, but the news coming out of Florida after Hurricane Ian is somber. Some snippets: “A 500-year flooding event.” “Over 2 million without power.” “Could be the deadliest hurricane in Florida’s history.” As Gov. Ron DeSantis put it, “You’re looking at a storm that’s changed the character of a significant part of our state… This is going to require years of effort, to be able to rebuild, to come back.” And as one reader in Southwest Florida told City & State, “Entire islands were washed out, islands where people lived.” Sending prayers for the victims and survivors, and strength for the rebuilding. Here’s this week’s Winners & Losers:


David Altmaier -

The state’s home insurance market is a gosh-awful mess with a sixth – count ‘em, sixth – insurer declared insolvent this year. (One might argue: Floridians should board up and leave before a storm comes, not insurance companies. Just saying.) But let’s give an attaboy to Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier for his emergency order to “temporarily prevent property insurers from dropping customers in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian,” as the News Service of Florida reported. It’s one light at the end of the hurricane.

Joe Biden & Ron DeSantis -

The American president and the Florida governor often snipe at each other, with Ron DeSantis referring to Joe Biden as “a guy staring into the teleprompter like a deer in the headlights,” for example. But despite headlines like this earlier this week – “Biden and DeSantis haven't spoken directly as Hurricane Ian bears down on Florida” – the two eventually spoke on the phone and the president approved a disaster declaration early Thursday. DeSantis also applauded the Biden administration for saying, “whatever you need, ask us.” We’ll cheer on this kind of bipartisanship.

Kevin Guthrie -

State-level emergency management in Florida has been taken over for the last couple of years by COVID-19. Ian gave the Division of Emergency Management the opportunity to show it hadn’t gotten rusty when it comes to old-fashioned storm preparation and response. By all accounts, agency head Kevin Guthrie did not disappoint, garnering accolades for his “cool and capable” handling of the hurricane and getting the thumbs up from his old boss, Jared Moskowitz. Guthrie’s a keeper.


Joy Gendusa -

The CEO of Postcardmania, a postcard marketing company based in Clearwater, pressured the company’s employees to come to work during Hurricane Ian instead of evacuating like public officials were recommending. Joy Gendusa claimed that the storm’s severity was being overblown by the media, but as of Thursday Hurricane Ian has left over 2.6 million Floridians without power and likely killed at least hundreds. The company reversed its decision before the storm made landfall – but only after those comments were leaked to reporters and posted online.

Carmine Marceno -

Despite a steady drumbeat of warnings about destructive winds, flooding and power outages, Carmine Marceno’s Lee County Sheriff’s Office refused to evacuate inmates in its 457-bed downtown Fort Myers jail. The jail was located within the city’s mandatory evacuation zone and in an area where Ian’s storm surge was estimated to rise as high as nine feet. Fortunately, there were no deaths or injuries reported at the jail as all inmates were relocated to a higher floor.

Jeffery Moore -

A photo recently surfaced showing Jeffery Moore, a Gov. Ron DeSantis appointee on the Gadsden County Commission, wearing a Ku Klux Klan robe and hood at what appeared to have been a Halloween or costume party years earlier. Moore has since resigned and dropped his bid for reelection. Church leaders, other officials and the local NAACP chapter all spoke out against Moore, who was appointed to represent residents of the only predominantly Black county in Florida.

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