Ashley Lopez

Ashley Lopez

Ashley Lopez is a reporter for WLRN-Miami Herald News. She also splits her time as a reporter/blogger for the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting and as a local print reporter for The Miami Herald. Previously, Lopez was a reporter/blogger for The Florida Independent — a nonprofit news blog that covered Florida politics and public policy. A native Miamian, Lopez graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a journalism degree. She also interned for Talking Points Memo and an NPR affiliate in Durham, North Carolina.

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Ballot Measures
3:38 pm
Mon October 29, 2012

A Guide To Miami-Dade's Charter Amendments

Here is a breakdown of the 8 charter amendments in Miami Dade.
Credit Fairfax County /Flickr

Besides the 11 proposed amendments to the state Constitution, Miami-Dade dwellers will also be deciding the fate of 8 proposed charter amendments.

 These charter amendments are significantly shorter than the state-level changes, but there are quite a few of them-- and like most ballot measures, they can be kind of confusing. However, here is our breakdown created with the help of The Florida League of Women Voters' 2012 Voting Guide

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Politics
5:35 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

What Your Options Are If You Don't Get Your Absentee Ballot

Don't worry if you don't get your absentee ballot-- you still have options.
Credit Jeff Gitchel/Flickr

There are reports flying around in Broward County that a lot of people are not getting their absentee ballots.

However, there is no reason to worry.

Broward County is not having any problems getting absentee ballots out-- there is just a lot people requesting ballots (more than usual) and the county is working to get those out.

Broward County is one of the biggest counties in the state-- so, even if just a small percentage of people haven't gotten their ballots, yet, it turns out to be a lot of people.

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Politics
4:09 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Florida Amendments: Why There's No Amendment 7

Don't worry if Amendment 7 isn't on your ballot, because it doesn't exist.
Credit Morten Wulff/ Flickr

For those of you currently mulling over your absentee ballot or preparing to head over to the polls this coming week, don't be alarmed when you get to the Constitutional amendments on your ballot.

You will notice that there are amendments listed one through twelve-- but there's no Amendment 7.

 No worries, though. Your ballot isn't defective, there just is no Amendment 7 this year.

 This is why:

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Voter Protection
11:00 am
Fri October 26, 2012

Labor Union Trains Volunteers To Look Out For 'Shenanigans' At The Polls

Unions are training volunteers to be vigilant at the polls.
Credit Fairfax County /Flickr

Reports surfaced this week that fraudulent voter intimidation letters have been circulating the state. The letters warn voters that they have 15 days to prove they are  citizens or they will be removed from the state's voter rolls.

This incident has prompted investigations from both state officials and federal officials.

While these sorts of  shenanigans are not uncommon during big elections, groups are already anticipating more of this when Floridians start voting at the polls tomorrow.

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Voter Guides
10:30 am
Fri October 26, 2012

Florida Voter Guide Roundup 2012

Here at WLRN-Miami Herald News we put together a guide to explain Florida's lengthy and somewhat confusing ballot measures for you. We've focused on what, exactly, the measures mean and what the policy implications are.

Advocacy groups across the state have taken it a step further. A number of organizations have developed ballot voting guides with suggestions on how to vote.  

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Foreclosure Money
11:30 am
Thu October 25, 2012

State Lawmaker Says Foreclosure Money Should Be Spent Soon

State Sen. Nan Rich wants state officials to end their argument over foreclosure money.
flsenate.gov

State Sen. Nan Rich, D-Sunrise, says she hopes her colleagues in the Legislature will resolve an issue with State Attorney General Pam Bondi that is currently tying up $300 million dollars meant to help Florida homeowners hurt by the state's foreclosure crisis.

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Ballot Measures
10:30 am
Thu October 25, 2012

Breakdown Of All 11 Ballot Measures

Floridians will vote on 11 amendments in November.
silatix /Flickr

This month, WLRN, along with the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting and other NPR affiliates all over the state, gave you close look at four proposed changes to the state Constitution that Floridians will vote on in November. You can listen to and read those stories here. However, there are another 7 ballot measures that voters will get a say on here in Florida.

So, here is a breakdown of what ALL the ballot measures mean:

Amendment 1

TOPIC: Health Care

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Amendment 6
9:15 am
Thu October 25, 2012

Salon: Florida's Amendment 6 Could Affect Public Employees

Salon profiled Florida's Amendment 6,  one of the most controversial ballot measures facing approval from Florida voters  Nov. 6.

The ballot item is aimed at removing a constitutional right to privacy currently in Florida's Constitution, but it also might cut abortion coverage in some cases for the state's public employees, Salon reports.

The amendment also has language that would prohibit the use of taxpayer money for abortions in the state.

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Earned Sick Pay
3:28 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Why A Law Requiring Earned Sick Pay In Miami-Dade Might Be Possible

Miami activists want county commissioners to pass an ordinance requiring earned paid sick time.
Doug Geisler /Flickr

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Housing Crisis
10:56 am
Wed October 24, 2012

ProPublica: State Lawmakers Are Holding Up $300 Million Meant to Help Homeowners

Florida's is sitting on $300 million meant to help homeowners.
401(K) 2012 /Flickr

ProPublica reports that $300 million awarded to Florida through a settlement over bad mortgages and foreclosures remains untouched. 

That money is meant to help homeowners in Florida that were hurt by the state's housing crisis.

Millions of dollars were given to individuals and state governments by big banks accused of wrongful foreclosures and other mortgage servicing abuses.

Florida got the biggest sum of money-- besides California-- because the state was wracked by the housing crisis.

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Absentee Ballots
4:42 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

Absentee Ballots On The Rise As Fraud Issue Remains

Absentee ballot requests are up in the state-- but fraud is not less likely.
Morten Wulff/ Flickr

Democrats are celebrating an interesting milestone this week: the one millionth request for an absentee ballot by a registered Democrat.

Since absentee ballots became available to anyone in Florida several years ago, the use of voting by mail has been dominated by Republicans.

While the GOP is still doing better than Democrats with absentee ballots, Democrats are giving them a run for their money.

According to Bloomberg,

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Miami Marlins
4:24 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

Miami Marlins Manager Fired

Guillen, the Miami's Marlins coach has been fired after just one season.
Chuck Welch /Flickr

Ozzie Guillen, the embattled Miami Marlins manager, has been fired.

According to The Miami Herald, the Marlins released this statement:

“After careful consideration following the disappointment of the 2012 season, we decided to dismiss Ozzie,” said Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest in a prepared statement. “Our managerial search begins immediately and our hope is that a new manager, along with roster improvements, will restore a winning culture.”

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#LynnDebate
7:35 pm
Mon October 22, 2012

#LynnDebate 2012: WLRN Live Blog

Media room at Lynn University's gym.
Credit Ashley Lopez / WLRN

WLRN-Miami Herald News is live-blogging from Lynn University, the site of the last presidential debate here in Boca Raton. You can check back here at WLRN.org for highlights and updates.

10:31 p.m.

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Miami's Middle Class
3:33 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Report: Miami Is Unaffordable Because People Aren't Making Enough Money

Miami is the least affordable city in the U.S. because people aren't getting paid enough.
Tax Credits/ Flickr

According to a report released this week from the Center for Housing Policy and the Center for Neighborhood Technology, Miami is the least affordable metropolitan area for middle class Americans.

And it's not because Miami is more expensive-- it's because the middle class here isn't making enough money compared to other big cities.

This week's study highlighted the cost of housing and transportation in major metropolitan areas-- but in relation to household incomes.

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Airport Security
2:39 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Nightline Showcases Miami International Airport Security

MIA security shows off their training to ABC News.
ABC News

ABC's Nightline profiled Miami International Airport's security this week. 

The news show talked to security personnel at MIA about what they see in the airport day to day and the extensive amount of people, dogs and machinery used to keep the airport safe.

In true Miami fashion, security personnel mentioned that in their time working at MIA they have witnessed people smuggling birds, body parts and even human fetuses (which are used as part of a Haitian ritual) in their luggage.

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