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.


1:52 pm
Fri October 12, 2012

MDC Doral Campus Was Growing Fast Before Garage Collapse

MDC in Doral had a huge increase in enrollment in the past few years, which is why the school had to spend $22 million on a new parking garage.
Parker Michael Knight/Flickr

Leading up to this week's fatal parking garage collapse, the Miami Dade College Doral campus was experiencing a massive enrollment boom, which is why the school was spending more than $22 million dollars on a parking garage in the first place.

According to The Miami Herald,

Read more
Ballot Measures
6:30 am
Fri October 12, 2012

Jeb Bush Endorses Florida Amendment 6

Jeb Bush endorses Amendment Six, which would limit abortions in the state.
World Affairs Council of Philadelphia/Flickr

Jeb Bush, our former governor who only occasionally steps into the political fray, has publicly endorsed a controversial proposed constitutional amendment on Florida's ballot.

He announced his full-throated support for Amendment Six. If passed, the amendment would prohibit public funding of abortions and removes a current state constitutional right to privacy.

The Orlando Sentinel reports,

Read more
The Miami Vote
6:29 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

Obama Adviser Says Campaign Will Make Gains With Miami Hispanics

Plouffe says president will make gains among Hispanics in Miami.
Obama for America/Flickr

The Tampa Bay Times chatted with David Plouffe, President Obama's Senior advisor, recently. While polls show the president is struggling right now, Plouffe tells the Times that he's confident Obama will make gains in Florida-- particularly among Miami Hispanics.

Read more
Construction Accidents
3:59 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

What Construction Accidents Say About South Florida's Economy

Construction accidents may mean South Florida's economy is picking up.
Toban Black/Flickr

A parking garage in Doral collapsed yesterday killing 3 construction workers, and severely injuring others.

Looking back at a history of construction accidents in the past six years, you will see that from 2006 to 2008, the region was seeing quite a bit of crane accidents, and other common construction accidents.

Jump to 2009... 2010.... 2011, it's gets a lot harder to find some.

So what happened?

Read more
4:25 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

What It's Like To Be A Child Protective Investigator in Florida

BuzzFeed has an interesting article on their site today. It's takes a look into what it's like to be a Child Protective Services Investigator in Florida.

This person is tasked with investigating calls to Child Protective Services suggesting a child might be in danger within their living situation.

As you might guess, this job gives one a lot of exposure to drugs, drug-using parents, abuse, etc. 

Read more
5:49 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Governor's Gaffe: Sending Meningitis Info Seekers To Phone Sex Line

Rick Scott accidentally directed people to an adult hotline today.
Tim Donovan/FWC/Flickr

Our buddies over at WUSF caught a small faux pas made by Gov. Rick Scott today.

According to WUSF,

Read more
4:20 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Cubans Are Not the Wealthiest Hispanic Americans

Cuban-Americans are no longer the wealthiest Hispanic-Americans in the U.S. leading into this year's presidential election.
Victor Antunez/ Flickr

Historically, Cubans have been among the wealthiest Americans of Hispanic origin. However, according to a report from the Pew Hispanic Center, that's not true anymore.

According to a Pew report, Ecuadorians, Colombians, Peruvians and Salvadorans, all make more money than Cubans.

Ecuadorians have the highest median household income among these groups, at $50,000. The median household incomes for Colombians ($49,500) and Peruvians ($48,000) are slightly less than that.

Read more
Florida Supreme Court Fight
3:11 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

AP: Bondi Not Backing GOP On Fight Over State Supreme Court Justices

Florida Office of the Attorney General

Florida's Attorney General, Pam Bondi, says she's not backing the state GOP's effort to oust three state Supreme Court Justices.

The Florida GOP is currently endorsing a conservative effort to remove Justices Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente and Peggy Quince from the Florida Supreme Court. All three are considered by conservatives to be the most liberal members of the Court-- and they are up for a merit retention vote this year. This means Floridians will vote on whether these judges get to keep their job at the state's highest court.

Read more
Ballot Measures
2:55 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Washington Post: 2012 Is A Busy Year For Ballot Measures

Florida has
Jeff Gitchel/Flickr

Anyone in Florida who has already gotten their absentee ballot for this year's presidential election will notice that there are a lot - A LOT - of ballot measures.

According to The Washington Post, voters all over the country will be voting on almost 200 ballot measures.

Read more
Dirty Politics
9:06 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

Campaign For State House Seat In Miami Becomes Ugly Personal Fight


One of the ugliest primary races in the state is going on here in South Florida.

Gus Barreiro and Alex De la Portilla, both former Republican state lawmakers, are battling it out for a Florida House seat in Miami.

Their race has become a messy fight with a series of slurs against each man’s moral character.

They also have quite a bit in common.

Both men come from political families, as well as a past as state lawmakers in the Florida Legislature. 

Read more
Early Voting
8:32 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

Florida Starts Early Voting With Dual Election Laws

Early voters line up in Aventura, Nov. 2008

Monroe County, and four other Florida counties,  have begun early voting for the August 14th primary. All five are protected by the 1965 Voting Rights Act. This means that any new voting law there must be cleared by the federal government.

Last year, state lawmakers passed a law reducing the number of early voting days.

“Until this year, the state has refrained from implementing those changes statewide until it had pre-clearance to do so in the five covered counties,” explains Michael Masinter, a law professor at Nova Southeastern University.

Read more
Remembering Andrew
11:52 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Bryan Norcross: Lack Of Radio Access During Hurricane Is A Public Safety Issue

State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory.

Last week, WLRN premiered part of its “Remembering Andrew” radio documentary Thursday to an audience at Miami Science Museum.

Bryan Norcross was an invited guest.  Norcross, of course, became famous for his ongoing coverage of and guidance during the storm.

During a panel discussion following the airing of the first part of the special, Norcross talked about his memories of the people he talked to during the storm and the region’s struggles afterward.

Read more
Miami-Dade Mayoral Election
9:07 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

Gimenez Wins Another Term As Miami-Dade Mayor

Credit Ashley Lopez / WLRN

Tuesday’s race for Miami-Dade County Mayor ended on odd terms.

Even though Mayor Carlos Gimenez won by a significant margin, his challenger refused to concede.

Mayor Gimenez’s campaign spent hours at the Doubletree hotel near the airport waiting for his opponent to throw in the towel-- but that never happened.

Gimenez was leading in his reelection race by almost 25 percentage points all night and it was looking like the election was going to be called early for Gimenez, but challenger Joe Martinez told his supporters at the 94th Aerosquadron "this ain't over."

Read more
6:16 pm
Mon August 6, 2012

David Rivera Could Win Re-Election Despite Ethics Scandal

U.S. Rep David Rivera's time in office has been plagued by scandals.
David Rivera's Congressional Website

It stands to reason that an ethics scandal should put a damper on a political campaign.

But in South Florida, that isn’t quite the case. 

U.S. Representative David Rivera has been investigated by local and state officials for various ethics violations, but that hasn't put the kibosh on his bid for re-election. 

The Miami congressman is also under federal investigation for allegations that he misspent campaign funds.

Read more
Canoe Project
12:16 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

Broward Canals Vs. Miami-Dade Canals

View of Himmershee Canal, Fort Lauderdale
courtesy of Florida State Archives

As we mentioned yesterday, we’re switching gears a little in the Canoe Project and putting some focus on another city’s canal system: Miami’s neighbor, Fort Lauderdale.

Read more