In-depth state and local coverage, plus national and international perspectives. The show alternates weekly between the Surly Feminists (Erin Aebel, Donna Davis, Liz Lanier, Nadia Ghabin) and MidPoint with Shelley Reback and Janet Scherberger. The shows indexed are all MidPoint shows with Shelley and co-hosts.
April 29,2021 Public Education in Crsis The Hillsborough Co. School system is threatened with a State take-over or receivership for gross financial mismanagement while millions in federal Covid relief dollars are still held hostage in Tallahassee. Meanwhile, the State has voted for another expansion of charter school vouchers and a moment of silence every day. Where are our priorities? And, why won’t the Dept. Of Education take a phone call from our school board Chair? We discuss what’s happening with our guests Public School advocates Damaris Allen and Brita Wilkins Lincoln.
April 15, 2021 It’s the Environment! From bills that address coastal flooding and which prohibit local governments from setting environmental goals to funding for the Piney Point clean-up, we will be talking about what’s happening — or not happening — in Tallahassee on environmental issues with our guests Phil Compton of the Sierra Club Florida and Zac Cosner of Florida Conservation Voters.
April 1st, 2021 Voting Is Fundamental! Florida’s 2020 election came off without a hitch. So, naturally, the Florida Legislature is proposing to muck around with our voting laws. Is Jim Crow voter suppression alive and well in the FL Legislature, or are they protecting us from fraud and undue influence at the polls? And why do they want people to be hungry and thirsty while standing in line? Our guests Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Peggy Quince for the League of Women Voters and Craig Latimer, Hillsborough Co. Supervisor of Elections and Pres. of the FL Supervisors of Elections Assoc. will join us with their thoughts.
March 18, 2021 Legislative Preemption of Local Laws The Florida legislature’s trend of pushing bills superseding local regulation continues this year with proposed laws touching everything from renewable energy to impact fees, apprenticeship programs, campaign finance, and ports. We explore the topic with our guests Hillsborough County Commissioner Patricia “Pat” Kemp and St. Petersburg City Councilwoman Darden Rice.
March 4, 2021 The Cult of Trump QAnon adherents, Proud Boys, Neo-Nazis, anti-government militants, even some Republican politicians were all allied under the Trump banner for the January 6th Capitol riot. What is motivating them? Are they in a Trump cult? If so, what can or should we do about them? Dr. Lawrence Rosenthal, Dir. of the UC Berkeley, Center for Right-Wing Studies and author of Empire of Resentment joins us to tell us who these people are, and Dr. Steven Hassan, an expert in deprogramming cultists and the author of The Cult of Trump: A Leading Cult Expert Explains How the President Uses Mind Control, joins Janet & Shelley and help us understand these Trumpist-Americans.
February 18, 2021 Ron DeSantis’ proposed “Tech Transparency” law. The Governor didn’t like that “Former Social Media Influencer” Donald Trump was de-platformed from Twitter, Facebook, and other internet outlets. Now, he wants the State to decide when and whether users or posts can be censored or de-platformed by these private companies, and he wants to give users the right to sue for “censorship” too. Pam Marsh, Pres. of the FL First Amendment Foundation and Stephanie Tripp, Communications & Media Prof. at the University of Tampa, joined our discussion about policing Big Tech.
February 4, 2021 There’s a Riot Going On??? Governor DeSantis has made his “anti-riot” bill his signature piece of legislation this year. Does it combat public disorder or stifle free speech? Does it put black and brown people at risk? Is it overkill or just right? Shelley and Janet talk about House Bill 1 and Senate Bill 484 with State Reps Anna Vishkaee Eskamani and Dianne Hart and James Michael Shaw Jr. Legal Panel Chair for the ACLU of Florida.
January 21, 2021 Never Again! Yesterday, insurrectionists invaded the U.S. Capitol. Never has it been more important to review the lessons of the past and to remember how easily democracy can slip into fascism. To commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day, the day the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and death camps were liberated, we streamed an encore production of Shelley’s 2019 interview with Renee Hammond, a local Holocaust survivor. Renee was a teenager in Hungary when she was enslaved by the Nazis to labor in a Krups Munitions Factory in Germany until her liberation by American armed forces.
January 7, 2021 Everything You Wanted to Know About Covid But Were Afraid to Ask Janet and I host Dr. Jason Wilson, Assoc Prof, USF Health, Assoc Med Dir ER, Tampa General Hospital, and our all-around expert on all things Covid.
December 10, 2020 The Media is the Message The changing local media landscape, new business models for media, attacks on journalism, and the danger of misinformation are the topics we discuss with our guests editor Ray Roa of Creative Loafing Tampa and Rick Edmunds of the Poynter Institute.
November 12, 2020 Election Wrap-Up The 2020 Election Season is interminable. Florida’s results were disappointing. Here to comment on the joys and madness of it all and to help us make sense of it are Ione Townsend, Chair, of the Hillsborough Co. Democratic Party, Dan Ruth, Pulitzer Prize-winning pundit, Ella Coffee, Deputy Field Director, Florida Democratic Party and Windy March, local politics columnist for the Tampa Bay Times.
October 29, 2020 The Ocoee Election Day Massacre Nov. 2 marks the 100th anniversary of the Ocoee Massacre when up to 60 Black residents of the Florida town were murdered after one of them attempted to vote. It’s considered the deadliest Election Day in our country’s history. This long-forgotten tragedy in our state’s past is now coming into focus thanks to the work of Florida Senator Randolph Bracy. He was our guest to tell us more about the Ocoee Massacre, plans for teaching it in public schools, and to discuss the voter suppression that continues to this day.
October 15, 2020 The Election is STILL On! Janet and I talked about early voting, vote by mail, Election Day voting, poll workers, poll watchers, and voter turn-out so far with our local election supervisors from Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Pasco counties.
October 1, 2020 The Election is On! We are learning about the 6 Constitutional Amendments on the ballot. Our guests will be representatives from the League of Women Voters and Fight for $15, along with special commentary on Amendment 3, the Jungle Primary.
September 17, 2020 Racial Equity and the Role of Business Black residents in Tampa Bay are 30% less likely to own a home than their white neighbors and twice as likely to live in poverty. The median wage of Black workers in the region is 21% of white workers. The earnings gap is even larger among those with college degrees. These are just some of the startling results of the Tampa Bay Partnership’s recent regional equity study. Our guests are Rick Homans from TBP and Yvette Lewis of the NAACP.
September 3, 2020 School Stress! School is back on, in-person and on-line, but everyone is stressed about it at home and at school. We talk with Stephanie Baxter-Jenkins, Exec Director of the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Assoc, the teachers’ union, and with education advocate Bianca Goolsby, of Teaching for the Culture, an educational equities watchdog organization about Covid safety and stresses in schools.
August 20, 2020 Primary Election Review & Round-Up With our guests, political reporters William March of the Tampa Bay Times and Mitch Perry of BayNews 9.
August 6, 2020 “Have You Seen That Vigilante Man?” We’re talking about vigilantism against Black Lives Matter protesters. If protesters are illegally blocking the street, do you have the legal right to drive through them anyway? If not, why aren’t the drivers who do so arrested? We host Jack Evans, the Tampa Bay Times reporter who wrote about people intentionally driving their cars into crowds of protesters locally, and around the country and Gretchen Cothron, an ACLU cooperating attorney who is advising one of the injured protesters.
July 23, 2020 Black Lives Matter & Community Empowerment Shelley & Janet talk about what’s being done to help struggling communities in East Tampa and South St Pete with our guests Natasha Goodley, Chair of the East Tampa Community Development Board and Veatrice Farrell from The Deuces Live in St Petersburg
July 9, 2020 Everything You Wanted to Know About Voting… We’re hosting Craig Latimer, our Hillsborough Co. Supervisor of Elections and Jean Yglesias of the League of Women Voters of Hillsborough Co. to talk about 5 ingredient recipes. No, wait! Just checking to see if you are paying attention. We’ll be talking about VOTING! Everything you wanted to know about voting but were afraid to ask.
June 25, 2020 Will Tampa Reform Its Citizen Review Board? It’s our long-awaited return to the WMNF studios!! Still in masks due to the ‘Rona, Janet Scherberger and I are talking with Yvette Lewis of the Tampa NAACP and Attorney Jamie Klapholz of Tampa for Justice about the possibility of reforming Tampa’s moribund Police Citizen Review Board and giving it more teeth.
March 12, 2020 Amendment 4. Where Are We At? Shelley and Janet were joined by Julie Ebenstein, Sr. Staff Atty, ACLU Voting Rights Project who won the federal case in which the recent legislation requiring felons to pay all financial obligations before voting was declared unconstitutional, Andrew Warren, Hillsborough Co. State Attorney, and Jabaar Edmond, from the Pinellas Co. Chapter of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition.
March 5, 2020 Affordable Housing Our guests, Kimberley Overman, Hillsborough County Commissioner and Chair of the County’s Affordable Housing Task Force and Vanessa McCleary, Manager of the City of Tampa Dept. of Housing and Community Development joined Shelley and Janet to discuss what we are doing to increase the availability of affordable housing locally.
February 13, 2020 Matchmaker, Matchmaker Our Valentine’s Day Show guests are Dr. Nancy Wall, Tampa Bay’s only “Certified Matchmaker and Relationship Coach” and Elizabeth P. who found her husband through online dating. We are taking your calls on internet dating horror stories and successes and offering up tips on successful relationships.
January 30, 2020 Tampa City Councilman Orlando Gudes is Shelley’s guest. He offers a statement on and addresses his use of the slur “getting Jewed” to a Tampa Bay Times reporter (on Wed. 01/29/20 TBT) with Shelley and many WMNF listeners.
January 16, 2020 WMNF Commemorates Holocaust Memorial Day Holocaust Memorial Day is Jan. 27, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi concentration camp. WMNF presents a very special interview with 94-year-old Rene Hammond, a local Holocaust survivor. Listen to Rene’s experience as a teenager rounded up and taken to a Hungarian ghetto, transferred to Auschwitz in a boxcar, then to a slave labor camp in Germany, to finally, her escape and liberation from the Nazis.
January 2, 2020 All Politics is Local-Forecasts for 2020 Veteran political observers Windy March of the Tampa Bay Times, Ernest Hooper, formerly of the Tampa Bay Times and Mitch Perry, now with BayNews 9, all join Shelley to talk about who, what and why we should be watching in Tampa Bay local politics in 2020.
December 19, 2019 More Than ABC’s Public Schools have become much more than a place of ABC’s. Today, they are often a child’s only source of food, clothes, hygiene supplies, laundry and other basic necessities of life. It’s the Season of Giving and Toy Drives at Christmas are nice & fun, but kids need more than shiny objects and plastic toys. Let’s do a deeper dive into how we can help kids with what they really need, where they are–at school. My guests tell us what, how and where to give.
December 5, 2019 Resiliency in the Region Our local economy and safety depend on our environment and the Tampa Bay region is critically vulnerable to climate change and sea-level rise. What are we doing about it? Shelley’s guests Sean Sullivan, Exec. Dir. Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council, Harry Cohen, former Tampa City Council member and co-chair of Mayor Jane Castor’s transition team, and Janet Scherberger, V.P. Tampa International Airport will tell us what is being done and planned to harden our community assets and mitigate the risks of the rising water.
November 21, 2019 Fertility, Surrogacy and the Law Shelley’s guests are Souad Dreyfus, founder of Sarasota’s Open Arms Surrogacy Agency, Tim Sullivan, administrator of a surrogacy escrow fund, Stefan Beurge and Roia Berrios, both lawyers who specialize in the legal issues which arise in connection with surrogacy arrangements, and Christie Hiatt, who is a gestational surrogate herself. Everything (non-medical) that you’ve ever wanted to know about high tech, modern, assisted reproductive technologies but didn’t know who to ask is addressed and answered in this lively and informative discussion.
November 7, 2019 Tampa’s Hidden Cemeteries Tampa Bay Times reporter Paul Guzzo and local historian Fred Hearns join Shelley to discuss the recently discovered “lost” African American cemeteries, how the extensive, exhaustive investigation and discovery of the cemeteries proceeded and what is to be done about them now given the financial, spiritual, emotional and historical interests at stake.
October 24, 2019 The Skyway Bridge Disaster Shelley’s guest is noted Tampa lawyer Steve Yerrid who recently made a documentary film on the 1980 Skyway Bridge Disaster. A freighter crashed into the bridge and caused a 1200 ft. span to collapse into the bay, taking 6 cars, a pickup truck and a Greyhound bus down with it, causing the death of 35 souls. Was the harbor pilot at fault or was it a freak weather event and Act of God that caused the deaths? How much control do we really have over our own fate?
September 26, 2019 Decriminalizing HIV We are talking with guests from the Sex Workers Outreach Project and the Sero Project about their efforts to decriminalize HIV in Florida. Sex workers and others are sometimes afraid to seek HIV testing and care. People don’t always take their medicine as required to prevent transmission. But should we be treating HIV status as a criminal law problem or a public safety problem or a public health problem or even a “problem” at all? And, where’s our $70 million in Federal funding that Rick Scott turned down for HIV services?
September 12, 2019 ERA NOW? Did you know women STILL are not protected with equal rights under the Constitution? What exactly does that mean? Has the Equal Rights Amendment’s time come or passed us by? Do we still need a constitutional amendment? I will be talking with local community leaders from The Hillsborough Commission on the Status of Women, The League of Women Voters and the Athena Society who are all working to make Florida the 38th and last State needed to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
August 1, 2019 “SEX SEX SEX! Is Our Children Learning?” School is back next week and I will be talking with parents, physicians, and educators about efforts to reform the sex education curriculum in our public schools. What is being taught now? Do we need more or less sex ed, do our kids get enough of the right info, is it taught at the right grade level, should it include LGBTQ sexuality? The Hillsborough Co. School System’s new sex-ed information web site www.TeenConnectTampaBay.org will go live Aug. 5th.
July 18, 2019 “Rocket Docket Rights Restoration” My guest is Prosecutor Andrew Warren, the Hillsborough Co. State Atty. He’ll be talking about his Criminal Justice Reform agenda, including his innovative proposal for a court “rocket docket” to allow eligible felons to convert their legal fines and fees to community service hours so they can vote.
May 23, 2019 “Cigar City: Tales from a 1980’s Creative Ghetto” Our guest today is local author and cultural impresario, Paul Wilborn, whose new book of “auto-fiction:” linked fictional short stories taken from his days as a denizen of wild Ybor City in the 1980’s when it was home of the legendary Artists and Writers Balls, the birth of Guavaween and the beginning of WMNF’s own, late, lamented Tropical Heatwave.
May 9, 2019 “Sooner or Later Your Cousin’s DNA Will Solve a Murder!” Lynn and Shelley will be hosting Drew Smith, the genealogy librarian at USF, to discuss the recent impact of using DNA to identify suspects in cold cases of violent crimes, as well as to put a name to long-unidentified bodily remains. Genetic genealogy is here to stay. Should we be glad or scared? If you’d like more info on this topic, check out:
Genetic Genealogy Tips & Techniques (for general questions): https://www.facebook.com/groups/geneticgenealogytipsandtechniques/
DNA Detectives (especially good for adoptees searching for birth parents): https://www.facebook.com/groups/DNADetectives/
April 25, 2019 May 2d is Holocaust Remembrance Day. We are speaking with our friends from the Gulf Coast Jewish Family Services Holocaust Survivors Project. GCJFS’s project helps elderly Holocaust survivors remain in their homes and live their lives with dignity, safety, and comfort. We are also privileged to host Renee Hammond, who is a 93-year-old Holocaust survivor herself, to tell us about her experiences and why spreading her story and her memories to audiences today is still so important. Admission to the Florida Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg is free all day on May 2d too.
April 11, 2019 April is Autism Awareness month. We will be discussing AUTISM and local resources for families affected by autism, from early childhood to young adulthood. My guests will be Samantha Hartz, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst who will talk about early diagnosis and intervention, Claudia Roberts, who will advise on advocating for children with disabilities in public education, and Scott Fontechia, an Employment Specialist & Job Developer with USF’s The Learning Academy, on getting neurodiverse young adults ready for the world of work and businesses ready to hire them.
March 28, 2019: Women Who Kick Butt…Literally.
February 14th– Happy Valentines Day! Or, is it? In the first segment of our show, “LOVE HEALS” Tom Scherberger, Dir. of Communications for the Hillsborough County Clerk’s Office will talk with us about the ins and outs of getting married at the Clerk’s Office Marriage Corner, the happiest place in the Courthouse. We also hope to be joined by a lunchtime Courthouse bride who will share her courthouse wedding experience. In our second segment, “LOVE HURTS” we will talk with a Deputy Court Clerk about the process to obtain a Domestic Violence Restraining Order without a lawyer, and we’ll speak with a divorce lawyer about DV Restraining Order complaints, what the courts are looking for and what community resources are available for victims of domestic violence.
For more information: http://www.hillsclerk.com/
February 7th– Join us for the WMNF Winter Fundraising marathon!
January 31st– President Trump was elected by a vote of the Electoral College while Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. Is that fair? Our show will focus on explaining efforts to promote ratification of the National Popular Vote Compact, which would permit the election of the U.S. President by direct popular vote, but without a constitutional amendment to void the Electoral College. Our guests from the League of Women Voters will explain the NPV Compact and promote their public engagement program which is scheduled in Tampa for Feb. 20th.
For more information: https://www.lwvfl.org/issue/npv/
January 17th– Welcome Returning Citizens! We will be talking with Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer and Dir. of Communications for the SoE Gerri Kramer about felons now registering to vote and returning to a life of civic engagement. Our guests will tell us who is eligible, the process, etc. We will also have some returning citizens as our guests to talk about what voting means to them. We will also review the 2018 election and discuss the upcoming municipal elections for Mayor and City Council: who is running for what, deadlines to file and register. etc.
For more information: https://www.votehillsborough.org/