Last Call for 9.28.22 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.

First Shot

If the Waffle House Index is any indication, Southwest Florida is as waterlogged as an All-Star Special pooled in syrup poured by the eager hands of a road-tripping toddler.

At least 21 Waffle House locations closed Wednesday because of Hurricane Ian, ticking off one informal — yet classic — benchmark of hurricane devastation.

Per the WaHo mythos, Florida man Craig Fugate — the then-Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator and a former Florida Division of Emergency Management Director — coined the phrase after the 2011 tornado in Joplin, Missouri. Neither of the town’s two Waffle Houses closed despite the high-intensity twister.

Green means a full menu. Yellow means a limited menu, indicating generator power, at best, and limited food supplies. Red means the restaurant is closed, indicating damage or unsafe conditions.

Both FEMA and Waffle House have acknowledged the informal metric. Waffle House managers have characterized their scrappy tactics as helping to bring a brief bit of normal to an impacted community.

“As Craig often says, the Waffle House test doesn’t just tell us how quickly a business might rebound — it also tells us how the larger community is faring,” according to an archived FEMA blog post. “The sooner restaurants, grocery and corner stores, or banks can reopen, the sooner local economies will start generating revenue again — signaling a stronger recovery for that community.”

At Florida Politics, we pray for Floridians’ safety and for all Waffle Houses’ swift reopening.


Member companies of the Florida Property & Casualty Association are upping their personnel to assist victims of Hurricane Ian.

“After ensuring that your home and family are safe and secure, contact your insurance agent or homeowner’s insurer first to report any storm damage,” FPCA Executive Director William Stander said.

Below are the hotlines for FPCA companies:

— American Traditions Insurance Company: 866-270-8430

— Edison Insurance Company: 888-683-7971

— Florida Peninsula Insurance Company: 866-549-9672

— Homeowners Choice Property & Casualty Insurance Company: 866-324-3138

— Monarch National Insurance Company: 800-293-2532

— People’s Trust Insurance Company: 877-333-1230

— SafePoint Insurance Company: 855-252-4615

— Southern Oak Insurance Company: 877-900-2280

— VYRD: 866-999-0898


The Tallahassee community will gather Monday to celebrate Pete Antonacci’s life.

Antonacci died of a heart attack Friday while at work in the Florida Capitol. While Antonacci, a longtime government official, was often thought of as a Republican fixer, members of the Tallahassee process from both sides of the aisle remembered Antonacci as a compassionate person and a dedicated public servant.

The celebration will take place at 3 p.m. Monday at the Florida State University Alumni Center.

Evening Reads

—“Hurricane Ian makes landfall near Cayo Costa as a Category 4 storm with 150 mph winds” via Cheryl McCloud of the Fort Myers News-Press

—“Ron DeSantis faces leadership test as Hurricane Ian comes bearing down on Florida” via Steve Contorno of CNN

—“Some in Florida wait after choosing to stay in the hurricane’s projected path” via Lauren Sweeney and Victoria Kim of The New York Times

—“Dose of reality: Did Joe Biden tell people in path of Hurricane Ian to get COVID-19 vaccination?” via Jack Birle of the Washington Examiner

—“Freedom Caucus poised to pull its hardest Kevin McCarthy punch” via Olivia Beavers of POLITICO

—“Is this the beginning of the end of the internet? How a single Texas ruling could change the web forever” via Charlie Warzel of The Atlantic

—“At a Fort Myers hotel, evacuees brace for Hurricane Ian” via Zachary T. Sampson of the Tampa Bay Times

—“‘We’re not out of the woods’: Mayor Jane Castor warns of calm before the storm” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics

—“Hurricane Ian: Central Florida Publix stores to close by 6 p.m. tonight” via Austin Fuller of the Orlando Sentinel

—“Access to Pinellas Co. barrier islands restored for residents” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics

—“Hurricane Ian halts Jacksonville buses, some flights and transportation services” via Dan Scanlan of the Florida Times-Union

—“High winds, tornadoes and flooding bring headaches to Broward County” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics

—“Planes, trees, automobiles: the first damage from Hurricane Ian in South Florida” via David J. Neal of the Miami Herald

Quote of the Day

“Even if you see the waters receding, it’s not the time to go out there and look at it or collect shells or whatever … when the winds come down, the water comes back and can be incredibly dangerous.”

— National Weather Service Director Kenneth Graham warning Floridians to stay sheltered during Hurricane Ian.

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