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At This Hour

Sanibel Island Cut Off From Mainland, Causeway Ripped Apart; Supreme Court Hears First Oral Arguments Of New Term; British PM Scraps Tax Cut For Wealthy Amid Market Turmoil; Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired October 03, 2022 - 11:30   ET




KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: The death toll from Hurricane Ian continues to rise, now up to 76 people in Florida who have lost their lives. More than half of those deaths are in Lee County, a county now facing some tough questions about whether evacuations should have been ordered sooner would that have made a difference? Florida officials are now warning it could be weeks even months before parts of the state get power back.

One fire chief telling CNN his City's power structure was "obliterated." 600,000 customers in the state still don't have power. Another major obstacle to any recovery of it -- effort is on Sanibel Island where Hurricane Ian wiped out the road connecting Sanibel to the main -- to mainland Florida. Joining me right now is the mayor of Sanibel Island, Holly Smith.


Mayor, thank you so much for taking time. The causeway -- the Sanibel causeway has become an enduring image of this disaster just crumbled and broken and that -- in parts and cut off. Do you know what yet, what the plan is, and what the expectation is to getting it connected and passable again?

HOLLY SMITH, MAYOR OF SANIBEL, FLORIDA: Yes. As we know that causeway is going to be a long-term recovery. And there are plans in motion right now. Army Corps of Engineers, Lee County, they're actually the county that owns the bridge. So, I was over in the emergency operation center this morning just talking about those next steps since there's going to be some more information that will be coming out on that today. That's going to be a long-term process for us, but what we have to look at is our community is shut off from the rest of the world. And we got to look at alternate ways to get for our people on the island. We do have a lot of sort -- resources on the ground right now. But we're looking at that.

Well, we're having a meeting tonight and more information is going to be coming out on how we can help try to facilitate that. And we have got a shout out from so many people locally, with resources that are going to be able to assist us in a short term of getting people to the island to get to look at their homes, try to mitigate the damage that's being done and work forward as we're on day five of rebuilding our lives, rebuilding our island.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. You know, Florida Senator Marco Rubio kind of spoke to this, and the way he put it as he thinks it's going to be a couple of years at least to rebuild the bridge. But I also want to play for you what he said just yesterday about people still living -- still staying on the island.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO, (R-FL): I think, unfortunately, the -- there's still some people left there that wanted to stay after the fact that the island is cut off. I mean, you can't get there. So, at some point, they're going to have to come off and restart their life somewhere else.


BOLDUAN: Restarting their lives somewhere else. Do you agree, Mayor? I mean, does everyone need to leave at least for now?

SMITH: Well, I want to tell you the positive here. We have evacuated as of yesterday, the count for evacuation is about 400. And those are the ones we know. There have been other evacuees that have gotten off by other means. So that's really important. As to the numbers that are on there right now, we don't have an estimate, I -- you know, so I can't give you a firm number. We are encouraging everyone to get off the island.

But we also need to understand that this is everyone's home and they need to get back and protect it. And we are working at every level with the -- with the federal, the state, and our local representatives to try to come up with a plan right now that we can get people back on to see their properties, to try to get some of their items that they want, and also look at some of the damages that they've had to see if we can mitigate some of those damages because there are structures that are going to be able to survive.

And if we need to get action on those structures now because that's going to be the base of our community moving forward. So, we want to make sure that we have those structures that can be secured taken care of and be habitable, perhaps to make sure that we have a community to come back to.

BOLDUAN: Yes, to be able to get in and get out and support those structures. Get those secured. It's a -- it's a -- yes, it just shows how complicated and how much work is needed in coordination. In terms of coordination, your county -- county officials -- Lee County officials are now getting some questions about the decision to order an evacuation, a mandatory evacuation whether it came a day too late. Monday evening, I know that Sanibel City Council approved a voluntary order. Tuesday morning is when came the county's mandatory order. Do you think an earlier mandatory evacuation order would have made a difference in Sanibel? SMITH: This storm was an extremely complex storm. We watched this storm and I think everybody did the best that they could, based on that information. I think two nights before I was speaking to the mayor and Oldsmar, my friend, Dan, and I'm saying I'm so sorry, I'm going to be here when you need recovery, not ever knowing that that was going to take that twist and ended up covering our area in southwest Florida. You know, we can't take a crystal ball and look back. What we all did was gave warning and plenty of warning of what we saw was coming and people can make their own decisions, whether or not they're going to stay or go. The majority of our islanders left the island. Some didn't.

You know, we've had decades where we have not had an impact of a storm that's great. There's a sense of complacency. I get that. We always prepare for the worst. We hope for the best. This was the perfect storm of what can be absolutely the worst. So you know, I think the answer to that, everybody did the best they could with the information they had. And once we knew what was happening, there was still plenty of opportunity for people to make the decision.


Shelters were open immediately with coordination with Lee County School District so people could get off the island with their pets, with their belongings that they could get in their car. So there was that opportunity. And I think complacency, just because we haven't had something I don't think the world has seen something like this for a while this is catastrophic. So, I think we did the best that we could everybody did. And we're really in communication with the county, again with the state, and right now we're working together to get it done to get us all to put back together. We can't go back, but we are going to go forward.

BOLDUAN: Yes, and that's for sure. The need of coordination and working together is so great. And not only helping to get people off the island in the immediate and getting people on but also to make sure that there is a community to return to, as you said, Mayor.

SMITH: I'm not bluffing.

BOLDUAN: Thank you so much for coming on. And there will be.

SMITH: There will be.

BOLDUAN: Thank you so much, Mayor. You're very resilient for sure. Thank you.

Coming up for us. The Supreme Court is starting its new term today, the court also announcing some pivotal cases that are going to be heard, details next.



BOLDUAN: It is a historic day for the Supreme Court. Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first black woman to serve on the High Court is now hearing her first cases as a new term begins. CNN's Jessica Schneider is live outside the Supreme Court for us. So, Jess, how is this -- how is this term shaping up to be so far?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Oh, Kate, a new term, a new justice, and even more consequential and controversial cases here. The Supreme Court this morning starting off their term with a case involving the Clean Water Act and how far the EPA may go in restricting land development near watershed areas. So that's the first case today. We've already heard the justice -- the newest justice, Ketanji Brown Jackson quite active in her questioning.

But the future cases this term could be fairly explosive as well. We'll hear cases involving the Voting Rights Act and how it factors into redistricting in congressional districts in Alabama. Also, a case involving the power of the state legislature versus state courts when it comes to redistricting. Plus, a big case on affirmative action that could potentially upend the court's precedent decades in the making that says colleges can in fact, factor in race when it comes to admissions decisions. Plus, we'll have a case involving gay rights. Determining if businesses can refuse to serve same-sex couples.

This is the case -- this is a term that is already shaping up to be quite consequential and it seems that this six-three conservative majority will take hold, even more, Kate, with these justices being increasingly at odds. The tensions are simmering. One note though, the court here finally returning to some semblance of normalcy today. In their first case of the term, they have finally reopened the court itself to the public so people can line up, go inside to see this in person, but the court will continue live streaming its audio as well for people who want to listen at home, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Jessica, thank you very much. More news is ahead for us but first, our inner voice has a lot to say, of course, but how we decide to listen to it can make a big difference. Dr. Sanjay Gupta explains in "CHASING LIFE."


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Dr. Sanjay Gupta, host of CNN's "CHASING LIFE" podcast. Most of us have an inner monologue continuously running in our heads. Basically, we are talking and listening to ourselves all the time. See that? But what we say to ourselves can have a big impact on our mental health.

For example, what do you say to yourself right after someone gives you a compliment? Do you gratefully accept it or do you brush it off thinking someone is just trying to be nice? The good news is if you tend to go the negative route, you can actually reprogram that inner voice in your head.

Psychologist Melinda Fouts recommends having what she calls a launch sentence that counteracts the negative belief. It can be something like I am more than good enough or I am more than worthy. So as soon as you catch yourself having a negative thought, tell yourself that idea instead. You can also try changing your environment. If you're having negative feelings in one space, for example, change locations, give yourself the physical control over that decision. Being in nature, it'd be extra beneficial turning our attention away from negative thoughts to the world all around us. And finally, make sure you have a positive support system and surround yourself with people that can help foster a better inner monologue.

You can hear more about how to optimize your health and chase life wherever you get your podcasts.



BOLDUAN: A major political one (INAUDIBLE). The UK Government is reversing its plan to cut taxes for the wealthy one day after the new Prime Minister, Liz Truss, vowed to stand by it. CNN's Bianca Nobilo is live in the UK with more on the. So, Bianca, why the change?

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kate, the change is because the prime minister realized that she didn't have the support of her party because the public fury about her suggested economic plans was immense.


I was at a protest yesterday, full of people who were so angry that at a time when most people in the UK are suffering from a cost of living crisis, unable to afford both food and fuel. The prime minister was suggesting cutting taxes for the wealthiest in the country and getting rid of bankers' bonuses. So now her Party who have all gathered at their annual political convention where I am right now are fuming. They're so mad.

I would love to tell you the quotes that I'm hearing from lawmakers of the prime minister's party but I simply can't because I'd have to bleep them all out. This is fractious and sour here. So we're now looking at a prime minister one month into the job where you'd expect the approval ratings to be at the highest at such a deep level of unpopularity that they're already discussing how to oust her, Kate.

BOLDUAN: It's really amazing. Bianca, thank you for being there for us. Thank you for covering at all. Really appreciate it. And thank you all so much for watching us AT THIS HOUR. I'm Kate Bolduan. "INSIDE POLITICS" with John King is next.