Hallandale Beach Blog - A common sense public policy overview offering a critical perspective on the current events, politics, govt., public policy, sports scene and pop culture of the U.S., South Florida and Europe, especially the UK and Sweden.
In particular, Broward & Miami-Dade County, and the cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood & Aventura. Trust me when I tell you, this part of Florida is NOT the Land of Lincoln. Photo in upper-left is Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower on State Road A1A, September 2008; March 2018 photo below of North Beach, looking left-to-right, looking north, HYDE Condominium, Etaru Japanese Robatayaki restaurant, and Hollywood Beach in the distance, with umbrellas. All photos by me, © Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

What place is this LA Times sub-header describing? HB?

Was going thru my daily cache of email this afternoon while watching the IU-Coppin State basketball game on the Big Ten Network, and my eye caught this intriguing sub-heading on a Robyn Dixon story in the daily Los Angeles Times email I receive full of stories from all sections of the newspaper.
"Everywhere you travel in ... there is evidence of decline and absurdities that would be comical if they weren't so tragic."

All I could think of after seeing that interesting turn of phrase was that it could very well be the sub-heading on my topper at Hallandale Beach Blog.
Almost as if I were an archaeologist going through ruins of an ancient city, since it pretty well describes the town to a veritable "T."
Is it Hallandale Beach or ? See for yourself.


Friday, December 21, 2007

Upcoming FDOT meeting in Hollywood re U.S.-1 improvements

Though this is a FDOT meeting, it may also be my best early chance in 2008 of dropping some heavy lumber on the City of Hollywood and it's phony claim to being a "transit-oriented" city, by laying some disturbing but true facts on the assembled FDOT officials, and watching their reaction.
And the audience's.

My prediction, three weeks prior?
Well, the FDOT officials will initially feign surprise, but the audience will nod in agreement.
And wait 'till I lay into the FDOT officials about all the bad/missing signage on major Hollywood byways, which could hardly be more obvious.
For instance, at the intersection of west-bound A1A and Hallandale Beach Blvd., the dividing line on A1A between Hallandale Beach and Hollywood.
That's when the buck-passing will begin in earnest!

FDOT To Discuss Improvements to U.S. 1 in Hollywood

District: Four

Meeting Type: Meeting

Date: Thursday, January 10, 2008

Time: 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Location Name: Fred Lippman Multi-Purpose Center

Street Address: 2030 Polk Street

City: Hollywood, FL 33020

Directions: Directions to this meeting site

The Florida Dept. of Transportation (FDOT) will hold a plans to complete the following improvements on Federal Highway/U.S.1 from north of Young Circle to south of Sheridan Street:

Mill and repave the existing pavement;

Upgrade sidewalks;

Improve isolated drainage locations;

Upgrade roadway signs within the project limits;

Install pedestrian countdown signals at all signalized intersections;

Install video detection for all traffic movements at all signalized intersections;

Place new landscaping throughout the project limits; and

Install irrigation system for existing and proposed landscaping.

Construction is expected to being in spring 2009 and to be completed in approximately one year. The expected construction cost is $ 2.4 million.

Representatives from FDOT will be available at this meeting to answer your questions and listen to your concerns.

The meeting will have an information openhouse format. No formal presentation will be made.

Public participation is solicited without regard to race, color, national origin, age, sex, religion, disability or family status.

Persons who require special accommodations under the Americans with Disabiliities Act or persons who require translation services (free of charge) should contact the project manager listed below at least seven days prior to the meeting.

Primary Contact: James Hughes, P.E., Project Manager

Primary Phone: 954-777-4419

Primary E-Mail: james.hughes@dot.state.fl.us

Additional Contact: FDOT District Four Public Information Office

Additional Phone: 954-777-4090
Additional E-mail: barbara.kelleher@dot.state.fl.us
Expires: 1/11/2008

Sunday, December 16, 2007

HB resident earned it the old-fashioned way: Brad Adamonis qualifies for PGA Tour

Noticed this news last week in The Miami Herald and meant to post it sooner.
Since he's from Rhode Island, if I ever run into him, I'll have to ask him if he knows my old Arlington housemate Jennifer Dugan, since as I was always told by Jen's friends whenever they came down from R.I. to Washington for a weekend visit, "Everyone who's anyone in Rhode Island knows" the adorable and personable Jen.
And that was before she was flying out of Logan Airport for U.S. Airways.
Nice backgrounder on Brad's years of hard work in The Boston Globe from October is below the Herald excerpt of last week.

The Miami Herald
SPOTLIGHT ON GOLF: Honda Classic diversifies
By Jeff Shain
December 5, 2007

Brad Adamonis (Hallandale Beach) is headed to the PGA Tour, capping a breakthrough year by earning one of 26 cards handed out Monday from qualifying finals in Orlando.
Adamonis was one of just four players to break 70 in each of the final three rounds of the six-day marathon at Orange County National. He tied for ninth at 18-under-par 414.A six-year Nationwide Tour veteran, Adamonis broke into the win column last October by surviving an eight-hole playoff in West Texas. He wound up 33rd on the money list.
Brad's PGATour.com profile page: http://www.pgatour.com/players/02/37/78/

Boston Globe
The long-awaited payoff
Adamonis on cusp after playoff win
By Jim McCabe, Globe Staff
October 18, 2007

It went into the record books as a victory that needed eight playoff holes, but Brad Adamonis knows better. It required years of perseverance.
Now in his fifth year on the Nationwide Tour, the Rhode Island native is 34, married, and the father of two, so how his life has changed since he graduated from Miami of Ohio and began his quest as a professional golfer. There always have been flashes of good play to keep him motivated, but what transpired last Sunday validates the time he has put into his game.
"I've been chasing the dream," said Adamonis. "So it feels good to finally win."
He insists that he surprised himself by being so calm in an eight-hole playoff to win the WNB Golf Classic in Midland, Texas, that he was actually more nervous in the closing holes of a final-round 70 that left him at 10-under-par 278. There had been birdies at the 14th, 15th, and 17th holes, but a bogey at the 72d hole, thanks to a poor drive, had cost him.
Or so he thought.
"Guys closing behind me were in good position, so I figured I'd just have a good finish," said Adamonis. "I felt fortunate to get into a playoff.
"Vance Veazey and Ron Whittaker were eliminated on the first two holes, so onward went Adamonis and Tjaart van der Walt. They matched pars on the next five holes, but on the eighth extra hole, van der Walt made bogey, so Adamonis's par earned him $85,500 - though it could be a far greater payoff if things continue on an upward turn the next three weeks.
"I know I need at least one more good tournament the rest of the way," said Adamonis.
He was referring to the fact that he has vaulted to 30th on the money list and the top 25 will earn PGA Tour cards for 2008. With $161,735, Adamonis knows he's just $11,379 behind No. 25. He's in Tennessee for this week's stop, with tournaments in Miami and the Nationwide Tour Championship in Lakeside, Calif., to follow.
There's much to look forward to, yes, but so, too, has he tried to savor a victory that has been a long time coming.
"I've been playing fairly well, but it's always felt like I'm one or two shots away from being really good," said Adamonis, who inherited his passion for the game from his father, Dave, the founder of the US Challenge Cup Tour for junior golfers.

Woe is Wie
What has to rate as the season's saddest story took another disheartening turn when Greg Nared became the second manager within a year to walk away from Michelle Wie.
"After careful consideration for my future, I have resigned, effective immediately," said Nared, who worked for the William Morris Agency.
Wie just turned 18 and has been a pro for barely two years and already she's gone through two managers, both of whom - Nared and Ross Berlin - had her best interests at heart.
Game plans envisioned by first Berlin and then Nared never emphasized high-profile tournaments against the men, nor was it ever considered best for the teenager to get her wrapped up in aggressive endorsement deals.
Both managers had paid close attention to the almost flawless way in which Tiger Woods had been brought along slowly, and they felt a similar blueprint was in order for Wie.
Somewhere, somehow, it has all gone terribly wrong, and since her parents are so in control of their daughter's life - from picking agents to hiring and firing caddies, which they've done at such a pace that father B.J. Wie was back lugging the bag at last week's Samsung Championship - they are the ones who must share the blame.
In 2006, Wie was very much in contention to win three majors.
In 2007, she played in eight LPGA Tour events and had a stroke average of 76.7.
Yet, the numbers don't explain the half of it.
The year has been a public relations nightmare, from the disrespectful way in which she treated LPGA Tour members and organizers at the Ginn Tribute, to the shame of accepting a sponsor's exemption into the Samsung when the dignified thing to do would have been to say, "Thanks, but I'm not worthy of this right now."
Wie is enrolled at Stanford, which is a nice place for any 18-year-old to be.
It's the perfect opportunity for her to take care of herself and tend to decisions for herself.
But with her parents having left Hawaii to rent a house near Stanford, you wonder if that's possible.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Postponed: PnZ mtg. today re Diplomat Golf Course condos

Just got the news this morning about the postponement of today's Hallandale Beach Planning and Zoning Board's meeting on the Diplomat's plans for at least 1,300 more condos in the postage stamp duchy that is Hallandale Beach.

Yesterday afternoon, I swung by the area to see if they had the posted meeting signs that conform to the new and improved rules.

While I didn't personally see them, camera at the ready, perhaps they were removed after the meeting was postponed. But wouldn't that have just necessitated changing ther date and time on the posted sign?

The city's website this morning reads: Planning and Zoning Board – Diplomat Land Use Plan Application. The Planning and Zoning Board Meeting for December 12th regarding the Diplomat Land Use Plan application has been canceled and deferred to the January 23, 2008 Planning and Zoning Board Meeting. For additional information please call (954) 457-1378.

I spoke to some of the members of the HB Planning and Zoning Board after their last meeting, and based on what I saw and heard that particular Wednesday, they seem to be exercising their mental muscles and experiencing a "born again" moment, at least, compared to other parts of the city's body politic.

I say that based on what a few members expressed to me afterwards, the most important of which was that no matter what, they are NOT going to allow the upcoming Diplomat hearing to even start unless they all have all the pertinent land use info days before the hearing, instead of the usual HB modus operandi.

That, so I infer from the comments of the Board, is where the developers' materials are sort of dropped off at the last minute for staff to digest and review, leaving the Board in the awkward position of being behind the learning curve as far as knowing the material well-enough to pose the sort of probing and pertinent questions a subject like this demands. Go figure!

In particular, I congratulate PnZ member Arnold Cooper for saying at length and with some conviction, that he'd seek to postpone the upcoming hearing, rather than allow it to start with incomplete info and not enough time to review it.
Sort of makes me wonder how long this pattern of gathering info at the last minute has been going on. It would explain a lot of what I see around the city.

Hmm... if only the HB City Council had actually worked like this last year before they approved Gulfstream/Forest City's Village of Gulfstream project, months before the city's own consultant's transportation study was completed for a city currently rated "D" on road congestion.

Along those same lines, Mr. Cooper wondered aloud, to some laughter, how it was possible that, a whole year later, with roughly 4,000 more units out there, that HB could still be rated a "D," on road use.
It was all I could do to stifle myself from laughing out loud from my seat towards the middle of the chambers!

At some point soon, I may just have to acquaint the Board with some learned bit of knowledge that was dropped on me by several very frustrated employees of the Broward County Traffic & Engineering Dept., just months after I returned to South Florida from Arlington, VA.

In some ways, I suppose, those particular comments to me, made over several months, were the very foundation for my decision to start this particular blog. Obviously, knowing what I know now, I just wish I'd started it sooner.

So you ask, what did these very knowledgable Broward County employees whisper into my ear?

Plenty! Only that thanks to the longtime incompetent policies of the Hallandale Beach Police Dept. and the auxilary folks who work traffic control on Gulfstream's racing days -theoretically, to prevent blocked intersections- continually make a bad situation infinitely worse under the guise of solving the problem, the ultimate indignity.

I asked whether part of it was due to the clear lack of attention that's paid to emerging traffic patterns, since 99% of the auxilary folks I've ever seen assigned to this duty are constantly on their cell phones. You know, as opposed to being actively engaged and pro-active, and actually using their whistles once in a while to stop 'creepers' and actually writing tickets to people who are "blocking the box."

They semi-ignored this low-hanging bit of fruit while nodding with a smile.

But they did say that the manipulation of the traffic light signals actually makes the ingress/egress situation far worse, causing ripple effects that radiate outward from the area, particularly along HBB towards both A1A and I-95.

That actually confirmed some things I'd once read in The New Yorker -Yes, The New Yorker- on traffic about 5-10 years ago.

By their improper use of the signal light at US-1 & HBB, they well, that's a topic for another time.
The Miami Herald
HALLANDALE BEACH: Diplomat is pushing for more growth - Residents in Hallandale Beach are concerned about a proposal to build condos at the Diplomat Country Club.
By Jasmine Kripalani
November 15, 2007

A developer wants to build another 1,400 condos and town homes in Hallandale Beach, the South Broward city that already has congested streets and at least 1,600 new housing units on the way.
Despite the slow housing market, the owners of the Diplomat Country Club want city approval to build 1,388 units around their 18-hole golf course east of Federal Highway and north of Hallandale Beach Boulevard.

The three buildings will range from 10 to 22 stories.

It's the latest step in Hallandale's transformation from a retirement community to a more diverse -- and more crowded -- city like neighboring Aventura.

The developers hope to sell units for around $600,000 each. They estimate that the city's population would swell by nearly 2,600 people.

But the developer may lack the support from city commissioners."I've made it clear to the developer that I would not support that amount of units," Mayor Joy Cooper said.

Commissioner Keith London said he has called residents to tell them about the developer's intentions.

And some residents who met with developers this month are raising concerns about traffic and construction impact.

"The traffic we currently experience has become unmanageable. If I needed to get to the hospital, could they get me there safely? Would I still be alive by the time I get there?" said Armin Lovenvirth, a 30-year resident of Hallandale Beach and a member of the city's planning and zoning board. "We have huge projects that haven't even begun."

Among them: the 29-story, 118-unit European Club along Hallandale Beach Boulevard between Federal Highway and State Road A1A; and the Village at Gulfstream Park, 901 S. Federal Hwy., which is slated to include 1,500 condos, 70 shops and restaurants and a 2,500-seat movie theater.

Resident Carlos Simmons, 61, said he questions whether the demand is there.

"We have the two structures behind Winn-Dixie," Simmons said, referring to the towering Duo condos at 1725 E. Hallandale Beach Blvd. "I live across the street, on Golden Isles Drive, and there are hardly any lights on at all at night.

"In August, the city placed a six-month moratorium on all new development in order to map out a growth plan. A consulting firm is working on the plan.

The attorney for the Diplomat project said Broward County's population will increase and that's what drives the demand for housing.

'I think we have a responsibility to accommodate the growth and the question is, 'Where do you put it?' ' said Debbie Orshefsky, an attorney for Diplomat Properties. "What we have is a short-term slow down, but long-term, people are moving here and people are having kids."

The issue is scheduled to come before the Planning and Zoning Board on Nov. 28. The board will make a recommendation to city commissioners.

Commissioners would hear the issue a couple of months later. The final decision could be made by the summer, Mayor Cooper said."I've looked at this development and I'm skeptical of the amount of units and I've been very vocal to them about this," Cooper said. "I would support an expansion of the hotel."

The Diplomat Country Club, 501 Diplomat Pkwy., currently houses the golf course, a tennis center and 60-room hotel. Developers have also proposed expanding the hotel to more than 300 rooms and would do this by rearranging the maintenance facility.

"I would never approve any residential units that would have a direct adverse impact on the championship, 18-hole course," Cooper said.

Orshefsky said the proposed expansion would not affect the quality of the golf course.

Golden Isles Drive Association President Ed Napolitano, 42, said he supports more development.

"I like growth in an area and anything that's going to bring a younger, vibrant crowd," Napolitano said. "I'm all for it."

Copyright (c) 2007 The Miami Herald

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

HB citizens continue to oppose trash plant on Ansin Blvd.

I hate to admit it but I was a no-show Monday night.

I had really hoped to be at Monday night's meeting at the Hallandale Beach Cultural Community Center to hear what -if anything- Hallandale Beach's elected officials and city
employees were now going to say about the city's proposed trash plant, which the city's officials desperately want.
The reason is because I've known for years about the deep level of frustration -and then, ennui- felt by residents of the NW part of Hallandale Beach, who've long felt they were being treated as second-class citizens -by their own city.

Lest you think after reading the articles below by Thomas Monnay and Jasmine Kriplani, that the individuals interviewed by them were just a handful of the sort of people you can find in any town in the country, always upset and disgruntled by something, regardless of the issue, let me set you straight now: you're wrong.
The level of anger, disappointment and discontent these citizens feel on this particular issue, as well as some others, is quite real, and NOT at all below the surface.
I know this because I recall vividly what I saw and heard at a number of HB City Commission meetings I attended in 2006, where I took my usual copious notes.

During the public comments portion of those 2006 hearings, I heard many speakers talk from the heart about their concerns regarding the proposed trash plant and the negative effect its location would have on them and their part of HB, as well as their perception that the project seemed to be inching closer and closer to fruition, even before they'd get in their two cents.
No matter how many times Mayor Joy Cooper and City Manager Mike Good repeatedly said that it was simply not the case, that there was a process that would be followed, the public
speakers I saw and heard seemed quite unconvinced.
(I wasn't aware then of the whole swimmming pool debacle situation from back in 1993, since that happened while I was still living in the Washington, D.C. area then. That was a devastating fact to drop into the story, which really calls into question the city's past treatment of this neighborhood, )

The clear perception that they publicly expressed then -and continue to express- was that they were HB citizens who'd once again been overlooked and neglected.
Now as I understand it, there'd apparently been either one meeting -or a series of meetings- that had long been planned for Fall 2005, wherein HB city officials and elected officials would meet with citizens from NW HB and specifically address their deeply-felt concerns.

But nature intervened in the City of Hallandale Beach's plans when this area suffered thru a series of hurricanes and powerful storms in quick succession, ones that really shook up the area,
leaving large portions of South Florida, including HB, without electricity for weeks.
Yours truly, in fact, was without electricity for roughly about 17 days, even while I could clearly see the nearby condo towers in Aventura burning bright in the night sky.
Still, I could go to the nearby Target and the Whole Foods on N.E. 213th Street whenever I wanted to get my usual supply of odds and ends.
During the blackout, for the first time since being down here, I even had some coffee at the Whole Foods a couple of times, while reading my New York Times in between bites of bagels. The coffee was NOT nearly as good as Denny's!
But the minute I stepped thru my own door -BOOM!- it was back to living the pre-Thomas Edison days of America.

(For a sports fan like me, this power outage happened at the worst possible time -during the college and NFL seasons AND the World Series between the Chicago White Sox and the Houston Astros. http://www.baseball-almanac.com/ws/wsmenu.shtml
Consequently, while I listened to every World Series game on the radio, with Jon Miller and Joe Morgan connecting the dots, I never saw an actual WS game highlight until weeks later after the power had been restored.
That meant that I couldn't watch my old stand-by, the WGN News, the night the White Sox swept the Astros, and see the city of Chicago celebrate its first baseball title since... well, a few weeks before WWI ended in 1917.)

As a result of the storms and hurricanes, the planned meeting(s) on the trash plant were pushed back to the proverbial back-burner, until a sense of normalcy was restored in HB; whatever that is.
But in the weeks and months after the recovery -which I think HB did a very poor job of handling, compared to other local municipalities I visited- while HB City Manager Mike Good met with other HB homeowner and civic groups, the meeting he and HB's elected officials and city employees were supposed to have with the residents of NW HB -about the trash plant- never materialized.

So, the perception had become the reality as far as these particular speakers were concerned:
six months after the original meeting(s) was scheduled, many of them remain convinced that HB was using the post-storm and hurricane period as a cover for avoiding that formal meeting, even as Mike Good was meeting with other HB groups.
Other groups that the speakers at those public hearings honestly felt hadn't even the faintest idea as to how they felt about it. Out of sight, out of mind.

See CBS4's story and video at http://cbs4.com/local/hallandale.beach.trash.2.602088.html
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Hallandale hopes to salvage plans for trash plant
By Thomas Monnay
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
December 4, 2007

In the face of a public outcry, city officials said Monday they still hope to save money by building a solid waste transfer station on 2.5 acres of industrial land in the city's northwest section.
Neighbors, however, strongly oppose the project, saying it might create a health hazard and bring down property values.
"They're talking about saving money; we're talking about saving lives," said James Tucker, vice president of the Community Civic Association of Hallandale Beach. "We're such a small [city], it's a safety issue to have a solid waste station in our community."

To explain the need for the station and address residents' concerns, city officials held a town hall meeting Monday at the Cultural Community Center. More than 100 citizens turned out, most of them in opposition to the plan.
The project has been planned for a $2.9 million property the city bought last year at 310 Ansin Blvd. The site is in an industrial district just east of Interstate 95 and between Hallandale Beach Boulevard and Pembroke Road that includes warehouses and manufacturing businesses.
Ironically, city commissioners in 1998 rejected a private trash station for the same property, giving as a reason the fact it's in an industrial zoning district.
City officials say the station would save Hallandale Beach more than $1.2 million a year in transportation costs because sanitation workers now travel 2½ hours round-trip to dispose of the city's trash at a Waste Management site on U.S. 27 in Pembroke Pines.
"It's an alternative to address long-term cost to solid waste disposal," Mayor Joy Cooper said. "It's in an industrial area, it's not adjacent to any single residential use."
Cooper said commissioners will vote on the project Dec. 19. She said the city chose not to use another site it owns in the northwest section because that site is closer to residences.
Opponents say the Ansin Boulevard property is not suitable for a waste station because it's blocks away from homes and that is too close.
Carlos Simmons, president of the Community Civic Association of Hallandale Beach, spoke for many of the opponents. "I don't think it should go there. I'm concerned about the environmental issues. I'm concerned about quality of life in general."
Before any vote is taken, Simmons said, a committee should be formed of citizens and civic leaders who would visit a similar trash transfer station in order to be better informed.
Some northwest activists say the city promised to hold several meetings to discuss the project, but now they are concerned residents won't be given enough time to provide feedback.
"We're kind of surprised this issue has come up so quickly," said Jessica Sanders, chairman of the Palms of Hallandale Beach Weed and Seed, a drug prevention and economic development program.
Tony Spadaccia, a waste management spokesman, said his company would spend $1 million to build the station and operate it under a contact being negotiated with Hallandale Beach.
A rendering of the project shows an office building in front of a tall, enclosed structure resembling a huge barn. The property is landscaped with palms, shrubs and other trees.
Spadaccia said trash dropped at the station would be taken to a landfill in Pompano Beach. He said residents would not be charged to drop off their trash and the facility would be cleaned and washed every night.
"There will be no odor, no rodents and no health concerns as a result of this facility," Spadaccia said.

Thomas Monnay can be reached at tmonnay@sun-sentinel.com or 954-385-7924.
Copyright © 2007, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Miami Herald
Hallandale neighborhood's residents oppose trash dump site
By Jasmine Kripalani jkripalani@MiamiHerald.com
December 2, 2007

Hallandale Beach's majority black neighborhood might be the site of a new garbage dump, and many residents are saying the whole deal stinks.
''Why here? Why in this neighborhood?'' said Jeri Choice, whose house on Northwest Third Court overlooks the city water plant. "Why can't it be in the southwest or southeast section?''
City officials say the site, 310 Ansin Blvd. in the Palms area near the city's sanitation and public works departments, is the only place available in the 4 ½-square-mile city.
''All the areas being built-out,'' Mayor Joy Cooper said, "this site came up and it was ideal.''
Residents in that part of town have long complained of neglect by city government.
They often bring up the city's decision in 1993 not to repair the Dixie pool at 745 NW Ninth Ave. At the time, the city said the $300,000 needed was too costly.
Instead, the city poured concrete over it and promised residents a skating rink. But too few kids used it and it was eventually shut down.
Cooper said she would like to work with the Broward County School Board to replace the pool.
''We're in full support trying to get an Olympic-size pool there,'' Cooper said. "I'd love to see the pool there.''
There are no minorities on the city commission and none of the commissioners live in the area. Hallandale Beach doesn't have districts. All commissioners are elected at-large. The northwest section hasn't had an elected representative from that neighborhood since they elected John Saunders in 1971. He served until 1979 but has since moved to Plantation.
Last year, residents signed a petition asking leaders to switch from citywide elections to single-member districts. Leaders voted it down.
Environmental and waste experts are scheduled to address residents' concerns about the safety of the dump at a forum on Monday night.
''They are going to put it there, regardless of whether we object to it,'' said Pastor Anthony Sanders, who lives less than a quarter-mile from the proposed facility. "We're going to be the community adversely affected by this.''
He and others are planning to attend Monday's meeting.
On the east side, luxury, ocean-view condominiums are sprouting.
Now their garbage might end up in the northwest section's backyard, where apartments barely elicit a second glance and some businesses display ripped awnings.

Garbage experts and city officials say the facility is not exactly a dump but a ''transfer storage facility.'' The city's 65 tons average of daily garbage would be stored there for only a few hours and taken to a landfill every night, Cooper said.
''The area would be buffered and landscaped. We want residents to understand the process and what it entails,'' Cooper said.
Cooper said experts at Monday's meeting would answer questions about odor, safety and pests.
Jeffery Halsey, a division director for the Broward County Environmental Protection Department, will be among the experts.
''Material will not be stored there overnight. That makes us feel a little better about odor concerns,'' Halsey said. ``We routinely inspect them once every four months to reduce the likelihood of having these problems.''

Some residents also said the city is rushing to approve the project.
Last year, when residents heard of the project, the city called a meeting and promised more town hall forums.
The first one is set for two weeks before commissioners are scheduled to vote on the project at an initial hearing.
Waste Management has proposed to build and manage the controversial facility. In exchange, the city would have to approve a long-term contract with the company.
Waste Management charges the city $72 for every ton of garbage it hauls to the landfill.
The city purchased the land for $1.8 million last year, aiming to keep the city's garbage collectors from driving 30 miles to the Waste Management facility at U.S. 27 and Pembroke Road in Pembroke Pines.
The city estimates the new facility would save it more than $1.2 million in fuel, maintenance on trucks and personnel, said Mike Fernandez of the city's sanitation department. The move would allow the city to eliminate some vacant positions.
''`What is the city going to do to give back to the community?'' Sanders said.
State Rep. Joe Gibbons, D-Hallandale Beach, who was the city's second black commissioner, has suggested setting up a fund from a special garbage fee to enhance the neighborhood.

''There's some anger in this community because they feel they have been shortchanged,'' Gibbons said.
Ten years ago, there was a bulk trash dump site on Eighth Avenue just north of West Hallandale Beach Boulevard. But that has since been cleaned up and apartments have been built over it.

If you go to the meeting about a proposed garbage dump

• Hallandale Beach commissioners will have an informational meeting about a proposed northwest-section trash transfer facility at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Hallandale Beach Cultural Community Center, 410 SE Third St.
• City commissioners could make a final decision on the issue at a 7 p.m. meeting on Dec. 19 at City Hall, 400 S. Federal Hwy.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Housecleaning: Old Hallandale Beach Blog header to archives

To free up some space at the top for more photos, I'm retiring this old header I've used since creating this site and putting in in archives, while retaining a shorter version.

HallandaleBeachBlog is where I try to inject/superimpose a degree of accountability, transparency and insight onto local Broward County and South Florida government and public policy issues, which I feel is sorely lacking in local media now.

On this blog, I concentrate my energy, enthusiasm, anger and laser-like attention on the coastal cities of Aventura, Hollywood and Hallandale Beach.

IF you lived in this part of South Florida, you'd ALREADY be in stultifying traffic, be paying higher-than-necessary taxes, and continually musing about the chronic lack of accountability among not only elected govt. officials, but also of city, county and state employees as well. Collectively, with a few rare exceptions, they couldn't be farther from the sort of strong results-oriented, eager work-ethic mentality that residents deserve.

This is particularly true in the town I live in, Hallandale Beach, just north of Aventura and south of Hollywood.

There, the "Perfect Storm" of apathy, incompetency and cronyism is all too self-evident.

Sadly for its residents, HB is where even easily-solved, quality-of-life problems are left to fester for YEARS on end, because of myopia, lack of common sense and unsatisatisfactory management among the Mayor, Joy Cooper, the City Manager, D. Mike Good & the City Commission, excepting the recently-elected Keith London.

London's election at least offers the possibility of righting the direction of a city with lots of potential, but whose citizens have become, quite frankly, numb and shell-shocked to its myriad outrages and screw-ups after years of the worst kind of mismanagement and lack of foresight.

On a daily basis, they wake up and see the same old problems that have never being adequately resolved by the city in a logical and responsible fashion, merely kicked -once again- further down the road.

(Yet this cast of characters, led by Vice Mayor William Julian and Commissioners Dorothy Ross and Francine Schiller voted in early May to triple their annual pay from $21,196 to $75,000 for a part-time job, before they retreated due to public pressure.)

I used to ask myself, rhetorically, "Where are all the enterprising young reporters who want to show that through their own hard work and enterprise, what REAL investigative reporting can produce?"

Hearing no response, I decided to start a blog that could do some of these things, taking the p.o.v. of a reasonable but skeptical person seeing the situation for the first time, and wanting questions answered in a honest and logical way that citizens have the right to expect.

Hallandale Beach Blog intends to be a catalyst for positive change.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

City of Hollywood candidate forums schedule

After last week's City of Hollywood commission meeting, having planned on speaking about item # 8, opposing the city's intent to cast a vote in favor of a resolution opposing the Florida Hometown Democracy amendement, http://southbeachhoosier.blogspot.com/2007/10/broward-county-pols-fear-florida.html
I noticed this handy bit of information on the city bulletin board, and had the city clerk's office run me a copy so that I could share it with you.

In case you missed them when they first came out, here are some of the latest Hollywood stories that I've read which have caused me to wonder about Hollywood's future, and precisely whom the buck stops with, if anyone.
Not that I agree necessarily with all the comments below.
Judge for yourself.

Terrible Trio, The Wasserstrom conviction should have at least a few pols shaking in fear — but, hey, this is Broward, byBob Norman, October 4, 2007

Hollywood truck theft: a stunt or a crime? by Todd Wright, Sept.27, 2007

The Nightmara Continues, by Bob Norman, Sept. 12, 2007

Judge and Jury, Judge Lazarus takes justice into his own hands in the Keith Wasserstrom trial
by Bob Norman, Sept. 13, 2007

Saturday, September 22, 2007

I hate when I do THAT! Missing a Hollywood public forum

So, guess which genius blogger sent out a post about Comm. Cathy Anderson's Tuesday night town hall meeting of last week a few days before the event -and then wrote it down on his own calendar as Thursday? I'll give you one guess. 
Yours truly.

Fortunately, someone I sent an email about it to wrote back right away, but sadly, your faithful scribe didn't see it until, well, let's jump in the South Beach Hoosier Time Machine -which needs to go in for a warranty check soon- and see the excerpts of a letter of explanation I sent that kind person who tried to throw me a line in time before I walked back in time.

Subject: I hate when I do that -get the date wrong!
Saturday September 15th, 2007

Thanks for the helpful email, but I didn't see it until Friday since I did some errands after sending my email to you Thursday.
Actually, I compounded the date problem by relying on what I'd written on my calendar instead of simply looking at my own post on HallandaleBeachBlog(HBB) from a few days before.

On the way to the Hollywood Beach Cultural Center, I swung by that continuing insult to Hollywood and Hallandale Beach residents, the pile of dirt on State Road A1A and Hallandale Beach Blvd. at the city line

Welcome to Hollywood -by dayHollywood, FloridaHallandale Beach Blvd. & A1A, looking northeast from the sidewalk and city line; late September 2007 photo by South Beach Hoosier

Welcome to Hollywood -at sunset
Hollywood, FloridaHallandale Beach Blvd. & A1A, looking northwest from access sidewalk to Hallandale Beach's beach, a sidewalk whose whose lights haven't worked for months, even before Turtle hatching season began; late September, 2007 photo by South Beach Hoosier

An aesthetic and environmental poke in the eye and lungs that has mocked us from varying degrees of elevation -thirty feet early in the year- since at least last Thanksgiving, with absolutely no plastic slit-fences on the east side of A1A to keep the dirt off the roads and the passing pedestrians.

Yeah, that's a great way for people to get their first impression of the beach area, with trash and debris alongside the sidewalk and inside the fence, with plenty of aluminum cans and broken bottles for everyone!
Even discarded City of Hollywood signs advertising public meetings from early August!

When I walked into the HBCC front door Thursday night about 6:15 p.m., and saw some kids doing some sort of martial arts -with sticks/batons- THAT'S when it hit me that I'd never make that colossal a mistake again!

Usually I'm the one in the group who reminds others to double-check the dates and times, so this faux pas was especially painful to admit.

As it turns out, martial arts would've actually been a good metaphor for the night, though, since based on what the bldg.'s administrator told me about Tuesday's meeting -his guestimate of the crowd was 200-250 people- the evening was quite animated and, occasionally, heated, which, of course, is why I was so looking forward to it.

Instead of being at the meeting and finally being able to get some matters out in the public where they belong, I was watching some -as it turned out- rather mediocre 9/11 remembrance programming on TV.

The week before, while taking notes at the Hallandale Beach meeting that foolishly gave approval for that 19-story bldg, to be built right on US-1 opposite Gulfstream Park, right about midnight during one of the many breaks, HB Mayor Joy Cooper came up to me while I was talking to Sun-Sentinel reporter Thomas Monnay.

As I told the mayor then and later repeated to HB city manager Mike Good a few minutes later, when he came to my area of seats in the back, while my intentions are always to be as civil as possible, my criticism of them and the job they were doing was nothing personal, per se, just a criticism of their track record and competency to perform their jobs.

I then took advantage of the opportunity to let them have an earful of pinpoint criticism for 2-3 minutes about some self-evident longstanding problems.

Since it had been brought up repeatedly at that meeting, which I was at for just under nine hours -the last nine hours- I specifically mentioned the condition of SE 8th Street, the street they and the city staff had professed to be so concerned about.

Yet despite having been ripped up twice over the past three years, to lay pipe, there are still NOT any HUMP warning signs parallel to the humps, as is common in the rest of the city, say, for instance, near the elementary school.
Why the disparate treatment?
They couldn't say.

(NB: I was in DC on 9/11, ten blocks from the target of Flight 93's hijackers, the U.S. Capitol, right across from the FBI and DOJ.)

My feelings towards City of Hollywood officials and employees is similar to that of Hallandale Beach.
I don't want alibis, excuses and buck passing for why they can't handle simple problems -I want quantifiable results

While cooling my heals trying to figure out if I'd screwed up the date, I read the Hollywood Beach Hawk condo newsletter about Bunny Mestel's cogent comments regarding the nature and scope of the Sheridan Street project, comments that I'm in complete accord with.

I was actually at one of the Hollywood city meetings where it was discussed, speaking to some of the project consultants about my concerns in the back of the room before they spoke.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Hollywood Beach Town hall meeting on Sept. 11, CRA editorial

Received the email below on Friday.

Having gone to most of the public hearings and forums regarding the Johnson Street project, I will have a lot to say about this at the meeting.
I'm not stepping on my own lines by telling you here that it will all be uniformily unflattering to the city and Mr. Benson in general and the Hollywood CRA in particular, including numerous examples of the city's failure to follow through on their past promises, even on something as simple as posting adequate public notice on the Johnson Street site prior to meetings.

Believe me, I went to the trouble of swinging by there a few hours before the myriad meetings to double-check for them, and they were nowhere to be found.
When I'd stop by the CRA office afterwards to find out who was sleeping on the job, there was nobody was around who could explain the failure to handle something so basic.

Did I want to leave a message?
No, I said, "the message has already been delivered!"
Miami Herald
September 8th, 2007
Big change for CRAs

The Florida Supreme Court this week put the reins on Community Redevelopment Agencies, known as CRAs, leaving their supporters reeling in surprise. There are 178 CRAs created by local governments in Florida to revitalize blighted areas. The agencies collect a portion of the property taxes within defined tax-increment districts to spend on improvements there.
The CRAs' record is decidely mixed. Some -- in Miami Beach, for example -- have wrought wonders. Others, like Miami's CRA, which has been hampered by conflicting agendas, have yet to live up to their promise. With the court's ruling, the CRAs, which are governed by boards made up of elected officials, will now have to be more accountable. This is a good thing, even if it makes CRAs' jobs more challenging.
The court reversed an earlier ruling in deciding that the state Constitution requires CRAs to seek voter approval to use tax-increment dollars to finance bonds for capital-improvement projects. This is a huge change. Until this decision, city or county commissioners or school-board members governing a CRA could simply take a vote to issue bonds using district money. Now elected officials will have to take such a proposal to a vote, like any other bond issue. The ruling left unclear if the vote would be limited to the taxing district or held citywide.
The ruling won't stop dubious decisions, such as the Hollywood City Commission's buying land with CRA money and turning it over to developers for free. But it definitely will allow more public say on big-ticket items such as the Miami City Commission's plan to use CRA money to back $50 million in bonds to pay for the city's share of a port tunnel. Neither the port nor the entrance to the tunnel -- Watson Island -- are in the taxing district.
Now, the Miami CRA and other redevelopment agencies will have to justify major spending decisions to voters. Responsible CRA leaders need not fear. South Florida voters in the past have ably separated the good from the bad deals in bond-issue referendums.
City of Hollywood, Florida
Office of the City Manager
September 7, 2007
Contact: Raelin Storey, Media Relations Director
Phone: (954) 921-3098 Fax: (954) 921-3314
E-mail: rstorey@hollywoodfl.org

SEPTEMBER 11, 2007

HOLLYWOOD, FL - District 1 Hollywood City Commissioner Cathy Anderson will be holding a town hall meeting at the Hollywood Beach Culture and Community Center at 1301 South Ocean Drive to provide residents an opportunity to hear about the proposed Master Plan for Hollywood Beach from renowned urban designer Bernard Zyscovich. This proposed plan is a comprehensive look at zoning, land use and redevelopment on Hollywood's world famous beach.
Residents will also have access to valuable information about emergency preparedness from the Florida Department of Emergency Management, expert assistance with questions relating to property tax assessments, and guidance from the Broward County Historical Commission for owners of historical properties.
"I wanted to create a forum for the residents of Hollywood to get vital information on a number of issues I know they have questions about," says Commissioner Anderson. "I hope it will be a beneficial and enjoyable evening."
City Manager Cameron Benson will provide an overview of current issues facing the City.
Gil Martinez, Executive Director of the Hollywood Community Redevelopment Agency-Beach District will update residents on a number of construction projects along the beach.
Members of the City's senior staff will also be available to talk with residents.
For additional information contact the CRA-Beach District at (954) 924-2980 or the Office of the Mayor and Commissioners at (954) 921-3321.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Illegible sign at the City of Hallandale Beach's South Beach park -just the tip of the iceberg of the abysmally poor conditions and maintenance of the public beach by DPW, the place that ought to be the city's Crown Jewel -but isn't!

The location: Hallandale Beach, FL, specifically, the dunes at South Beach, right across from the Chickee Hut closest to The Beach Club.  
Our reality since at least mid-January 2007; photo by South Beach Hoosier

What does the plant sign say behind all these branches of protected plants, which, though you can't tell here, are about 6-10 feet tall?
Is it something in Latin about the lousy upkeep of the public beaches in general by the city's DPW, or something about the fact that the people behind it are also the same geniuses who intentionally place garbage containers on the public beach -the windiest place in the city-that  don't have lids?

Perhaps having the plant identification signs physically located somewhere where they can actually be read by taxpayers and visitors would be a good start.
But that's just me -I'm a big ideas guy.

Rod Stewart was right! Every picture really does tell a story!

Rod Stewart was right!
Every picture really does tell a story!
In this case, though, unlike Stewart's iconic 1971 album, released when I was ten-years old,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Every_Picture_Tells_a_Story , the pictures I have here for your perusal tell a tortured tale of continued neglect of even basic aspects of public safety.

How does the State of Florida allow a situation to develop where an important warning sign with flashing lights near a draw bridge -Draw Bridge Ahead- become obstructed by plant growth for the better part of a year?

The photos below are taken from the point of view of this sign that's been obstructed for months on the south sidewalk, adjoining East-bound Hallandale Beach Blvd./S.R. 858 next to the Intracoastal Draw Bridge.
An obstructed sign that might as well be invisible for all the good it does.

Yet another Florida Dept. of Transportation District 4 success story!!!

I thought after the Minneapolis bridge collapse, Governor Crist specifically ordered FDOT to inspect all FL bridges from top to bottom?
Nope, guess not!
At least not in Hallandale Beach.

Look at the photos -you be the judge.

Looking northeast on east-bound Hallandale Beach Blvd./S.R. 858 towards City of Hollywood and the Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa.
September 2007 photo by South Beach Hoosier.

Looking at the back of the sign from two feet away
September 2007 photo by
South Beach Hoosier

Looking west on HBB from the south-side sidewalk
September 2007 photo by
South Beach Hoosier
Do you see me NOW?

Looking east on HBB/S.R. 858
Sepember 2007 photo by
South Beach Hoosier
Do you see the large patch of green just past that light pole.
The sign is in there.

May 30th, 2007 Midnight
photo by South Beach Hoosier

May 29th, 2007 3 p.m.
photo by South Beach Hoosier

January 14, 2007
photo by
South Beach Hoosier
Email questions and comments to:
Hmmm... what does their website say about bridge safety and maintenance?
See for yourself!
The Florida Department of Transportation bridge program has a solid safety record. The Safety and Preservation of the State Highway System is the top priority of the Florida Department of Transportation. The FDOT staff involved with designing, constructing, inspecting and maintaining our bridge inventory is committed to ensuring these structures remain safe. While we are confident our bridges are safe, the FDOT bridge staff is always vigilant in maintaining safety and seeks to always improve our program.
The State of Florida ranks among the lowest in the nation for percent of bridges that are considered "structurally deficient." In Florida, this does not mean a bridge is unsafe. If a bridge is unsafe, we do not hesitate to close it immediately.
This site will be updated quarterly (Last updated on November 6, 2007)

Bridge Condition Terminology
Bridge Inspection Process
Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Highway Bridge Replacement Rehabilitation Program
Florida Bridge Information (11-29-2007)
Archive Reports
Any questions you can contact the Office of Maintenance at (850) 410-5757 or email Questions Concerning Bridge Inspection Reports Information

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Hallandale Beach's Intracoastal bridge sign is disappearing!

Looking east on Hallandale Beach Blvd./S.R. 858
August 2007 photo by SouthBeachHoosier
Can you see me now? Can you read what it says?

The view from HBB & S.E. 24th Street
August 2007 photo by SouthBeachHoosier

Hmmm... maybe you need to take a step or two back from it, like a Pointillist painting, to see the whole picture.
Maybe even back across the street to the corner of Hallandale Beach Blvd. and S.E. 24th Street.
How's that working?
Can you make it out now?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Sale of Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa

Many more interesting posts are soon going to be making their way off the draft page and into the blog, replete with photos to illuminate the point, but until then, please see some recent posts at parent blog SouthBeachHoosier, regarding
1. some historical perspective on the move of the U-M Hurricanes to the former Joe Robbie Stadium
2. the history of some of the City of Miami hijinks that caused Mr. Robbie to flee the Orange Bowl in the first place, and
3. the prospective sale of the Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa, the Alexandria Lighthouse of south Broward County. http://ce.eng.usf.edu/pharos/wonders/pharos.html

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Hallandale Beach Police Neighbourhood Watch

Small things make a big difference.
So does attention to details.
You'd think that'd be something the HB Police Department would care about.
No, not so much.

After all they're the same folks who gave us the 'scarecrow' police cruisers at the beach, wherein empty police cars -left next to an unguarded parking lot- are supposed to, simultaneously, deter crime and keep the peace at one of the busiest places in HB on weekends, esp. three-day holiday weekends.

So when did we start using British spellings on Hallandale Beach documents?
Did I miss the memo or City Commission vote on this?

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Come for the HB Pay Raise Grab, but Stay for the Fireworks!

Dave, your faithful correspondent, is somewhat embarrassed to admit that he has failed to come through for you readers on something of some importance.

Despite his carefully thought out and choreographed plans to have about 2-3 dozen photos here before tomorrow's city commission meeting, all neatly organized by topic in order to buttress and illuminate points of contention I've been hammering home here for a few months about the City of Hallandale Beach's pathetic and ineffective management style, as well as the laissez-faire work ethic among its bureaucracy, I've come up short due to some unexpected computer and photo problems. C'est la vie!

However, I can promise you with 100% certainty that they will be up for your perusal long before the September city commission meeting, which, if anything, I can promise will be even more eventful than the one scheduled for Wednesday, for reaons that I'll detail as that meeting approaches.
Until then, here's a hint of what's to come, though the specifics are quite well-known to me and many other people in the community, including other elected officials and media members, both print and TV:

At that meeting, Hallandale Beach's city clerk, E. Dent McGough, police chief Thomas Magill, and city attorney David Jove, will all see what happens when they violate both the spirit and letter of Florida's invaluable Sunshine laws.

The city attorney's office in particular has a lot to be worried about over the next few weeks, as Mr. Jove and his staff will see what happens when they ignore aspects of signed contracts for years, which have the very self-evident ripple effect of directly threatening the public safety and welfare of Hallandale Beach's residents and visitors.

Frankly, they seem to have taken it for granted that they could continue their chronic pattern of neglect indefinitely with respect to this particular matter, but they will have strongly underestimated someone with lots of knowledge and resolve: HallandaleBeachBlog.

The power of one person with a blog and plenty of readers who also know well the difference between right and wrong, and who know when something isn't, to use a cliche, kosher.
(What's particularly galling about this to HBB is that the evidence in this particular case is both overwhelming and all around you as you make your way around the City of Hallandale Beach, if you just know where to look -it's the classic tree-for-the-forest syndrome!

Yes, it's a classic case of HB bureaucratic myopia, wherein city employees don't see things that would call into question their fitness for their job, so they pretend not to see what's right in front of their face. Fortunately, HBB still retains his 20/15 vision.)

Yes, you can definitely count on being able to read here my very public indictment of their inexcusable behavior and shameful actions, with pointed and incident-specific copies of my letter to the appropriate state and legal authorities, as well as local and regional news media.
You will for yourself that there REALLY are still towns in the state of Florida that continually fail to live up to their legal and civic responsibilities under the state constitution, seemingly winking at existing laws and daring anyone to call their collective bluff.

Well, HallandaleBeachBlog and parent blog SouthBeachHoosier will be calling their bluff for all to see, and will force them to answer for their crimes of commission -and omission.

Florida Sun-Sentinel
Hallandale official, rebuffed in bid for $55,000 raise, says he'll ask for smaller one By Thomas Monnay
May 8, 2007

HALLANDALE BEACH · Vice Mayor Bill Julian conceded Monday that the $55,000 pay raise the City Commission passed then quickly rescinded last week was "way too much money" but said he plans to bring up the matter again.

"I'm not going to back down, but [the proposed increase] wouldn't be nearly as much," said Julian, 54, who claims he can't make ends meet on his $20,500 annual salary.

Mayor Joy Cooper, who mobilized grass-roots opposition to the "outrageous" raise that was passed without public notice, was unsympathetic.

"I believe we have a reasonable salary for a part-time job," said Cooper, who is working on a proposal to ensure commissioners' raises are capped and approved only during public hearings.

Julian, a retired horse trainer and Hallandale Beach resident for 51 years, came under a barrage of criticism last week after he and Commissioners Dorothy Ross and Fran Schiller voted to more than triple their salaries to $75,000 a year. They voted while having lunch Wednesday during a planning meeting.

Cooper and Commissioner Keith London rejected the raise, which triggered a furor because it wasn't advertised and the public didn't get an opportunity to comment on it.

Some voiced concern that the vote came as state legislators were considering major property tax reductions, which could cut millions from city budgets.

At Julian's request, commissioners repealed the raise Friday during a special meeting on development issues in Hallandale Beach.

"We've all learned from this experience, and our residents should be assured this would never, ever happen again," said City Manager Mike Good.

Ross said of residents' opposition, "If there is something I've learned from this, it's the wakeup call."

Schiller declined to comment.

Commissioners are responsible for adopting city budgets, setting policies and ordinances and responding to residents' complaints, among other duties. They receive an annual cost-of-living increase, Good said.

In Oakland Park, a comparably sized city, the mayor earns $10,400 a year and commissioners $9,000. In Davie, a larger municipality, council members are paid $7,200 a year.

Julian said the demanding nature of the position makes it difficult to work at another job and therefore commissioners should get more pay.

"I know I cannot continue to live on this salary unless I get another job or some kind of raise. ... In a matter of time, my savings will be depleted," said Julian, who was first elected in 2001.

"The mistake I made was that I asked for way too much money," he added.

Julian said he knew the salary when he ran for office, but commissioners have more work to do because a lot has been happening recently in Hallandale Beach, including casinos at the racetracks and new development.

Julian said he would bring the pay issue back for discussion during a budget workshop in the next few months. He said the city, with about $40 million in reserves, wouldn't be affected by tax cuts as much as other cities. Still, he said, any decision would be made only after public input.

Good said Julian would agree that the large, unannounced raise was "poor judgment."

Thomas Monnay can be reached at tmonnay@sun-sentinel.com or 954-385-7924.
Copyright © 2007, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Miami Herald
Commissioners in throes of gambling fever
By FRED GRIMM fgrimm@MiamiHerald.com
May 6, 2007

Experts warned that this could happen.
A quiet seaside town like Hallandale Beach becomes a gambling Mecca, with a casino om the north side of town, another on the south. Suddenly once solid, sober are driven crazy by the scent of easy money. Until even the folks down at City Hall catch the fever.
That's the only plausible explanation for what happened in Hallandale Beach last week. Three city commissioners were obviously consumed by a momentary gambling frenzy. They bet that no one would notice that they had voted themselves the kind of jackpot that would set off bells and sirens at the Mardi Gras's casino.
It is a notorious symptom of gambling fever that the infected no longer grasp the value of a paycheck. Little Vegas Vice Mayor William Julian and Commissioners Dorothy Ross and Francine Schiller voted to up their annual pay from $21,196 to $75,000 as if they were talkin' chump change.

They hedged their bets by putting the issue on their luncheon agenda, the only portion of the commission meeting not recorded. As if they hoped no one would notice. As if they assumed what happened in City Hall, stayed in City Hall.
Lunch was a little like an all-you-can-eat casino buffet. Salad, sandwiches, crab cakes, chicken wings, pasta and, for dessert, $53,804 drizzled in chocolate.
Another symptom of gambling fever renders addicts utterly impervious to the warnings of looming catastrophe from relatives, friends, associates. ''I begged them to reconsider,'' Mayor Joy Cooper told me. They dismissed her as Mayor Kill Joy.
Even modest raises have been bad bets in South Florida. Last year, voters in Parkland, where the mayor and commissioners make $2,400 annually, voted down raises. Same thing in Coral Springs. Voters in Miami-Dade County, where the $6,000-a-year county commissioners haven't had a raise since 1957, said no to pay increases.
Commissioners in Cooper City caught so much hell trying after voting to raise their piddling salaries from $6,000 to $15,000, they decided to use most of the extra money on a landscaping project.
The Hallandale Beach caper was even riskier. There was the usual voter reluctance to pad elected officials' salaries. And they voted to raise their salaries even as the state legislature, which will reconvene in June, threatens to whack away at the city's property tax base. ''We could lose 40 percent of our budget,'' Mayor Cooper said.

But there's no reasoning with the fever. Mayor Cooper and Commissioner Keith London warned them, but those three commissioners thought they were on a roll. They were hot. They blew on the dice, tripled their salary and figured to walk out of city hall like a high roller after a good night at Gulfstream Park.
Oh my, what a bad bet. They voted for fat raises on Wednesday. Word got around town on Thursday. By Friday, their folly was splashed across the Miami Herald.
And all hell broke loose. Constituents went berserk. State legislators, after hearing so many complaints from city politicians that budgets were tight, wanted to know how it was that Hallandale Beach was tossing money around like a drunken tourist at the Hard Rock.
The fever subsided. On Friday the repentant gamblers slunk into a commission workshop meeting and voted to rescind their winnings.
They had learned a hard, humbling lesson: If you're going to gamble in Little Vegas, stick to the slots.
Miami Herald
Hallandale Beach commissioners triple pay
By Aliza Applebaum and Jennifer Lebovich
May 4, 2007

Over a taxpayer-funded lunch of steak and chicken sandwiches on Wednesday, Hallandale Beach commissioners raised their annual pay by nearly $55,000 and catapulted themselves into the salary stratosphere for part-time public servants.
Starting immediately, commissioners will earn $75,000 a year.
In a tight budget year when the Legislature nixed raises for state employees, commissioners in the city of 35,000 voted 3-2 to more than triple their current salary of $21,196.
Discussion of the raise, and the vote, came during the luncheon portion of the city's regular meeting -- the only part that is not recorded. It will be reflected generally in the city's minutes, which had not yet been prepared on Thursday.
''I thought it was outrageous and completely out of line for an elected public official whose work is part time,'' said Mayor Joy Cooper, who asked commissioners to defer voting on the raise until the city's next budget meeting.
The raise means commissioners will make substantially more than the elected leaders in some of Broward's biggest cities.
Commissioners in Pembroke Pines -- a city of nearly 150,000 residents -- make $23,708, and the mayor gets $46,485.
And commissioners in Fort Lauderdale earn $30,000 a year, while the mayor gets $35,000.

Broward County commissioners bring in $91,996 a year to oversee an airport, a seaport, parks and libraries for a county of about 1.8 million.
''I'd like to get that kind of pay raise,'' said Ben Wilcox, the executive director of Common Cause Florida, a government watchdog group. ``If they feel like they're worth that. I guess the final decision will be up to the voters the next time they come up for reelection, if they feel like that's too big a pay raise.''
Cooper pointed out that the city could face significant revenue cuts in the coming year, depending on what form of property tax relief is passed by the state Legislature, which plans a special session in June.
''This is the absolute worst commission decision ever made in this city's history,'' said Cooper, who said she won't accept the increase.
Vice Mayor William Julian proposed the raise during the lunch planning meeting in a conference room in City Hall. The issue was not on any publicized agenda.
''If I was in their shoes I would bend over backward to make sure there was full notice and an opportunity for public discussion,'' said Wilcox.

"After all, this is the public's money and they should have, I would think, the opportunity to weigh in on whether they feel the commissioners deserve that increase.''
Voting in favor were Julian and commissioners Dorothy Ross and Francine Schiller. Cooper and Commissioner Keith London voted against it.
Julian said he had planned to propose an even higher increase. He likened the city to a corporation, and said the pay should be commensurate. He also praised the commission for lowering the tax rate and maintaining a healthy reserve fund.
''Other people in this position in the corporate world would be making much more money than we are,'' Julian said. "It is a steep jump, but it just shows how little we received before. I don't think it's out of line at all.''
At the meeting, London suggested doing a comparison of salaries of elected officials in other cities before settling on a number.
''I wanted more information and the opportunity to do more research,'' he said in an interview. "We didn't have enough information at that time to make a decision.''

Ross -- who has been on the commission since 1995 -- defended the raise Thursday, saying it's a job that calls for full-time hours. ''I'm experienced, I'm qualified, I'm trained and I'm worth it,'' she said.
Schiller declined to comment.
''I think that's an insane amount of money for a commission in a city our size,'' said Julie Hamlin, a Hallandale Beach resident who lost a bid for a commission seat during the last election.
''It's not responsible at a time when we have a property tax and insurance crisis in the state that is bound to impact our city tax structure,'' she said. ``It's totally crazy.''

When former Hallandale Beach Mayor Arthur ''Sonny'' Rosenberg got wind of the raise, he thought he had heard wrong.
''It's tough to comment on it because it's beyond belief,'' said Rosenberg, who served on the commission for more than two decades and said he made about $9,000 in 2000.
"I think they made a mockery out of public service, and I think Hallandale Beach is going to be the laughingstock of South Florida.''

Miami Herald staff writer Roberto Santiago contributed to this report.
Such a proud record of cutting edge legislation!
It's no wonder they (chiefly Bill Julian) think they're corporate executives due a pay raise!
Look below at just some of the things they've done over the past 18 months.

The fact that you can so easily find at least 15-20 shopping carts within a three-block area on Hallandale Beach Blvd. , the main east-west commercial drag, for days on end just hours after this was passed, shows how truly toothless the city government is and how poorly the city

govt. manages their workers, who shirk from responsibility the way a cat shirks from water: visibly!

Miami Herald
By Diana Moskovitz
March 26, 2006
Shopping cart theft crackdown
City officials have decided they need to crack down on shopping cart thefts

Shopping carts may be handy for more than just shopping, but Hallandale Beach commissioners don't want them littering the city anymore.
Commissioners said they are tired of seeing shopping carts strewn across the city, from the street curb to the interiors of towering condominiums.
The carts are used for everything from carrying groceries home to moving equipment around.
Removing carts from a store's property is illegal, according to state law, although the law is randomly enforced.
Commissioners took the first step toward beefing up their anti-shopping cart theft ordinance last week, approving a new version by a 4-0 vote. Commissioner Francine Schiller was absent.
A second vote, scheduled for April 3, would make the changes final.
The code would replace the laws commissioners adopted about six years ago that required businesses to come up with a ``cart retrieval plan.''
But not every business came up with its own proposal, Mayor Joy Cooper said. And some of the plans weren't working. Shopping carts could still be found across the city.
She called the displaced carts a ``blight on the community.''
''We've enabled everybody to ignore the situation and it's back again,'' Cooper said.
The old ordinance was little more than one page long. The new regulations take up nearly eight pages.
The new rules specify what the businesses' cart retrieval plans should include. They must outline how many employees are assigned to retrieve carts, how many hours a week are spent retrieving carts, and how much training employees receive in cart recovery.
Signs would be required on carts warning that taking a cart outside the business area is illegal.
Safeguards such as chains around business entrances or electronic devices that lock the wheels beyond a certain point in the parking lot also are part of the new rules, listed as acceptable theft preventers.
Representatives from nearby Publix, Winn-Dixie and Wal-Mart stores attended the meeting Tuesday to voice their support.
Shopping cart thieves or business owners who don't submit plans could face stiff penalties.
Businesses would have 60 days after the rules become final to submit their theft prevention plans.
Commissioner Joe Gibbons suggested a cart amnesty week where people who have taken shopping carts could turn them in without penalty before the new rules kick in.
But what about the elderly who use shopping carts to get their groceries home?
City Manager Mike Good said the new regulations are not meant to punish anyone's grandmother. ''I would never put a 70-year-old woman in jail for taking a shopping cart,'' Good said.
Here are some more snippets of the area...
Miami Herald
March 12, 2006

Instead of a board of seven, one person will now decide code enforcement issues in Hallandale Beach. City officials say the change will speed up the code enforcement process. Critics say the measure could result in other problems being overlooked in the system. Commissioners last week voted to hire a special magistrate to rule on code violation cases. The Code Enforcement Board will now become the Code Enforcement Advisory Committee and perform duties such as community outreach...
Miami Herald
March 9, 2006

Hallandale Beach Vice Mayor Bill Julian may not be able to vote on one of the city's largest development project in decades. The Village at Gulfstream Park is a plan for adding condos, stores and offices to 66 acres owned by the racetrack's parent company. Julian has been a backup steward for the racetrack, overseeing horses and races to make sure everything is fair... Julian doesn't have a contract but is paid for his work by the day, he said...
So why has the city allowed The Beachside Cafe to put garbage on the beach ever since they moved into their new location, not fix the huge dumpsters that don't have lids or fencing around them? Why do they allow The Beachside Cafe to maintain feral cats by providing water and food on the beach for them rather than call Animal Control?

Miami Herald
February 12, 2006

Hoping to protect the beachfront it has left, the Hallandale Beach wants to replace the vegetation its shoreline lost decades ago to development. City commissioners agreed unanimously Tuesday to pay for a beach revegetation project. The program focuses on planting sea oats and sea grapes to provide an anchor for the sand and keep it from washing away. The project will cost $402,540. The city is paying for it with a combination of city dollars and money from developers...
Miami Herald
February 8, 2006

Hallandale Beach leaders are looking for ways to provide residents with more notice about developments proposed near their homes. Last month, people near a planned 29-story tower complained they never heard about the project until before the City Commission's final vote. On Tuesday, commissioners voted 5-0 to have City Manager Mike Good look at ways to notify more residents. Good will bring the list back to commissioners in about a month. Suggestions included...

#HollywoodFL based photographer/entrepreneur Esther Chuang

#HOLLYWOODFL based photographer and entrepreneur Esther Chuang with Hollywood Mayor-elect Josh Levy
Thumbs up! What a night! #HOLLYWOODFL based photographer and entrepreneur Esther Chuang with a very elated Hollywood Mayor-elect Josh Levy at his Victory Party, held at Leo Anato's Atelier3/AT3 on Harrison Street & S. 19th Avenue, Hollywood. AT3's great environment and the amazing variety of food prepared by chef Kevin Dreifuss, former owner/chef of now-closed ENDS MEAT restaurant, was SUPERB! November 8, 2016 Esther Chuang, Morro Dois Irmãos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2015
Above, perhaps my most-favorite photo ever of Esther, which is really saying something considering the THOUSANDS that I've actually seen of her, from all over the world. But despite the fact that you can't actually see it here, trust me, her amazing smile and inner and external beauty are there. This photo is an even more amazing achievement when you know the backstory of what it took for Esther to get to the top of the mountain, since it's NOT for the faint of heart. Next time you see her, ask her about that! Morro Dois Irmãos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on her birthday, July 10, 2015. That's the Christ The Redeemer statue way out in the horizon on the top of another mountain, to the left of her head. To the right is the world famous beach of Ipanema and to the left is the equally famous beach of Copacabana. �� In case you forgot what the Christ the Redeemer statue looks like, up close, here's yet another Brazilian beauty to connect-the-dots for you: Gisele Bündchen, aka @Gisele.

Abençoado por Deus e bonito por natureza!✨ ������

A post shared by Gisele Bündchen (@gisele) on

View of Rio De Janeiro from my room.

A post shared by Bebe Rexha (@beberexha) on