photo by South Beach Hoosier
June 1st, 2007, the first day of the 2007 Atlantic hurricane season, and the City of Hallandale Beach is already behind the proverbial eight-ball, as the above photo ominously foreshadows.
Yes, it's already later than you think.
(See my April 3rd post on HB's joke of a city dumping policy, compete with photos, where junk was dumped just two blocks from HB's own City Hall, directly across the street from Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino, and phone calls to the appropriate individual produced no tangible results. Ever.
So there it stayed there -for months.)
Things that are taken for granted in other parts of the country -much less, the absence of a resolutely hostile attitude from city employees- fester here for months and even years in some cases, with nary a care expressed by either the elected/appointed officials or HB city employees.
It's a simple point, one that can hardly be expressed better than this:
If, as a city, you consistently prove that you can't handle the simplest tasks, the sort of problems that require easy, straightforward solutions, how can I possibly trust you to handle difficult problems that require real leadership and difficult choices to be made that have very tangible consequences to your own residents, as well as those of Aventura and Hollywood, who must, necessarily, travel over roads in HB?
What do you expect from people who run a city where the most well-known thing in the entire city, The Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino, the city's largest employer, is NOT pictured on the city's website photo montage?
Hard to believe, but true!
Let me show you two photos that really speak volumes, photos I had planned on using in other contexts on the blog, but which now require their use here.
You'd be hard-pressed to find a municipality in Florida, no matter how small or parochial, where you could routinely park your car in what is clearly understood to be a FIRE ZONE.
It's just something that's not done.
Yet in the City of Hallandale Beach, city employees have routinely parked in front of City Hall's east and south entrances for hours at a time, as I've witnessed for three years.
I've recently seen city cars parked there for up to three hours at a time, and actually been there to witness HB EMS personnel being forced to wait for city or resident's cars to move their vehicles from the entrances to City Hall, so they could pull their ambulance or truck up to the sidewalk and attend someone inside City Hall, as happened in April, something that I've mentioned in phone conversations with both Chief Daniel Sullivan and Chief Johnson.
Believe me, from talking about it with them, the EMS first responders are LONG past being pissed-off about it, yet HB Fire Chief Daniel Sullivan, who's been a member of the force for 24 years and Chief for 8 years, along with that all-star braintrust of City Manager Mike Good, City attorney David Jove and Mayor Joy Cooper, apparently see no need to have the City of HB come into the 21st Century and conform to the same societal norms, rules and regulations that any responsibly run city or town requires of its commercial property owners and merchants, and homeowners with respect to fire hydrants.
You know, commercial property owners such as the RK Diplomat Center on Hallandale Beach Boulevard, where there are plenty of such Fire Zone signs.
How can the city be so clueless?
How can they be so blind to something so obvious in FRONT of their own City Hall?
Where's the simple sign that reads something along the lines of "FIRE Zone, No Parking/Tow Zone, By Order of HB Fire Chief"?
(Just as a point of information, this past Wednesday, on my way over to the library, I saw yet another scofflaw, an HB city car parked in front of the eastern entrance to city hall, #3340 645, FL license plate 13829, parked there from 3 p.m. 'till at least past 4:45 p.m. That's just par for the course.)
And the City of Hallandale Beach City Hall Crew wonders why it's considered a laughingstock by South Florida residents and local media?
Photo of eastern front of City of Hallandale Beach Municipal Complex, May 29th, 2007; photo by South Beach Hoosier
Photo looking east on State Road 858/Hallandale Beach Boulevard, May 29th, 2007; photo by South Beach Hoosier.
Quick: What does the sign say?
The gateway to the beach is a perfect example of the City of Hallandale Beach's neglect and their city employees' and contractors' chronic inability to see the forrest for the trees. (Or the sign for the bush.)
This bush has been growing steadily larger since last summer, yet, somehow, nobody in city government seems to notice that the drawbridge warning sign with flashing yellow lights is disappearing because of a lack of common sense pruning and maintenance.
Not even members of the HB City Commission who pass it just about everyday, like Francine Schiller?
Yes, exactly like someone who lives on A1A.
Hmmm... I'll bet that's how HB senior citizens get stuck walking across the bridge when it goes up, don't you think?
I realize that it's a state bridge, but am I supposed to believe that nobody who works at City hall has never seen it? Really?
I first met Alex Baird, the City of Hallandale Beach's EMS Division Chief last week at the Hallandale Beach branch of the Broward County library, realizing once I showed up that I'd incorrectly written down the meeting info, having placed it for later in the week. C'est la vie!
Part of Mr. Baird's duties include, apparently, being the face of hurricane preparedness in the city, and towards that end, he helped conducted the meeting in the the much larger HB Cultural Community Center from 6:30-9:30 p.m.
(You might recall that the CCC is the place where last December, I saw State Senator Steve Geller, the Florida House Minority Leader,
wearing his other hat, that of lobbyist, where he was at a public meeting attended by me and a handful of others -plus the Miami Herald's Jennifer Lebovich, who was sitting by herself at the table next to me- to hear what his client, Millennium, was planning to do with their property at 2500 HBB.
No shocker that -expand upward and outward.
See #12 on http://www.hallandalebeach.org/DocumentView.asp?DID=203
2500 HBB is the VERY SAME building where the very popular and well-regarded Padrino's restaurant is located, where a horrific murder took place last year that was solved not by HB Police ingenuity or detection, but rather because the guilty suspect was dumb enough to quickly use his victim's credit cards at a Wal-Mart, and was photographed by the store's security cameras -along with his girlfriend- after being alerted by a store clerk who sensed that something wasn't quite right with the transaction.
I was very tempted to ask about the poor security there, the self-evident and longstanding parking lot lighting problems.
Oh, that the first five lights you encounter upon pulling into the parking lot there are either broken or obscured by tree branches, including the two lights closest to the sidewalk on HBB, which have been broken for months and months and now into years.
Yes, years as in plural.
In the end, I bit my tongue. Bit over the next few days, I'll have photos to buttress my point.
safety is NOT a concern of Millennium.)
I must admit that though I only spoke to Mr. Baird for a few minutes, I was impressed, since besides the fact that he has a very serious job, I got a real sense that he was forthright and honest, and thus, not one of the armies of City of HB drones who seem to do as little as possible for their paycheck, especially when responding to citizen complaints.
It's a sign of the times that since it's the City of Hallandale Beach you're dealing with, the following is what greets you when you go to the City of Hallandale Beach's NEW website, the supposed new-and-improved one that was years in the making -to replace the one where, to cite but one embarrassing example from many, the police chief, Thomas Magill -who was so busy snapping photos at last night's meeting- didn't have an email address.
You had to know the name of his secretay in order to send him an email.
When you check the link, you find out that Baird's bio isn't there, which would've proved helpful in getting some sense of his professional background, prior to the actual meeting:
"You are here: Home > Staff Directory
Alex Baird Fire & Rescue Title: EMS Chief Phone: 954-457-1481
Return to Staff Directory
No biography exists for this person."
I'll hope to have more info here on the blog regarding Thursday's meeting over the next few days. In the meantime, add this to your list: