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, 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

#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