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. Pictured in upper-left is Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower on State Road A1A; September 2008 photo by me, South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Illusion of safety in HB is not the same thing as real safety!

My comments are below the story.
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www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/broward/sfl-flbcamera0110sbjan10,0,4626859.story

South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Security cameras may be required at late-night businesses in Hallandale
By Thomas Monnay
January 10, 2008

HALLANDALE BEACH
Late-night establishments soon may be required to have surveillance cameras both inside and outside to help deter and solve crimes.

The proposal, discussed by city commissioners on Wednesday, would affect 24-hour businesses and those with permits to operate after 2 a.m. It is scheduled for a formal public hearing on Jan. 22.

Vice Mayor Bill Julian said cameras could have helped police determine who shot and killed Broward Sheriff's Office Sgt. Chris Reyka in August in the parking lot of a 24-hour Walgreens in Pompano Beach.

"If there were cameras outside the Walgreens, wouldn't they catch the picture of the person who killed the deputy?" Julian said.

"We have the technology. We should use it to give an edge to police."

Mayor Joy Cooper called security cameras "a strong tool" against crime. Commissioners Dorothy Ross and Fran Schiller also support the proposal.

But Commissioner Keith London was opposed, saying businesses could hire security guards and the city has police to protect residents. "I am almost never for cameras," he said.

"If I have to surrender my freedom for safety, then I don't believe in being safe."

Julian said most of the city's gas stations, convenience stores and the city's two racetracks already have cameras. City Manager Mike Good said police would work with business owners to determine whether they need cameras. He said those with financial hardship would be allowed to file an appeal, and the city might help them financially.

"I happen to support this very much," Good said.

The proposal coincides with the city's plan for a $374,371 digital camera system to monitor its municipal complex, fire station, water plant, beach parking garage and park and recreation facilities.

Thomas Monnay can be reached at tmonnay@sun-sentinel.com or 954-385-7924.
Copyright © 2008, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
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To view reader comments on this story, see
http://www.topix.net/forum/source/south-florida-sun-sentinel/T0OSHNHPHVBFENVA5

Generally speaking, I wouldn't comment here on my blog about what someone else has written on one of these Sun-Sentinel reader comment forums, or any media forum for that matter.
The reason is a simple one.

My experience in looking at reader's comments on newspaper sites is that, more often than not, they're either incredibly inspid, off-topic or mean-spirited snarky just for the sake of being mean-spirited and snarky. (As opposed to informative yet humorously snarky!)
In short, seldom enlightening.

While perhaps amusing when recounting the exact context in a car with your friends, otherwise just like a case of hitting low-hanging fruit with an ICBM, otherwise, and therefore just a waste of time.

More the sort of thing some mean-spirited office drone does on his computer while on a lunch-break, killing time in between bites of a sandwich, so very pleased with himself and the pseudonym he's chosen.

But I did want to specifically bring to your attention comment #12, written by someone who seems to be a William Julian supporter, to help illustrate the small minds a person of his particular qualifications needs to get re-elected in a city the size of a postage stamp.

A city which many informed people think would be much better off having someone else in that seat, someone who doesn't suffer such comic bouts of grandeur, witness last year's illegal pay raise grab in the dark that he led, wherein he famously compared himself to a corporate executive.
Or, if you prefer, his continued bad judgment by forcing himself into murky ethical situations that reasonably bright high school-age kids with common sense could've resolved.

Not that Julian's the only one on the city commission who's like a dead battery, once useful but now merely ballast.

One of the truest of all cliches in sports is "addition by subtraction."
Used in this context, Hallandale Beach Blog believes the people of Hallandale Beach, and the city's future as a whole, would greatly benefit from William Julian's exit from the city

commission.

Let him get that executive job he feels is currently being denied him.

Here's the comment exactly as it appears on the Sun-Sentinel's website, as of today at 1p.m.:
Golden Isles Resident AOL
Thursday Jan 10
Thank you Commissioner Bill Julian for taking the lead in protecting you city's residents. What does Commissioner London fear? Maybe something the voters should know about? The truth will come out. We are watching you K.L.

Frankly, it's exactly the kind of feeble and shrill spewing of venom that you'd expect from a
Julian supporter, given the ones I've spoken to over the years.

While sometimes semi-pleasant, they fundamentally mistake his length of time in town as effectiveness.
One clearly has nothing to do with the other.

As it happens, that low opinion is very much what TV and print reporters who've covered the city have told me they think of when they think of Julian, to the extent that they think of him at all -which is rarely.

The Sun-Sentinel reader comment then is a snapshot in time of the kind of person who's currently supportive of a William Julian, yet to my mind, the sort of people who clearly are part of the problem, not part of the solution.
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My thoughts on the story itself:

I don't know how I can make this any clearer -the illusion of safety is not the same thing as actual safety.

Once again, almost too predictably for words, the powers-that-be in the City of Hallandale Beach have reached for the safety blanket of illusion, rather than opening their eyes and taking a serious look at the manifest safety problems in the city.
And doing something serious about it.

THAT is something which has greatly troubled me since I returned to the area from the
Washington, D.C. area, and is one of the principal reasons that I started this particular blog in the first place.
It's a large part of what keeps me motivated to continue doing it.

The city's longstanding and almost cowardly refusal to confront what's directly in front of it, like a person afraid of their own image in a mirror, because it doesn't match the illusion they've created in their mind, is the worst possible kind of governance, given the changing dynamics and demographics of the city now.

A great example of this is the scarecrow police squad car left at the beach near the perfectly dreadful Beachside Cafe, a William Julian hangout.

No police are EVER actually over there, which the city-contracted lifeguards are the first to point out to you, if you merely ask them.
Or the frequent bach goers that I've come to recognize from my hundreds of trips over there on weekends, to read the papers, listen to ballgames and write down some thoughts.

It's worse than an ostrich with its head in the sand -it's an ostrich which has done that same move by rote so often that it can't physically get its head out of the sand.

That's the City of Hallandale Beach today.

Public safety is a matter which should rightly concern anyone living in the city -or near it, like Hollywood or Aventura- who has two eyes that work, and who can clearly see what the city looks like for themself.

Anyone who knows me or who has made any kind of serious effort to read more than a handful of my posts here, knows exactly what I consider to be the leading bête noires in any public safety discussion of the City of Hallandale Beach.

Ones which are both longstanding and entirely self-evident on any night, especially on U.S.-1, A1A or Hallandale Beach Blvd., yet which are paradoxically among the easiest to actually resolve.

These include but are not limited to:
1.) The very poorly maintained condition of streetlights and illuminated street signs.
This includes, among others, those right next to HB's own City Hall and Police Dept. HQ, which have been out for well over two years!

For over two years, Mayor Joy Cooper, the four members of the HB City Commission and City Manager Mike Good -and his staff- have driven right past those signs every time they leave City Hall chambers following an evening meeting.

But still they never see what's right in front of them, less than a bloc away from their own office.

2.) the universally piss-poor condition of public parking lots along Hallandale Beach Blvd. in the city NOT owned by R.K.

To cite but the most obvious examples from a long list:

a.) the front sidewalk entrance lights and parking lot lights of the Premier Building, which has a gym that lots of people attend at night.

(It's also a building where everyone loves to park in the No Parking Fire Lane in front and the 15 Minute Parking Zones set aside for deliveries, too.)

These are the same geniuses who after Hurricane Wilma knocked out and broke their plastic identification sign in front of their property, placed the remaining parts of it and all the many downed palm fronds, on the sidewalk in front of an adjoining bus shelter, rather than disposing of them properly.

Somehow, yet again, HB's Code Compliance office was blind to this though it could hardly have been more obvious, since they were there for months.

(This is not unlike the way the city's Code Compliance turned a blind eye last year to the William Julian campaign sign and wooden support stand that stayed up for so long on north-bound U.S.-1, alongside the east-side sidewalk near the bus shelter on S.E. 9th Street.

If I can find it, I have a photo of that sign and support a number of weeks after the election, which I'll post here in the future for illumination.
Perhaps I should see if it's still there!)

Later, someone from the building placed the large jagged plastic pieces behind sidewalk shrubs, thinking that, somehow, they'd magically take care of themself.
They didn't!

Just how bad is the street lighting situation along that street, the busiest in the city?

Well, consider that a few months ago, having made some mental notes about it after months of noticing it on my walks to and from the beach, I took some photos of the area near the Hallandale Beach Chamber of Commerce.

As I write this, the two street lights closest to it have been out for well over 6-8 months, if not longer.

If not for the bank across the street having parking lot lights, it'd be a black hole.

Even the small auxiliary building lights on the CoC bldg., next to their front door, as well as some of the adjoining offices, were out for months at a time.

*I'll leave 'till another time the larger discussion I've had for months in my head -and with lots of concerned Hallandale Beach citizens- on the perfectly preposterous reality that there are currently no directional signs of any kind on U.S.-1, A1A or even on their 0wn street, Hallandale Beach Blvd., directing visitors/residents to the Chamber of Commerce, as would be common sense and practice in even the smallest of hick towns, much less, in a smart and tourist-oriented town like Charlottesville, VA.

That's a wonderful city I've been to numerous times, because of all the great historical sites there, as well as UVA, and the annual Virginia Film Festival.

Regardless of how you get there, it's virtually impossible to miss the plethora of signs directing you to their Chamber of Commerce/Tourist Office, where people are super-friendly, engaging and accommodating, and have updated information to dispense.

Encore performance?
It's possible that for the first time since early 2004, when I took a microphone in hand at the HB City Hall chambers and spent about 5-10 minutes absolutely ripping FDOT, their contractors, the mayor, the city manager, the city commission and the city as a whole, for utterly failing to give HB's citizens anything like what they were entitled to -and had already paid for- regarding the U.S.-1 road construction project, that I'll be taking a microphone in hand at meeting tonight to point out the obvious about the cameras.

It wouldn't be necessary, though, if the HB city employees we're already paying were doing their job better, which includes the HB Police Department and their camera-loving police chief.

The evidence that they're doing a poor job is all around the city, especially alongside the main roads and at over the public beach.

At that 2004 meeting, I criticized everyone on the dais and in the front rows of the chamber for the self-congratulatory nature of the public meeting, rather than seriously addressing the numerous self-evident shortcomings and failures of the project, many of which could be seen just steps away from city hall, as I said at the time.

Even on the night of that public meeting, there were still lots of streets in the city with large volumes of gravel and rocks on streets that were supposedly finished, including right in front of city hall itself, on the street between it and the U.S. Post Office, S.E. 5th Street.

A street that was missing a STOP sign as it hits U.S.-1!!!

And let's not forget all the missing bicycle lane signs and the painted "Bike Lane" in the lanes themself, and the...

Next time you're at the Hallandale Beach City Hall complex at night, look up at the parking lot light closest to the security camera, pointing northeast towards U.S.-1.

The one that's been out for weeks!!!

The security camera that doesn't have a posted sign nearby, as required by law?

Yes, that one, just like the signage situation at the Publix on HBB, which I've spoken to their manager about many times.

(We'll soon see how Publix HQ in Lakeland feels about the apathy in following the law.)

Those camera were put in right before their liquor store opened for obvious reasons.
Less obvious is why RK and Publix can't or won''t comply with the law
Signs must be posted.
It's not optional.

How long have the cameras at HB City Hall been up without the required posted warning signs?

Why don't you ask the city manager, Mike Good, next time you see him, since he's in favor of expanding the concept.

Should someone who can't manage their own affairs really being telling others what to do?

I think not.

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