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.

Monday, February 25, 2008

"Show me the money!!!" Geller's 527 fund got $30k from Mardi Gras in Nov.

South Beach Hoosier thanks the alert Central Florida reader who thoughtfully wrote in to say that despite the fact that many campaign finance websites are saying that there have been no contributions or expenditures by State Senator Steve Geller's 527 fund, Floridians for a Stronger Tomorrow, Aaron Deslatte of the Orlando Sentinel's Central Florida Political Pulse reported a much different story in November, complete with a Hallandale Beach connection.

I checked the story out and the reader from the 407 was 100% correct.

To the best of my knowledge, this particular bit of news about the Mardi Gras contribution has still yet to be reported by either the Miami Herald or the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, or, mentioned on their respective political blogs.

You really can't be too surprised by that, either, since both papers have never delved into Geller's complicity in the primary date change debacle, largely ceding that territory to the Orlando Sentinel, Tampa Tribune and St. Pete Times.

If there was a permanent public ombudsman at the Herald, as there should've been years ago, maybe the reason why that chronic lack of curiosity continues to exist might get fully explored.

Read Aaron Deslatte's whole story from November at http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/news_politics/2007/11/casino-pays-out.html
Casino pays out for Geller posted by Aaron Deslatte on Nov 6, 2007 4:13:24 PM

"Last month, Senate Minority Leader Steve Geller couldn’t help taking some shots at the casinos and gaming interests in South Florida giving far more money to Republicans than Democrats..."

Steve Geller cries 'revisionism" re FL Dem primary date change

I posted this on parent South Beach Hoosier blog Saturday.
So, based on today's March on Politics blog posting, by William March of the Tampa Tribune, comes word that after-the-fact, State Senator Steve Geller is now arguing publicly that he was not really serious about what he voted on months ago when he voted for the January 29th primary date...

So does that mean that Steve Geller, a man who truly considers himself a master tactician and political operator, was hoodwinked months ago?
Well, it really can't be both can it?
That he wasn't serious but he also wasn't hoodwinked?
How do you prove a double-negative?

It reminds South Beach Hoosier of something a longtime favorite of his used to say, but with laughter.
Richard Lewis used to regularly say at some point in his absolutely hilarious appearances in the mid-'80's on Chicago's Steve & Garry Show (Steve Dahl and Garry Meier), on WLUP-FM, about his many bad dating experiences: "Two wrongs don't make a right."

(See http://www.dahl.com/ for latest info on broadcaster Steve Dahl.
Steve was responsible for some of the very best radio programming SBH has ever heard, and on some afternoons, especially in the summertime, they seemed to be playing in the background of every other store in downtown Evanston, when S&G were at their most popular and nobody wanted to miss their comments. They were just amazing!)

If Geller is telling the truth -now- and South Beach Hoosier doesn't think that he is, why did so many people who were actually in the Capitol and who have no reason to lie about it, contemporaneously characterize his demeanor the way they did, suggesting that he was wearing his trademark smirk in the moments before his vote?

As usual, with almost everything Geller touches, his answer rings both hollow and self-serving.

Does he really think that nobody is paying attention when he does these things?

Maybe he thinks he's like so many members of the Hallandale Beach City Commission, to name but one locally elected panel of whom I've personally observed this particular behavior in, who so often appear unsure of the material that's in front of them and ask meandering or self-serving questions, but then, afterwards, want the public who observed their nonsensical actions and unusual behavior to disregard it.
Like they were all just actors playing a role.

Like Geller is really just a Romulan spy in a cloaked ship, which allows him to act upon his whims and flights of fancy un-noticed by the rest of us -until he has to de-cloak before firing a weapon.

My own experience in local, state and national politics is that regardless of the locale, in a circular firing squad, the person who loaded the gun is just as responsible as the person who fired it.

Just dust it for fingerprints!

A good C.S.I. team will find Geller's are all over the gun. _______________________________________
Tampa Tribune
March on Politics
Geller Tries To Set Record Straight On Florida Primary, Says Dems May Suffer In November
Posted Feb 22, 2008 by William March

In case you missed it last July, Herald reporter Gary Fineout had some info about Geller's new political group, a new committee of continuous existence (CCE) called "Floridians for a Stronger Tomorrow."
Now that's comedy!!!

Previous South Beach Hoosier posts on Steve Geller, most recent first:


Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Steve Geller's antics; cowardly Miami Herald editorial board

Monday February 4, 2008
3:45 pm

Just wanted to call your attention to some interesting news I discovered via the Orlando Sentinel a few minutes ago, via email.

Don't think I ever mentioned it here before, but I subscribe to the Orlando Sentinel's excellent political blog, Central Florida Political Pulse, which seems, thus far, to have the great advantage of being able to call 'em like they see 'em with much more freedom than is generally common with other political blogs affiliated with newspapers.
Say, unlike the Miami Herald's political blog, Naked Politics, to name but one.

That low-hanging target, which for the better part of its existence didn't have even a single link to other Herald blogs on their site, still doesn't link to any other newspaper political blog, even ones within the state. Now that's using technology!
(Sounds like a Kim Marcille directive to me.)

The Pulse had an item today that FSU's President, T. K. Wetherell, has suddenly realized the true nature of his job situation, after what only seems like Fourscore and seven ethical lapses and arrests among FSU athletes.
That is, that he was, in fact, within the FSU hierarchy, the wagging tail, not the lead dog.
Well, at least now he knows the score!

He's been chasing the tail all this time, getting damn frustrated.
Now, he's chagrined to discover that he's just like the dog on that hysterical Comedy Central show of a few years ago, TV Funhouse. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TV_Funhouse

I've always loved the term the NCAA uses in documents to describe situations less egregious than this one at FSU, albeit, usually at non-winning schools that can't sell merchandise and get big TV ratings all around the country like the Seminoles: lack of institutional control.
See SMU and death penalty, circa early 1980's.

Unfortunately for my tastes, the Miami Herald continues to walk a far-too-careful tip-toe around the very curious actions and puzzling behavior of Steve Geller, where there's never any telling from moment to moment which of his many 'hats for hire' he's wearing, a topic that both of my blogs will be addressing in the future.

One minute, Geller is the esteemed State Senator and top Senate Democrat of the fourth largest state in the country, a wheeler-dealer in a tiny govt. town who's in love with the sound of his own voice, and who proudly proclaimed his role at the time, complete with trademark smirk and sarcasm, in moving up the date of the presidential primary.

An hour later, Geller is the corporate lawyer/bully, trying to not only prevent Hallandale Beach residents living near the proposal -his constituents- at a City Commission meeting from opposing his client's bad plans to build an over sized bldg. near their homes, but even worse, actively trying to prevent them from even being able to speak during the public comments portion of the commission meeting.

(Months ago when it happened, I actually was so appalled by Geller's antics that I called a Herald reporter I respect on my cellphone, and then gave her a play-by-play of what happened,
as it happened.
That was really my only card to play because the Herald didn't think to assign someone to a public meeting that produced the largest building in Broward on U.S.-1 south of downtown Fort Lauderdale, the DOMUS project across from Gulfstream Park.)

Later, Geller wears the lobbyist hat he probably loves most, where he gets paid to alternately persuade/schmooze/ply city officials -also his constituents- to grant favors to or accept the plans of his myriad corporate clients who pay him handsomely.
Clients that doubtless make campaign contribution$, wouldn't you guess?
Yes, it's really quite a circle of love, isn't it?

Fortunately, the Sentinel and their blog runs accurate-but-negative things about the ethically-challenged State Senator Geller, who'll continue to mis-represent me and my neighbors up in Tallahassee for a few more months until he's term-limited out of his cozy confine$ in the lap of power.
(Geller has a big fundraiser in Tallahassee this week amongst his pals and clients for an election two years from now, when he'll try to take away Suzanne Gunzburger's seat on the Broward County Commission.
He's not even letting the fact that his Cooper City house isn't legally in the district prevent him from raising money.
He's Steve Geller -he does what he likes.)

The Sentinel blog carried the amusing item below about Wetherell, the former pol and FL House Speaker put in his cushy job by his pals to run a college whose reputation around the country, such as it is, rests almost entirely on its gridiron prowess, not its contributions to anything of real note or consequence, which may be a good thing in the end.

Well, okay, save for some NOAA hurricane/weather forecasters and some very cute FSU coeds, famous for smiling while wearing skimpy outfits at football games.
See http://good-times.webshots.com/photo/2680844980098792027WIsYXc and http://www.cybersportsblog.com/2005_archives/dec_daily_news/956-FSU-hotties.html

And, quite naturally, trying desperately to hang onto that 15 Minutes, witness Jenn Sterger, whose fame first came at the FSU at U-M game a few years ago. http://www.jennsterger.com/ Jenn at Wrigley Field: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/writers/jenn_sterger/07/26/mailbag/index.html

One last thing, and it's troubling to me in so many ways that I can't even begin to get into here, but here's the gist of it, with more posts about the subject in the near future, when I post some reviews about aspects of the Herald that I've been sitting on for months.

In reading the article in the Herald last Saturday about the passing of former Herald editorial page editor Jim Hampton, Former Miami Herald editorial page editor dies
http://www.miamiherald.com/548/story/403335.html , I came across a rather curious comment from a Herald insider, one which caused me to roll my eyes, since I know only too well how drastically the newspaper needs to be turned around to make it relevant and better in a changing environment.

After I read this comment, I wondered how many other people in South Florida who care about public policy the way I do had a similar reaction:

Hampton's imprint is still apparent on the Editorial Board he helped shape. ''Who we are and how we function is Jim's handiwork,'' [current Herald editorial page editor] Oglesby said.

By that, does Oglesby mean the way the powers-that-be at the Herald played chicken recently with their readers, when their Editorial Board didn't make an endorsement in either party for the Florida presidential primary?

That abdication of basic civic responsibility caused even-tempered Channel 10/WPLG political editor Michael Putney so much indignation, that he felt compelled to mention it to his politically savvy audience last Sunday morning, on his popular TV show, This Week in South Florida.
You know, just in case his viewers hadn't noticed its absence in their Sunday Herald while they were munching on their breakfast.

Given the current state of the Herald, I don't know if Mr. Oglesby's comments were something I'd be bragging about if I were related to Mr. Hampton.
But maybe that's just me.

FYI: Last Thursday, I spent the hour in between the two episodes of SouthBeachHoosier TV favorite Chuck on NBC, reading the wit and wisdom of "DUMP STEVE GELLER," an opinionated person in D.C. -so they say- on various forums on a variety of topics, including tax reform, education and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel's bias.

I don't know anything about who this person might be, but it's interesting that someone who lives in D.C., if that's true, would have such contempt and antipathy towards him.
Mine comes much more natural -geographical proximity.

For more information on the antics of Steve Geller, please see this dead-on Sept. 7th story from five months ago.
Line In Sand Has Democrats Hopping by William March of the Tampa Tribune

Well, what do you know, National Dems are as unimpressed by the blustery comments of Geller as his constituents, and the media who collectively hope he'll get his comeuppance somehow.

"State Senate Democratic leader Steve Geller of Hallandale Beach, responding to the candidates' threat to boycott the Florida primary campaign over the Jan. 29 date, angrily urged Floridians to withdraw their endorsements for the candidates - and maybe their money.
"If the DNC chairman and the Democratic candidates choose to ignore our voters, then we can choose to ignore their campaigns," Geller said. "And where we go, so goes our wallets."

Of course, months earlier, Geller's penchant for bombast and delusions of importance cost the state of Florida, as this insightful May 17th post by Jason Garcia on the Pulse blog makes all too clear, http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/news_politics/2007/05/geller_to_dean_.html

The August 28th response to the post, which references Adam Smith of the St. Pete Times' comments, is one that the Herald and the rest of South Florida would've been smart to share with local residents, but never did.
Why do you suppose that is?

Wetherell criticizes FSU athletic department posted by Aaron Deslatte on Feb 4, 2008
The whole story of Wetherell's self-discovery

FSU president knocks Seminoles athletic department
Didn't trust athletic department to conduct cheating probe
Andrew Carter, Sentinel Staff Writer

Sunday, February 3, 2008

South Florida suffers in the comparison -AGAIN!; DC's Shaw neighborhood is getting cleaned-up!

This is a January 31st post I made on parent blog, South Beach Hoosier, which has obvious lessons for Hallandale Beach.

Was spending some time on the computer yesterday double-checking some information about a local matter back up in DC, and happened to come across some really amazing news that took place in the long-beleaguered Shaw neighborhood of Washington, something that should've taken place years ago if the city was run more for the benefit of its citizens and residents instead of the commercial interests.
The amazing photos tell the tale better than I ever could.

Whether they represent gang territory, a drug market, the
site of other criminal activity or some combination of all those things, DDOT and MPD crews were out this morning removing all of the shoes from one of the trees on the south side of the 400 block of Q Street NW. This particular problem has been ignored for years and residents have stated that the sight of these shoes caught up tree branches, or on cobra-style street lights, contributed to a threatening environment — much like gang tags.

I found this most happy nugget on the post of January 29th on the forum and blog of DC Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2CO2's Commissioner Kevin Chapple.

See also the cogent blog comments and photos at both the dcist and jimbo.info
http://dcist.com/2008/01/29/ddot_removes_sh.php and http://www.jimbo.info/weblog/2008/01/the-deshoeing-of-the-sycamore.html

I can only imagine what people coming home from work all around the greater Washington area must've thought when they first turned on their TV.
Rather than being confronted with the latest in a series of never ending bad news, whether drive-by shooting of innocent kids, or the latest account of ethics/criminal charges involving some local pol, actually heard some positive and uplifting news for a change: nothing.
They were too dumbfounded for words!

I'm sure that the whole electronic armada of Washington's local TV news satellite trucks were on hand to record the event for posterity, and get the somewhat dazed comments of happy neighbors, who, in all likelihood, probably thought the shoes might never come down before the whole tree did.

South Florida public policy types like myself can only look from afar and sigh wistfully when confronted with this.

Not only the actions taken but also the impressive way that Mr. Chapple has empowered his community with useful information to communicate to the general public and neighborhood activists -and the outside world- the likes of which I've never seen or heard about in this part of the world.

Knowing how things are really done down here, we can only bow our heads in shame when comparing Commissioner Chapple's efforts to the rather shocking bare-bones or even schlock government website portals that so many local elected officials down here hide behind.

Let me remind you of but one example I've already written about before in this space.

This past summer, during the height of the drought, when I tried to alert the City of Aventura to a rapidly spreading water leak on a sidewalk alongside U.S.-1, after nobody at Aventura City Hall would take my phone call shortly before 5:00 p.m., I sent an email with all the particulars to the mayor, city manager and assorted council members, hoping that someone would see it.
Moments later, my email to them was returned to me, marked as possible spam by Aventura's own website!
What a slap in the face!

After this confounding affair, I called the Aventura Police Dept., and reported the water situation, but only after asking the officer I spoke with why it was that the Police Dept. were the only folks in the so-called "City of Excellence" actually answering their telephone during normal city business hours.

And let's not forget life in the the postage stamp-sized duchy where I live, the City of Hallandale Beach.

Nearly a year after I first alerted City Hall officials to some rather obvious longstanding problems on A1A, U.S.-1 and Hallandale Beach Boulevard, as well as at the public beach, and later placed supporting evidence by way of photographs of just some of the offending problems on my blog, www.HallandaleBeachBlog.blogspot.com , the city STILL hasn't done a single thing to rectify these solved problems!
In fact, recent walking tours of the offending areas show it's actually worse!

There is a car fender/bumper and other small auto parts, as well as broken glass, from some sort of car accident that took place almost three months ago, on the south sidewalk of the 1100 block of East Hallandale Beach Blvd.
There's been yellow tape around it all this time, but it never gets cleaned up!!!!!!!

I'll have photos of that perfect example of the city's incompetency up on my Hallandale Beach Blog in a few days, including some from a point of view that show how ridiculously close it is to the Hallandale Beach Chamber of Commerce.
It's not hiding, it's in plain sight: on one of the three main roads of the city.

In November, I had what I thought at the time was an earnest one-hour talk at City Hall with two people from City Manager Mike Good's office about the myriad problems I'd publicly
identified in this blog, and discussed over and over with my family, friends and fellow citizens.

Armed with enough facts & figures and logic & reason to leave them somewhat dazed at the amount of specific information I could give them without notes, I started telling my story.

After about thirty minutes of recounting one embarrassing anecdote after another of the city's cluelessness -like placing giant water pipes in the Fire Lane of an apt. complex full of senior citizens, without anything around it!- I got my second wind.

After a while, the two city employees seemed to get a bit shell-shocked at the sheer amount of detailed information I could identify that was self-evident to anyone with eyesight.

Towards the end, they seemed somewhat pained at how far short the city seems to be in delivering for its citizens and residents, if not outright embarrassed.
But maybe I'm projecting.

I recounted many anecdotes, only a fraction of which I've ever mentioned in my HBB blog.

The ones I did mention all had one thing in in common: how poorly the City of Hallandale Beach continues to be managed, administered and coordinated, regarding even the most basic of services.

When I reminded them that the problems were so obvious that I'd placed photos of them on HBB, they just sighed.

Most galling of all, of course, is that I told them that there seem to be a complete absence of any sort of real punishment or rebuke for city employees NOT doing their jobs properly, or ignoring problems that could hardly be more obvious.

And here we are, more than two months-plus since that conversation, and an observant walk around the city reveals that nothing's changed!

Welcome to the City of Hallandale Beach in the year 2008.

#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