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Friday, March 21, 2008

A Year Later: HBB's 2007 photo illustrates Golden Isles Dr. construction debacle


4743 Golden Isles Drive, Hallandale Beach, FL looking north towards Hallandale Beach Blvd.
City of Hallandale Beach, Golden Isle Drive, Golden Lakes Apts.
March 2007 photo by South Beach Hoosier


The following comments were in Draft cold storage for a year and have now been de-frosted for your education.

I recently had the opportunity to talk to one of the few honest and hard-working Hallandale Beach city employees I've encountered in the three years I've been here.
Yes, there are a few, but they aren't a quorum.

He was someone who spoke to me at length about the collective burden he and his colleagues must bear because of a bad reputation, one that makes it much harder for him to perform HIS job as well as he could, because of the public's lack of confidence.


He said that this perception by the public really undermines morale, especially for the handful of employees who are consistently hard-working, even as city management pretends that it's not a real problem.

The reality is self-evident: there are lots of incompetent city employees who should be fired.


I described for him in detail the situation that had existed on Golden Isles Drive for many months, as the city and their contractors seemed to do just about everything in their power to get the normally placid residents of this street to come out of their apts. with pitch forks and enough rope for a hanging party.

Honestly, as I was thinking of how to take this photo to best illustrate the problem, there was no end to the reasonable complaints I heard from residents walking to stores or walking their dogs, who walked up to me rather quizzically, inquiring why I was taking this photo of the pipes.

After I explained what led me there, there was no end to their complaints!

Starting with the city's lack of timely communication with the neighbors regarding project time lines, then moving onto the issue of the large pipes just being left on curbs for weeks at a time,
and most pointedly, the city NOT requiring the crews to consistently sweep up construction debris and gravel that accumulated everywhere, esp. near storm drains.

The folks I spoke to also made a point of saying that, where they were from, similar sorts of road projects would've been handled much differently -and much more professionally.

They insisted that someone from the construction crew would be made responsible for ensuring that the area was swept clean as as reasonably as possible before quitting each day.

If that wasn't done, residents knew the name and the phone number of whom to call to see to it that the appropriate changes were made.

As much as I and my immediate neighbors in Arlington County often complained about the overly-bureaucratic way things were done there, to the point that it often seemed like a Soviet Republic, the county would never have tolerated the unprofessional and slipshod things I've witnessed on Golden Isles for months and months and...

How do you have DOZENS of barricades with lights that don't work at night???

Fix them!!!

And don't even get me started on the dozens and dozens of barricades on HBB at night that didn't have working lights on them the whole summer when the street lights from 12th Street east to Three Islands didn't work.

After the RK strip mall on the north side of HBB turned their parking lot lights out at 2 a.m. or so, HBB became a black hole from the Walgreen's to the Burger King on Three Islands.

I saw it for myself!

And did I mention the many pallets of bricks that were placed next to medians in the left hand turning lanes -with no orange cones or barricades with working lights?

Who was responsible for "coordinating" that whole effort and why were they never made an example of?

In Arlington County, someone would've been fired for thinking they could get away with that sort of contempt for public safety for so long.

And where exactly were the Police and Fire Chiefs hiding when all of this was going on right in front of them?

Am I supposed to believe that they never drove down HBB at night during this time period?

I didn't have this photo -above- with me at the time I spoke to that city employee I spoke of, obviously, but post it here just to give you some idea of the sloppiness and lack of concern for public safety that's regularly exhibited by HB city employees and the contractors they hire.

In this case, DPW, which as I learned from some newspaper reporters once I moved back into the area, was City Manager Mike Good's old bailiwick.

In the photo, notice the complete absence of ANY warning signs or orange cones alongside the south side of these pipes, closest to you as you view it.

Just so you know, that barricade farther up the street -shocker- lacked operating lights at night.

But that wasn't an aberration, only part of the larger pattern of a serious lack of attention to detail and safety, since at one point, every time I walked by the intersection of HBB & Golden Isles, I counted the number of operating barricade lights on the south side of the intersection.

I'd usually only count 4-7 working barricade lights among the more than 2-3 dozen on that entire street. The entire street!

You'd think that proper illumination would be an important consideration at night for a population that's not the youngest in the world.

Stored directly in front of The Golden Lakes Apts. complex's Fire Zone.

You know, where no parking is permitted, hence the yellow line?

You can't tell here, but the pipes are just a few feet away from the entrance to the complex's parking lot.

So close that you can picture the accidents in your head without much effort.

But in HB, the safety rules that apply to the rest of the world just don't apply!

(As it happens, this photo from March was snapped just a few minutes after watching then-HB City Commission candidate Julie Hamlin -and a pal- campaigning for votes among people in line at the nearby branch of the U.S. Post Office, which I discussed in greater depth in a March post.)

This whole area was just a disaster area, with lack of proper signage being the least of it.

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