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, April 15, 2008

Email to HBB; constructive blog comments

Hallandale Beach Blog truly appreciates the many kind emails coming his way the past two weeks, most of which are a direct result of this blog being noted recently by some influential
South Florida bloggers, Critical Miami, http://criticalmiami.com/ , and The South Florida Daily Blog, http://southfloridadailyblog.blogspot.com/ , respectively, whose posts I usually read before 8 a.m. most mornings.

Curiously, about 95% of the emails I've gotten since that wee bit of recent notoriety, for reasons of their own -but for which you can draw your own conclusions- didn't want their name to appear on the blog publicly. Hmmm...

Was especially pleased that one of the emails I received came from a fellow Hoosier, now residing up in Ft. Lauderdale, who was in Bloomington at the same time as your faithful blogger, and so shares some of the same basic timelines in his head for IU's collective highs and lows in that era.

Whether our numerous sports highs, like winning the 1981 NCAA basketball championship against North Carolina, the NCAA soccer titles under Coach Jerry Yeagley, one of which I witnessed in person with friends at Ft. Lauderdale's Lockhart Stadium, after playing at the then-new William Armstrong Stadium, and the exciting Little 500 Bike races that took place there right away after the move from Tenth Street Stadium, back when CBS Sports was airing them on a same-day delay basis on CBS Sports Spectacular.

And new lows, like the very confusing and wildly-conflicting aspects to the police shooting of popular IU football player Denver Smith (no relation), and the off-field recriminations there, as well as the record lowest-ever temperatures in Hoosierville.
Yes, that January 1982 blizzard which caused Bloomington to reach record lows and some bona fide wind chills of at least fifty-below-zero.

(Yet oddly, when it was 15 degrees below and sunny, it was absolutely beautiful, almost too painfully white for my eyes to absorb.
It made me think of some great scenes from David Lean's film production of Dr. Zhivago when I went running! I had to wear very dark sun glasses. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0059113/

Wish I'd taken photographs of snowy sites around IU that day, to preserve for posterity.
Not that there not in my head, tucked away under "beautiful snowy day."

That's also when I got out the Hawaiian Tropic suntan lotion out of my dresser drawer, and opened it up and inhaled that unique smell that's so imprinted on me, to remind me where I'd be in a few weeks again -Fort Lauderdale, back when it was fun not faux.)

That was the same weekend as the Chargers at Bengals AFC Championship football game a few hours to our east, where the weather was just as bad if not worse, due to the stadium being just off the Ohio River. (They didn't call it Riverfront Stadium for nothing.)

This took place just days after I'd been in Miami over Christmas break, spending time with my family and having fun with friends at all our usual haunts, the beach and some places around town that there was no replicating in Bloomington.

Places I'd missed while away, like delicious subs from the Sub Center on N.E. 163rd Street and piping hot bagels from the Bagel Fare a block away, right next to Congressman Lehman's District office, all frequent haunts of mine during high school.

By the time the Chargers beat the Dolphins 41-38 in overtime in that epic ballgame near the end of my trip -which I watched despondently from my Mother's then-home near The Falls, off South Dixie Highway- I had a great tan for my Dol-fan tears to fall upon.
http://www.greatsportsrivalries.com/1982game/san_diego_miami_1982.html

But within a few short days, the change in temperature was 115 degrees and my tan counted for very little, as we quickly got cabin fever and something that we never ever considered possible came to pass.
All the pizza places in Bloomington closed down -no pizza deliveries during the NFL playoffs!

Again, with respect to the emails, thanks to all of you who've taken the time to let me know that you appreciate the efforts I've made here.
It's nice to hear, since not everyone in the community is quite so open to the idea of constructive engagement, much less, constructive criticism of local government.

For instance, Mayor Joy Cooper of Hallandale Beach.

In case you were wondering, since many of you wrote to ask, I did see what she wrote recently
in the South Florida Sun-Times about blogs.

I read Mayor Cooper's column there, as I do more often than not, just as I did former Hollywood Mayor Mara Giulianti's and now Peter Bober's.

[I should admit at the outset, in case you didn't know, that I've been going to the Hollywood city meetings for years now.
Through sheer exposure and first-hand observations, I quickly became an admirer of Bober's years ago, and his attempts, often alone on an island, to steer the city towards the sort of smart,
common sense and transparent governance that would make Hollywood more attractive to future residents and businesses -while not sacrificing the high quality-of-life that people take very seriously.

To replace the sturm und drag that's allowed allegations/perceptions of shady dealings and cronyism to hang above everything connected to City Hall, sometimes even unfairly, to be replaced by the disinfectant of sunshine.

Two weeks ago, I attended the contentious and very emotional meeting on the future of the S.E. corner of Young Circle, opposite the Arts Park, and will be posting some thoughts on it very soon, having taken about 25 pages of notes.

I made it to City Hall around 4:30, and caught the previous agenda item, being sure to get a good spot and stayed 'till the gavel came down at 12:32 a.m. Thursday morning.

It was very exhausting but also very exhilarating, because Mayor Bober was so fair-minded in his handling of the procedures and his deference to the commissioners and speakers.]

I don't doubt that, at least in her own mind, Mayor Cooper believes she's operating from a point of good intentions, but her good intentions aren't nearly enough when she doesn't insist on measureable results that are meaningful, and doesn't hold anyone accountable for the continuing myriad failures in policy and governance.

I've told the mayor in person before, perhaps no more emphatically than after the Broward County Transit Forum in October in Ft. Lauderdale, at the Convention Center, when she came over to my table while I was on my way out, that while I would try to remain civil, I thought that, if anything, my previous criticism of her, the City Commission, the City Manager and city
government, had been a case of my bending over backwards to be fair.

But with no corresponding effort by the city to follow-up on its many promises made to citizens.

The sad truth of the matter is that any reasonable observer could see for themself that the City of Hallandale Beach has been grossly under-performing for far too long.

It's really too bad that Mayor Cooper is so hamstrung by her own ego and ambitions, that she
can't quite separate what's good for her and what's good for the community, much as happened with Mayor Giulianti at the end of her reign, foreshadowing her own very bitter exit.

The mayor seems both unable and unwilling to consider the possibility that, sometimes, other people in the community have good or better ideas, too, and that sometimes, her notions and
desires simply have to take a back-seat to the greater good of the community.

That she can't be the ultimate authority on everything that ever happens in this city.

Yet that attitude of hers has been so apparent on so many issues since I returned to the area four years ago, that it eventually begins to wear on you.

Over the past few months, people who've voted for her in the past have actually confided to me -once they realized I was HBB- that while they used to attend City Commission meetings from time-to-time, they don't anymore, and it's largely because they find her behavior/attitude towards others, alternately chiding and chilly, so objectionable.
It's simply more than they can handle.

Her constant need to interrupt or hector commissioners and inability to actually let Robert's Rules of Order guide the conduct of meetings, really rubs a lot of people the wrong way.

And her loud, emphatic sighs when she's displeased, while someone else is speaking, really causes the cringe factor to just go off the chart.

In that South Florida Sun-Times column from two weeks ago, Mayor Cooper not only completely mis-characterized the debate of the previous week's City Commission meeting on the future of evening meetings, but also gets into the debate about communication by going out of her way to criticize, of all things, blogs. Hmmm...

excerpted from http://www.southfloridasun.net/330667.html
There were two rumors that I heard about after the meeting. One was we went back to only morning meetings. Hopefully this column will dispel that misinformation. The other was that our city staff that attends the evening meetings are paid overtime. This is absolutely false. Our directors and department heads are all salaried. Their day starts on or before 9 a.m. even on the days we hold evening meetings.

It is regretfully due to many rumors our residents are not clear on the facts. I have and will continue to write and share information with our readers on commission action. Rumors are inaccurate are detrimental to our community as a whole. There is a new spin on the rumor mill, blogs. I have debated with the city manager my views on blogs and giving credibility to new "National Enquirers" of today's times. Many times they are simply misguided or ill informed opinion columns. During our last meeting the City Manager asked to establish blogs within our city website to dispel misinformation. I will let our readers know when it is up. I still encourage residents to contact us directly when they have a complaint or question. We are here to help.

In the interests of accuracy, Mayor Cooper never mentions in her correction that it was a city commissioner, Dorothy Ross -not a member of the public- who mis-spoke about city staffers getting paid overtime for evening meetings.

Someone who's been on the City Commission for years and who has even served as mayor should certainly know better!

Not so coincidentally, when she made her errant remarks, Comm. Dorothy Ross was
speaking against Comm. Keith London's common sense proposal to continue the six month 'experiment' of evening meetings, so more Hallandale Beach citizens could participate.

So much for intelligent discourse and debate in Hallandale Beach.

Res ipsa loquitur!

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