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.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

re Sarah Palin's appeal and Katty Kay's FINALLY being right

As to Senator McCain's selection of Sarah Palin... as a DLC Democrat who'll definitely be voting for John McCain in November, I think it's a fantastic and bold pick!
But not for the reasons I keep reading about online or in the newspapers.

One of my reasons is because I think that it will be very interesting to see the very same insider reporters who tried to sell us on the idea of narrative as resume in Obama's case, suddenly now split hairs and say but not for Palin.
But, as usual, they won't be able to help themselves as we've already seen, and that can't but help McCain and Palin.

Frankly, I'm practically giddy at the prospect of Frank Rich's first lacerating attack against her, using that big brain and vocabulary of his to attack her like she's some poor schlub understudy from Alaska who's not quite ready for the big time of Broadway. As has been his wont so often away from Broadway, he'll reach too far, be too clever by half and in the end, be hoisted on his own petard, even as liberals cheer his columns but wonder why they aren't persuasive to the rest of the country.

But history is replete with examples of people who rose to the occasion -or didn't, like John Kerry four years ago- and there's plenty of evidence to suggest that Palin is, in fact, such a person, since the consistency of her record is in marked contrast to most of what passes for serious policy analysis in Washington: she says what she means and she means what she says.

Fifteen years of being around Capitol Hill and K Street taught me that much.

How crazy is it that this is considered "maverick" behavior in the Year 2008?

The compelling narrative of Palin's track record, of personal integrity and feistiness above party, will prove especially popular and endearing in states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan that
Obama has to win, but each of whom has been riven with political corruption fairly recently.

You don't have to be Michael Barone or Mickey Kaus or John Harwood to know the country is emotionally fatigued after years and years of the same Washington insiders and career politicians
forever fighting the last political war and trying to get even.
Though I personally like Joe Biden, let's not forget that he is yet another career senator with a son who's a Washington lobbyist, and while I think it's commendable that his son is an Amtrak Board member, let's not kid ourselves that he is there but for the influence of... whom?

For the most part, as Gilbert and Sullivan might have put it, R. Hunter Biden is the very model of a modern major lobbyist. He has an office near K Street, a blue-ribbon roster of clients, and his firm, Oldaker Biden & Belair, made $1.76 million in lobbying revenue in the first half of 2006...

I think that there are plenty of people who are tired of having to pretend that alternating party crews in Washington have been getting the kind of positive tangible results that are necessary, when it's perfectly clear they're really just running in place.

And given Palin's clear distaste for GOP royalty and familial over-reaching -Murkowski family-it's one of the reasons she was elected governor in the first place. Voters could see it was a visceral dislike, not a come-on.

Why do you suppose Teddy Roosevelt had such maverick appeal when he ran for president as an independent?

You can see the evidence all around you of what putting off hard choices has gotten this country, where Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is actually afraid to schedule a vote on the House floor on off-shore oil drilling because she knows that it will actually pass now, with moderate Democrats from competitive congressional districts abandoning Pelosi in a heartbeat.

Unfortunately for the country, as she has with so many other issues, Pelosi much prefers to have an issue she can manage and strangle, than she wants practical results and solutions that will result in more energy production for the country.

Naturally, here in the Sunshine State, there is no solar, wind or tidal energy facilities to speak of that anyone can point to with anything resembling pride or hope. It's so embarrassing in the year 2008!

One of my next posts will give a good example of this sort of political gamesmanship, writ large, where the interests of the country and people's safety and welfare are clearly placed second to party loyalty, and the offender is none other than local South Florida pol for life, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

And you know how I loathe her!


Do you suppose this is the kind of Obama 'change' or leadership we can come to expect in the future, when he can't even prevent the Illinois Demcratic Party from engaging in the very activities he continually decries?

It sounds like old-school corporate influence-peddling to me

ABC News Reporter Arrested in Denver Aug. 27, 2008
DNC Money Trail Aug. 25, 2008 PHOTOS: On the Money Trail at the DNC http://abcnews.go.com/Video/playerIndex?id=5670682

ABC News Chief Investigator Brian Ross is on the job!
DNC Money Trail Aug. 25, 2008

You can tell how much the political axis moved with this selection of Sarah Palin because of how intensely the media people and pols who are always wrong -aka the usual drive-bys- are saying that it's a bad choice, or, condescendingly poo-poohing it.

Case in point: E.J Dionne and his crazy belief that Biden's Catholicism will somehow prove stronger in Pennsylvania than his actual voting record and reputation.

Now as I've stated here before, for many different reasons, I personally like Biden, as I wrote last Saturday, August 23rd,
2 Hillary Visits in South Florida, 3 Different Media Views; Biden anecdotes
http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/2008/08/2-hillary-visits-in-south-florida-3.html but there are PLENTY of people who live there who'll tell you that rather than the blue-collar brother-in-law you love spending time with on weekends, barbecuing and watching Eagles games with, he's the know-it-all boss who never stops talking.

The sort of person in your life whose voice you hear when you can't go to sleep and who causes you to grind your teeth.

For the next few months I'm afraid we'll be hearing more than we ever wanted to from MSNBC's Chris Matthews about the subject of Catholicism and PA voting trends.
Except for the fact that as much as Matthews says he admires Jack Murtha, he's a chip-off-the-old-block, etc., Matthews would never ever want to live in a small town in Murtha's congressional district.
Did you happen to hear the condescending NPR coverage of the Sarah Palin announcement?

Even for them it was amazing. I turned to NPR while watching a muted FOX News, just to hear how elitist they'd be, and as usual, they didn't disappoint.

Condescending and patronizing now, yet within weeks, I strongly suspect that she'll be catnip to voters in Pennsylvania, Ohio, WV and Michigan, and the NPR reporters will act like their remarks were never uttered.

And they'll do that as they describe the enthusiastic family crowds that turn out for Palin, and get interview after interview with ex-Hillary voters who say they're going to give Obama the big thumbs down.

It just reminded me all over again how tinny NPR's internal vibes have been for years, given that the night the U.S. invaded Iraq, and I was listening to WAMU-FM in Washington, D.C., NPR's first story on All Things Considered was about a teenage murderer who was imprisoned in the Midwest -who used poetry to cope with his unique situation.

They never spoke about the victim's family.

Some things never change.

When I was living and working in D.C., partly because of being in an office downtown so much, I listened to NPR for about 6-9 hours a day, but now that I'm in South Florida, just Diane Rehm, and only if she has a good guest, plus the Friday round-ups of domestic and international news. http://wamu.org/programs/dr/

Talk about shooting yourself in the foot, that Obama's campaign people immediately and rather foolishly thought to downplay and mock Palin's small-town roots, only plays into the lingering suspicion among many Americans that regardless of what he says, Obama and his crowd are thoroughly elitist and phony to a fair-thee-well.

In America, but not of it.

It only makes one recall Obama's much earlier and much-maligned comments at a San Francisco fund raiser, when he launched his full-throated attack on people who used to be the backbone of the Democratic Party, saying that Pennsylvania voters "cling to guns or religion or antipathy" out of political frustration." http://www.upi.com/Top_News/2008/04/11/Obama_Some_Pennsylvania_voters_bitter/UPI-66831207967499/

All these pieces of the puzzle begin to add up after a while.

Sometimes I can't help but wonder if among the most passionate of the Obama campaign staffers, the ones who really thought that attacking small-town America was the route to go in their initial public stink bomb attack against Palin, that their favorite part of It's a Wonderful Life was actually when Jimmy Stewart's George Bailey character tried desperately to leave the small town of Bedford Falls behind, and instead become a sophisticated person who traveled the world.

Not the part when he stayed and helped the town survive. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0038650/
Seriously, I really wouldn't doubt it.

Frankly, I was hoping McCain would pick Palin a few weeks ago, but felt that he might succumb to pressure from some of his trusted aides, like South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham to pick Joe Lieberman, or select a more conventional pick like Minn. Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

I'm VERY pleased and think this show of political courage and faith by McCain in what he thinks he's hearing from American voters, will help cement McCain's victory in November, even though I disagree with him on a whole host of issues.

Most notable among those issues, of course, was his strong support for the ridiculously lenient illegal immigration policy -amnesty- proposed by President Bush, Sen. Kennedy and himself, which nearly ended his political career prematurely after it proved so unpopular with American voters.
He says he learned his lesson.
We'll see.

In case you're late coming to the Hallandale Beach Blog/South Beach Hoosier party, I voted for McCain in 2000 when there was no Democratic primary in Virginia, and as a matter of fact, much to my surprise, sat next to and spoke with McCain's sister-in-law for just under an hour at a McCain Straight Talk Express rally in Old Town (Alexandria) while we waited for the bus to show up.

I'll definitely be voting for him again in November.

Future headlines: Oprah to be dispatched by Dems for cross-country trip to explain Obama loss to disheartened minorities and Lib Dems.
Maybe she'd boil it all down to this: tough love.

"I guess when people were saying that they simply didn't think Obama was experienced enough to be president, and some of you said that they were just being racist, you were wrong, huh?
Those voters told you exactly what they thought and why they were voting the way they were -and you chose not to believe them.
That's on you, not them."

Which is my oblique way of bringing up the fact that despite my longtime antipathy to her over the years, well-known to my friends in D.C., as I've commented here before, it's time for me to give the devil her due. In this case, the devil being the BBC's Washington correspondent, Katty Kay.
She's FINALLY right about something!

She's someone whom I've rightfully disparaged in the past for good reason -her chronic lack of knowledge about facts, concepts, phrases and theories which someone in her position ought to know. But -quite maddeningly- doesn't!

That, of course, hasn't prevented her from trying to be the authoritative voice of U.K. sophisticated sobriety when she's spoken on myriad American public policy programs, most notably, the Diane Rehm Show on NPR, as both guest and guest host.

Eventually, over time, my friends finally caught on that I was right about what I said about Kay, because of the mounting amount of evidence.

It became sort of a parlor game among us to catch her on radio or TV saying something perfectly absurdly with her customary serious voice.
I'm not joking.

We actually got to the point where at parties or get-togethers, like the Oscars, Super Bowl or Final Four Weekend, 4-5 of us could, upon request, actually recite a favorite Kay declaration.

When we were in public somewhere together, like a ballgame or outside at a park, whenever we'd
hear someone say something factually wrong but doggedly insistent on their righteousness, we'd look each other in the eye and mouth the words, "Katty Kay."

More recently, thru plain old American persistence, I've come close to converting two Herald reporters into believers of the Katty Kay Syndrome.
But it wasn't easy.

Now by wrong, I'm not talking about personal opinions, since Kay is free to be as dopey or mis-informed in her personal opinions or private life as anyone who's a chronic caller to radio talk shows.
Or, the sad folks who, like obsessive compulsive serial criminals, return over and over to the same newspaper website comments sections to share their invective, rants and nonsense, like so many people in Broward County who seem to practically live on the Herald and Sun-Sentinel reader comment forums, a matter which is readily apparent when you read them.

No, here I'm talking about rather concrete things Kay's said in the past that were directly contradicted by reality or the BBC's own news reports and website. Like, well, to choose but one subject off the top-of-my-head, the actual background of the British prime minister, Gordon Brown.

How about this letter to the Editors of the BBC blog that I found?
on 29 Jun 2007:
I am suspect when Katy Kay gets her facts absolutely wrong. In her report last night she said that a small minority did not approve of the immigration bill. The Gallup Poll reported 47 Against and 30 In Favor. To make matters worse the only guest she had on discussing the matter was a far left immigration activist. I don't know if I should chalk it up to bias or ignorance, probably both are to blame. Why not give fact based journalism a try and an even handed discussion?

More recently, there was this comment to the Newsnight blog: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/newsnight/fromthewebteam/2008/08/thursday_21_august_2008.html
on 21 Aug 2008:
Katy Kay's piece tonight was shockingly lopsided and well below my usual expectations for a Newsnight segment. Having just spent two and a half months in America, it was quite clear to me that the 'smear' campaigns were not exclusive to conservatives, as Kay's piece strongly implied. Both sides have been thoroughly engaged in back-channel internet attacks. The obligatory mention of liberal smear tactics does not in itself create a balanced report when one spends roughly 90% of the segment obsessing over conservative e-mails and cartoons. Surely Katy Kay is cognizant of that? It was a good choice (on several levels) to place it last, but, unfortunately, a few of us do enjoy staying up for the entire programme. I adore Newsnight, but this was one of the most imbalanced reports I've seen from one of your contributors. Deeply disappointing.

That sort of makes her, what, the poor man's U.K. Andrea Mitchell, to name but another D.C. insider justly infamous around town among colleagues of mine for her faux pas, faux facts and big-footing.
Plus, there's Mitchell's whole reluctance to always report news she knows, like the way she avoided naming the U.S. senators whom she said never read the pre-war NIE report.
She loved to talk about the story on the NBC family of outlets, esp. MSNBC -up to the point where she'd actually have to name the members she claimed never read it.
Is that journalism?

But I'm getting off on a tangent, and I should confine my comments here to momentarily praising Kay.

On the BBC-TV this past Thursday night, immediately prior to Obama's acceptance speech, Kay alone among the army of big-footing campaign reporters in Denver made a point that I've long suspected would prove to be true, much as some will try to ignore it.

Trust me, when Katy Kay and I both agree on something, that's what noted New York philosopher George Costanza meant when he said 'worlds collide!'

For my purposes, it means that it must be true!

Kay said -and I'm paraphrasing here, because I didn't have a videotape running at the time and have not been able to find a recording of her comments yet- that based on what she's seen and heard for herself, among both the Obama campaign staff (and assorted hangers-on) and ordinary Democratic voters she's dealt with in various states throughout the country, especially Hillary Clinton supporters, there was ample evidence of a growing party cleavage that would prove very difficult to heal in the future.

Per my hypothetical words above in Oprah's mouth, a sharp divide that the Obama supporters
were ignoring, perhaps because they can't quite imagine that their own personal narrative and that of Obama's will be one where he actually loses the race, when it may well have been within his grasp.

So, on the one hand you have Obama supporters who think that any white Democrat who votes for McCain is doing so almost entirely because of core racism.
They won't accept any other explanation but that one, because that one neatly fits their world view.

On the other hand, of course, were those moderate and conservative Dems who said that regardless of Obama's soaring oratory or charisma, he still lacked the kind of tangible political abilities or experience they wanted in a potential president: someone who had a track record of
actually accomplishing something in Washington that the average person has heard of or could point to as proof, much less, constructively worked across the aisle to get results.
Obama has done neither.

There's a reason that The National Journal rated Obama as the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate -he was.
There are a lot of voters in this country who don't want the "Most" anything senator to be in The White House, and I'm one of them.

And as someone who was actually around Washington at the time to attend the Foreign Relations hearings, enough of the Obama supporters' name-dropping of Hoosier Richard Lugar.
It's embarrassing, already!
Lugar was already doing the Nunn-Lugar shuffle with the Russians when Obama was just out of Harvard Law School.

For once, momentarily, Katy Kay is 100% right

See the BBC's US Election 2008 webpage -http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/usa/default.stm
Though I'll still be voting for McCain, I wanted to draw your attention to this web site as it's what led me to originally watching the U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Trials online a few weeks before the Olympics.
I was mesmerized!

Well, I received a phone call on Friday from another DLC friend up in D.C. telling me that the Barack Obama acceptance speech would be on Microsoft Silverlight, and that I should watch it at some point after first seeing the speech on TV. He's right.

I did that late Friday night and it's absolutely amazing to see the way everything looks!
It looks better than life-like!

I suppose it'd be too much to think that they'll also be doing that for the RNC in St. Paul, where Hallandale Beach resident and former Rudy Giuliani supporter Ed Napolitano will be this week.
Microsoft Silverlight homepage is at http://silverlight.net/

Microsoft Silverlight is a cross-browser, cross-platform, and cross-device plug-in for delivering the next generation of .NET based media experiences and rich interactive applications for the Web. By using Expression Studio and Visual Studio, designers and developers can collaborate more effectively using the skills they have today to light up the Web of tomorrow.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

JT the Brick also sees Gators-Trojans in Miami for BCS Title

Written while watching USC pummel UVA at Charlottesville...

Naturally, no sooner does South Beach Hoosier post a comment yesterday about ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit making a pre-season selection of the Florida Gators and USC Trojans in the BCS Title Game, at Dolphin Stadium on January 8th, then he receives an email saying that popular FOX Sports radio host 'JT the Brick' (John Tournour) has also made that very same selection. See http://www.jtthebrick.com/home.html and http://www.talkbrick.com/

At his podcast site, JT's Rant, http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/3035015/site/21683474/ he said on Rant 161 FULL STORY that
a.) assuming the Gators beat pre-season #1 Georgia in Jacksonville on November1st, above,
b.) that USC beats Ohio State at the Coliseum, http://www.lacoliseum.com/ on Sept. 13th -where endzone tickets are currently going for just under $400- he likes USC to beat the Gators in January down here for the BCS title. (Did I mention that JT was based out of LA?)

He also picks West Virginia's Pat White to edge out Tim Tebow for the Heisman Trophy.

Like Herbstreit, he also said that Georgia, while very talented, would not make it to Miami in January, where there are lots and lots of UGA alums, including some NMB High School gymnastics friends of mine, who'd make the Bulldogs very welcome, indeed.
Especially if the team and its fans were based out of the Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa down the street at Hollywood Beach.

I actually had the Florida-USC prediction prior to the 2005-06 college football season for the BCS Title Game at the Rose Bowl, which turned out to be the fantastic Texas-USC clash with Vince Young playing Superman for the Longhorns.

FYI: In case you didn't know, Hollywood mayor Peter Bober is a U-T graduate, like many of my friends back in D.C., especially when I belonged to the Texas State Society.

My own family has lived continuously in the Texas Hill Country since 1855, and one of the first maxims I ever learned as a kid, in San Antonio, was one credited to legendary Longhorn football coach Darrell Royal: "Proper preparation prevents poor performance."

South Florida news kerfuffle -what about local news?

The new agreement announced yesterday between the three largest South Florida newspapers, the Miami Herald, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and the Palm Beach Post, to share certain stories, while perhaps sounding perfectly reasonable in theory at Sigma Delta Chi forums among a certain subset of the green eye shade crowd, never quite addresses the legitimate concerns of readers/citizens, who might reasonably wonder what will happen when nobody from any of the three newspapers chooses to send a reporter to a City Commission meeting, or other important civic meeting or forum in their town.

I think I already know, because this has been happening MUCH more frequently in Hallandale Beach, the ocean-side 4.4 square mile duchy I live in, sandwiched between Hollwood and Aventura.

And don't even ask about South Florida TV stations' coverage of local news if it doesn't involve a crime, a bullet-riddled body or a scandal of some sort!

Brazilian-born South Florida artist and personality Romero Britto is clearly a popular and talented guy who's very emotionally invested in the welfare of South Florida's community, especially kids.

(See http://www.britto.com/ and http://www.hollywoodfl.org/artspark/playarea.htm )

The self-evident facts clearly show that he does much more than his fair share of heavy lifting when it comes to philanthropy and community involvement, which should be applauded, of course.

But surely a reasonable person might wonder whether everything he does in the community MUST be covered by South Florida's local TV stations -yet it is!

His PR people, whomever they are, must have some sort of crazy, crazy magic up their sleeves, because Britto is on South Florida TV newscasts more than anyone else I can think of, save local pols or Police Dept. PIOs whom we all recognize on sight because of sheer frequency, like Detective Delrish Moss of the City of Miami P.D., or Lieutenant Pat Santangelo of the Florida Highway Patrol.

See http://www.blinkx.com/video/fhp-pat-santangelo-on-move-over-law-crackdown/19np4U58jIer7Ji-yMwWww

Rare is the 72 hours in South Florida TV news when we don't see one of them on the air at least once!

This generalized problem of local news coverage leads some residents of the area to wonder if something 'really happened' or was said publicly, if the only people who actually know about it with anything resembling 100% certainty are the very ones who attended.
Folks who, themselves, might have some particular political or personal bias or generally unknown conflict of interest about the subject under discussion, and yet with no reporter present, the accurate accounts of what transpired there become more opaque and self-serving in the re-telling by the few witnesses. Where's the objective observer, comprende?

As it happens, the Miami Herald has not sent a reporter to several important Hallandale Beach City Commission meetings involving large developments that will dramatically change the face of the city, small as it is.

That includes both the DOMUS project on U.S.-1 at S. Federal Highway and S.E. 8th Street, and the Hallandale Square project on the S.E. corner of U.S.-1 and Hallandale Beach Blvd., the largest intersection in the city, and therefore a "face" on the city, such as it is.

If a Miami Herald reporter had shown up for the Hallandale Square project by Taubco, perhaps they'd have noted for the record -and everyone else's benefit- the central fact that unlike most development approvals the HB City Commission must weigh in on, where there is a first and then a second reading on the project, the Hallandale Square project by Taubco only needed that one meeting to get final approval.

Given that central fact and that it would clearly change the "face" of the city, as was said so often by different parties, though the public meeting started at 7 p.m., the portion of the agenda dealing specifically with the Hallandale Square project didn't begin untill just after 10:55 p.m.

And when you add the amount of time consumed with back-and-forth questions and comments by the City Commission, the City Manager and his staff, and Debbie Orshefsky -of Greenberg Traurig, a campaign supporter of Mayor Cooper- who acted as the lead public presenter of the project and managed the visual presentation, actual residents of Hallandale Beach didn't get the chance to speak intelligently in response to the myriad assurances and promises they'd heard that night by Taubco until after 1 a.m.

You know, as to give but one example, actually meeting the standards that the city requires for number of trees on the property, a parameter that Taubco did not meet prior to the meeting.

In fact, since a finalized Development Agreement was not ready before 5 p.m. the previous Friday, the usual deadline for an item to get included on the Wednesday City Commission agenda, that unusual exception became, itself, the subject of much discussion by almost everyone, since that meant that the City Commission was given lots of information (and last-minute changes) to digest, on the fly, in a very small period of time.

In fact, even Mayor Cooper felt the need to tell City Manager Good and his staff that this should not happen again in the future, and that henceforth, a Friday deadline will really mean something.

Just not this time!

I stayed for the entire meeting and spoke around 1:15 p.m., and though a little more groggy than I expected, I asked Ms. Orshefsky a series of questions I had about Hallandale Square's exterior design and the proximity of ingress/egress for trucks to areas that were described as being for outdoor eating.

In general, the plan reminded me -too much!- of shopping areas I was already familiar with, especially in Northern Virginia, which had seemed great while on the drawing board, but instead had fatal flaws that proved self-evident once the project was complete and built.

Ms. Orshefsky was not happy at all with the general tenor of my questions, negative as many of them were about the project, and after I specifically asked her to pull up some slides so that I could ask more detailed questions about what she had depicted to the City Commission, when she seemed to be a tad bit slow in doing this, and with Mayor Cooper urging me to proceed with my questions post haste, I said "No" into the microphone and that I'd wait for Ms. Orshefsky to put up the appropriate slides I wanted to discuss in detail.

Though you wouldn't know it that particular night, in many cities and counties across the country, including ones I've lived in, it's common that after the initial project presentation is made by an applicant or their attorney before the elected officials, city employees take control of the computer managing the Power Point display, slides or video, so that the public gets the same thorough treatment as the developer.

This procedure helps prevent, slowness, sudden and unexpected 'forgetfulness' or 'accidents' by the lead presenter.

That's a common sense procedure the City of Hallandale Beach would be smart to employ in the future so that citizens don't have to worry about developer attorneys like Orshefsky dawdling on purpose in pulling up particular slides in order to squeeze you when you only have three minutes to speak, as is the case in Hallandale Beach.

And did I mention that the many renderings/drawings of the Hallandale Square project, the project that many of the City Commissioners themselves said would change the face of the city forever, were NEVER publicly displayed for Hallandale Beach citizens to examine in the many hours prior to it finally coming up, just before 11 p.m.?

Four hours of waiting to see what what it looked like.

And someone please explain to me again why it is that Taubco didn't hold a single public meeting with HB citizens in the immediate 12 months prior to that one and only hearing in June. Especially after all the changes they made to their initial plan, which was shown to the public at the beginning of 2007?

That's Hallandale Beach government for you!

A Miami Herald reporter at the meeting might've noticed some of these things and written about some or all of them, but since nobody from the Herald deigned to make an appearance...

By not sending a reporter to the August 6th meeting, the Herald completely missed the drama and anger that ensued when Pastor Anthony Sanders was chosen as an interim City Commissioner by the HB City Commission, under Mayor Cooper's prodding, within ten minutes of the supposed 'surprise resignation' of Comm. Francine Schiller.

Again, not to belabor the point about what might've been written, per se, but it's not unreasonable to think that a smart and resourceful Herald reporter at the meeting might've written that this political maneuver by Mayor Cooper seemed to have all the appearances of being a 'done-deal' well before the public meeting ever started that night.

Especially once you know that Mayor Cooper had already been speaking to Pastor Sanders for weeks about something happening down the line, and that City Manager Good was, in fact, the very writer of Comm. Schiller's note of resignation, due to health reasons.

Given those particular facts, how hard is it to suppose that Mayor Cooper and City Manager Good consciously choose to wait until after 5 p.m. Friday to put their plan in place and write Schiller's letter of resignation, so they could skirt public disclosure rules about it and it wouldn't appear as an advertised Commission agenda item, prior to the August 6th meeting?


Because formally putting it on the agenda would've necessitated giving sufficient public notice and would've allowed residents of Hallandale Beach opposed to the move -but not to Pastor Sanders personally- the time to call neighbors and friends about appearing at the City Commission meeting that night to make their feelings known.

Along with the print and electronic news media to record it and report it beyond the tiny confines of the Hallandale Beach City Commission chambers.

That a conscious skirting of state ethical rules occurred is exactly what many citizens of Hallandale Beach believe happened that night. (At night, but in broad daylight!)

And that's true of the HB residents I've spoken to from every part of the city, not just the 'usual suspects' who come to most civic meetings in the area.

They -and I- feel the sheer amount of odd coincidences are a bit too much to swallow.

What coincidences?

Well, a Miami Herald reporter at the meeting might've written about this particular political move coming exactly while Comm. Keith London -the very last interim appointee and someone intimately familiar with the process- was not physically present at the meeting.

Comm. London was present at the meeting via telephone -which Comm. Schiller has done increasingly over the past 18 months- but by being conveniently 'out of sight,' many HB residents believe that the powers-that-be at HB City Hall all but insured that Comm. London was out-of-the-loop, since he is dependent on the City Clerk's office at the dais to let Mayor Cooper know he would like to speak on a matter.

Coincidentally, last year in making their plans for City Commission meetings during the summer, when giving info as to their various summer/vacation plans, if any, so a working schedule could be created that suited everyone on the City Commission, though Comm. London had publicly told everyone when he was going to be away, just as other members had,

a not-so-funny thing happened in Hallandale Beach that summer.

While he was away, a city meeting got scheduled.

Hmmm... imagine that?

That, my friends, is the moral and ethical caliber of the people you're dealing with at 400 S. Federal Highway, opposite Gulfstream Park Race Track.

If a reasonably bright Herald reporter had been present at that meeting, it might've gotten mentioned in the newspaper's account of the meeting that the vote on the interim appointment took place before any residents of the city had been given the opportunity to publicly address the City Commission on the subject, much less, remind them that this was completely contrary to the very procedures the city had used less than two years prior, in November of 2006, when, following a number of meetings that were hours long, Keith London was named an interim HB City Commissioner, following the election of Comm. Joe Gibbons to the Florida State House of Representatives.

Then again, maybe the latter is the very reason nobody was permitted to speak before the vote.

Again, it wouldn't have required a genius Miami Herald reporter, not even a future Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, just one that could report what he saw and heard that night with an ample amount of facts sprinkled in for good measure.

There was a whole process that took place in 2006 that was completely absent on August 6th, and given that the publicly announced date of the resignation was the 29th, yesterday, the City Commission had 22 days in which to do whatever was necessary to ensure a fair and democratic process, with one already scheduled public City Commission meeting for August 20th, where they could've handled this in an above-board fashion.

But that's not what they did, is it?

Yes, sometimes one reporter -or the absence of one- completely changes the dynamic of what happens in a community, especially one riven with cronyism, secrecy and paranoia.

I'm looking especially forward to seeing what longtime South Beach Hoosier journalism expert and blogger favorite Alan Mutter, witty creator of the Reflections of a Newsosaur blog, has to say about all this newspaper news consolidation, and read what he thinks this presages.
Especially in light of all of his experiences, positive and otherwise, with other 'great ideas' that emanated from newspaper front offices.
Alan broached the general idea back on June 18th about a closer business collaboration among the Sun-Sentinel and the Herald in this excellent post titled The case for a JOA in Miami, which I meant to link to here at the time and comment on, but, well, forgot to. http://newsosaur.blogspot.com/2008/06/case-for-joa-in-miami.html

I meant to link to it here and comment on his thoughts about a new-and-improved J.O.A., but well, forgot to despite having written it down. It happens.

Please don't forget to check here tomorrow, probably later in the evening, as I'll have my own analysis, complete with photos, deconstructing her leadership and the un-solicited post-midnight email I received from Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper, after she discovered that I would be meeting with another Hallandale Beach citizen about events and matters of great concern to the Hallandale Beach community.

Even then, completely out-of-the-blue, Mayor Cooper can't control herself, as she alternately plays the role of know-it-all bully, aggrieved victim and innocent bystander.
But sadly, despite her pleas, she is but the first, not the others.

Frankly, it would be somewhat laughable -from a safe distance- if it weren't so damn tragic for the citizens of this small community, who surely deserve so very much better than what they receive from the people at Hallandale Beach City Hall: wave upon wave of apathy, insolence, cronyism, condecsendsion and navel-gazing, masquerading as genuine concern.
Sorry, no more Mr. Nice Guy here at Hallandale Beach Blog and South Beach Hoosier.
That's a thing of the past.
Miami Herald
Aug. 29, 2008
Herald, Sun-Sentinel, PB Post to share stories
By Miami Herald Staff

The Miami Herald, the Sun-Sentinel and The Palm Beach Post announced content sharing plans Friday that the editors said will involve exchanging basic news stories at the same time South Florida's major newspapers compete against one another.

The experiment, which will begin Monday and run for a three-month trial period, will enable the papers to trade coverage of routine events and feature reviews.

Editors of the three papers said they will preserve the competition that has been a hallmark of South Florida's newspaper business for decades by limiting the sharing to routine news. Broader stories, investigative pieces, columns and feature stories will not be part of the exchange, they said. El Nuevo Herald, El Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale and La Palma in West Palm Beach also will be a part of the exchange.

"'Our goal is to better serve our South Florida audiences while protecting the individual brands and identities of our respective newspapers,'' a statement from the editors said.

Miami Herald Executive Editor Anders Gyllenhaal said that the move was part of many innovations the paper is launching in the midst of the changing media landscape. He said the papers need to begin working together to enhance and extend the newspaper style of journalism in an era of intense competition.

"This is a time to try things, to see what new ideas make our papers and websites better, to break with traditions in the name of providing new and stronger coverage for newspaper readers and websites.''

The papers said they would assess how the exchange is working after three months and decide whether to continue.

In a sign of the times, as of 8:30 p.m. Saturday night, more than 36 hours after the story was first printed, this news was of so little interest that only 6 reader comments had been registered on the Herald's website, and one of them had absolutely nothing to do with the story:

Miami Article Comments Article Discussions: Thread #55660 http://pod01.prospero.com/n/pfx/forum.aspx?msg=55660&nav=messages&webtag=kr-miamitm

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Sun Sentinel, PB Post and Miami Herald will share content
Staff reports
August 29, 2008

The top editors of the Miami Herald, the Palm Beach Post and the Sun Sentinel announced today a content-sharing initiative that the editors say will serve South Florida readers with unprecedented local coverage while maintaining the competitive nature of each paper.

Anders Gyllenhaall, executive editor of the Herald, John Bartosek, editor of the Palm Beach Post, and Earl Maucker, editor of the Sun Sentinel, announced the sharing arrangement, in which each newspaper can publish stories from one of the other newspapers or web sites.

In each case where an article from one newspaper is published in another, that story would carry attribution to the contributing newspaper or web site.

The three editors, in a statement released Friday, said they believe they can protect the competitive character of each publication by limiting the content sharing to municipal, governmental, courts and political coverage, police reports and entertainment. Enterprise and

Investigative stories would be off limits from the sharing agreement, they said.

"Our goal is to better serve our South Florida audiences while protecting the individual brands and identities of our respective newspapers," a release from the three editors said.

"As each newspaper experienced recent staff reductions of our reporting staffs, we believe sharing some content assures thorough coverage, particularly in overlapping areas, and allows us to direct even more resources to enterprise, watchdog and investigative reporting exclusive to each newspaper."

The initiative will begin in September.

Broward Palm Beach New Times columnist Bob Norman's take:

The Daily Pulp

Bob Norman
South Florida Daily Newspapers To Unite?
August 29, 2008

In a move that would have seemed utterly shocking a year ago, the South Florida's three major daily newspapers are set to announce a content-sharing agreement later today, according to sources.

While details of the plan are sketchy, the Miami Herald, Sun-Sentinel, and Palm Beach Post have reached an agreement to share certain "non-competitive" information -- perhaps things like prep scores, entertainment listings, reviews, etc.

The idea, apparently, is that the deal will free up more time and money for substantive (and exclusive) news and enterprise reporting by all three newspapers.

Hope to flesh this out as the day goes on, but one thing is certain: This is yet another sign of the desperation hitting the newspaper industry.

To see the rest of the post, go to: http://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com/pulp/2008/08/south_florida_daily_newspapers.php

Friday, August 29, 2008

Herbstreit pick: Gators vs. Trojans in BCS Title Game here in Jan.

While writing out my next blog post, I was listening to ESPN's Pardon the Interruption, as is often the case.
My ears perked up when I heard Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon's interview with ESPN (and former Ohio State Buckeye) college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit say that if he had to make a prediction right now, he'd look for the Florida Gators to face the USC Trojans in the 2009 Fed Ex BCS Title Game on January 8th at Dolphin Stadium.
Orange Bowl Committee: http://www.orangebowl.org/

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Turning lemons into lemonade the Hallandale Beach way: start submarine races...

My comments follow the article, which, once again, shows the circus never really ever leaves Hallandale Beach.

South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Down with this ship: Hallandale Beach and neighbors want sunken vessel removed
City and neighbors want to get rid of a sunken boat
By Ihosvani Rodriguez
August 25, 2008

Hallandale Beach - A 30-foot fishing boat that went down more than a month ago is still tangled in legal red tape.

The city has been trying to figure out how to get rid of the unnamed vessel, now almost completely submerged behind a foreclosed home in the affluent Golden Isles neighborhood.

Neighbors, many living in mansions and with mega-yachts docked nearby, are outraged by the barnacle-encrusted hulk visible from the Sunset Drive bridge.

"It's a real mess, major mess," said Marvin Wellen, who lives next door to the foreclosed, $1.1 million home in the 500 block of Oleander Drive. The owner of the house, who also co-owned the boat, is missing.

The sunken boat is an example of how the housing slump and increase in foreclosures are having a devastating effect on South Florida. There were 2,865 Broward County homeowners on the verge of losing their homes to lenders in July, double the 1,430 from a year ago, according to figures from the Foreclosuresdaily.com research firm.
The number of foreclosure sales swelled to 1,648, from 381.

According to property records, Deutsche Bank National in California took possession of the house in February. It is partially boarded up, and a cloud of mosquitoes hovers over the dark, mucky pool.

Police and neighbors said rain helped sink the boat after someone snatched its batteries and water pump.

The Broward County man who holds the registration is willing to remove the boat but can't because the bank is the legal owner. The city has been trying to sort out notification rules and assess the liability that could come with simply towing the boat away.

"We've encountered one legal obstacle after another," said Sgt. Michael Michael, of the police department's Marine Patrol Unit. "I just want to get the thing out of the water."

The registered co-owner of the boat, Donald Hughes Jr., said he contacted a salvage company but still lacks bank permission to move the boat.

"I am trying to do something about it, but I can't," he said. "It's really frustrating."

Bank officials could not be reached to comment.

Nearly every city department has worked on the problem. They called the U.S. Coast Guard, but officials said the vessel isn't blocking marine traffic or posing any hazards, so they can't help.

Now commissioners are floating the idea of an ordinance to give the city greater authority over abandoned vessels. City Manager Michael Good told commissioners he is prepared to hire a private company to take care of the vessel, but first the legal issues must be resolved. Good said cleaning up the mess could cost the city more than $5,000 and drag on for another month.
The City of Hallandale Beach's own ordinances spell out what to do.
Why not follow your own existing laws?

Do banks have super-powers that put them beyond the reach of laws?

Asked and answered.


Sec. 13-42. Abandoned or derelict vessels and floats in public waters.
(a) Definitions. The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this section, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this subsection, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:

Float means anything that stays or causes something else to stay on the surface of the water, including rafts, floats, davits, docks and buoyant combinations.
Owner means the record owner of a vessel, float, dock or adjacent property, and any person in possession or control, or entitled to possession or control, of the property in violation.
Public waters means rivers, streams, lakes, navigable waters and associated tributaries, canals, and any bodies of water that are accessible to the public or surrounding property owners.
Vessel means any boat, watercraft, pleasure craft or device employed in the water.

(b) Abandonment of vessels prohibited.
(1) It is unlawful for any person to place, dump or abandon or cause to be placed, dumped or abandoned in the public waters of the city any vessel or float, or portion in a wrecked, derelict, junked or substantially dismantled condition without the consent of the governmental entity having jurisdiction.
(2) It is unlawful for any person to store or leave any vessel or float of any kind in a wrecked, derelict, junked, substantially dismantled or submerged condition, or abandoned upon or in any public waterway within the jurisdiction of the city.
(3) It is unlawful for any person to moor, place, leave or tie up in any waterway within the city any vessel, float or watercraft of any kind which is found to be of unsightly appearance or in badly deteriorated condition, or which is likely to cause damage to private or public property, or which may be a menace to navigation, or which poses a threat to the environment; except that such boat, vessel or watercraft may moor at licensed marine facilities for the purpose of repair.

(c) Enforcement.
(1) If any vessel or float shall be found in violation of this section, the owner of the vessel or float and the owner of the adjacent property shall, upon notice, cause the immediate removal of the vessel or float for the purposes of repair or disposal.
(2) It shall be a defense to this section for any owner of adjacent property to show that the vessel or float came to be on or adjacent to his property without his consent or without his knowledge.
(3) If any vessel or float shall be declared in violation of this section, the city shall have the immediate right to have the vessel removed and impounded or destroyed. All costs for towing and storage will be assessed to the owner.
(4) If the vessel or float is of unsightly appearance, badly deteriorated, whether afloat or sunken, and poses no hazard to navigation, and is no threat to the environment, the city through its agents shall notify the owner or authorized person in writing and shall also post a notice, if practicable, upon the vessel or float and give the owner or authorized person a 15-day period to correct the violation. If the violation is not corrected within 30 days, the city shall have the right to have the vessel removedand impounded.
(5) If any vessel or float is towed or impounded due to violation of this section and if after 90 days, is unclaimed, it will be sold with the proceeds paying for charges incurred and the remainder shall be held for a period of 90 days to be claimed by the rightful owner and thereafter forfeited to the city if not claimed. Failure to act on the part of the owner waives all liability on the part of the city from any damage resulting from towing and storage.
(6) Storage fees may be assessed by the city if the storage facility is a city garage or docking facility, or if active storage fees are incurred.
(7) All costs incurred by the city shall be a lien on the property as provided in section 10-65.

(d) Other means of abatement.
(1) The city, upon determining that a vessel has been abandoned in the public waters and that such vessel is not a derelict vessel, may remove such vessel pursuant to the procedures set forth in F.S. ch. 705, "Lost or Abandoned Property." As set forth in F.S. § 705.103, the rightful owner of such vessel shall be liable for the costs of removal of the abandoned vessel.
(2) In addition, the city may invoke any remedy provided by state statute or rule, county ordinance, or by general law. This section shall be in addition to and supplemental to such other laws and regulations.

(e) Jurisdiction. This section may be enforced by the code enforcement board of the city, by civil citation, or in any court having jurisdiction.
(Code 1980, § 13-32)

Cross references: Traffic and motor vehicles, and boats, ch. 28.
Secs. 13-43--13-60. Reserved.
The fantastic pull quote: "Nearly every [HB] city department has worked on the problem..."
Sure, why not give everyone in the city the opportunity to make a bad situation EVEN WORSE!

I can only imagine what DPW's solution might've been.
Put more holes in the boat so that it would float up to the surface of the water on its own?
That sounds like their sort of response.

Honestly, are the Kardashian Sisters running things at HB City Hall?

No, because even they -especially Khloe, the one who runs DASH- would have more common sense to get something done before it becomes yet another subject worthy of mocking commentary in the community and media.

Why do I say this?

Because the City of Hallandale Beach's DPW Dept. is who is nominally in charge of the city's recycling facility at Ingalls Park. http://www.hallandalebeachfl.gov/index.asp?NID=547
Have you ever been there?

It's the city in microcosm.

The recycling facility there, as I've mentioned here before, doesn't have a specific bin for household batteries, which aren't supposed to be placed with regular garbage.

(As I've noted here previously, back in Arlington County, individual Fire Stations had plastic bins located outside the building for easy drop off of household batteries.)

The recycling facility that for months this spring and summer had lids missing from the recycling dumpsters.

Then, once they were properly secured, months later, someone at DPW got the "genius" idea of cutting out square holes in the lids, which is their current state.
Presumably, so that the plastic, aluminum and glass that is recycled by HB citizens can be assured of getting their weekly intake of rainwater.

The recycling facility that is one block south of Hallandale Beach Blvd. but which has ZERO directional signs on that street -or the neighborhood- indicating where the recycling facility is

Honestly, if consciously you do a piss-poor job of maintaining the facility in the first place, and don't bother to even post helpful signs on one of the city's three main thoroughfares, a block away, don't act disappointed that the public's response rate is lower than you expected.

Typical Hallandale Beach City Hall Planning: Garbage in, garbage out!
And no common sense for recycling.

It's beyond embarrassing!

It's made all the worse by the fact that I've mentioned all these matters before in minute detail at public meetings where Mayor Joy Cooper, City Manager Mike Good and DPW director Brant were present.

This coming weekend, take a look at the self-evident photos I'll have posted here, which I've snapped over the past few months to highlight the neglect and mismanagment of something that seems almost too simple to screw up?

And ask yourself why these simple problems can't be solved by Mr. Brant, the head of DPW, and City Hall?

As to the matter of the boat, perhaps HB can ask the U.S. Coast Guard or Navy to bring in an underwater demolition squad to have a go at it.

[Perhaps the Coast Guard will recognize it for the great opportunity that it is and contact the producers down in Coconut Grove at South Beach Hoosier fave Burn Notice, and incorporate the explosion into an upcoming episode. http://www.usanetwork.com/series/burnnotice/
Why not?

I've already daydreamed a bit during some recent boring govt. meetings and imagined myself laughing and conversing with Burn Notice newbie Tricia Helfer over a table at an outdoor restaurant at the new Village of Gulfstream once it's finito. http://www.triciahelfer.com/

Not as her crossword puzzle-carrying, gun-wielding baddie character Carla, but just Tricia, another in a long line of beautiful and interesting actresses from Canada who've come south of the border. For which we're all very grateful!

Her popularity is such that when you simply type in the name "Tricia" in Google, her website comes up as your #1 choice. Now that's popular!

See this interesting column from Sunday's Los Angeles Times:
'Burn Notice': The Novel
Does a real writer accept a gig doing books spun off from films or TV shows? A real writer found the answer to his own question.
By Tod Goldberg, Special to The Times
August 24, 2008

If you want a more descripive bio of the evil Miss Carla:
http://www.usanetwork.com/series/burnnotice/theshow/characterprofiles/carla/index.html ]

Once the 'frog men' have done their thing, when the explosion -naturally- goes awry, and causes damage to nearby Golden Isles homes, or ruptures some underground pipes, causing a total loss of pressure to water pipes, and requires area mega-money residents to line-up every morning with giant water containers for the Red Cross and Broward County Emergency water dispensery, everyone can ask why it is that these sort of things always spiral out-of-control, over and over again in Hallandale Beach.

Of course, on the plus side, maybe the explosion will cause some oil to come bubblin' up a la Jed Clampett.
You know, "Texas Tea."

Just don't let Granny see the Navy 'frog men,' because as you all know perfectly well, Granny hates 'frog men' anywhere near the 'cement pond.'

One of the funniest BH episodes ever!
The first of the nine-episode arc on frog men which eventually led to the 'Grunion Invasion."
Episode 254, October 6, 1970 "Mark Templeton Arrives"
Mark Templeton, a Navy frogman, arrives to court Elly May, but Granny misunderstands his profession and thinks he is half-human, half-frog.

#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 atop Mount Corcovado 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 in Rio looks like, up close, plus the Amazon area of Brazil that Esther grew up near in Manaus, here's 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

A floresta Amazônica tem um papel fundamental no equilíbrio do clima na Terra e, portanto, na vida de cada um de nós. Nos últimos anos a proteção diminuiu e o desmatamento aumentou drasticamente. E o que já era ruim, pode ficar ainda pior. Se as medidas que o governo vem tomando não forem vetadas, nosso futuro estará ameaçado. Diga NÃO à diminuição da proteção da Floresta do Jamanxim! Diga NÃO à exploração de minério no coração da floresta! #TodosPelaAmazônia #342Amazonia #TodosPelaAmazonia Assine a petição: link na bio. ������✨���� The Amazon Rainforest plays a key role in balancing the climate on the Earth and therefore in each of our lives. In recent years, protection has decreased and deforestation has increased sharply. And what was already bad can get even worse. If the measures that the government has been taking are not vetoed, our future will be threatened. Say NO to the reduction of the Jamanxim Forest´s protection! Say NO to ore mining in the heart of the Forest! #togetherfortheAmazon

A post shared by Gisele Bündchen (@gisele) on