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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Giving Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper her just due

More than two weeks later...
--------------------------
Miami Herald

Posted by CrazyPoliticians on March 23, the videos

show Doral Mayor Juan Carlos Bermudez in action.

The recordings from three council meetings -- one

from last month and two from 2007 -- have picked

up nearly 1,000 combined views.


In one titled ''City of Doral Mayor insults Chief

of Police,'' Bermudez calls Doral Police Chief Ricky

Gomez a ''big mouth'' and mocks him, noting his

"infinite wisdom.''


In ''Mayor of Doral Loses Control,'' Bermudez

pounds the gavel during a discussion on the

color of police decals, turns to then-Vice Mayor

Pete Cabrera and says while pointing,

"This is not your meeting. You're not the mayor.''


In an interview, Bermudez calls the videos ''sleazy

politics'' and says they have been taken out of

context. ''This is about outside interests who want

to discredit me and the city,'' he said. "The voters

of Doral understand my character, my integrity

and the person who I am.''


Unlike some fellow fledgling cities marred by

constant infighting, the 5-year-old city had,

until now, been seemingly calm. But tensions

have simmered behind the scenes.


Last month, an outburst between Bermudez

and former ally, now foe, Cabrera erupted

at a meeting during a contract debate.

A video of the exchange where Bermudez

threatens to remove Cabrera, warning him,

''I'm the chair,'' was posted Friday.


That night, Cabrera likened Bermudez to a

dictator. Cabrera, who requested a copy of

the 2007 tapes, said he did not post the

recordings. ''Now everybody can make their

own opinion,'' he said.

-- YUDY PINEIRO


Reader comments at:

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/miami-dade/story/986143.html?mi_pluck_action=comment_submitted&qwxq=6225937#Comments_Container

-----------------------------------

In case the links in the box above are

dead, Doral vidos are at:

Mayor of Doral threatens councilman

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKeX6MmIObU


Mayor of Doral loses control

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nICdOg9xsnk


City of Doral mayor insults chief of police

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orhUt3NTAcs


Below is a slightly edited version of an email I sent
out the day after this story originally ran in the
Miami Herald two weeks ago, to many reform-minded
citizens of Hallandale Beach and others in South
Florida with an avid interest in seeing it becoming
a functioning, democratic 21st Century city that
complies with all extant federal, state and county
laws, not an ethical outlier as currently the case.
-----------------------
Tomorrow I plan on posting something about this
on my blog with something along the lines of
"Nice try Mayor Bermudez, you've certainly
worked on your A-game, but sorry, the
evidence clearly shows that you're no
Joy Cooper."

And then I'll detail just a few of the things we
already know she's done to limit the free flow
of information in this city to its citizen taxpayers,
business owners and visitors alike.

a.) Like creating absurd rules that prevent publicly
elected members of the HB City Commission from
using their laptops on the dais during a meeting,
in order to preclude them from being able to prove
that City Manager Mike Good's office or some
city Director or employee is arguing something
and using information that either isn't either true
or factual, or hasn't met one of their own deadlines.

As happened not so long ago when Comm. Keith
Londonwas able to pull up the exact information
on the three appraisals of Comm. Anthony A.
Sanders' property to be purchased by the city
for more than seems reasonable. given the real
estate market's present course.

This effort on London's part caused the City
Manager to immediately get-up from his seat
and walk over to behind London to see what
he had on his laptop.

What London had accessed was simply factual
information in the city's own computer files,
which as an elected city official representing
the people -as opposed to the un-elected
Good and city employees- he ought to have
direct access to, as part of his sworn obligation
to residents to provide oversight.

He shouldn't have to ask for permission from
the City Manager and his staff to get access
to something that's public -not private or
part of some legal communication.
As is usually the case, I was an eyewitness
to that bit of classic Hallandale Beach
theatre-in-the-round.

It probably won't come as a surprise to you
that the logical reason that Joy Cooper
nd Mike Good decided soon afterwards
that they wanted rules that would
prevent London and the other elected
commissioners from accessing the laptops,
is because they want to keep the
information for themselves, and parcel
it out as they see best, though that's
clearly contrary to both the democratic
process and what the public's interest is.
(Sort of makes you wonder what's
to become of the laptops, eh?)

This cast of characters wants to have total
and exclusive control of all information,
lest some truth actually get out into the
atmosphere, where it can have tangible
effects.

This sort of over-the-top effort is perhaps
the best example I can think of that
demonstrates Joy Cooper's control-freak
tendencies.

If the city were actually as well run,
efficient or just plain smart about things
as a town like Coral Springs, which
annually wins awards that actually have
merit, that would be a whole lot easier
to take, but we know that it's just the
opposite here, which is why she grates
on me and so many other Hallandale
Beach citizens.

The only people she's fooling are those
who want to be fooled and keep their
eyes closed to what's self-evident.

In fact, thanks to the diligent work and
research of Change Hallandale,
we know what a well-run city like
Coral Springs is only too happy
to put in their Annual Budget,
Fiscal Year 2009:
facts and direct comparison
to other cities, including
Hallandale Beach.
See page 47

b.) Cooper created arbitrary rules
to limit the number of times -and
the amount oftime- the city
commissioners can ask questions,
as if she were on some sort of flight
schedule, or that every subject
deserves the same amount of time
and discussion, which it doesn't.
Plus, she makes no allowance for
information that emerges from
the discussion, either, which then
needs to be actively pursued, if
necessary.

Yet this is the same JoyCooper
who thinks nothing of taking an
entire hour to do 3-4 ceremonial
proclamations, but we all already
know thatEVERY single City
Commission meeting starts late,
often 10-15 minutes late or more,
often because Comm. Dorothy Ross
or City Manager Good aren't even
in the building, yet she'll often blame
the delay on technical problems with
the TV cameras.
Frankly, without sounding too cynical,
it's actually hard to know when she's
actually telling the truth, because she
so often mis-states the self-evident
facts and circumstances in order to
obfuscate.

Those damn disruptive cameras,
always causing trouble!

(Now that's chutzpah!
Too bad the City Manager
doesn't have a timecard so
that HB taxpayers can actually
see how often he's around
City Hall, since, apparently,
that isn't nearly as much as
you'd think for the $422k man.)

c.) Cooper and her Rubber Stamp
Crew routinely violate the spirit and
letter of this state's Sunshine Laws
by insisting that she can and will
continue to hold meetings in a
second-floor room at City Hall with
no TV cameras to record the
ommission's activities, knowing
full well that the Minutes of that
won't be made public for 6-9 months
-and good luck in getting them
promptly!

Those items she brings up in that
room are -surprise!- issues she
personally supports that aren't
properly/legally noticed to the
public, aren't on the printed
agendas distributed by the City
Clerk's office, et al.

Speaking of videos, in case you
haven't gone to it recently,
Change Hallandale has the
following videos of some antics
at HB City Hall at their informative
website,

Joy_loses_control_-_Clip.mp4

Commission_comments_re_Fran_resignation_Aug_8_08_1008_AM.mp4

Fran_Resigns_Aug_8_08_1008_AM.mp4

Hallandale Beach Commissioner Dotty Ross discusses qualifications she considers essential for a commissioner

Hallandale Beach City Manager notes that the City's reserves are depleted

Hallandale Beach City Manager takes offense to a Commissioner questioning him on the budget

Hallandale Beach discussion of City Commission meetings

Hallandale Beach City Manager on curbside recycling

Hallandale Beach City Manager on sanitation costs

Hallandale Beach City Manager on water costs

Hallandale Beach City Manager on City millage rate

Hallandale Beach City Manager on the City's water, sewer, and trash fees


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

The comments that I left on the

Herald's website were short and

to the point:


Nice try Doral, you've certainly

worked on your A-game, but sorry,

the evidence clearly shows

that you're no Hallandale Beach.

Our mayor, Joy Cooper, has a much
stronger game than you, but then
she practices her tricks more than
your mayor.

Did you bill taxpayers $3,700 for
the city to build you a new office
at City Hall, even though there was
NOTHING physically wrong with
your old one?

Have you created absurd new
rules that PREVENT elected
members of the City Commission
from using their laptops on the
dais during a meeting, in order
to preclude them from being
able to access them and prove
that the City Manager or another
city official is arguing something
or using information that isn't
either true or factual, or hasn't
met one of his own previous
deadlines?

Do you ROUTINELY violate
the spirit and letter of this state's
Sunshine Laws by insisting that
you can hold meetings in another
City Hall room with no TV
cameras to record the commission
voting on items NOT on the
public agenda?

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