Hallandale Beach Blog -A common sense public policy overview offering a critical perspective on the current events, politics, government, public policy, sports scene and pop culture of Europe, Sweden, the U.S. & South Florida. In particular, Broward & Miami-Dade County, and the cities of Hallandale Beach & Hollywood.
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 South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

re Broward Politics blog: Facebook debate; Wed. mtg. in Hollywood re Johnson Street

May 19th, 2009
1 p.m.

You might recall that the Miami Herald recently
ran a lengthy story about the topic of Facebook
which NEVER discussed the legal aspects of this
sort of social networking tools for public officials
and or govt. agencies.
I read the story closely three times just to make
sure I wasn't missing it.
Nope, the Herald never mentioned it, even while
I kept waiting for them to discuss the obvious reason
for concern in the next paragraph.

(Secret coded messages, for instance, to let
people/lobbyists know inside info, as I've
heard has already happened elsewhere in
the country.
The ol' hiding-in-plain sight angle!)

Par for the course at the Herald of late, sad to say,
that particular paragraph never ever appeared.

As of now, I plan on being at the workshop at
Hollywood City Hall Wednesday morning at
11 a.m. to discuss the future of the Johnson Street
area of the beach -now that Marriott took a powder-
which was long one of our family's hangouts after
we moved here 41 years ago, and a place my
two younger sisters and I knew like the back
of our hand when we were growing-up down
here, when they had trampolines there.

That's before the regular Hollywood City
Commission meeting at 1 p.m.

Later tonight, I'm going to try to post something
about that meeting here along with some links to
photographs of the Johnson Street area over the
past 40 years.
I may even try to swing by Johnson Street before
Comm. London's Resident Forum meeting at
the HB Cultural Center at 6 p.m. -his last one
until September- and snap some recent shots
of the bandshell.

Then I'll have a means of comparison, as well as
show the original renderings from the printed
presentation that Marriott and Zyscovich
put together from
over two years ago. which I immediately thought
was the best of the myriad hotel proposals
presented at the time, in large part because of
the public entertainment aspect to the plan.

Trust me, if NMB had had a bandshell/stage like
Hollywood's while I was growing-up down here
in the '70's, especially AT THE BEACH over
at Sunny Isles,

I absolutely guarantee you that my friends and
I would've figured out a way to mobilize and
convince the powers-that-be at NMB City Hall
to give us the go-ahead to make sure that high
school age kids in NMB got the opportunity
to play there for at least 2-4 hours a month on
Friday or Saturday nights, so that people could
get the valuable experience of performing LIVE,
whether as part of an organized school or church
effort, an actual musical group or as a solo act.

It would've been a big improvement over the
impromptu music that took place once in a while
over on the Intercoastal side of Haulover Beach
that I used to be witness to.
Located right near the water, while not exactly
California hip in ambiance, like it would be in
some TV show or film set in Santa Monica, Malibu
or Santa Barbara, it was better than nothing.

That is, until it started raining and everybody
ran into their cars like wet rats, and all the older
kids decided to split and go somewhere else in
their cars -without us!- like Greynolds Park
or the Hollywood Fashion Mall (back when
that was THE place if you were bored by the
usual suspects at the 163rd Street Shopping Center.
down the street from my house), leaving
9th-grade me and my friends stuck having
to wait and catch the H bus on A1A back to the
163rd Street Shopping Center.
Very, very un-cool and embarrassing!

In retrospect, given the resource they have
that nobody else around here has, it's pretty
clear that the City of Hollywood should've been
much smarter 25-30 years ago and and figured
out some logical way of better integrating
high school age kids into civic and social
activities than they did, and one way would've
been simple: music.

Have musical competitions or a battle of the
bands, say kids with bands from South Broward
High vs. Hollywood Hills, while integrating
individual singers or jazz or classical acoustic
musicians in-between acts, and maybe combine
the actual high school bands from different
schools for holiday shows or special occasions.

Maybe if they'd done that then, there'd actually
be extant photos of a young Johnny Depp from
Hallandale performing with his band, if they were
composed of Hollywood kids, at the bandshell,
and he'd be better known for his music than his

It's not too late for the City of Hollywood to see the
light and make up for all that lost time and give some
talented local kids in the city the chance to perform
live, and create a very positive dynamic there using
resources they already have.
And you use the spirit of competition to get the best
out of the kids.

If you didn't see this yesterday on Channel 4...
Hollywood Neighbors Get Grief From Squatters

Brittany Wallman's article from yesterday which
is the basis of this post is at
and the reader comments are at:


South Florida Sun-Sentinel's Broward Politics blog

Facebook debate, Take II: Property appraiser's office defends it

By Brittany Wallman
May 18, 2009


South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Coral Springs plans to start gathering friends on Facebook

By LISA J. HURIASH, Sun Sentinel
May 10, 2009
There are still some technicalities to work out, but after getting the OK from the Florida Attorney General's Office, Coral Springs plans to debut on Facebook within months.

Mayor Scott Brook, who came up with the idea, said he envisions using the networking site to "talk" to young people the city has not been in touch with.

"It might wind up being the best way for us to communicate regularly, easily and efficiently," he said.

Coral Springs could be the first city in the state to have a Facebook page.

It is the first city to ask the state for a legal opinion about the social networking tool, said Sandi Copes, communications director for the attorney general.

The question is how to make the Facebook page comply with state law, said City Manager Michael Levinson.

The rest is easy: The state said commissioners can't talk to each other on Facebook because that would violate the Sunshine Law requirement that politicians discuss city business in the open. And comments posted to the city's page by its "friends" will be public, too.

Miami Herald

THE INTERNET: City leaders finding it sweet to 'tweet' -

Twitter's gone viral with townspeople using it to send community

news blasts and BOLOs.

By HOWARD COHEN, hcohen@MiamiHerald.com
May 5, 2009
Communication at the speed of send has hit city and county halls.

Palmetto Bay Mayor Eugene Flinn regularly tweets. Cutler Bay Commissioner Ernie Sochin signed up on Twitter this month and immediately posted on the site, Does anyone who knows me think I can say anything in less than 140 characters? C'mon!!

This week, Alec Rosen declared his candidacy for city commissioner in South Miami -- via Twitter. It's a first for Miami politics, he says. "It allows us to communicate directly with people who find something in value in what it is you have to say -- in 140 characters or less," Rosen says. He'll compete for the seat against Rene Guim, who also plans to tweet during his campaign.

Miami Beach public information officer Nannette Rodriguez tweets, too. So does Miami Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami, under the name IRL.

Following their every tweet are a host of community activists in Miami-Dade County, Palmetto Bay, Cutler Bay, Coconut Grove, Doral and elsewhere with fast fingers on BlackBerries, iPhones and laptops. They've all mastered the art of the 140-character missive -- the limitation of Twitter messages.

"I heard this in a seminar once, that it's better to reach 500 people who want to receive your message than sending to 50,000 people who don't care," Rodriguez says.

That quote, by the way, would be too long by 10 characters or so in Tweetspeak.

"It's another tool," Flinn says of Twitter, a social networking site founded in 2006 that has more than 14 million followers who answer Twitter's prime directive: "What are you doing?"

On Twitter, you sign up to follow those you want.

"I'm excited about another medium that . . . encourages participation in our government," Flinn says. "It shrinks the world."

Indeed, Oprah Winfrey recently joined in. The talk show mogul already has 561,764 followers who read her latest revelation: no i'm not wearing a weave to which CNN's Larry King responded on his Twitter page, neither am I.


City officials are tapping their own inner Oprahs.

"Governments need to communicate with their customers -- their residents. What what we are doing for them is providing information on legislative actions or events in the community," says Hilda Fernandez, assistant city manager for Miami Beach.

The city of Miami Beach has had a Facebook and MySpace account for awhile, Fernandez says. "Twitter was the next logical step," she says.

The Beach Tweets are along the lines of the following:

Commission meeting ran late with many items continued til another meeting

Public hearing on New World Symphony agreement to be held on Wed at 2:30PM Details:
http://tinyurl.com/c9a7tw, and

TAG, you're it! Report graffiti here:

The Beach does not send out tweets on referendums or other major county decisions immediately, Rodriguez says. A city clerk reviews the information before making it public; Rodriguez types the tweet on her Blackberry or home computer.

The city also has worked with its police department to post information on criminal suspects through its Twitter page, MiamiBeachNews. Miami-Dade has attracted 112 followers for its new page, MiamiDadeCounty.

In Palmetto Bay, Flinn, who has 73 followers so far, has posted council meeting decisions as they happen.

Take this message, which arrived 45 minutes into a recent Palmetto Bay council meeting: Breaking news: PB council just approved new fire station at PBVC. Greater safety for residents. Details on web site tomorrow. Great News


"I want to be aggressive and maintain a personal contact and hope it's another venue for people to reach me on these personal events," Flinn says. "Everything is across the board with communication. There's no excuse for not accessing your local government."

Opponents such as Jim Araiza, who was defeated by Flinn for the mayor's seat in 2006, and Coconut Grove activist Tom Falco agree. They maintain Twitter pages of their own -- ionpalmettobay and GroveGrapevine, respectively.


"Every city has to have watchdogs, the media can't cover every event," says Grant Miller, publisher of a chain of community newspapers in South Florida.

Araiza wrote a political column for Miller's Palmetto Bay Community Newspaper until he ran for office in 2006. Now, he tweets.

"My attitude is I'm hoping we can improve people's lives by providing commentary on village news, taxpayer issues, to get more residents involved in community affairs," Araiza says.

After his South Miami PR firm won an award for a social networking marketing campaign for a client, Rosen realized the possibilities for his own run for office. "I didn't want to be the cobbler's kid with no shoes, I should do for myself what I do for my clients."

The drawback? One can swamp followers with too many messages -- the quickest way to lose an audience. Flinn, who has posted 55 updates, is mindful of that possibility.

"The hard part with Twitter," Flinn says, "is to make sure people aren't overwhelmed and that my messages don't get lost in the sheer volume of tweets they get."


Slightly off-target but still re Facebook, I found this article below by

the Herald's Andrea Torres quite interesting because it raised the

issue of graffiti taggers actually having the gall to use Facebook

to display their crimes, which after I read it, seemed completely

obvious, but hadn't occurred to me before.

I've been snapping shots of graffiti on road signs in HB and Hollywood

for the past few weeks ever since reading this piece, to see if I spot

a particular pattern.

I've noticed that U.S. Postal Sevice adhesive labels are esp. popular,

in that people can write on them at home, carry them with them discreetly

and then slap them on signs at night or very quickly during the day when

nobody is looking.

This is a REAL problem on Hallandale Beach Blvd. and is the reason

why those labels are NOT in the lobby of the Post Office on Layne Blvd.,

across from the Starbuck's I frequent and instead kept at the front

counter where the USPS employees can keep an eye on them.


Miami Herald

Graffiti writers vs. police: a game of cat and mouse

By ANDREA TORRES, atorres@MiamiHerald.com
April 12, 2009

Gang unit detectives and graffiti writers are constantly trying to outsmart each other, so secrecy and paranoia are the norm when it comes to the ways of graffiti.

Writers ride a fine line between making their tags famous and maintaining anonymity. Detectives must link the vandal to the tag.

"It has nothing to do with poverty anymore. It doesn't matter what gender, ethnicity, age or socioeconomic status," said Miami Gang Unit Detective Andres Valdes. "We have arrested kids from Coral Gables, Key Biscayne and Coconut Grove."

To navigate Miami's world of graffiti, detectives and writers get in the habit of recognizing hundreds of short catchy names constantly appearing on property. Valdes sometimes rides the metro in civilian clothes to look for trends and patterns.

"You go around looking for tags that you can recognize," said Hialeah Gang Unit Detective Israel Perez. "When they are not in your area, you share that information with other departments."

Both detectives and writers take pictures of tags. Writers post them on the Web to brag. Detectives archive them to build or enhance evidence for prosecution.

"We have a Hialeah detective who takes pictures every morning, documents it and archives the information," Perez said.

As the hunt for intelligence increasingly moves from the streets to the Internet, some police departments are going undercover online to befriend vandals.

"That type of work requires an undercover computer that won't track back to a police department as the original server," said Perez, who said Hialeah has yet to provide their gang unit with that tool.

Writers are regularly sharing pictures and videos of their stunts on websites such as YouTube, Flickr, Blogger, deviantArt,
Facebook and MySpace.

"They do graffiti for notoriety, so they can't help it," Perez said.

Because most writers start young, detectives frequent schools to get acquainted with kids who may be tagging.

"You keep your eyes open for drawings on their shoes, backpacks, hats or their notebooks," Perez said. "Sometimes they give their tag away."

Valdes said training in schools is the most important part of his job.

"Teachers and counselors are at the front of the battle," Valdes said.

Police said an important part of the training is understanding that gang members and graffiti writers live in two different worlds.

Miami writers, who are generally not violent, belong to dozens of crews identifiable by acronyms with interchangeable meanings. Their only mission is to paint.

"They change the names of their crews like they change their underwear," Perez said. "They are generally very intelligent kids so they get creative with their names."

Graffiti crews are not territorial. They are usually born from friendships in neighborhoods and schools, and that does not define the areas they vandalize.

"A gang is there to make money and it is very organized. A crew is not as organized, they just want to put their name out. It can be artistic," Valdes said. "Gang graffiti marks territory and it is used to intimidate rival gangs. It's ugly."

In the courtroom, the purpose of the vandalism or its artistic value is irrelevant. A Florida statute calls graffiti a "blight" and defines it as criminal mischief.

Most writers who prefer to paint abandoned buildings, freight trains and visible public property believe they are beautifying spaces.

"You go out to paint not with the mind-set that you are going to attack people by hurting their property," said Skott Johnson, a former writer. "You go out to find visible spots for your art."

Some writers vandalize alone at night. Others go out in small groups. Usually while a few paint, a lookout stays alert.

"It's an addictive adrenaline rush," said former writer Jay Bellicchi. "You are a kid, so you move fast, try to stay invisible and hope to be able to outrun the cop."

An arrest can be made if an officer or a witness identifies a writer in the act. More than $1,000 in damage is considered a felony, anything less is a misdemeanor. Police officers estimate the damage.

"For a felony conviction, you need a witness. For a misdemeanor, you need an officer to witness it, and a little corroborating evidence," Perez said. "The witness has to be willing to testify in court."

Detectives sometimes persuade the alleged vandal to produce a written confession. A defense attorney can try to prove the confession was coerced.

"They are not bad kids, so sometimes they tell you everything and you wish you could reward them for their honesty, but that's not how it works," Perez said.

Evidence such as spray paint, different spray-paint caps, markers, books with sketches and pictures can also be admitted in court.

"Evidence gathered during undercover investigations may be subject to a motion to suppress in cases where the officers took shortcuts that violated the law," attorney Kristen Sowers said.

First-time offenders are usually mandated to participate in an early-intervention program that includes at least 100 hours of community service.

"If it's their first time, we sometimes call their parents and we let the kids paint over their own tags," Valdes said. "But it depends on their attitude. If they don't paint it, or we see they are repeat offenders, we arrest them."

Depending on the number of prior convictions, offenders could lose their driving rights and be required to pay fines starting at $250. Municipalities and counties are permitted to establish higher penalties.

"If the graffiti offender is a minor, which is often the case, that child's parent or legal guardian may be held responsible for the payment of these fines," Sowers said.

A vandal could be sentenced to a prison term of 60 days to five years depending on the cost of the damage.

According to the Florida Legislature, gangs and crews are the same in that they have as one of their primary activities the commission of criminal or delinquent acts.

"Misguided artists can be put in prison for years and that shouldn't be," former writer Seth Schere said. "They should have access to an appropriate educational program to help them see they can put their talents to use in other ways."

A graffiti writer can be prosecuted in Florida as a gang associate if the writer has a tattoo naming a crew, associates with one or more known crew members, or has authored any communication indicating responsibility for the commission of any crime by the crew.

"Most of these kids don't have evil in them like gang members do," Perez said. "They end up in jail or special schools with real criminals and get out worse than when they came in."

Police said very few vandals get prosecuted because of lack of evidence, and those who do get punished and return to the streets go back to graffiti with a vengeance.

"I remember arresting DUNCE of DYP and now he is popping up again all over the place. You think he would have learned his lesson," Perez said. "I can detain him again, but he could say that someone else is using his tag and we got nothing."

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Hallandale Beach Blog is where I try to inject or superimpose a degree of accountability, transparency and insight onto Florida and local Broward County government and public policy issues, which I feel is sorely lacking in local media now. On this blog, locally, I concentrate my energy, enthusiasm, anger and laser-like attention on the coastal cities of Hallandale Beach and Hollywood.
If you lived in this part of South Florida, you'd ALREADY be stuck in stultifying traffic, paying higher-than-necessary taxes and continually musing about the chronic lack of accountability among not only elected govt. officials, but also of city, county and state employees as well. Collectively, with a few rare exceptions, they couldn't be farther from the sort of strong results-oriented, eager work-ethic mentality that local residents deserve and expect.
This is particularly true in the town I live in, the City of Hallandale Beach, just north of Aventura and south of Hollywood. There, the "Perfect Storm" of years of apathy, incompetency and cronyism are all too readily apparent.
Sadly for its residents, HB is where even easily-solved, quality-of-life problems are left to fester for YEARS on end, because of myopia, lack of common sense and ineffective supervisory management. It's a city with lots of potential because of its terrific location, yet its citizens have become numb to its outrages and screw-ups after years of the worst kind of mismanagement and lack of foresight. On a daily basis, they wake up and see the same old problems that have never being adequately resolved by the city in a logical and responsible fashion, merely kicked -once again- further down the road.
I used to ask myself, not always rhetorically, "Where are all the enterprising young reporters who want to show that through their own hard work and enterprise, what REAL investigative reporting can produce?" Hearing no response, I decided to start a blog that could do some of these things, taking the p.o.v. of a reasonable but skeptical person seeing the situation for the first time, and wanting questions answered in a honest and logical way that citizens have the right to expect.

Hallandale Beach Blog intends to be a catalyst for positive change.
If there's one constant gripe in South Florida, regardless of your age, race, nationality or political persuasion, it's about the fundamental lack of PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY here among Florida's state, regional and local govt./agency officials. Hallandale Beach Blog aims to be a small step towards regaining some of that needed accountability, whether it's thru simple public scrutiny, or requires a degree of follow-up investigation and public exposure of incompetency, cronyism or simple negligence -South Florida's usual governing style.
"And David put his hand in the bag and took out a stone and slung it. And it struck the Philistine on the head and he fell to the ground. Amen."- Preacher Purl encouraging the underdog Hickory High basketball team before the state title game against heavily-favored South Bend Central in 1986's Hoosiers
Audio of pregame speech:

Paradise Lost? South Florida

Paradise Lost? South Florida
TIME magazine of November 23, 1981: Paradise Lost? South Florida . Click photo to see original article.

Bill Cooke of @Random_Pixels has the article, Paradise Lost? South Florida

Hallandale Beach Blog

Hallandale Beach Blog
Hallandale Beach Blog/South Beach Hoosier's crimson-colored Indiana University cap. If you see someone at a South Florida govt. meeting or public policy discussion wearing this IU cap, scribbling notes furiously -and shaking his head in disbelief- don't be afraid to come over and say hello or pitch prospective story ideas. Photo by South Beach Hoosier. Move your mouse over the cap and be sent to the IU Athletic Dept.'s YouTube Channel.

Hallandale Beach Water Tower, looking east from State Road A1A/South Ocean Drive; May 2009 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation

In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation
"In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation." -South Beach Hoosier, 2007.
The South Florida I Grew Up In
Excerpted from Joan Didion's Miami, 1987, Simon & Schuster:
In the continuing opera still called, even by Cubans who have now lived the largest part of their lives in this country, el exilo, the exile, meetings at private homes in Miami Beach are seen to have consequences. The actions of individuals are seen to affect events directly. Revolutions and counter-revolutions are framed in the private sector, and the state security apparatus exists exclusively to be enlisted by one or another private player. That this particular political style, indigenous to the Caribbean and to Central America, has now been naturalized in the United States is one reason why, on the flat coastal swamps of South Florida, where the palmettos once blew over the detritus of a dozen failed booms and the hotels were boarded up six months a year, there has evolved since the early New Year's morning in 1959 when Fulgencio Batista flew for the last time out of Havana a settlement of considerable interest, not exactly an American city as American cities have until recently been understood but a tropical capital: long on rumor, short on memory, overbuilt on the chimera of runaway money and referring not to New York or Boston or Los Angeles or Atlanta but to Caracas and Mexico, to Havana and to Bogota and to Paris and Madrid. Of American cities Miami has since 1959 connected only to Washington, which is the peculiarity of both places, and increasingly the warp...

"The general wildness, the eternal labyrinths of waters and marshes, interlocked and apparently neverending; the whole surrounded by interminable swamps... Here I am then in the Floridas, thought I," John James Audobon wrote to the editor of The Monthly American Journal of Geology and Natural Science during the course of an 1831 foray in the territory then still called the Floridas. The place came first, and to touch down there is to begin to understand why at least six administrations now have found South Florida so fecund a colony. I never passed through security for a flight to Miami without experiencing a certain weightlessness, the heightened wariness of having left the developed world for a more fluid atmosphere, one in which the native distrust of extreme possibilities that tended to ground the temperate United States in an obeisance to democratic institutions seemed rooted, if at all, only shallowly. At the gate for such flights the preferred language was already Spanish. Delays were explained by weather in Panama. The very names of the scheduled destinations suggested a world in which many evangelical inclinations had historically been accommodated, many yearnings toward empire indulged...

In this mood Miami seemed not a city at all but a tale, a romance of the tropics, a kind of waking dream in which any possibility could and would be accommodated...

So this is where our tax dollars go to die?

"So this is where our tax dollars go to die? My friend and fellow civic activist Csaba Kulin, perhaps wondering when we're FINALLY going to get the clean and inviting public beach that Hallandale Beach residents believe we're entitled to but have never received under Mayor Cooper and her Rubber Stamp Crew.
Instead, we get rusty pipes in the middle of the beach and garbage cans on the beach -without lids- at the windiest place in the entire city. And a public building across the street from the beach that the public can't use for free but which city employees can -for their holiday parties." Click photo to see many more photos of the site and the original post, or http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/2012/06/latest-info-photos-re-related-groups.html; 2012 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

Just as true now as it was when it was written in June 2012!

Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino and Village at GP retail complex, Hallandale Beach, FL

Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino and Village at GP retail complex, Hallandale Beach, FL
Entrance monument to Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino and The Village at Gulfstream Park retail complex on U.S.-1 & SE 3rd St. Hallandale Beach, FL. October 5, 2010 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

Gulfstream Way at Gulfstream Park Race Track in Hallandale Beach, FL

Gulfstream Way at Gulfstream Park Race Track in Hallandale Beach, FL
The north-south street sign in the middle of Gulfstream Park Race Track in Hallandale Beach, FL that leads to-and-from the track and the retail Village at Gulfstream Park to Hallandale Beach Blvd. north of the facilities. October 5, 2010 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

The View from the Hallandale Beach/Hollywood city line

The View from the Hallandale Beach/Hollywood city line
Looking south towards The Beach Club and the Hallandale Beach Water Tower on A1A from the beach, near the Hollywood cityline, May 2, 2009 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

A fish rots from the head down, and so does local government in Hallandale Beach, FL

A fish rots from the head down, and so does local government in Hallandale Beach, FL
City of Hallandale Beach Municipal Complex, 400 S. Federal Highway. The City of Hallandale Beach Municipal Complex: If it's true that a fish rots from the head down, so it does in local government in Broward County, FL. This monument sign on the west side of the intersection of U.S.-1 and S.E. 5th Street, across from Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino and the Village at Gulfstream Park retail complex, alerts you to your proximity to HB City Hall and the HB Police Department HQ. It's a place and culture whose very own words and actions have made clear to taxpayers of this city -regardless of age, race or income- that it holds itself apart from and above from the very citizens it's supposed to serve, often acting like they don't have to follow the same laws that govern everyone else in the state of Florida and the U.S., whether of logic, reason or contracts. (More to the point of this blog, the Florida Statutes on Sunshine Laws and Public Records.) City employees in Hallandale Beach routinely refuse to answer perfectly reasonable questions posed to them by taxpayers, and as I have found out myself and witnessed, are not above berating you for even having the nerve to ask! As it happens, it's also not a very safe area, despite who operates here, and over the past nine years, the public parking lots have often been pitch-black for 6-9 months at a time, including in front of the HB Police Dept. HQ. Then-Police Chief Thomas Magill even shrugged his shoulders at City Comm. meetings when told about this a few times. As if they couldn't make a worse first impression, at one point, even the spotlights shining on this sign didn't work at night for over FOUR YEARS, either. October 13, 2012 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

"Why do they need that in the Broward County charter?"

"Laws and Constitutions go for nothing where the general sentiment is corrupt."
-New York Times, September 22, 1851

"Why do they need that in the Broward County charter?"
-Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper at April 2, 2008 HB City Commission meeting, in discussing possible inclusion of Broward County Charter Review Commission's proposal for Ethics Commission to deal with Broward County Commission, on November 2008 ballot.
Six YEARS after the county's voters had overwhelmingly passed an amendment to the County charter requiring its adoption, the Broward County Commission had yet to live up to its legal responsibility. That's why!

Looking east on State Road 858/Hallandale Beach Blvd.

Looking east  on State Road 858/Hallandale Beach Blvd.
Looking east on State Road 858/Hallandale Beach Blvd., over the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway bridge, toward the iconic Hallandale Beach Water Tower and the three condo towers comprising The Beach Club. September 8, 2008 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

Hallandale Beach Water Tower on A1A/South Ocean Drive

Hallandale Beach Water Tower on A1A/South Ocean Drive
Hallandale Beach Water Tower on A1A/South Ocean Drive. Located below the Hallandale Beach Water Tower on A1A/South Ocean Drive, on the south side (right) is the "Community Center" that HB City Hall, thru their gross incompetency, has made impossible for HB citizen taxpayers to use now for 41 MONTHS as of January 2011. (And where's the American flag on the Fourth of July weekend? Missing in action as it had been for months!) July 3, 2009 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2012 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

The Related Group's The Beach Club, consisting of three condo towers

The Related Group's The Beach Club, consisting of three condo towers
The Beach Club. Looking SE at The Beach Club from the Hollywood side of State Road A1A. May 12, 2008 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2012 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

City of Hollywood City Hall, 2600 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, FL

City of Hollywood City Hall, 2600 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, FL
City of Hollywood City Hall. An early morning shot of the east side of Hollywood City Hall the morning of the Johnson Street Redevelopment RFP Evaluation Committee meeting, where presentations were heard; October 14, 2009 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved. For more info on what's going on with this important project, see http://www.hollywoodfl.org/html/JohnsonStBeachRFP.htm

North Miami Beach Senior High School, the Home of the Chargers

North Miami Beach Senior High School, the Home of the Chargers
Before I was a Hoosier, I was an NMB Charger, Class of 1979

Sebastian the Ibis, the U-M mascot

Sebastian the Ibis, the U-M mascot
Like longtime U-M fans everywhere, including me, Sebastian the Ibis, the U-M mascot, hasn't had very much to cheer about lately, given the general state of mediocrity and underwhelming performances coming from the Hurricanes. Isn't it about time for fans to finally see some tangible signs that the new AD is moving things in the right direction? Where are the signs? I'm NOT seeing them. The woeful U-M Women's program is largely composed of teams that are NOT even close to being competitive for NCAA titles like their ACC competition, and they don't even field Women's Lacrosse or Field Hockey teams. It's embarrassing! Click on Sebastian for retrospective photo gallery of The Orange Bowl

Want to hear some REAL music talent? Of course you do!

Want to hear some REAL music talent? Of course you do!
Click on this photo of Anni to go to the FoK YouTube Channel
Full of Keys (Anni Bernhard) photographed in Rome, 2012, by Alessandro Leone. Click on the photo of Anni to go to her YouTube Channel and see videos from her first album, "Traces of a Human," and jer secomd album, "The Grazing Grounds." http://fullofkeys.com/ https://www.facebook.com/fullofkeys https://twitter.com/FullOfKeys More videos and photos of Full of Keys are at: http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/p/full-of-keys.html

Andreas Jismark, Anni Bernhard and Mats Jönsson

Andreas Jismark, Anni Bernhard and Mats Jönsson
Photo of Andreas Jismark, Anni Bernhard and Mats Jönsson, Södermalm, Stockholm, Sweden. January 11, 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier. (c) 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved. The Dolphins caps and goodies are in the yellow bag :)

A dynamic and original talent with personality to spare!

Photo above is from my June 2nd, 2013 post titled, "Our 'Full of Keys' drought is finally over! Full of Keys (a.k.a. the amazing Anni Bernhard) will be playing a showcase in New York City at Cake Shop on June 10th as part of the week-long New Music Seminar. Her new album was recorded recently in Gotland, will be mastered in NYC, aiming for a September release -with lots of very big and exciting plans coming soon! @FullOfKeys, @AndreasJismark, #AnniBernhard, #MatsJönsson, #GrazingGrounds, #NMS2013, #NYMF, #CakeShop" http://www.hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/2013/06/our-full-of-keys-drought-is-finally.html
Click the photo to read that post, watch her videos and learn more about this dynamic and original talent with personality to spare!

Singer/songwriter Full of Keys (Anni Bernhard)

Singer/songwriter Full of Keys (Anni Bernhard)
Singer/songwriter Full of Keys (Anni Bernhard) wearing the teal-colored Miami Dolphins cap I gave her in January 2013 (in Stockholm) while recording her 2nd album, "The Grazing Grounds" at Sandkvie Studios in Visby, Gotland, Sweden. Also pictured here are sound engineer and co-producer Linus Larsson and musician/DJ/co-producer Mats Jönsson, April 12, 2013. Click the photo to see my post on Anni last summer.

Let's end the 27-year NCAA title drought!

Let's end the 27-year NCAA title drought!
IU All-American and U.S. Olympian Steve Alford on the cover of the 1987 Indiana University basketball media guide, months after IU won the NCAA basketball title.

The NCAA Championship Banners

The NCAA Championship Banners
Assembly Hall, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana. I was there in 1981 for NCAA Title #4 vs. North Carolina. Click on photo to go to the IU Basketball homepage.

Using a map of Stockholm and my Samsung mobile's Latitude app to find out where some friends and contacts in Stockholm were before I called to let them know I'd arrived from Arlanda Airport and had checked into the B&B in Södermalm. If only it had been an OpenStreetMap! January 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved; Click the photo to see OpenStreetMap's amazing map of Stockholm and a whole world of useful maps you never even knew existed

Solrea - Sveriges bästa resesök

Solrea - Sveriges bästa resesök
The colder and snowier it got in Stockholm, the more this simple ad seemed like genius. Sometimes, you don't have to reinvent the advertising wheel. When you're a travel agency and it's cold and snowing, make your target audience think of summers and traveling to an inviting warm beach. Above, one of the many Sistaminuten.se display ads I saw on the side of pay phones throughout Stockholm. This one was located on Ringvägen, across the street from the Åhléns Dept. store (with the Hemköp grocery store in the basement that I frequented) west of busy Götgatan and the Skanstull T-bana, the southern commercial heart of trendy and fun Södermalm. January 11, 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved. I used this photo in my April 22, 2013 blog post titled, Tourism game-changer for South Florida travelers & Fort Lauderdale-area businesses -but only if they're smart and start planning now. Ruminations on the upcoming Norwegian.com flights b/w Ft. Lauderdale and Oslo, Stockholm & Copenhagen, and the need for Broward's hospitality industry to take full-advantage of the opportunity; @Oslo, @norway, @stockholm, @sweden, @copenhagen, @denmark. Click photo to see that post

More travel advertising in Stockholm

More travel advertising in Stockholm
Speaking of advertising, only two blocks from the wonderful 4trappor B&B I stayed at in Södermalm, Stockholm on my trip -and also located on Ringvägen- were two more display ads promoting travel. The one in the distance is for SAS, Scandinavian Airlines Systems, which I flew on to Stockholm, and the one in the foreground, on a public telephone booth, is the "Holiday is where the Heart is" ad campaign for VING. January 12, 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved. Click the photo to see their TV ad!

Risk för snöras, istappar

Risk för snöras, istappar
One of the many such warning signs that I saw on buildings and on sidewalk barricades while in Stockholm in mid-January 2013, alerting you to the possibility of falling snow and ice, often by men shoveling it off roofs. This one was spotted on a residential building in the Södermalm area of Stockholm, on Ringvägen, while I was walking over to the Åhléns Department store on Götgatan. It wasn't until I was walking back later to the B&B that I noticed the inflated Santa that some resident had intentionally placed outside of their window, so it looked like Santa was falling! January 13, 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Ringvägen, Stockholm, Sweden

Ringvägen, Stockholm, Sweden
Poster display on Ringvägen, Stockholm, Sweden. January 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved. The Affischplats plan in Stockholm, while not perfect, strikes me as a pretty good compromise in helping cultural and civic groups catch the public's eye in a way that's better than a free-for-all of groups plastering posters on the sides of buildings and utility boxes, and watching as the weather makes a mess of them. The tangible effort the city makes to get the public involved in a genuine and meaningful conversation about what is going on long-term for the city as a whole, or in a particular neighborhood, is very impressive, and made me wishful that the local government employees and planners where I live and write about regularly in my blog and in conversations with other concerned civic activists did even one-third of what Stockholm's planning employees seem to do as a starting-point.