Hallandale Beach Blog -A common sense public policy overview offering a critical perspective on the current events, politics, govt., public policy, sports scene and pop culture of the U.S., South Florida and Europe, especially the UK and Sweden. In particular, Broward & Miami-Dade County, and the cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood & Aventura. Trust me when I tell you, this part of Florida is NOT the Land of Lincoln. Pictured in upper-left is Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower on State Road A1A; September 2008 photo by me, South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Tuesday's Johnson Street Redevelopment Mtg. in Hollywood; a dynamic 'change agent' named Swanson-Rivenbark

Received this email below last week from the
City of Hollywood about a new location for the
meeting scheduled for Tuesday, Bastille Day.

Just so you know, there will be no waiters or
waitresses with serving trays running through
a block-long obstacle course on the Broadwalk
or over at The ArtsPark, with musical
accompaniment, à la D.C.
But there ought to be!
Plus de la pitié!

I attended the first public outreach meeting
at Hollywood City Hall on June 16th, following
the regularly-scheduled City Commission
meeting on whether or not the City Commission
should authorize City Manager Cameron
Benson to file an application for a City Of
Hollywood Charter School, which they did.
(More on that issue here soon.)

See the Proposed Redevelopment Process

For those of you who live in the Hallandale
Beach, South Broward or NE Miami-Dade
area with some time that day, I urge you
to attend and watch the city's new Assistant
City Manager, Cathy Swanson-Rivenbark,
in action.

She's a flat-out dynamo!

She's also a Big Ten grad, from Badgerville,
up in Wisconsin's capitol and public policy
incubator of Madison, a fabulous campus
and city with a social/cultural life that,
for its size and location -and weather-
makes Fort Lauderdale and most of Miami
look quite lame by contrast, and for good
reason.
People there are good-looking AND smart,
not just, well, you know.... like here?


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For more on Bucky:

Coincidence that she's dynamic and a
Big Ten grad?
I think not!

Hollywood City Manager Cameron Benson
is also a member of the Big Ten club,
via his years in Champaign-Urbana.,
a.k.a. U of I as it's known in the Midwest
to distinguish it from IU.and Iowa.

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Yes, that's why there used to be a minor
league baseball league sometimes called
the -wait for it- yes, Three-Eye League.

As it happens, Champaign-Urbana is also
where my wonderful friend from IU and
Briscoe Quad, the lovely, witty and oh-so
talented Lolita Zwettler was from.
Her folks were U of I professors, but fortunately
for me, she saw the light and came to
Bloomington, a wise decision I will always
be very grateful for, due to her friendship,
thoughfulness and incandescent smile.

Well, I'm not exactly breaking news here,
per se, but as has been said repeatedly of late
all around Hollywood City Hall and everywhere
else she's been in person since coming up from
the City of Coralk Gables, new Assistant City
Manager Cathy Swanson-Rivenbark, is like,
yes, "a breath of fresh air."

And people all over Hollywood and environs
are noticing how she manages to be several
positive things all at once: analytical and
professional but genuinely folksy, great at
making knowing references to public policy
successes and failures elsewhere and
far-sighted in vision for what this area needs
more of and less of, but also keenly aware
of the current economic malaise that's this
area's daily reality, especially in Downtown
Hollywood.

Every time I've been in Downtown Hollywood
for the past 18 months, one of two things
inevitably happen.

I either hear people kibbitzing or speculating
about when the bottom of the local real
estate market is "REALLY going to hit
bottom" and start rebounding, while I'm
either eating, reading or writing bearby,
or, I'm being asked directly by some small
business owner whose store or restaurant
I've been patronizing, who knows me casually,
by face or even from reading the blog,
about what I think of what's happening in
Hollywood these days, and whether I believe
local residents and businesses can really
be as patient as they may need to be,
patience never being something in great
supply around here even in the best of times,
after all.

To the latter question, I can now say truthfully
that with the addition of someone of Cathy's
self-evident talent and ability, someone who
can rather effortlessly but charmingly synthesize
information and public policy in an interesting
but understandable fashion, the City of
Hollywood has one very large and dynamic
change agent in its deck of cards that the
majority of South Florida communities simply
can't beat, not least, Hallandale Beach.

When she walks into a corporate office and
is 'on message' about Hollywood's core
strengths and opportunities, she can close
the deal for Hollywood and get them coming
back for more.

That Cathy is tremendously likable, personally,
on top of her innate talent and abilities, is
something that simply can't be ignored either.
Obviously, she can use that to the city's great
benefit in the future while trying to create some
positive opportunities, even as regular South
Florida bureaucrats fumble-and-stumble
when they make their pitch about why their
own city ought to be considered for a project.

Recently at Balance Sheet Online,
co-editor Sara Case wrote about Johnson
Street's great unrealized recent potential and
mused on what ought to go up there for the
short-term.

In a sidebar on the same page, after having
seeing her dynamic, bravura first appearance
before the bedazzled City Commission,
which I watched via streaming video, Sara wrote
"Having tried and failed three times to
get a up-market hotel resort built on the
property, the city is ripe for a major
reassessment and Ms. Swanson-Rivenbark
seems up to the task of guiding us through
it successfully."

Yes, a 'breath of fresh air" is a wonderful thing,
and can almost make you wonder how you made
do without it for so very, very long.
Having finally had it, how can you ever go back to
what you had before?

Having now seen Cathy in action first-hand a few
times myself, and also having seen far too many
woeful and forgettable presentations elsewhere
around South Florida's public policy world,
I can't help but think that if there were a few more
people this sharp and professional, taxpayers
and citizens could actually sleep a little more
soundly at night, and not be quite so anxious
about everything always getting worse around
here.



----------
From last month, before the brainstorming began
in earnest...

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Hollywood seeks residents' input on beach site

What to do about Johnson Street will be the subject of two meetings

By Ihosvani Rodriguez

June 11, 2009


HOLLYWOOD

City officials are asking residents to put on their thinking caps and come up with ideas on what to do with a city-owned property on the beach.

The first of two informal public meetings will be held next week to gather input on the long-awaited redevelopment of the city-owned Johnson Street property at A1A on Hollywood beach.

The first meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.

A second meeting will be at the Hollywood Beach Culture and Community Center on June 18.

The city has also established an e-mail address to gather comments: johnsonstreetrfp@hollywoodfl.org.

The meetings come after a developer walked away from a plan

to build a $100 million hotel and beach resort on the property

now occupied by an aging garage and a parking lot.

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

See also:City seeks community input for Johnson Street property

http://www.hollywoodgazette.com/2009/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=379:city-seeks-community-input-for-johnson-street-property&catid=42:beach-news&Itemid=600077

-------------
A message for the public policy guys and gals
of Hollywood who were at that first Johnson
Street brainstorming meeting last month:

PLEASE don't say -for like the millionth time-
that "there really ought to be a Hard Rock
Casino over there..."

Please, I'm begging you.
No more!!!

It's just NOT going to happen, so please limit
your ideas and suggestions to ones actually
possible in this version of Hollywood in the
year 2009, not the one in your alternative
universe.

Tack så mycket!

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