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 & 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 South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Last minute thoughts on HB Budget Workshop on Wednesday

Well, as you know, tomorrow at 10 a.m., the
powers-that-be at Hallandale Beach City Hall have
decreed that despite the over-riding public interest
of many HB citizens in attending and participating
in the city's public budget workshop at a convenient
time and place, they voted 4-1 against Comm.
Keith London'sperfectly
reasonable motion to
move the public workshop from a smallish second-floor
City Hall room -that's considerably smaller and less
convenient than the Commission Chambers that just
underwent repairs that YOU paid for
- and keep
it in a place where they can better tamp down
attendance and keep citizens under control.

They also voted 4-1 against moving the city budget
workshop to the evening, where more Hallandale
Beach citizen taxpayers and residents could attend
and express their opinions, ask for pertinent facts
and figures, or even demand some long-overdue
explanations from the city commission and mayor,
the all-too-often-absent city manager and his
overpaid staff.

The latter includes the various Dept. directors,
some of whom pay so little attention to matters
around them, that two months after taking over
their Dept., they don't even know that their name,
phone number and email address are STILL
not on the city's terrible website so that citizen
taxpayers can actually contact them.
You know, the people who pay their salaries?

Speaking for myself, it's hard not to see this 4-1
vote as yet another in the never-ending efforts by
Mayor Joy Cooper and City Manager Mike
to orchestrate a public meeting like a
puppet show.
One guess who the puppets are?

They are deathly afraid of the kind of unscripted
and spontaneous meeting that could emerge when
a room full of well-informed citizens are present
precisely because it would mean going off in directions
that City Hall doesn't like, and for good reason.
Even they know they can't explain the
and what is HB City Hall
if not unexplainable?

And how do you explain away the fact nobody ever
is held responsible and accountable and punished?

Last week, I asked an unelected city official in a
position to know whether or not the city ever even
considered moving the budget workshop to the HB
Cultural Center, since there's so much more room.

Then I decided to check if there were some time
conflicts in that building that'd prevent it from moving

Answer: The city never explored it and there
are no
conflicts tomorrow that'd prevent it from
being held there.

Again, Joy Cooper and Mike Good want the
meeting in a small room because it discourages the
public from attending -and staying!

Strangely enough, back in June when the Planning
& Zoning
meeting was moved to the Cultural Center,
there were only three non-city employees in the entire
room, of whom I was but one.
But that didn't seem to bother anyone.

Cooper and Good don't want to have a scenario
where well-informed ordinary citizens ask why the
city continues to spend money in amounts and scale
(and accrue debt) that seems completely inappropriate
for a city of Hallandale Beach's size, even while simple
and self-evident problems are never properly resolved.

Problems that we see everyday that last for weeks
and months and years, like simply having appropriate
signage or ensuring public safety on city property,
including directly in front of Hallandale Beach
City Hall

Where are the much-needed cuts coming from and
what are the policy or procedure modifications that
will be necessary?

They'd rather talk about how much of your money
they plan on giving to cronies of theirs or waste on
the HB City of Commerce, that does zero but which
last year received $50,000.

If you doubt what I'm saying about puppet shows,
just consider how terribly botched the recent Master
Transportation Plan meeting was handled, years
late and over-budget.
The meeting that Comm. Anthony Sanders was
AWOL at, with no explanation then or since.

Despite its importance, there were no helpful handouts
of any kind for the public to peruse, and the Power Point
presentation was full of numbers and columns that were
FAR TOO SMALL to make any sense of, which
meant that citizens couldn't ask informed questions,
but instead had to generalize and got little specificity
in return.

The City Manager's office could've easily posted all
the pertinent info on the city's terrible website in
advance of the meeting, even the Friday afternoon
before the meeting, so that citizens could look at it
over the weekend and take notes.
But they didn't do that, did they?
Instead, who had the copies?
Not you, but you're the ones left to pay the bill.

Those of you who have spoken to me in the past
about what you said was your anger or seething
disgust with the longstanding unethical hijinks,
gross incompetency and low-caliber management
at Hallandale Beach City Hall, will have your
opportunity to finally stand-up and be counted,
even if it's less than the optimum situation.

Will you take advantage of it, or will you let it
slip away like so many other opportunities,
and let the Rubber Stamp Crew under Joy Cooper
once again have the last laugh at your EXPEN$E?

By the way, in case you forgot, the room that the
workshop will be held in is the same exact room
where Hallandale Beach City Manager Mike Good,
Police Chief Thomas Magill and Fire Chief
Daniel Sullivan all quit their jobs since December
-and then were magically rehired, with new

It's also the same exact room where the vote took
place to buy the property of Comm. Anthony Sanders
and his wife for more than it was appraised at.

And what do you know, coincidence of coincidences,
in none of these cases did the city ever comply with
the state's Sunshine Laws and make that agenda
information public beforehand as required.
Not once.

Not on the city's website and not on the printed agendas.

Hm-m-m... the city manager, police chief and fire chief
all being re-hired without any input from Hallandale
Beach citizens?

Yes, because the mayor and city manger wanted it done
that way, and City Attorney David Jove just winked at
that insult to Hallandale Beach citizens like he has so many
times before over the years.

This essay below by Sara Case is what the Balance Sheet
wrote about Hollywood's budget situation back on
June 26th.

Hollywood Budget: A Stone Unturned


SPECIAL MEETING (Supporting Docs)



WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 26, 2009 10:00 AM







1. CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM (See Capital Improvement Tab)

2. GENERAL FUND (See Expenditures Tab)











(Including Revenues) (See Revenue Detail Tab)



(Including Revenues) (See Revenue Detail Tab)



(Including Revenues) (See Revenue Detail Tab)


F. BUDGET NOTES (See Budget Notes Tab)

6. REAPPROPRIATIONS OF FY 2008-2009 FUNDS (See Reappropriations Tab)


A. Discussion of Sanitation Division (Staff: Director, Public Works) (See Backup) (Staff Report)

B. Discussion of the Property and Grounds Maintenance Division (Staff: Director, Public Works) (See Backup) (Staff Report)

C. Discussion of City Web Streaming (Staff: Director, Information Technology) (See Backup) (Staff Report)

D. Discussion of Aquatics Division (Staff: Director, Parks and Recreation) (See Backup) (Staff Report)

E. Discussion of Group Medical and Dental Coverage for FY 2009-2010 (Staff: Director, Personnel)(See Backup) (Staff Report)

F. Discussion of City Programs (City Manager) (See Backup) (Staff Report)

G. Discussion of the City Commission Summer Meeting Schedule(City Manager)(See Backup) (Staff Report)


A. An Ordinance of the City of Hallandale Beach, Florida Pertaining to Public Health and Safety; Amending Chapter 14 "Minimum Property Maintenance and Occupancy Code" by Creating Article IV, "Lot Maintenance and Clean Up" in Order to Require the Clean-up of Property Under Certain Conditions; Providing the Purpose and Intent of the Revision Providing Definitions; Declaring Certain Conditions on Lots, Parcels, and Tracts Within the City Boundaries to be a Nuisance; Prohibiting the Accumulation of Trash, Junk, or Debris, Living and Nonliving Plant Material, and Stagnant Water; Prohibiting the Excessive Growth of Grass, Weeds, Brush, and Other Overgrowth; Prohibiting the Keeping of Fill on Property that Results in Certain Conditions; Prohibiting Certain Conditions that Constitute an Imminent Threat to Public Health; Authorizing the City to Undertake Immediate Abatement and Remedy of Imminent Public-Health Threats; Providing for Enforcement of Violations; Requiring Notices to Owners and, if Applicable, Agents, Custodians, Lessees, and Occupants of Property in Violation of this Article; Providing for Appeals of Violation Notices; Authorizing the Imposition and Levy of Special Assessments if Costs are Incurred by the City and not Reimbursed by the Property Owner and, if Applicable, the Property Agent, Custodian, Lessee, or Occupant; Requiring Notices of Assessment; Creating Assessments for the Cost of Lot Clean-up; Establishing the City as a Special Assessment District; Authorizing the Levy of Non-Ad Valorem Assessment in Connection with Violations of this Article; Providing for Collection of Non-Ad Valorem Assessments; Authorizing an Agreement with the Broward County Property Appraiser and Tax Collector; Authorizing and Requiring the Adoption of a Resolution Regarding the City's Use of the Uniform Method of Collecting Non-Ad Valorem Assessments; Providing for Annual Non-Ad Valorem Assessment Rolls; Providing Transition Provisions and Ratifying Assessments to Recover Costs Incurred by the City to Remedy Violations Prior to the Ordinance's Enactment; Repealing all Ordinances Inconsistent with this Ordinance; Providing for Severability; Providing and Effective Date. (First Reading) (Staff: Director, Development Services) (See Backup) (Staff Report, Supporting Docs)


A. Discussion of Donations to Charitable Organizations (Staff Report, Supporting Docs)


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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.
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Some older elements and building blocks formerly seen at Hallandale Beach Blog, such as photos, graphics and videos have been moved into cold storage. Visit them again or see what you've missed at: http://hallandale-beach-blog.blogspot.com/

New this year: you!

New this year: you!
Close-up photo of the cute head-turning window display at the Apotek Hjärtat -Sweden's largest independent pharmacy chain- located at Ringvägen 113, near the Skanstull T-bana in Södermalm, Stockholm. Sign reads, "Årets nyhet: du! Ett helt nytt och obrukat år är här. Just nu känns det lite lättare att välja om, förändra vanor och bryta gamla mönster. Vi hjälper gärna till. Du vill, du kan, du törs!' (New this year: you! A brand new and unused year is here. Right now it feels a little easier to choose, change habits and break old patterns. We're happy to help. You want to, you can, you dare!) Sounds like good advice that I ought to be following, too! January 12, 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

Paradise Lost? South Florida

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

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.

Palm tree, Stars & Stripes

Palm tree, Stars & Stripes
Palm tree obstructing the sun at Hallandale Beach City Hall, May 28, 2012 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

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

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

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 her videos, read my blog posts and Tweets about her and learn more about this dynamic and original talent with personality to spare!

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.

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.

Let's end the 28-year NCAA title drought!

Let's end the 28-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.

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


The welcoming party that greeted me at the luggage carousel at Arlanda Stockholm Airport in January of 2013 was... ABBA. As seen in my May 7, 2013 blog post. Click photo to see that post!

Congratulations Sweden - 200 years of peace! Solveig Rundquist (@RundquistS)


Hej #STHLM, jag saknar dig, hejdå. So wish I was there RIGHT NOW!

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.