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, Europe 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, August 31, 2009

Tuesday's S.E. Broward Republican Club meeting: 9/12 Tea Parties and 2010 BSO Budget

Southeast Broward Republican Club

Dear Members and Friends,

Our next meeting is
September 1st, 2009

Check In: 6:30 P.M.
-Meeting Begins: 7 P.M.
Hollywood Beach Culture & Community Center
1301 South Ocean Drive/ A1A
Hollywood, FL 33019

Topic of Discussion: The 9/12 Tea Parties
and the Broward County Sheriff's Office
2010 Budget

Please feel free to pass on our invitation to your
friends and family, all are welcome.

Take I-95 to Hollywood Blvd., drive East towards
the beach.
Drive over Hollywood Blvd. Intracoastal Bridge.
turn right/South.
The Hollywood Beach Culture and Community
will be on your left-hand side at
intersection of Azalea Terrace.

Metered parking lot.
Refreshments served.

Tickets will be on sale for the "Heroes In Action"
Hollywood Police Athletic League-Boxing event.

If you have any questions, please feel
free to call me anytime.

Until then...Stay active, connected and informed!

Ed Napolitano, President
(954) 296-0041


Miami Herald

Details of Broward Sheriff's Office budget cuts expected

August 18, 2009

The budget battle between Broward County commissioners and Sheriff Al Lamberti could be near a resolution by Tuesday's end.

The Broward Sheriff's Office is scheduled to go before commissioners Tuesday with details of how it will trim $21 million from its spending plan. Most of the savings would come from cutting in-custody treatment programs, an unspecified number of layoffs and closing the Stockade, the minimum security jail.

About $3 million of the total would be made up in more money from fees.

Lamberti would reopen the Stockade in short bursts should the inmate population get too high. Broward is under a federal court order to stay beneath a jail population cap or face a fine.

If approved, the budget agreement would end months of wrangling between commissioners and BSO.

With property values down, county commissioners began this year's budget process with an approximate $100 million shortfall. They wanted Lamberti to shoulder about half of the burden and cut $46 million from his agency, the largest of its kind in Broward.

His proposal meets about half of the county's goal. Whether this is enough to please county leaders will be hashed out at Tuesday's workshop.

If Lamberti and commissioners don't reach a compromise before the start of the fiscal year Oct. 1, the sheriff could appeal his budget to the Florida Cabinet, a potentially lengthy process.

A presentation about BSO's spending plan is scheduled to go before county commissioners at 10 a.m. in room 430 of the Broward County Government Center, 115 S. Andrews Ave. in Fort Lauderdale. It will be the first in a full day of presentations from various county services.

Two columnists write on the no-win situation for
BSO with Maury Hernandez


South Florida Sun-Sentinel

In real world, miracle deputy doesn't get dream ending

Michael Mayo

News Columnist

August 31, 2009

If the miraculous recovery of Broward Sheriff's Deputy Maury Hernandez were a movie, the ending would have Hernandez putting on his badge and holster and returning to his job as a street detective.

But this is real life, which means things aren't so tidy. Two years after taking a bullet to the head during a traffic stop, Hernandez walked into a recent meeting at the Sheriff's Office in uniform, and the reaction was discomfort.

Hernandez, 30, now confronts a tangle of insurance and pension issues. Instead of life-affirming triumph, there's soul-deadening bureaucracy. He has a lawyer. There's tension in the air.

"I'm not asking for a charity position," Hernandez wrote by e-mail Monday. "If the sheriff didn't really mean it when he said there would be something waiting for me then I just want him to tell me so. I will not have hard feelings."

Said Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti: "Emotions have overtaken everything."

On this there's agreement: Hernandez isn't fit to perform his old job. His mobility is compromised, his left arm partly paralyzed. Basically, a return to a weapon-carrying law-enforcement job doesn't appear possible.

During his rehabilitation, Hernandez got full pay through the county's worker's compensation system. But that's about to lapse. Lamberti said Hernandez has two options:

He can retire with a permanent disability pension from the state, which would pay him 65 percent of his salary for life, tax-free. The payments would start at $32,229 a year and rise with inflation. He'd also get lifelong health insurance.

He can take a civilian job with the Sheriff's Office, something like an investigative aide. But that would mean he'd be disqualified from getting disability benefits related to the shooting in the future.

"It's Maury's decision, but we just want to make sure he fully understands the ramifications," said Lamberti, who didn't attend the Aug. 5 meeting.

"So far, all that has been offered is disability retirement, which is not a job," Hernandez wrote Monday. I wanted to talk face-to-face, but his attorney wouldn't allow it.

"I loved working at the BSO, and my heart is there," Hernandez wrote. "It's a shame the way things are right now, but there is too much positive history and too many great friends there for me to say that my feelings have soured."

Lamberti said he wouldn't want Hernandez to return to the Sheriff's Office, get injured because of his condition and not be entitled to benefits. The sheriff said the meeting was meant to be a starting point, not an ultimatum.

"We want what's best for Maury," Lamberti said.

Lance Block, Hernandez's attorney, called the Aug. 5 session "a sales meeting to get him to take the disability option."

If Hernandez took the disability pension, Lamberti said he could remain involved with the Sheriff's Office as a motivational speaker or crisis-team volunteer. "Look, the guy is a true inspiration," Lamberti said.

Lamberti knows that Hernandez makes for the ultimate sympathetic figure, and this is a public-relations fight he can't win.

But it's not as if Hernandez is the first to get wounded or disabled on the job. If Lamberti makes an exception to let Hernandez keep his position, then lawsuits from other disabled deputies could follow.

Hernandez's shooter, David Maldonado, is now serving a life sentence.

A shame that Hernandez, as the victim, might also have to serve a life sentence, losing the job he loves.

"I don't know what my next step will be," Hernandez wrote.

Not exactly a Hollywood ending. But it could have been a whole lot worse.


Miami Herald
August 24, 2009

BSO denies deputy his dream to serve again

ver since Maury Hernández emerged from a coma a year and 10 months ago he has received countless demonstrations of the community's affection and been highly decorated. He even got to throw the first pitch at a baseball game between the Florida Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays.

Through it all, Hernández, the deputy shot in the head while on duty two years ago, has yearned for only one thing: to return to the Broward Sheriff's Office.

He was ecstatic when he was scheduled to meet with BSO on Aug. 5. The night before, he filled four notebook pages with new handwritten ideas. And in the morning, he suited up in his old uniform, which now includes a green honor medal usually presented posthumously to fallen officers. He came that close.

He was devastated after the meeting. He says BSO officials told him he would go on permanent disability retirement. "It's the worst betrayal of my life,'' said Hernández, 30, who suffers from motor-function problems on the left side of his body. "Everybody knew I wanted to go back to work.''

Jim Leljedal, a BSO spokesman, said no final decision has been made on Hernández's case. "We discussed his future, his options and his eligibility for a disability pension,'' Leljedal said. "Everyone here admires and loves Maury, and we want the best for him.''

BSO seems to think retirement would be best. Hernández says that was the only offer on the table.

"If they really want the best for me, they should have asked me, knowing that going back to work is what my heart wants,'' said the Cuban-American officer who lives in Hialeah with his parents. Hernández almost died protecting this community, and BSO, for all its proclamations of love and admiration for him, responds by shattering his dream of returning to the work he loves. Shameful.

It's deviously hypocritical coming after Hernández became Al Lamberti's poster child during his campaign for sheriff and never missed a photo-op next to the hero.

This injustice could stir Broward County's Hispanic community, which claims it is not adequately represented in Broward's police departments, said José "Pepe'' López, a member of BSO's new diversity committee.

"This is not well seen in the Hispanic community, especially among Cubans who went all out to support the sheriff with donations and votes,'' López said.

Doctors gave Hernández no hope of survival in August 2007, when David Maldonado, a motorcyclist he confronted for speeding past several red lights on Pembroke Road, shot him twice. Last year Maldonado was sentenced to life in prison.

The officer survived miraculously and gradually recovered, winning the hearts of South Floridians.

On Thursday, Hernández accompanied his father, Mauricio, to Dadeland Mall to buy a handbag for his mother, Rosa, for the couple's 32nd wedding anniversary Saturday. When they went to gift-wrap the present, Hernández said the clerk told him, "You are that cop! You have no idea how much we've prayed for you.''

Two years ago the Hernándezes spent their 30th anniversary at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, surrounded by their son's colleagues and superiors, who brought them a cake.

"In these two years, the BSO kept a very close relationship with us, almost like family,'' Mauricio said. "We don't understand why the case is now so tactlessly handled.''

The answer may be in the budget. If Hernández is given a disability retirement, his pension, which would equal his salary, would be paid from sources other than BSO's budget. Except this is not about money, but about honor.

"At police departments there are enough positions assigned to officers wounded while on duty,'' said Alejandro Recio, a retired detective from the Hollywood Police Department. ``If Maury wishes to go back to work, he deserves that right.''

Hernández is not thinking of conceding defeat. He has hired an attorney.

These last few years, life has taught him to challenge all predictions. First he was told he would never walk again. But he walked. Then he was told he would walk only with a cane. He now walks without one, and strolls around a neighborhood lake.

"This is why I believe I can still make a difference in the police department,'' Hernández said. "There is nothing like getting up in the morning and doing the work you love.''

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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, Hollywood and Aventura.

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. But seldom if ever see...

This is particularly true in the Broward County city I live in, the City of Hallandale Beach, north of Aventura and south of Hollywood and right on the Atlantic Ocean. Here, the "Perfect Storm" of years of apathy, incompetency and cronyism are all too readily apparent. Sadly for its beleaguered 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 tremendous potential because of its terrific location and well-educated populace, yet its citizens have almost become numb to HB City Hall's frequent outrages and screw-ups, the result of YEARS of the worst kind of mismanagement and lack of foresight. On a daily basis, residents and Small Business owners 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 for others to solve in the future.

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 of my own that could try to do some of these things, taking the p.o.v. of a reasonable-but-skeptical person seeing the situation for the first time with fresh eyes, 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 in public policy and goivernment engagement. 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 of Florida's state, regional and local govt./agency officials, elected and otherwise. Hallandale Beach Blog aims to be a small step towards regaining some of that needed accountability, whether it's thru shining some well-needed public scrutiny on the issue or pol, or requires a higher degree of follow-up investigation and public exposure of the incompetency, cronyism or negligence -South Florida's usual governing style.

Paradise Lost? South Florida

Paradise Lost? South Florida
TIME magazine of November 23, 1981: Paradise Lost? South Florida . Click photo to see original article.
Unless otherwise indicated, all ORIGINAL photos appearing here were taken by myself. © 2014 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved. The use or modification of original photos or original images appearing on this blog WITHOUT the written permission of the author is expressly prohibited. DO NOT modify or alter any original photo/image on this blog and use it in any other media, whether for commercial advertising, marketing purposes, political campaign advertising, or on any Social Media platform or digital media forum. Do NOT modify or alter the photos or use them in a confusing way that suggests sponsorship or endorsement, or in a way that seeks to confuse Hallandale Beach Blog with another blog. This includes but is not limited to sites such as Dipity, Facebook, flickr, MySpace, Pinterest, Posterous, Topsy, Twitter, YouTube or VIMEO. Original photos and images also can NOT be used as avatars or icons on website forums.

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.


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!


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

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!

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 29-year NCAA title drought!

Let's end the 29-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

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.

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

Ringvägen, Stockholm, Sweden

Ringvägen, Stockholm, Sweden
Poster display seen on Ringvägen, in Södermalm, Stockholm, Sweden. January 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved. Here's snapshot of the poster featuring the ubiquitous St. Erik, whose crowned head is the City of Stockholm's coat of arms. 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.

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

Which European country has the most attractive citizens?

As seen in my July 31st, 2013 blog post titled, "Which European country has the most attractive citizens?" Sweden won in a landslide with almost four times as many votes as second-place France, with Spain third and Norway fourth. Yes, seeing is believing!; Norwegian.com's non-stop flights from Fort Lauderdale to Oslo start in 4 months! :) http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/2013/07/boredpandacom-poll-of-europeans-asked.html