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.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Voters Remorse: Ann Murray on thin ice in August with constituents after latest Broward School Board debacle

My comments follow the articles.
Miami Herald

Broward schools chief keeps his job through 2014
By Patricia Mazzei
August 19, 2009

The Broward School Board unanimously extended Superintendent Jim Notter's contract by three years Tuesday following an annual evaluation that praised the schools chief.

Notter's contract was extended until June 2014, with a possibility of a further extension until 2015. It does not come with a raise unless other district staff members also get one -- something not in the plans this year.

"We're being responsible and doing what's right,'' School Board member Ann Murray said. "We have confidence in what he's doing.''

Notter, who is paid $299,000 a year, voluntarily cut $26,000 from his compensation last month. He was appointed superintendent in 2007.

Reader comments at:


Going into Tuesday, of the many people in South Florida
-far too many!- whose perennial sub par performance
DIDN'T merit having their contracts renewed -while
they still had time left on them to prove their worth-
the two most obvious were U-M head football coach
Randy Shannon and Broward School Supt. James

Both have gotten to their present post thru the insider's
route and both are examples to me of the South Florida
version of the Peter Principle, Banana Republic 2.0.

That's the stealth version that's employed when news
reporters, TV cameras and the well-informed public
aren't around to see what's really going on, and asking
their pesky questions.

And now we read that after Ann Murray's been

largely invisible to her constituents for months,
as I wrote about just the other day, she's now
suddenly the one who singing James Notter's
praises after his contract was renewed unanimously?
What am I missing, exactly?

Murray ran on a platform last summer of changing

things dramatically at the Broward School Board,
and not becoming a compliant clone of the existing
members and the pervasive culture of corruption
and cronyism that's made the system a cesspool
and laughingstock.

After emailing this article to a well-informed Broward
friend who WAS a self-admitted 'strong' Murray
supporter, they replied simply, "Invasion of the
Body Snatchers."

Now even Murray's most-fervent supporters are

starting to realize know that her performance on her
audition does NOT bode well for her re-election
prospects next year, as well it shouldn't.

If she'd actually done what she promised, Murray's
name ought to be the one that's on the tip of Broward
taxpayer's and reporter's tongues for zealously defending
the work product of School auditors in revealing possible
School system complicity in over-billing by AshBritt,
but where has she been?

I might've made a mistake in voting for Murray last year,
but trust me, I won't repeat that mistake NEXT YEAR.
And I'm far from alone on that score.

And what about School Board member Jennifer Gottlieb?
What exactly has she done of late to show anyone
attention that her performance is one marked by either
merit or a commitment to zealously guarding the taxpayers

Tell me, does her being referred to as "nice" by most
people I interact with at civic events or public gatherings,
somehow translate into her having a guaranteed govt. job
for life, at least in Broward County, regardless of how
poorly she actually performs those oversight and legislative

I keep wondering if my time in Washington around people
who were well-known and highly-regarded for good reason,
makes me, therefore, somehow unqualified to comprehend
what Jennifer Gottlieb's special ability or talent is, to the
extent that she's able to get elected to public office for no
discernible reason.

I say that because I've yet to see anything on South Florida
TV or read anything in any newspaper or blog, that left me
clearly thinking afterwards that I'd seen some glimpse into
some expertise, skill or insight that could reasonably explain
why Gottlieb got elected in the first place.
That has never happened.

That doesn't make Gottlieb unique in South Florida,
of course, just part of a very, very long list of people
down here who prove the ultimate validity of the
Peter Principle.

This area has always been noted for having more
unqualified candidates than other parts of the country,
and that's been true for decades.

This is, after all, a part of the country where someone
who genuinely couldn't speak English, ran for Congress
not once but three times in the 1970's and '80's.
And got votes.

Gottlieb's big accomplishment over the past year has
been what, exactly, urging the School Board to cast
a meaningless ceremonial vote last Fall against the
proposed constitutional amendment that would ban
gay marriage?
Like anyone cared what they thought?

I should also mention here that a lot of the well-informed

people I've spoken to and become friendly with since
last November's election, have made a point of telling me,
almost always with a resigned sigh in their voice,
what a big disappointment Jennifer Gottlieb has been
to them.

How they are truly dismayed at the extent to which she
not only carries the water like a drone for the Broward
Teachers Union, the BTU, but also for her starring
role in what happened to Lincoln Park in Hollywood,
after the whole neighborhood made such an inspired
effort to make it more attractive and useful for everyone.

Contrast that with how it looked immediately after the
School system got hold of it and neglected it.

The latter effort is particularly galling to some folks in
Hollywood, even among those who don't live in that
immediate neighborhood, who continually bring it up
in conversations with me about other Broward County
matters -as if I'd forget.

But the truth is, what really rankles these folks to their
core is how the two of them together, Gottlieb and
Murray, have really caused them to doubt their own
ability to judge people, i.e. political candidates.

Some have told me that while they may well have
voted for long-shot candidates in the past, in other
places they've lived, since they (and their families)
moved to South Florida, they've really tried to be
diligent about finding out facts about local candidates'
background and experience, however they could.

Obviously the Internet has been a big help with that
effort, because they now could look for archival
articles and columns online and have more info to
base their decision on, and pass that info along to
friends and family

They stated that because of this effort to be well-informed,
they rarely had voted for someone for whom they
had immediate voters' remorse for.

But the practical experience of Gottlieb and Murray
in office, as opposed to them in campaign mode,
had really disabused these folks of their belief that
once in office, the two would be diligent representatives
of the public who'd be more demanding and more
assertive about the actions and policies of the Broward
Superintendent and his staff.

Instead, they elected two women who just shrug and
vote for whatever the pack wants, consequences be

To those community activists in particular, who really
pride themselves on not just keeping well-informed
about what's going on hereabouts, but even knowing
what's going to happen BEFORE it does, and why,
the combination of first Gottlieb and now Murray
BOTH being such self-evident wash-outs on reform
and accountability, and not making any tangible
difference for Broward kids and taxpayers, represents
a real big poke in the eye.
And it stings!

Like me, these folks in Hollywood and elsewhere
around the county are recalculating and recalibrating
their political antennae to make sure that those very
mistakes are not repeated in 2010.

It's my belief that Broward County simply can't
afford more wasted votes on people who fail the
basic test of being truthful before and after an election,
and faithful to their constituents' best interests at all times.

Those wasted votes on the Broward School Board
have had very real consequences, because they've
empowered an otherwise clue-less and tone-deaf
person like School Board member Stephanie Kraft
to show voters and taxpayers her true colors.

On June 16th, Kathy Bushouse of the Sun-Sentinel
captured this institutional tone-deafness perfectly in
her Broward Politics blog post,
School District may ask voters to approve higher taxes
which concluded quite ridiculously:

Voters may be more inclined to support a tax increase if they
know what they might lose without it, said board member
Stephanie Kraft.
"Honestly, I've already gotten several e-mails from people saying,
'What about that project? What about that project? " Kraft said.
"A lot of people have indicated that they may not be opposed
to doing something to get those projects built."

That's the very creepy mentality that's gotten the county's
taxpayers into the dire situation that Bob Norman has
been writing about aggressively for months from his
Daily Pulp blog, even as local South Florida TV stations
have largely washed their hands of even trying to explain
the story or identify who the villains and heroes are.

In his blog today,
Derelict School Board Wants More of Your Money
and yesterday's post titled,
Hollywood People Stand Up for School Board Auditors

Norman has shown just what's been going on during
the recent sleepwalking reign of Jennifer Gottlieb
and more recently, while Ann Murray slept.

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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'dALREADY 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, theCity 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 forYEARS 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.

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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.