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.

@FLGovScott #RemoveHer #HallandaleBeach mayor & town bully #JoyCooper

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

When taxpayers turn on Transit agencies with a vengeance... Maryland learns the hard way. Coming attractions for FL?

Since it's not mentioned in the caption,
the Baltimore Sun photo below is of
former Baltimore mayor and governor
William Donald Schaefer and former
governor Robert Ehrlich, the Republican
who lost his re-election bid a few years
ago to Baltimore mayor Martin O'Malley.

As Sun readers note below quite
accurately, Ehrlich had nothing to do
with the Maryland Transportation
Authority
's decision to increase fees
for E-Z Pass.

While not completely blameless for
the awful fall in quality of the MTA
in general, where they've cut some
popular longstanding commuter bus
routes into downtown Baltimore from
booming suburbs like Howard County,
where my sister and her family live,
he hasn't been in charge since he
lost his re-election bid in November
of 2006.
http://www.mtamaryland.com/

Buses which were always PACKED
in the morning at the various MTA
Park-and-Ride lots and on their return
trips. So much so, in fact, that they
actually had to build new parking lots
across the highway off Route 32
(Little Pautuxent Parkway)
to handle the large crowds.

They've cut what was working.

http://wapedia.mobi/en/MTA_Maryland_Commuter_Bus

This, despite the fact that MTA
doesn't operate
full-time bus service
between populous Baltimore
and
Columbia, whose population is
about 98,000.
(In 2008, Columbia and county
seat Ellicott City were ranked #8
on Money Magazine's Best Places
to Live.
)

If you're a Maryland taxpayer who uses
public transit and you see that the govt.
decision-making process is so flawed
and upside-down that they actually cut
what is actually succeeding -beyond
anything possible in South Florida
-
what then is the function exactly of the
Transit agency except as a a redoubt
for incompetent govt. employees?

I predict much the same public response
down here when FDOT and their local
Highway compatriots eventually overplay
their hand, as we all know they eventually
will
at some point, just as they launched
their I-95 Express Lanes, using flawed
'communication skills' that got them
so many well-earned brickbats after they
ignored common sense and the particular
geography and driving patterns of this
area.

If you haven't already see it, please see
this absurd Miami Herald article from
Friday that reads more like a press release
than a genuine news article, which I felt
compelled to respond to with a comment.

Report lauds I-95 toll express lanes

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/miami-dade/story/1250690.html


Please be sure to read The Sun reader
comments below as they are more accurate
and savvy than 99% of the newspaper
comments I've read all year anywhere.

-----------
Baltimore Sun
E
-ZPass hits own bottleneck
Extra staff hired to process wave of fee-related cancellation
By Laura Smitherman

September 27, 2009

The Maryland Transportation Authority, inundated with requests from drivers to close E-ZPass accounts, says that the vendor administering the system has beefed up staffing and shortened the time it takes to process refunds.

Account closures totaled 13,820 in July and August - or about eight times the average number of closures for a two-month period - after Maryland's E-ZPass program began charging owners of the electronic toll-collection devices a fee of $1.50 a month. Some motorists have complained that they were charged the fee as they were waiting for their accounts to be closed.

Read the rest of the story at: http://www.baltimoresun.com/features/commuting/bal-md.ezpass27sep27,0,1280014.story

----------------------
Reader comments at:
http://www.baltimoresun.com/features/commuting/bal-md.ezpass27sep27,0,1280014.story

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Dwight Stephenson for Broward County Commission

Tried to submit this as a comment to the Sun-Sentinel's
Broward Politics blog relative to Scott Wyman's Friday
post about Art Kennedy applying for consideration for
the now open seat on the morally bankrupt Broward
County Commission.

But since the newspaper has yet to fix the longstanding
bugs that for at least a year have caused reader comments
to frequently be rejected because of the paper's half-assed
software, it was bounced back and rejected.

Probably for the best anyway, since there are so many
politically and socially maladjusted people who comment
there whose grip on reality is tenuous at best.

You know, the people who don't know anyone who ever
voted for Reagan either of the times he won in a landslide?

Here's that post and some associated material:
Fort Lauderdale pastor applies for Eggelletion seat
Posted by Scott Wyman on September 25, 2009 03:54 PM

The day after corruption arrests: Eggelletion's office open -

By Scott Wyman, Tonya Alanez and Robert Nolin

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/broward/miramar/sfl-broward-corruption-bn092309,0,7088546.story

Broward arrests sends strong message
-
THE ISSUE: Broward officials arrested on corruption charges.
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/opinion/sfl-broward-corruption-m092409sbsep24,0,1092553.story
--------

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

September 23, 2009

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/business/sfl-corruption-mayocol-b092309,0,7490931.column
----------
Biography of Acting U.S. Attorney Jeffrey H. Sloman
http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls/USAttorney.html
----------
Bob Norman

H
all of Fame Dolphin Dwight Stephenson's Firm Dragged Into Federal Probe

September 25, 2009
http://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com/pulp/2009/09/miami_dolphin_dwight_stephenson.php
----------
Comm. Dwight Stephenson

As anyone who has ever met him can tell you,
Dwight Stephenson is a person of great personal
and moral integrity, and is blessed with great
enthusiasm and a can-do spirit.
http://www.dstephenson.com/

Like so many of us here, he desperately wants this
area of Florida to be SO MUCH better than the
mediocre morass of myopic incompetency and
situational ethics that it currently is with the present
occupants, since that's not good for anyone and
repels dynamic businesses and people from
relocating here.

If you don't believe me, just contact The Broward
Workshop and ask the folks there.
http://www.browardworkshop.com/

Broward County's well-known reputation for
corruption and pay-for-play government makes
it uninviting for savvy companies that have the
sort of well-paying management jobs this area
desperately needs more of down here for all
sorts of reasons, not least, the brain power to
take over so many of the atrophying and chronically
under-performing extant civic groups that are
little more than cults of personality.

Dwight Stephenson is precisely the sort of person]
that Broward's beleaguered citizens, regardless of race,
class or ethnicity, could rally behind and have faith in,
because his myriad decisions, even when you might
disagree with them, would always be based on facts
and what was best for the WHOLE COMMUNITY,
not just the lawyer/lobbyist/fixer crowd that so
dominates the pay-for-play Broward County
Commission.

In many so-called 'progressive' communities
across the country, even in places much smaller
than Broward County, he's someone who'd already
have a much-higher political profile and perhaps
already be in office somewhere.
(Since May of 2007, he's been a member of
the
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Commission
.)

But like so many Broward citizens who have
something to contribute but who are utterly
aghast at what they see and read on a daily basis,
he's resisted getting more involved because of
the longstanding taint of corruption and incompetency
that is so high on Andrews Avenue and the various
political dens across the county that Bob Norman
at his Daily Pulp blog and the myriad Sun-Sentinel
reporters at the Broward Politics blog regularly
connect-the-dots on.

I would heartily endorse Dwight Stephenson
for the Broward County Commission.

IF a voter referendum passed that allowed
Broward citizens to vote for a County Mayor
instead of the self-serving, self-selecting format
favored by the current County Commission
-who in the recent past selected representatives
for the Charter Review Commission who
were
AGAINST the idea of voters even
getting
the chance to vote last November
on that
issue themselves, like anti-democratic
Miramar mayor Lori C. Moseley and
Cooper City mayor Debby
Eisinger-
I'd vote for Dwight Stephenson for County Mayor.

Acting U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Sloman:
Keep up the
great work and MORE investigations,
PLEASE
!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Hallandale Beach's latest money grab comes via usurpation of Constitutional Rights -taxing political candidates!

Just when you thought it wasn't possible
for the Great Minds patrolling the halls
at Hallandale Beach City Hall to act any
more legally or morally inappropriate
thru their longstanding stealthy and
anti-democratic behavior, reality
intervenes and slaps you in the face.
How low can they go?

Are you sitting down?
Please do.

Are you ready?
The city has decided they need
to start taxing political candidates.

Yes, it's true.

Could I make that up?

These geniuses have decided that this
small SE Broward city is so crucial
to the future of the Sunshine State
that they're going to tax political
candidates, by charging them a
$500 administrative fee for simply
exercising their First Amendment
rights, and posting political campaign
signs in the city.
Crist, Rubio, McCollum, Sink,
Gunzburger
, Geller...

This issue and more will be before
the Hallandale Beach Planning
& Zoning Board
at City Hall on
Wednesday afternoon at 1:30 p.m.,
before moving to the HB City
Commission in a few weeks.

Not that the City of Hallandale Beach
is calling it a tax, but that's exactly
what it is as you can see for yourself
here:
http://www.hallandalebeachfl.gov/DocumentCenterii.aspx?FID=135



Political Signs Staff Report and Ordinancehttp://www.hallandalebeachfl.gov/DocumentView.aspx?DID=1212

Call me old-fashioned, but I always thought

only the FL State Legislature had the legal
authority in this state to create a new source
of taxation, along with the Governor's signature,
NOT unelected City Managers, City Attorneys
and Planning Directors.

Just for the record, there was STILL
a very
large political sign for failed judicial
candidate
Mardi Ann Levy on State Road
A1A
& Hallandale Beach Blvd.,
placed in front of the
Beach One Resort
property, in mid-January,
two monthsafter the November election, whichBernie Bober won.

I know that for a fact because I not only
took
photos of it, but mocked it and wrote
about
it on my blog,
http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/2009/01/name-changing-judicial-candidate-mardi.html

I also made a comment about it in response
to the Daily Business Review's Legal blogpost of June 16th, titled,
So, this is what the witness stand looks like
http://dailybusinessreview.typepad.com/insidetrack/2009/06/so-this-is-what-the-witness-stand-looks-like.html

As unprincipled, obnoxious and plain
un-democratic
as the idea is of charging
citizen candidates money
in order to place
their campaign signs in one particular
city,
that is far from the only troubling aspect
of this
proposal to come before the P&Z
Board, as you
can see for yourself at # 4
under analysis.

http://www.hallandalebeachfl.gov/DocumentView.aspx?DID=1212
Permits placement of political signs in public property if
determined by the City Manager to serve a public purpose."

To serve a public purpose?

Like what?
To show City Hall's favoritism?

(Like maybe placing anti-
Hometown Democracy
signs or perhaps
Steve Geller signs on
city property?
I mention the latter because of the foolish,
over-the-top performance
last year exhibited
by the HB City Commissioners when Geller
was
given the key to the city, and the commissioners
acted like small
children at a birthday party
at the circus, excitedly putting on their
"Geller"
caps and waving their "Geller" souvenirs
as Geller's staffers photographed the whole
embarrassing scene.

I said last year that it'd make a great YouTube
video because of how
long it went on and on.)

Nobody has a problem with a prohibition on
political
signs within a certain distance of polling
places, or on
city property.
It's not just tradition and law, it's common sense.
But under what part of the
Florida Constitution
does it give the right to an unelected City Manager
of a town, like Mike Good, to regulate political
speech protected by the First Amendment?

So he can personally decide whether or not signs
of his choosing ought to be placed on taxpayer
property?


It's preposterous on its face, made even worse by the
fact that he doesn't even live in this city.

And, if you keep reading the analysis, you'll see where

it even says the city wants to be able to regulate the
actual content of the political signs you place on
YOUR OWN PROPERTY.

Again, where is it written in the Florida Constitution
that a municipality like the City of Hallandale Beach
can regulate free speech by enacting a law that says

you can only have ONE sign regarding an individual
candidate in, on or around YOUR OWN PROPERTY?

Honestly, you'd think that a city that's so poorly-managed
that in the year 2009, it STILL lacks a single directional
road sign anywhere indicating where the City Hall or
Police Dept. HQ is located, would have more pressing
needs than trying to usurp citizens' constitutional rights,
right?

But then consider the locale and the likely source.
The legal mind of Hallandale Beach City Attorney
David Jove.

The same person who for years has had no problem

in continually winking at the city's clear-cut violations
of the state's Sunshine Laws, with him present in
the room.


There are other things I could say about this but
consider the moral caliber of someone who might
well vote on this in a few weeks if someone in authority
doesn't do their job and stop this illegal outrage,
namely,
Comm. William Julian.

Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows
full well
just of some of the ethical, moral and legal
shenanigans
Julian has gotten himself and the
city into, but he is also
well-known by his reputation
for violating the city's
extant laws against putting
campaign signs on city property.

The city ROW on Layne Boulevard and Diana Drive
are said to be among some of his
favorite spots...


Comm. Julian is someone who should clearly
know better, but like the vast majority of people
at HB City Hall, he's a great believer in situational
ethics.

You see, his response at being caught red-handed
by a HB citizen putting his own campaign signs on
city property and the public ROW is classic
HB City Hall: "Everyone does it."
No, actually they don't.

Just Julian and City Hall's Rubber Stamp Crew,
plus their pals and cronies, always looking for a
favor or CRA handout -for old times sake.

-------------------------
October 2nd, 2008 photos of Dotty Ross campaign
signs all over Hallandale Beach Municipal complex
Why?

I'm told it was because she rented some space at
the HB Cultural Center?
So because of that, she gets to put campaign signs
on city property everywhere?

Between 4:30 and 5:00 p.m., Thursday October 2nd,
out of curiosity, and with some time to kill before
meeting a friend in Aventura, I swung by the HB
Cultural Center to get a gander at the prep work
for the Dotty Ross fundraiser.

I was at the HB Park & Rec's front desk at the
Cultural Center when I personally saw a sweating
Comm. William Julian walk in wearing shorts,
a t-shirt and carrying some Ros
s campaign signs
under his arm.


After seeing that, though I had someplace to be,
I walked over to the benches across the street to
ponder my next move.

Of course!
Document the proof all around me,
and that's exactly what I did.

The two Dotty Ross campaign signs in front of the city's
Cultural Center building. fine, I'll let that one slide.

Of course IF City Manager Mike Good and his
staff have their way with their preposterous proposal,
it'd be against the law in Hallandale Beach for any
citizen to have two Ross campaign signs on your own
property
, if you were so inclined.

But two next to the city sign on the
S.E. 3rd Street entrance?
I don't think so.

And near the city's electronic board on S.E. 3rd Street,
in front of the County Library branch?

That's ridiculous
, but par for the course here.


And on S.E. 5th Street off U.S.-1, near the main city
municipal complex sign, and facing
the entrance and
exit of the main HB branch of the U.S. Post Office?
Really?

And all of these campaign signs are on city property

But then if you're a regular at this blog, you already
know that more than is true in most places in South
Florida government, here, there are different rules for
different people.


If you're part of the Joy Cooper-Mike Good tag-team,
you do as you please, and everyone just looks the other
way.


Well, almost everyone!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hallandale Beach Comm. Keith London's Resident Forum tonight on city's budget

Email reminder from Hallandale Beach
Commissioner Keith London.

My own comments about Hallandale Beach's
budget process will appear either Wednesday
night or Thursday morning, the day of the second
reading.

I've tried to keep the size of the comments below
consistent in order to make it easier to read,
but my Blogger software isn't cooperating.
---------

Everyone,

Just a reminder the Commissioner Keith S. London Resident Forum will be held today:

Tuesday, September 22, 2009 from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM at the Cultural Center in Room 107.

The main topic of discussion will be the proposed FY 2009/2010 Budget for the City of Hallandale Beach.

Please be advised of the following information:

· Thursday, September 24, 2009 is the second and final reading (passage) of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2009\2010 Budget.

· The Fire Assessment Fee has a proposed increase of 28.9% which translates into a $125.00 per year. This has passed first reading.

· The millage rate is propsed to increase to 5.9 for the FY 09/10 budget which translates into an approximately 18% increase from this years rate of 4.9818. This rate increase has already passed first reading of the budget.

I Voted NO on all the increases of your taxes!

Please plan on attending and becoming involved in “OUR” City.

I look forward to seeing you there.

Warm Regards,

Keith S. London

Commissioner

City of Hallandale Beach



---------------
On August 29th London wrote:

Below is a brief summary of some of the items discussed and voted on at the City of Hallandale Beach’s Annual Budget Meeting. The following are some highlights from the meeting:

· The Marine Patrol was saved from being cut from the budget. Thanks to all of the residents/taxpayers communicating their concern of this being cut and the importance of this service; this was a direct contribution for saving this program.

· The Yard Waste pickup will definitely remain and it was discussed that an additional yard waste container will be provided to each resident. The additional container may be utilized not only for yard waste, but garbage and recyclables as well.

· The millage rate was INCREASED from 4.9818 in 2008 to 5.9 for 2009. This translates into an 18.44 % tax increase.

· All fee structures in the City were increased. These include but are not limited to the following: permits fees, building fees, inspection fees, public programs (tennis, after school), rental of parks or the cultural center, water fee, parking, occupational licenses, etc.

· The Fire Assessment Fee increased from $97.00 to $125.00 per household which translates into a 28.8% increase.

· Although revenues increased this year, once again the City will need to utilize reserve funds to balance the budget as has been required every year since Mike Good has been the City Manager.


-----------------
On August 24th London wrote:

All,

Please see attached the city manager’s transmittal letter for the City’s 2009/10 budget. This year’s budget is particularly important since resident services are being cut, while taxes and other fees are going up.

The city manager has submitted this budget TWO WEEKS before the first City Commission meeting to approve it. This commission meeting MUST take place on these dates in order to meet Florida State Statute. This last minute budget submittal puts all of us into a very difficult position as we cannot spend adequate time reviewing the budget without violating State law.

There is only ONE budget workshop scheduled for the commissioners and citizens to review the budget in detail, and it occurs on Wednesday August 26th 2009. EVERY other municipality has already had multiple meetings and budget workshops. While some may imply that previous meetings included budget review discussions, its laughable to assert that a budget was reviewed before it was available. In addition, to date, there have been NO public notices of the budget workshop in either the Miami Herald or the Sun-Sentinel.

This city budget includes the following:

· An INCREASE in your taxes through a one point millage rate increase.

· A DECREASE in public safety by eliminating the Hallandale Marine Patrol.

· A DECREASE in resident services by eliminating the bi-weekly yard waste pick up.

· An INCREASE in the Three Islands and Golden Isles Safe Neighborhood District millage rate.

· Elimination of 49 employee positions. Curiously, the city manager over the past five years, according to his transmittal letters, has eliminated positions every year, yet the total number of city employees hasn’t changed since 2003.

· Expenditures will exceed revenues for the fourth year in a row, decreasing our emergency reserves.

o It is important to note that our City was unable to balance the budget during unprecedented increases in property value.

o Despite the incredible decrease in property values, keep in mind the City’s total taxable property base has INCREASED since 2007, thanks to all the new construction that has occurred here.

Over the past year, the city manager, without notice to the residents, has also cut other services. No longer will the city provide an on-call yard waste pick up once annually. Bulk waste pick has been decreased from four times annually, to two.

-------
Hallandale Beach City Manager Mike Good's
budget transmittal letter of August 12th, 2009

From:
Good, Mike
Sent: Wednesday, August 12, 2009 8:37 PM
To: * City Commission DL
Subject: Fiscal Year 2009-2010 Prposed Budget - Transmittal Letter


To Honorable Mayor, City Commission and Residents:

I am pleased to present the proposed 2009-2010 Fiscal Year Budget. The attached documents are in compliance with Sections 5.02 and 5.03, Article V, of the City Charter. It is the Mission of the City of Hallandale Beach to provide effective leadership and high quality municipal services while reducing cost, being more efficient, and finding strategies to implement best management practices, for the purpose of improving quality of life and promoting public safety and well-being within our community.

This proposed Budget also fulfills the major goals and objectives of the City Commission, including:

  1. To ensure the City’s future financial sustainability.
  2. To provide diverse programs that meet the quality of life standards of our valued community.
  3. To provide superior services which meet the needs of our community.
  4. To continue to improve operations to fulfill federal, state and local requirements.
  5. To lead our City through one of the worst economic times our City has experienced.

In preparing the proposed FY09-10 Budget, my number one goal was to ensure the future financial sustainability of the City while continuing to provide essential services to our community and maintain the quality of life for our valued residents and business partners. Input from the community was received during the five City Commission/City Manager Community Forums held in March and April of this year and was considered in preparation of this budget. Nonetheless preparing the FY09-10 Budget has demonstrated to be challenging. My staff and I have worked diligently in preparing this document to ensure that we were able to meet the Commission’s goals of providing the most efficient and effective level of quality services for our residents while being fiscally responsible to ensure the long-term financial sustainability of the City. This has been accomplished through a combination of personnel evaluations, transfers, and reductions, one-time fund transfers, a review of all City programs and services, the continuous use of technology, changes to reserve accounts, as well as by evaluating current and future economic conditions.

The City, like all businesses, is not shielded from the troubles of the economy, but rather driven by the economy, and is additionally challenged with balancing the needs of the community while instilling strong fiscal management. With foreclosures and unemployment rates at an all time high and development at a standstill, the City is feeling the immediate effects of the economy. These effects are demonstrated by the dramatic 15.3% loss in the City’s taxable value. That loss, coupled with the legislative tax reform, unmet gaming potential, revenue decline, unfunded legislative mandates, and increased operational costs beyond the City’s control, required examination of every fund, revenue, project, and line item expenditure, including personnel, programs, and services for its need, use and efficiency.

Appreciating these difficult economic times and losses, as the Chief Executive Officer of the City, I stand resolved and committed to come to a balance and ensure the City remains steadfast in providing our residents, employees, businesses, and the entire community the best services and quality of life. Right now we are besieged by one of the most difficult budget years Hallandale Beach has ever faced. Given the above factors and taking into consideration the pending union negotiations, it has truly been the most challenging and difficult time we can have. To ensure we are able to meet our City’s service requirements, it was imperative for me to examine and scrutinize both essential and non-essential services and programs while at the same time focusing on the quality of life for the residents.

Deciphering between essential and nonessential services may seem an easy task; however, what is essential to one may not be essential to another. For the person that has no vehicle, the continuation of the minibus service may be essential while to the resident who has his/her own vehicle, repairing the street is essential. Or to the parents who depend on the services offered by the City, such as parks and afterschool programs, which ensure their children are in a safe, structured environment as opposed to being unsupervised at home, or on the street while they are at work. Inescapably, there are fundamental services the City must provide such, as utility services, which require infrastructure maintenance and improvements, and public safety services, which require vehicles/equipment, training, and personnel resources.

Ensuring the City’s future financial sustainability is imperative as this year the City is faced with an unprecedented taxable value decrease of 15.3% or $744 million from the prior fiscal year. This decrease was quickly realized while preparing the FY09-10 budget as the City was facing a $14 million shortfall despite the fact that we are doing more with technology and consolidating our resources to provide quality services to the community. Even by dissecting the budget to the fullest extent, including every capital project and line item expenditure, keeping the millage rate at its current level of 4.9818, we were only able to reduce that shortfall from $14 million to $5.5 million. Included as part of that reduction, is the termination, elimination and reallocation of a total of forty-nine personnel positions. I additionally examined the options of deferring and decreasing capital projects and equipment and vehicle purchases, exploring alternative revenue sources, and outsourcing various City services and programs. Although initially privatization appears to be a cost savings means of accomplishing initial financial goals and objectives, this option was not necessarily cost effective when workforce consolidation was factored into the equation. As you will see, all viable cost reductions and options have been considered and are hereby presented with the proposed FY09-10 Budget.

The long-term financial proposals presented herein are essential to secure the City’s future financial sustainability and to make certain that we preserve our community’s current quality of life and services. The City has been advised by the County Property Appraiser that we should anticipate seeing next year’s property values decrease at the same magnitude as this year, resulting in an additional $3 to $4 million loss in revenue. As a result of the above factors and the anticipated future valuation loss, notwithstanding the proposed budget reduction measures, I cannot see the City sustaining itself at its current millage level. The result of this loss in valuation requires the City to adjust the millage rate to provide for the same ad valorem revenue generated in FY08-09 (the rolled-back rate) to accomplish the City’s goals and objectives. The rolled-back rate is defined as that millage rate which, exclusive of new construction, will provide the same property (ad valorem) tax revenue as was levied during the prior year. This rate is calculated by dividing the prior year tax by the current year adjusted taxable value (excluding new construction). In order for the City to collect the same amount of tax revenue as the prior year, the millage rate would be set at 5.9552 (the rolled-back rate). Should the City kept its current millage rate of 4.9818, the tax revenue loss for FY09-10 would be over $3.8 million. Adoption of the rolled-back rate will provide for more manageable future budgets and allow the City to work towards financial sustainability. Therefore, I am recommending adoption of the July 1st rolled-back rate of 5.9552.

Prior to the budget, a detailed planning process took place, whereby the entire organization was evaluated including every service, program, expenditure, and revenue. As a result, the overall Fiscal Year 2009-2010 City budget for all funds totals $ 96.5 million, representing a decrease of 5.4% or $5,535,314 below the FY 2008-09 Budget, with a General Fund decrease of 9.4% or $5,259,581. These decreases were primarily due to personnel reductions, deferral and decreases of capital projects and various equipment, program cuts and modifications, operating expense reductions, and one-time fund transfers. Where appropriate, funding for certain positions was reallocated, and utilization of various funding mechanisms, such as the Law Enforcement Trust and Police Equitable Sharing, was also instituted to aid the General Fund.

Due to the City’s excellent Worker’s Compensation and Safety programs, the Worker’s Compensation Self-Insurance Fund has a healthy reserve balance of $4,142,972 as of the end of FY08-09. As reflected in the proposed FY09-10 Budget, $3 million has been transferred out of this reserve account into various funds based on a percentage formula. This is a one-time transfer and therefore future transfers out of this Fund should not be anticipated.

Additional changes to the reserve accounts reflected in the FY09-10 budget include the transfer of $250,000 from Equipment Reserves to Renewal and Replacement (R&R) Capital Reserves in the Water and Sewer funds to help stabilize those respective reserves. To ensure the longevity of the City’s Membrane Water Treatment Plant and to guarantee the City receives the highest quality of water, the Water R&R Capital Reserve Fund is being increased from 5% to 7.5% of the gross operating revenue of the previous year’s Water Fund. Additional changes in the Reserve Accounts include a decrease to both the Water and Sewer Equipment Reserves from 2% to 1% of the prior year’s revenues, and the Hollywood Wastewater Capital Reserve created last fiscal year is decreased from 10% to 5% of the prior fiscal year’s sewer gross revenues. The Hollywood Wastewater Capital Reserve was created to account for the future capital expansion of Hollywood’s wastewater treatment facility as a result of an unfunded legislative mandate.

Personnel have always been the City’s greatest asset and expense. As part of the FY08-09 budget, I imposed a six-month hiring freeze saving the City approximately $2,444,800 million. Unfortunately, the City must take more severe measures to balance the FY09-10 budget. As a result, vacant positions are being eliminated and several filled positions terminated, resulting in a total estimated savings of over $2 million. Reduced staffing levels require staff to work harder with added responsibilities while balancing the needs of the community. In addition to these salary savings and other benefit-related savings, the proposed budget includes no cost of living adjustments (COLA), which is anticipated to save the City approximately $1.4 million. Lastly, a permanent hiring freeze has been put into effect as of July 2009, which will result in further savings to the City.

Over the past several years, the City has focused on workforce consolidation. Through workforce consolidation, employees are cross-trained among different divisions and responsibilities to provide for maximum efficient use of all resources. A prime example of workforce consolidation was the redevelopment of Foster Park. As part of its construction and redevelopment, employees from all divisions of the Public Works, Utilities and Engineering, Development Services, and Parks and Recreation Departments worked together to design and construct the park. As part of the proposed FY09-10 Budget, I have consolidated the General Services, City Clerk and Risk Management Departments which will operate under one General Services Director who will oversee all three divisions.

The City’s utmost priority is to provide our community with the highest quality of life. Over the past several years, the City has offered numerous programs and services above and beyond what many other cities provide. With the current economic situation, the City cannot sustain all of the programs and services offered. After offering years of a successful public transportation program, the planned expansion of the minibus service will have to be delayed due to the Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT) withdrawal of funding needed to establish the minibus fourth route. Our Transportation Fund took a significant hit over the last year resulting in a $1.5 million deficit for the FY09-10 budget. This deficit was as a result of capital projects, increased operational costs beyond the City’s control, and funding for the planned expansion of the minibus fourth route. By reducing capital projects and services such as the minibus’ fourth route, the Transportation Fund budget was balanced. Like the free minibus program, the biweekly yard waste collection program is a City program not offered by many other Cities. The biweekly yard waste collection program, which is utilized by 846 residents out of 4,258 sanitation accounts, with an additional nine multi-family accounts, is recommended to be eliminated. The total cost to operate the weekly yard waste collection program is $94,433 with approximately $28,960 of revenue received annually. Elimination of this program will save the City approximately $65,473 in FY09-10.

For the past several years the Police Department has operated a Marine Patrol with the assistance of a County-funded grant. The total cost to operate the Marine Patrol is $78,665.19, of which $39,680.00 is reimbursed by the County and the City expends $38,985.19. This total amount covers 102 daytime patrols to be used exclusively on weekends and 22 nighttime aggressive patrol operations by two officers that must be conducted after 4:00 p.m., and has resulted in two citations issued this fiscal year. In addition to the program’s increasing operating costs, the current vessel utilized by the Marine Patrol is in need of replacement, with an expected cost of $135,000. Due to increasing operating and personnel-related costs to this program, I am recommending its elimination for FY09-10.

While examining the City’s programs and services, current programs and services that are currently privatized were also closely scrutinized. When evaluating privatization of City services, the City not only evaluates the cost of outsourcing, but also whether current outsourced services are the most cost efficient and effective. In evaluating the current Street Sweeping Program, which is currently privatized, it was found that the City can reduce the operating costs of the program by performing the work in-house. Accordingly, as part of the FY09-10 Budget the City will purchase the necessary equipment and hire a part-time employee to operate the equipment.

Additional costs beyond the City’s control include increased operational costs, such as fuel and electricity, and unfunded mandates, including the State Incentive Pay for police officers, required minimum benefits for police and fire pension funding, and elimination of ocean outfalls. These additional costs were evaluated and the budget reviewed and analyzed for potential financial transfers and adjustments. However, these transfers are only one-time adjustments. These budget adjustments are just one of the measures the proposed budget utilizes to make up for these additional operation costs, valuation loss, and other revenue decline. Many may have thought the gaming industry would bring additional revenue and provide a significant benefit to the City, when in fact it has not. In FY09-10 total General Fund Revenues of $48,833,722 million will be a decrease of $164,809 or .3% below the prior year’s Revenues (based on the 5.9552 rolled-back rate). Keeping the current millage rate, FY09-10 total General Fund revenues received will be $44,990,531 million which will be a decrease of $4,008,000 or 8.2% below the prior year’s Revenues.

Even with the reductions in personnel, programs, services, and expenditures, keeping the current millage rate of 4.9818 will result in $5.5 million use of General Fund Reserves, leaving a projected General Fund balance of $9.6 million. On the other hand, the adoption of the rolled-back rate will result in the use of $1.6 million in General Fund Reserves, leaving a General Fund balance of $13.4 million. Adoption of the rolled-back rate will lay the foundation to help ensure the future financial sustainability of the City.

Special challenges of declining revenues and continuing heavy demands for quality services have required the implementation of creative approaches and solutions to satisfy the needs of our citizens, costumers, employees and the City Commission. In order to ensure the financial stability of our City, various user fees and cost-saving techniques and efficiencies are included in the FY09/10 Proposed budget.

Given the fiscal constraints, many difficult choices had to be made in setting priorities, taxation level and fees in order to maintain the basic service levels and for continuing progress towards these goals. The key principles on which this proposed budget has been developed include:

  1. Budget for basic services to respond to community needs.
  2. Projection of revenues at realistic rates.
  3. Amend user fees to more closely cover the full cost of services.
  4. Enhance quality of life through City-wide capital planning, including traffic, parks, water and sewer projects and programs.
  5. Maintaining the undesignated Reserve Balance at the highest possible level to ensure that the City can sustain itself in the future.

In closing, it is without question that future years will hold many financial challenges for our City. Only through sound conservative budgeting will our City be prepared for what could be some hard economic years. I am confident that with the Commission’s leadership, staff’s determination and management’s use of sound financial practices we will get through these difficult economic times.

Finally, I want to thank all department directors and their staff for their hard work and sacrifices they put forth in evaluating their departments and setting their budgets to the minimum level possible. The City of Hallandale Beach is extremely fortunate to have a highly dedicated staff that truly places the needs of the Community before their own. Special acknowledgement and thanks should be afforded to those directly responsible for the preparation of this Budget. These individuals on the Budget Committee have diligently worked to create this document, scrutinizing every request, and assisted in making many tough decisions for the presentation of the proposed Fiscal Year 2009-10 budget.

Mayor, Vice-Mayor and members of the Commission, the staff and I appreciate you for the time and attention given to the proposed budget. Your support, hard work throughout the year, and dedication is truly admirable and appreciated.

Sincerely,


D. Mike Good

City Manager

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

Friday, September 18, 2009

Obamacare Death Panels have bad news for Newsweek: Doctors will pull the plug on mag at $75 a year; Newsweek R.I.P.

Obamacare Death Panels have bad news for Newsweek:
Doctors will pull the plug on mag at $75 a year;
Newsweek R.I.P.

Well, it's not like we didn't get a well-informed
head's-up from South Beach Hoosier favorite
Michael Kinsley
about five months ago on
what was to come from the magazine side of
the Post-Newsweek family, of which Local 10
(WPLG
) is a blood-relative.

(I discussed the positive side of this family
relationship in my March 31, 2007 post
about my 1982 summer internship at
Channel 10 that fell by the wayside because
of some very silly and truly
anti-competitive
rules at the IU
Telecommunications Dept.)
http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/2007/03/hbs-national-moment-in-news-proves.html )


In case you already forgot or never ever
heard about Kinsley's all-too-true LIVE
autopsy on Newsweek and traditional news
magazines in general, i.e
The shot that was heard around... well,
The Beltway
and certain media-centric
zip codes in New York City
, here it is:

The New Republic

B
ackward Runs 'Newsweek'
Blah blah newsmag remake blah blah.
http://www.tnr.com/article/politics/backward-runs-newsweek
---------------------
Two takes on what Kinsley wrote:

New York magazine
Daily Intel

Michael Kinsley Attacks the New
Newsweek,
and
We Feel Bad About It
May 22, 2009
http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2009/05/michael_kinsley_hates_the_new.html

Lisa Takeuchi Cullen:
Michael Kinsley, don’t be hating on Newsweek

http://trueslant.com/lisacullen/2009/05/22/michael-kinsley-dont-be-hating-on-newsweek/
--------------
As to Newsweek Editor Jon Meacham?
Very, very bright guy, obviously, but he
seems almost blind to the fact
that in the
eyes of many, including other journalists
I know in Washington and elsewhere
whose names you'd recognize, he is,
quite literally, the
placeholder for all the
journalism blandness that stretches from
coast-to-coast.

The sort of too-clever-by-half editorial
commentary -hello, Miami Herald-
on
illegal immigration that routinely takes place
in news articles, and not just on the editorial
page.

Supposed news articles where some basic
journalistic questions are never asked or
even hinted at, perhaps for fear of queering
readers about what are undoubtedly intended
by the editors to be sympathetic heart-wrenching
stories about American-born kids of illegals.

Illegal aliens who routinely ignored court orders
and ICE for years and finally got deported
back to Colombia, El Salvador or fill-in-the-blank.

Meacham is also emblematic of the very
high self-regard of many in the MSM,
as well as their cozy relationships
with
powerful corporate elites, whom they
are generally loathe to criticize by name,
even while they joke together with the
likes of a Jeff Immelt, GE's Chairman
and CEO,
about their latest appearance
on The Charlie Rose Show at the
afterparty at an Aspen Institute event
or over in Davos, hanging out with Bono..

(I'm not saying anything that hasn't been said
before in this regard, but whether in Davos
for the
World Economic Forum and chatting
with Tom Friedman, or in New York
for
some Clinton Global Initiative meeting,
any place where
Queen Rania is, by default,
almost always
THE place to be!
See http://www.queenrania.jo/ and
http://www.style.com/vogue/feature/2009_March_Queen_Rania/
and
http://www.youtube.com/QueenRania
)



As Michael Kinsley coyly notes in his excellent
New Republic essay:

In his editor's letter--one of many traditional newsmagazine features that have survived the scythe of change--Jon Meacham says, "We are not pretending to be your guide through the chaos of the Information Age," which concedes a lot of ground from the get-go. Why not at least pretend? Why else would people pick it up, let alone subscribe?
Later, he writes with disdain:

And so we progress to "Features," which seems to be longer articles on myriad subjects, many written by outsiders (Michael Bloomberg, Tina Brown…), who are prized because they bring an independent luster. Also, you don't have to give them health care. But the section's lead story is the magazine's cover story: an essay about and interview with President Obama by Meacham himself. This kind of thing was a staple of the old newsmagazine, and it follows strict rules. It always opens with an anecdote or telling detail that flaunts the magazine's access to the great, and illustrates whatever the point of the piece was supposed to be. Disappointingly, Meacham's reinvented Newsweek has not abandoned this stale formula.
Then comes a deft and well-delivered Kinsley punch to the jaw of D.C-dom.:
Another piece in the issue--I guess it's supposed to be a "reported narrative … grounded in original observation and freshly discovered fact"--is about curing autism. "It's spring in Washington," the piece begins, "and Ari Ne'eman, with his navy suit and leather briefcase on wheels, is in between his usual flurry of meetings." It's spring in Washington. That doesn't seem to qualify as either an "original observation" or a "freshly discovered fact." Nor does it have any apparent relevance to the story that follows. Could it be a "provocative (but not partisan) argument"? And what about that blue suit? I have news for Newsweek: Washington is the blue suit capital of the world. Let's give them the leather briefcase on wheels.
Killing with kindness!

The current purge of reporters across the
country for bottom-line economic reasons
is a
particularly tough pill to swallow for
many journalists
in D.C., New York and
other hipper-than-thou urban hubs,
particularly
among those who were in
J-School in the early to mid-90's,

during the golden era of reporter as
highly-paid and sought-after social
commentator.

That's because they
imagined that they'd
be the natural inheritors of the self-aggrandizing

corporate and college speaking tours of
Cokie Roberts and her husband
Steve
Roberts
, before and after their various
books came out.

The culture which so aggravated longtime
South Beach Hoosier favorite (and Asia
expert) James Fallows when he took
over
the reins at U.S. News & World Report,
that he engaged in addition-by-subtraction
by dumping Steve Roberts
to show he was
deadly serious about ending that kind of
behavior at any
magazine he was at.

http://jamesfallows.theatlantic.com/

In fact, if you listen rather carefully when
Jon Meacham is on a TV chat show,
you might even say that it's apparent that
Meacham has fallen under the spell of the
sound of his own voice, pontificating thru
18th-century historical allusions, something
that was never true of the late Robert Novak


It's my personal belief that we need more
journos digging for facts and examples of
hypocrisy in Washington and among the
powerful, like Bob Novak, not more Jon
Meachams
drawing imprecise comparisons
to matters little remembered by most
Americans, as if he was channeling Shelby
Foote's
powerful and pithy anecdotes in
Ken Burns' masterpiece, The Civil War.

Please leave the grandiloquent American
historical allusions to George F. Will.
He's already got it covered.

In a media universe that actually made sense
and reflected current and future economic
and social realities, one of the things we'd
have in this country
is a weekly one-hour
network TV program starring Fallows or
Kinsley
-or both.



They'd one-up Charles Kuralt, John Madden
and the C-SPAN Bus by going on the road,
interviewing and interacting with some of the
dynamic people who are changing the face of
our country with their thinking, acumen and
boldness.
Despite what Congress and the president
say or do to screw with that effort.

A variation of this theme was tried with Tom's
excellent foreign policy/economic specials
a few years ago, on what was then called
the Times-Discovery Channel but is now
called ID: Investigation Discovery.
http://investigation.discovery.com/

Below, Tom's
The Other Side of Outsourcing



Hm-m-m... how about calling their series
on business and technological innovation,
The Road to Innovation.
Yeah, yeah, I know, I know.
LOL!

That
title has only been used a million times
over the past 20 years, based on my last
1.001 trips to the Business section of
Borders or Barnes & Noble.

Who are the leading thinkers, engineers and
managers at Google, Microsoft, Intel or
JPL, and what sorts of problems are they
routinely running into in trying to continue
their research and innovation?
What sorts of things/solutions might be
possible if those roadblocks didn't exist?

Who are the brilliant former NASA engineers
and technicians who've been so thoroughly
burned-out and exhausted by the myopic
space policy in Washington of the past
twenty years that they've left the Feds,
Cape Canaveral and Houston in the
rear-view mirror, and are now using their
natural curiosity, enthusiasm, brains and
network of smart, savvy friends, to create
their own innovative companies?

Companies that will help make the country
more economically competitive internationally,
to get the country closer towards the sort of
smart, adaptive and energy-efficient technology
that made them decide to apply to grad school
in the first place?
Curiosity.
The sort of firms that ought to be all over the
place in Central Florida if Tallahassee was
paying any kind of serious attention.

(But do you really think such non-serious
pols like Sansom, Geller, Gelber
and Crist
did any critical thinking along those lines?
C
ould their collective neglect and failure to
seize self-evident opportunities here be
any more patently obvious?)


What's going on these days in a chastened
Silicon Valley
among the smart set who
didn't put all their eggs in one basket?
What areas are successful VCs putting
their money into so they can put their money
where their mouth and hearts are -and why?

Are so-called innovative Foundation-funded
'strategies' in local communities really producing
practical and tangible results that will have
staying power after the initial round of grants
and media hoopla have run their course?
Why or why not?

That leads to an important related question.
Who are the decision-makers at the
well-known national Foundations like
Ford, MacArthur, Eli Lilly, et al,
i.e.,
the groups that bankroll the only PBS
programming that most Americans actually
watch.

What are the common characteristics of
successful applicants, whether individuals,

government agencies, cities or counties?

What do they do to prevent their personal
or institutional biases and daily exposure to
corporate cronyism from impeding their
funding decisions?

Or from clouding the necessary empirical
fact-finding that takes place afterwards to
determine whether the grantee was successful
or not?

Do they have a pronounced tendency to
only give money to those groups or individuals
who will produce most positive publicity
for the Foundation versus those who
actually need it the most?

And name some names the way that Sixty
Minutes
did in the mid-70's when it was
earning its stripes, not doing fawning celeb
profiles on over-exposed Tiger Woods.
who bores me silly.

That the particular subjects I've just
highlighted here are all ones that I'd also
like to see in a smart weekly newsmagazine
like Newsweek, but won't, is precisely
the point.
Buh-bye Newsweek.

-----------------------
Washington Post
Newsweek Changes Subscription Strategy

By Frank Ahrens
Washington Post Staff Writer
September 12, 2009

Money-losing Newsweek hopes to break even by 2011 and plans to as much as double its subscription rate over the next two years, the magazine's top executive said Friday.

Ann McDaniel, managing director of Newsweek, which is owned by The Washington Post Co., said the magazine will aim for a "smaller base of very committed subscribers and get more money from each of them," while speaking at The Post Co.'s annual shareholders meeting at the company's D.C. headquarters.

See rest of story at:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/11/AR2009091103713.html

#HOLLYWOODFL based photographer and entrepreneur Esther Chuang with Hollywood Mayor-elect Josh Levy

Thumbs up! What a night we had! #HOLLYWOODFL based photographer and entrepreneur Esther Chuang with a very elated Hollywood Mayor-elect Josh Levy at his Victory Party, held at Leo Anato's Atelier3/AT3 on Harrison Street & S. 19th Avenue, Hollywood. AT3's great environment and the amazing variety of food prepared by chef Kevin Dreifuss, former owner/chef of ENDS MEAT restaurant, was SUPERB! November 8, 2016

Esther Chuang, Morro Dois Irmãos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2015

Above, perhaps my most-favorite photo ever of Esther, which is saying something considering what seems like the THOUSANDS that I've actually seen of her, from all over the world. But despite the fact that you can't actually see it here, trust me, her amazing smile and inner and external beauty are there. This photo is an even more amazing achievement when you know the backstory of what it took for Esther to get to the top of the mountain, since it's NOT for the faint of heart. Next time you see her, ask her about that! Morro Dois Irmãos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on her birthday, July 10, 2015. That's the Christ The Redeemer statue way out in the horizon on the top of another mountain, to the left of her head. �� In case you forgot what the Christ the Redeemer statue looks like, up close, here's another Brazilian beauty to connect-the-dots for you: Gisele Bündchen, aka @Gisele.

Abençoado por Deus e bonito por natureza!✨ ������

A post shared by Gisele Bündchen (@gisele) on

Miami Dolphins classic logo

Miami Dolphins classic logo
What I grew up with in South Florida in the 1970's - not just an expectation for winning, but for excellence and 100% effort!

North Miami Beach High school alumni

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.