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.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Dear Florida, California, Michigan & Illinois: It's over. See ya in the rear view mirror!

On Thursday, about an hour after it first appeared
online, I sent the great analysis piece by TIME's
Tim Padgett on the longstanding problems in
Florida, and our part of the Sunshine State in
particular, to about three-dozen media friends
and family members all around the country.

To an extent that surprised even me, the ones
who had responded by Saturday night by email
or phone all said the same thing, more or less:
"Weren't you always saying the same sort
of thing when you were up here in D.C.?"

I had, actually, to the consternation of many,
who said that things down here really couldn't
be that bad.
And for a moment, it was like I was back in
Bloomington, trying to describe what South
Florida was like to kids who'd grown-up with
a drinking age standard of 21, not the 18 I'd
Where do you begin...

But then when you explain how long it took
to get rental aluminum luggage carts at MIA...
or explain how during the entirety of the '70's,
the City of Miami refused to have big name
rock concerts at the Orange Bowl, which is
why Fleetwood Mac or Bob Seeger had to
perform at the much-smaller Miami Baseball

Tim, TIME's Miami Bureau chief, had a link
to CBS-4's videos of the recent budget woes
and meetings in Broward and Miami-Dade to
help paint the story that tells the tale of woe
and incompetency with dollops of real estate

He's a terrific writer with ridiculously prescient
insight into Latin America, as I've mentioned
here previously, plus, he's a native Hoosier,
from Carmel, and a Wabash grad.

Another Midwesterner in South Florida trying
to make sense of it and explain it to others!
Like IU grads Shannon Hori and Jawan Strader
of CBS-4, and Rob Schmitt of Local10.

Tim's all-too-prescient analysis of the mess we
call Florida 2009, was rocking and rolling all over
the Internet soon afterwards, as pundits and reporters
of all stripes and political sympathies were linking
to it and using it as a jumping-off point for their own
perspective on matters closer to home or to prove
a point.

For instance, Tom Bevan of Real Clear Politics,
one of my favorites, used Tim's piece to talk about
the grim economic situation in Michigan and Illinois
and noted how they are handling things there -poorly.

Not a lot of can-do spirit, but a lot of tax-hungry pols
eager to ignore reality and reward their pals and the
government bureaucracy.

I touched on this situation in Michigan and New York
on March 3rd and April 24th with these posts:
Expect more New Yorkers in Broward,
as NY Post reveals: GOV PLOTS SECRET

Many Fleeing Michigan En Masse Have Maps of Florida

-HB Wants Dibs on the Smart & Skilled Ones!

Turns out that more than half of all Michigan college
students leave the state after graduating.
Wonder what it is in Florida?
Florida Exodus: Rising Taxes Drive Out Residents


There are many things public officials probably shouldn't do during a severe recession, but no one seems to have told the leaders in Florida about them. One thing, for instance, would be giving a dozen top aides hefty raises while urging a rise in property taxes, as the mayor of Miami-Dade County recently did. Or jacking up already exorbitant hurricane-insurance premiums, as Florida's government-run property insurer just did. Or sending an army of highly paid lobbyists to push for a steep hike in electricity rates, as South Florida's public utility is doing.

And you wonder why the Sunshine State is experiencing its first net emigration of people since World War II.

See the rest of the story at:

Tim's great concluding sentence:
But if Miami and Florida officials can't get their acts together, they can probably expect even lower head counts in the years to come.

It's called voting with your feet, something
that the
Broward County Commission and the Broward
School Board are learning the hard way,
due to the
economy and their own longstanding
inability to deliver a satisfactory performance for
the amount of tax dollars they consume.

Each has more than a few members who seem
more interested in financial and political advancement,
and rewarding their financial backers with govt.
contracts, than actually doing the job for which
they were elected to: supervision over the
grab-bag School system that is often going in two
different directions -and none of them are Forward.

Their sense of entitlement is breathtaking as is their
inability to see what's right in front of them.

If you have only heard about Tim's essay second-hand,
but not read it for yourself, I should also mention
that in the online version of the story on TIME's
website, they have a photo with the following
spot-on caption:
A mover prepares household items belonging
to a customer leaving Aventura, Fla., for
San Diego.

That struck me as funny given that as recently
as three weeks ago, the LA Times had a truly
inspired essay by Candice Reed that presaged
this sentimet, about the Golden State having
long its luster for many.

That's just the latest version
of that same story,
which gets repeated at least once every ten years,
and which why so many former Californians now
live in Nevada, esp. Las Vegas, or moved to
Oregon, only to be soon inundated by more
people just like themselves.

It's not too dis-similar to why so many former
Floridians now live in North Carolina.
9/3/09 Real Clear Politics Blog
What Michigan Can Learn From Florida
By Tom Bevan

9/3/09 Real Clear Politics Blog
Read Hynes' Lips: New Taxes

He concludes with this crackling barb about
Dan Hynes' recent comments and his desire
to run against the incumbent governor in the

Given the crappy economy, the public's generally sour mood and its specific disgust with the state's endemic corruption and the left over fumes of the Blagojevich administration, building your candidacy as a Democrat around the issue of raising taxes doesn't strike me as the smartest campaign strategy.
Los Angeles Times

Dear California, I'm dumping you
I thought it would last forever, but you've changed and I want out.
By Candice Reed
August 16, 2009

Dear California,

I've been thinking about this for a very long time, and I've come to the conclusion that we should go our separate ways. I thought I loved you and it would last forever, but I was so very wrong.

I know that our relationship has lasted 50 years and that we should fight to stay together, but you've changed so much that, frankly, I don't know who you are anymore!

When we first met I was young and rather naive, and I loved you unconditionally. I spent years running with abandon across your sandy beaches in the bright sunshine, playing in your beautiful parks and attending your top-rated schools, which were a national model for the other states. For 18 years or so, I can honestly say that I was truly in love with you, but then came your first major transgression: Proposition 13.

Oh sure, you tried to tell me that property taxes were bad for our relationship, but I knew you were lying. Low taxes, you said, would bring us closer together. You wanted to have your cake and eat it too. You said we could build schools and roads and parks without that tax money, but even back then I knew you were in denial.

I didn't leave because I thought you'd get over it and we'd still have a future. But, to be totally honest, I stayed with you mostly for your weather. No other state has your perfect little sunsets (don't get me started on that sexy Pacific Ocean), your 364.5 days of sunshine each year and your mild climate even in winter. I know you occasionally turned on me with your random earthquake tantrums, and you tried to chase me away with flames more than a few times, but I forgave you. I always forgave you, which I suppose says something about me. I was weak when it came to you, California. But now you're hurting everyone we know, and I can't stand by and watch.

You've totally lost perspective, and I'm sinking into depression! We can't pay our bills, and the phone is ringing off the hook with creditors calling from all over the world. Children across the state are losing healthcare, more than 766,300 Californians lost their jobs in the last year, and we're at the top of the foreclosure charts. You need to change, and you refuse to admit it. For the first time in our relationship, I'm embarrassed to say that we are together.

There's no doubt that I still have feelings for you, but since I lost my job in the newspaper industry and my house is being sold under duress, I want out. I'm leaving you, California, and you might as well know the truth; there's another state and I'm falling for it hard.

Never mind where it is, let's just say that it's above you and leave it at that. What I will tell you is that I can afford to live there without stressing every day that my expensive electricity will be shut off, or that my water, which I can use only sparingly, will dry up.

Oh, and my new state still has jobs in the newspaper business, which I will admit makes my heart go pitter-pat, and I find myself daydreaming about healthcare benefits again. I know my new state isn't perfect. Oh sure, the weather isn't as nice as yours, and it's got its own budget shortfall, but it's coping, and I can dress in layers. Nothing is perfect.

So that's it, California, it's over. You've cost me too much. I'm starting over, but I can see happy times ahead. Like we once had.

Please don't call my mother to try and find out where I live. You could be a great state again, but I can't wait for you to turn it all around. Good luck!

Hasta la vista,

Candice Reed starts her new job in Chelan, Wash., in September. She is the co-author of "Thank You for Firing Me! How to Ride the Wave of Success After You Lose Your Job," which will be published in February.

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Hallandale Beach Blog is where I try to inject or superimpose a degree of accountability, transparency and insight onto Florida and local Broward County government and public policy issues, which I feel is sorely lacking in local media now. On this blog, locally, I concentrate my energy, enthusiasm, anger and laser-like attention on the coastal cities of Hallandale Beach and Hollywood.
If you lived in this part of South Florida, you'd ALREADY be stuck in stultifying traffic, paying higher-than-necessary taxes and continually musing about the chronic lack of accountability among not only elected govt. officials, but also of city, county and state employees as well. Collectively, with a few rare exceptions, they couldn't be farther from the sort of strong results-oriented, eager work-ethic mentality that local residents deserve and expect.
This is particularly true in the town I live in, the City of Hallandale Beach, just north of Aventura and south of Hollywood. There, the "Perfect Storm" of years of apathy, incompetency and cronyism are all too readily apparent.
Sadly for its residents, HB is where even easily-solved, quality-of-life problems are left to fester for YEARS on end, because of myopia, lack of common sense and ineffective supervisory management. It's a city with lots of potential because of its terrific location, yet its citizens have become numb to its outrages and screw-ups after years of the worst kind of mismanagement and lack of foresight. On a daily basis, they wake up and see the same old problems that have never being adequately resolved by the city in a logical and responsible fashion, merely kicked -once again- further down the road.
I used to ask myself, not always rhetorically, "Where are all the enterprising young reporters who want to show that through their own hard work and enterprise, what REAL investigative reporting can produce?" Hearing no response, I decided to start a blog that could do some of these things, taking the p.o.v. of a reasonable but skeptical person seeing the situation for the first time, and wanting questions answered in a honest and logical way that citizens have the right to expect.

Hallandale Beach Blog intends to be a catalyst for positive change. If there's one constant gripe in South Florida, regardless of your age, race, nationality or political persuasion, it's about the fundamental lack of PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY here among Florida's state, regional and local govt./agency officials. Hallandale Beach Blog aims to be a small step towards regaining some of that needed accountability, whether it's thru simple public scrutiny, or requires a degree of follow-up investigation and public exposure of incompetency, cronyism or simple negligence -South Florida's usual governing style.
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Some older elements and building blocks formerly seen at Hallandale Beach Blog, such as photos, graphics and videos have been moved into cold storage. Visit them again or see what you've missed at: http://hallandale-beach-blog.blogspot.com/

New this year: you!

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

Paradise Lost? South Florida

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

A fish rots from the head down, and so does local government in Hallandale Beach, FL

A fish rots from the head down, and so does local government in Hallandale Beach, FL
City of Hallandale Beach Municipal Complex, 400 S. Federal Highway. The City of Hallandale Beach Municipal Complex: If it's true that a fish rots from the head down, so it does in local government in Broward County, FL. This monument sign on the west side of the intersection of U.S.-1 and S.E. 5th Street, across from Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino and the Village at Gulfstream Park retail complex, alerts you to your proximity to HB City Hall and the HB Police Department HQ. It's a place and culture whose very own words and actions have made clear to taxpayers of this city -regardless of age, race or income- that it holds itself apart from and above from the very citizens it's supposed to serve, often acting like they don't have to follow the same laws that govern everyone else in the state of Florida and the U.S., whether of logic, reason or contracts. (More to the point of this blog, the Florida Statutes on Sunshine Laws and Public Records.) City employees in Hallandale Beach routinely refuse to answer perfectly reasonable questions posed to them by taxpayers, and as I have found out myself and witnessed, are not above berating you for even having the nerve to ask! As it happens, it's also not a very safe area, despite who operates here, and over the past nine years, the public parking lots have often been pitch-black for 6-9 months at a time, including in front of the HB Police Dept. HQ. Then-Police Chief Thomas Magill even shrugged his shoulders at City Comm. meetings when told about this a few times. As if they couldn't make a worse first impression, at one point, even the spotlights shining on this sign didn't work at night for over FOUR YEARS, either. October 13, 2012 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Palm tree, Stars & Stripes

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

Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino and Village at GP retail complex, Hallandale Beach, FL

Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino and Village at GP retail complex, Hallandale Beach, FL
Entrance monument to Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino and The Village at Gulfstream Park retail complex on U.S.-1 & SE 3rd St. Hallandale Beach, FL. October 5, 2010 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

Hallandale Beach Water Tower, looking east from State Road A1A/South Ocean Drive; May 2009 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

Singer/songwriter Full of Keys (Anni Bernhard)

Singer/songwriter Full of Keys (Anni Bernhard)
Singer/songwriter Full of Keys (Anni Bernhard) wearing the teal-colored Miami Dolphins cap I gave her in January 2013 (in Stockholm) while recording her 2nd album, "The Grazing Grounds" at Sandkvie Studios in Visby, Gotland, Sweden. Also pictured here are sound engineer and co-producer Linus Larsson and musician/DJ/co-producer Mats Jönsson, April 12, 2013.Click the photo to see her videos, read my blog posts and Tweets about her and learn more about this dynamic and original talent with personality to spare!

North Miami Beach Senior High School, the Home of the Chargers

North Miami Beach Senior High School, the Home of the Chargers
Before I was a Hoosier, I was an NMB Charger, Class of 1979.

In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation

In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation
"In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation." -South Beach Hoosier, 2007.

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

Let's end the 28-year NCAA title drought!
IU All-American and U.S. Olympian Steve Alford on the cover of the 1987 Indiana University basketball media guide, months after IU won the NCAA basketball title.

The NCAA Championship Banners

The NCAA Championship Banners
Assembly Hall, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana. I was there in 1981 for NCAA Title #4 vs. North Carolina. Click on photo to go to the IU Basketball homepage.

Sebastian the Ibis, the U-M mascot

Sebastian the Ibis, the U-M mascot
Like longtime U-M fans everywhere, including me, Sebastian the Ibis, the U-M mascot, hasn't had very much to cheer about lately, given the general state of mediocrity and underwhelming performances coming from the Hurricanes. Isn't it about time for fans to finally see some tangible signs that the new AD is moving things in the right direction? Where are the signs? I'm NOT seeing them. The woeful U-M Women's program is largely composed of teams that are NOT even close to being competitive for NCAA titles like their ACC competition, and they don't even field Women's Lacrosse or Field Hockey teams. It's embarrassing! Click on Sebastian for retrospective photo gallery of The Orange Bowl


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

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


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

Using a map of Stockholm and my Samsung mobile's Latitude app to find out where some friends and contacts in Stockholm were before I called to let them know I'd arrived from Arlanda Airport and had checked into the B&B in Södermalm. If only it had been an OpenStreetMap! January 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved; Click the photo to see OpenStreetMap's amazing map of Stockholm and a whole world of useful maps you never even knew existed

Solrea - Sveriges bästa resesök

Solrea - Sveriges bästa resesök
The colder and snowier it got in Stockholm, the more this simple ad seemed like genius. Sometimes, you don't have to reinvent the advertising wheel. When you're a travel agency and it's cold and snowing, make your target audience think of summers and traveling to an inviting warm beach. Above, one of the many Sistaminuten.se display ads I saw on the side of pay phones throughout Stockholm. This one was located on Ringvägen, across the street from the Åhléns Dept. store (with the Hemköp grocery store in the basement that I frequented) west of busy Götgatan and the Skanstull T-bana, the southern commercial heart of trendy and fun Södermalm. January 11, 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved. I used this photo in my April 22, 2013 blog post titled, Tourism game-changer for South Florida travelers & Fort Lauderdale-area businesses -but only if they're smart and start planning now. Ruminations on the upcoming Norwegian.com flights b/w Ft. Lauderdale and Oslo, Stockholm & Copenhagen, and the need for Broward's hospitality industry to take full-advantage of the opportunity; @Oslo, @norway, @stockholm, @sweden, @copenhagen, @denmark. Click photo to see that post

More travel advertising in Stockholm

More travel advertising in Stockholm
Speaking of advertising, only two blocks from the wonderful 4trappor B&B I stayed at in Södermalm, Stockholm on my trip -and also located on Ringvägen- were two more display ads promoting travel. The one in the distance is for SAS, Scandinavian Airlines Systems, which I flew on to Stockholm, and the one in the foreground, on a public telephone booth, is the "Holiday is where the Heart is" ad campaign for VING. January 12, 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved. Click the photo to see their TV ad!

Risk för snöras, istappar

Risk för snöras, istappar
One of the many such warning signs that I saw on buildings and on sidewalk barricades while in Stockholm in mid-January 2013, alerting you to the possibility of falling snow and ice, often by men shoveling it off roofs. This one was spotted on a residential building in the Södermalm area of Stockholm, on Ringvägen, while I was walking over to the Åhléns Department store on Götgatan. It wasn't until I was walking back later to the B&B that I noticed the inflated Santa that some resident had intentionally placed outside of their window, so it looked like Santa was falling! January 13, 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Ringvägen, Stockholm, Sweden

Ringvägen, Stockholm, Sweden
Poster display on Ringvägen, Stockholm, Sweden. January 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved. The Affischplats plan in Stockholm, while not perfect, strikes me as a pretty good compromise in helping cultural and civic groups catch the public's eye in a way that's better than a free-for-all of groups plastering posters on the sides of buildings and utility boxes, and watching as the weather makes a mess of them. The tangible effort the city makes to get the public involved in a genuine and meaningful conversation about what is going on long-term for the city as a whole, or in a particular neighborhood, is very impressive, and made me wishful that the local government employees and planners where I live and write about regularly in my blog and in conversations with other concerned civic activists did even one-third of what Stockholm's planning employees seem to do as a starting-point.