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.

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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