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.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Kendrick Meek's curious out-of-the-blue Saturday morning Town Hall meeting

A last-minute email of mine that went
out across the transom late Friday night
to interested parties across the Sunshine
State concerned whether or not Rep.
Kendrick Meek would actually be making
what amounts to an in-store appearance
at Hallandale Beach City Hall on Saturday
morning, or go the route chosen by
Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

And therein lies the mystery...

This is an edited version of that email.
Friday September 11th, 2009
11:25 p.m.

Last Wednesday afternoon while up at Hollywood
City Hall for their City Commission meeting on the
explosive Police pension issue, I saw the flyer below
on their public notice board near the City Clerk's
office and snapped a shot of it.


So Congressman Meek will hold a Town Hall
meeting pertaining to Health Insurance Reform
at David Park Community Center, 108 N. Park
Road in Hollywood on Saturday the 12th from
9-11 a.m.

Not to discuss the issue of "health care reform" that
everyone originally bought into for reasons of logic,
compassion and economics, but
health insurance
the new tact taken by Obama in his effort
to sell a program that doesn't really seem to exist
on paper so much as in the hands and heads of
Senator Max Baucus's Senate Finance Committee
and staffers. http://finance.senate.gov/

(See Proposed Framework for Health Care Reform,
from Sept. 9th

Also, see various Baucus, Grassley Policy Options
for Financing Comprehensive Health Care Reform

listed at http://finance.senate.gov/sitepages/legislation.htm )

So, having been surprised at coming across this
news nine days ago without having read anywhere
else about it, I made a mental note to myself to use
the photo and mention it on the blog as the date
drew near, which was going to be Thursday.

But literally as I was in the middle of writing about it,
with my list of health care articles and links at the ready
to sprinkle here, I decided to take a break and take
a spin over to the Sun-Sentinel's Broward Politics
blog to see if there was anything percolating over there.

In retrospect, I'm glad I did because it prevented me
from writing and posting something I'd immediately
have had to pull down and make surgical edits to.

What I saw there shocked me:
Congressman Kendrick Meek plans health
care town hall in Broward
Posted by Anthony Man on September 10, 2009 09:52 AM

My first thought: Isn't that the same time that
he's supposed to be in Hollywood?

And my second was why is it being held there,
in such a small facility?

I immediately started wondering whether Meek
& Co.
would pull a phony Town Hall like another
South Florida gerrymandered congressperson
who's never had to run a competitive race for
their seat, Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

You'll recall that she recently had a pre-digested
Tele-Town Hall, which has all the civic charm
and spontaneity of a car maintenance manual.
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word...

Then, this morning, the Herald ran a similar
version on page 3B, which is what I had in my
email to you all this morning, at bottom.

This afternoon, I swung by the HB Cultural
to find out why this event was being
held Saturday morning in a facility that barely
holds 100 people, when the Cultural Center
behind City Hall can hold many times that

Well, it turns out the HB PAL is having their
abbual antique sale there the whole weekend,
so that's out, unfortunately.

But still rather curious about how the whole
event seemed to spring up overnight, since
neither I nor any of my well-informed friends
had heard anything at all about Meek actually
coming here until Thursday's Sun-Sentinel blog
post, I asked a someone in a position to know
whether or not an effort had been made to have
it in the Cultural Center in the past few weeks,
or, at a future date, when more citizens could

You might recall that during the recent
congressional recess of several weeks,
the deadest and warmest weeks of the
year in Washington, trust me, rather
than taking advantage of that time to
cross the countyline and have a health
care meeting at the HB Cultural Center,
Meek was campaigning all over the state
for the U.S. Senate.

Tonight, around 8:15, I walked by HB City Hall
and was surprised to see that a barricade had
already been erected in the parking lot near
the entrance off U.S.-1.


Looking north towards the barricade from
in front of HB City Hall,
with U.S.-1 to the right.

This, of course, was the 'one trick pony' they
employed for many years, to no positive effect,
at the city's public beach, as a substitute for
their actually patrolling the beach areas like
other South Florida oceanfront cities do,
esp. on busy three-day holiday weekends like
last weekend.

But in Hallandale Beach, under this particular
mayor, this particular city manager and this
particular police chief, that's not the way they
do things.

Which doubtless explains why there are always
so many dozens of police cars glued to the
HB Police Dept. parking lot that are never seen
on the city's roads.
But then what am I saying, you already know that,
don't you?

As you may recall, the real tip-off to potential
miscreants arriving at North Beach, with mischief
on their mind, that they had no reason to fear the
police were those bowls of cat food and water
that were placed directly in front of either the
police car's tires or underneath the chassis.
Day-after-day, week-after-week.

One of the three empty Hallandale Beach
police cars parked near the public entrance
to HB City Hall tonight.
Can't say for sure if it's one of the many
that's been growing roots over near the
Old Dixie Highway entrance to City Hall
the past few years, that were caked with
months worth of dirt.
It was too dark to tell since the three parking
lot lights closest to the entrance -shocker-
weren't working.
Just like last week and last month and...

The ruse is now in place tonight at HB City
Hall as I write this, and as you can also see,
the Meek folks don't want you taking flash
Perhaps he thinks he's Amish

Please don't take photos of the Congressman
in the building that your taxes paid for -he's
now Amish!

Why do I have a bad feeling that many
of the Hallandale Beach 108 will
be plants?

Hey, what do you know, the parking lot light
closest to the public entrance
of HB City Hall
STILL out.

And, the very light that's closest to the one
and only HB Police Dept.-controlled
camera in front of that side of City Hall.

The light that has
NOT worked for 18 of the
21 months since the cameras
first went up.

The light that HB
Police Chief Magill could
apparently care less about seeing fixed,

judging by his pathetic excuses many months
ago when I reminded the
whole Commission
during public comments of a night meeting
he was present at, how poorly the City Hall
has lit at night for years, and if they
doubted it, they could just step outside
see for themselves.

There are many cities in this country where
my comments would've led
to it being fixed
the next day, if out of embarrassment more
than anything.

But not here in HB.

Months later, that light just keeps on snoozing
thru the night.

That's your Hallandale Beach City Hall in action!


Meanwhile, down the street a few blocks,
on the median of U.S.-1 & S.E. 9th
I said hello again to our old friend
-the HB sign.

Moved a few hundred feet north many months
ago because of FDOT road construction, despite

its new location, its light STILL doesn't work,
extending its previous futile record
of being out
of commission to well over five years
longer than the U.S. fought in WWII.

Another Mike Good/Joy Cooper success story.

Now that I've added a big memory card to m
digital camera, I can shoot video
and plan on
doing so Saturday morning, to capture whatever
happens, if anything.

I strongly suggest that those of you with an
interest in attending bring along your own
camcorder to record the action,
such as it may be.

See photo at:
This weekend, I'll be posting something I've already
written about Meek and the candidates who are
seeking to replace him in Congress, and why they've
been so curiously AWOL in Hallandale Beach,
as well as the pages of the Herald and the
Sun-Sentinel, but for now, I just wanted to pass
this along in case you're up to the idea of asking
about arcane provisions of 3200 at 9 am on a
Saturday morning.

I'll be there with my camera and writing pad at the
ready, hoping for either insight or group dynamic
hijinks, but not really expecting to see either.

Posted on Fri, Sep. 11, 2009

Meek to hold town hall on Saturday in Hallandale Beach

U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek will hold a town hall meeting Saturday in Hallandale Beach to discuss proposals to overhaul the nation's healthcare system.

Meek, D-Miami, represents part of South Broward. He is also running for his party's nomination for the U.S. Senate next year.

The event will begin at 9 a.m. in the City Commission Chambers, 400 S. Federal Hwy., Hallandale Beach.

Doors will open at 8:30 a.m. Space is limited and will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis, Meek's office said.


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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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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.