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. Photo in upper-left is Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower on State Road A1A, September 2008; March 2018 photo below of North Beach, looking left-to-right, looking north, HYDE Condominium, Etaru Japanese Robatayaki restaurant, and Hollywood Beach in the distance, with umbrellas. All photos by me, © Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Whistleblower's steadfastness, well-timed FOIA requests + WaPo's Lisa Rein = evidence of public safety at risk

Below is yet another striking example where
FOIA requests and interviews at the right time,
plus some hard, critical questions asked by
someone unwilling to look the other way,
Steve T. Mackey, has lead to evidence of
shortcuts on
public safety and plain old
incompetence in a national transportation
plan of consequence, WMATA's proposed
Silver Line

The eye-opening Lisa Rein article on train
safety referenced below in the WaPo editorial
that ran on Thanksgiving, complete with
diagrams and photos, is at:

Some excellent photos that pinpoint the exact
area under discussion -which is two Metro
stations past where I used to live, and
near a very popular Applebee's in McLean
that my friends and I used to frequent
are at:

And since it wasn't in the papers down here,
I can tell you that they had a crash there on
Sunday with millions of dollars worth of

See also:

http://wtop.com/?nid=600&sid=1825327 and

And don't overlook the obvious -this is
precisely what a first-class editorial looks like.

Compare and contrast with the shallow LCD
silliness that passes for big-thinking editorials
in South Florida's newspapers, esp. the ones
dealing with immigration policy. Latin America
politics, public corruption or anything having
to do with real estate.

Washington Post

Supporting evidence
'You don't build bridges without testing.'
Thursday, November 26, 2009

THE MANAGEMENT and contractors involved in building one of the largest public infrastructure projects in the nation -- the $5.2 billion extension of Metro to Dulles International Airport and beyond -- suddenly stand accused of slipshod procedures and casual neglect of critical safety issues.

It's a damning indictment. The senior federal official with direct responsibility for transit has charged the project manager, Washington's airports authority, with submitting an "unresponsive and inadequate" plan to test crucial support structures for a planned bridge that would carry Metro trains over Interstate 66. Other officials with intimate knowledge of the project to build Metro's Silver Line are alarmed that safety tests that should have been obvious and obligatory were neglected or resisted by the contractors, a partnership between civil engineering giants Bechtel and URS. A whistleblower who formerly oversaw construction of the bridge has quit the project. And crucial documents appear to be missing.

These and other serious matters, raised in a report Sunday by The Post's Lisa Rein, have cast a shadow over the 23-mile Silver Line project. They will continue to darken perceptions of it unless they are addressed thoroughly, quickly and with an unstinting focus on safety. To its credit, the airports authority now appears to be doing just that, although it has not laid out its plans in detail.

The root of these concerns is the strength and integrity of a number of existing support structures -- concrete-encased steel pilings driven deep into the ground and each designed to withstand 70 tons -- that are to be used as foundations for the bridge. These foundations, built in 1977 in anticipation of Metro's eventual extension, were all but forgotten until workers came across them two years ago. Project engineers then decided to save money and time by using 11 of them as footings atop which pillars would be built to support the bridge.

It seems plain that the money saved by not having to build these foundations from scratch should be used to test the load-bearing capacity of all the underground pilings -- especially given their age and the apparent disappearance of original construction records. That sort of testing is exactly what Steve T. Mackey, the project's former chief bridge manager, insisted on. Incredibly, Mr. Mackey was overruled by a supervisor, and his attempts to alert the Federal Transit Administration about his concerns were ignored (outrageously) for more than six months; he resigned last year. "I'm old enough to know you don't build bridges without testing," he said.

There are some troubling questions here. One is whether the airports authority, which owns the project and the problem -- and is therefore responsible for a solution -- has the expertise, experience and muscle to manage this project. The authority did little to inspire confidence when, pressed to submit a testing plan by the feds, it merely wrote a cover letter for one submitted by the contractor, known as Dulles Transit Partners. Now the authority says all 11 structures will be tested.

Another question is why Dulles Transit Partners resisted testing every one of the foundations, as appears to have been the case. Was it because of cost, or the risk of disruption to service on the Orange Line or I-66, or because some forms of testing can actually harm the structures?

We make no presumption about the condition of the 11 existing foundations; as far as we know, and based on the limited tests that have been performed, there is no evidence to suggest they are unsafe. We understand that testing all the foundations could temporarily disrupt Orange Line service or require briefly closing part of I-66. It's also possible that tests could trigger cost overruns. What's critical is that the airports authority, as the project manager and owner, comes up with an informed, independent and transparent plan based on the most exacting safety and engineering standards. Nothing short of that will restore the public's confidence in Metro's most ambitious expansion plan to date.

Reader comments at:


There are a lot of well-educated professionals in
Northern Virginia
who believe a tunnel would be
better and cheaper (and faster) for the
Corner/Route 7 area than an elevated line,
including many of
my friends who have offices
near there.

Their slogan is 'It's not over until it's under."


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Exclusive: The 2009 Hallandale Beach Blog 'Turkeys of the Year'

And the "winners" of the 2009 Hallandale
Beach Blog
Turkey of the Year Award are...

Owing to the overwhelming number of worthy
and estimable candidates for Turkey of the Year,
I have been forced to create four categories so
that the various nominees are competing against
like-minded competitors, no matter the levels
of incompetence, laziness, petty malevolence,
general lack of concern for others or general
half-assedness in the performance of their jobs
or in the public service.

One group of nominees is being considered for
their performances in Broward County,
including Hallandale Beach and Hollywood,
yet another for South Florida outside of Broward
County, a third for the Sunshine State, and one
for the 57 States of Barack Obama's America.

Friends, I hardly need tell you that the nominees
were all deserving in their own particular ways,
and it's a damn shame they can't all "win,"
but some hard decisions needed to be rendered
by yours truly, as some nominees just proved
more outrageously egregious than others.

You know what I always say, you have to give
people their due when they go above-and-beyond.

That's why I've spent so much time over at
the Panera Bread on Hallandale Beach Blvd.
the past two weeks, carefully going over these
decisions in between sips of Hazelnut coffee
and bites of Asiago Cheese bagels, deciding
which parties made the cut and which ones

Over the next week, here on the blog, I'll list
ALL the nominees in the four categories and what
some of them 'brought to the table' this past year
to make them worthy of my consideration here
-and your attention- since in some cases,
their performances might otherwise be completely
unknown to you.

God forbid that you don't discover what they've
said or done before the year is up.

Plus, I suspect you'll now have a better means
of understanding and appreciating how the
'winners' accomplished their feats.

Trust me, in most cases, you'll be glad to know,
so that you will have a more fully-shaped picture
in your own mind of some of these people,
organizations and institutions.

In each category, when possible, I will attempt
to demonstrate thru photos or video how they
came to make the list.

I should also mention that for reasons that will
be made abundantly clear over the next few weeks
and months, there are certain individuals whose
personal and professional behavior, conduct and
words while performing their duties are so
and harmful to the public good
and contrary to law that I will not mention the
specifics here now, preferring instead to share
them with you in the future after I have completely
finished making my formal written complaints
to the appropriate State and County officials
and law enforcement organizations in Tallahassee
and closer to home.

At that time, you will come to know the true
character or rather the lack of it in certain
people that you think you already know,
and I can tell you with certainty that you will
NOT like what they've been saying and doing
behind your back, in many cases, for years.

So, with all that said, here are the four 'winners'
of the 2009 Hallandale Beach Blog 'Turkeys
of the Year'

a.) The 57 states of Barack Obama:
The Mainstream Media
, MSM.

b,) The Sunshine State of Florida:
Florida Secretary of Transportation Stephanie

c.) The Hegemonic People's Republic of South
Florida: The Miami Herald

d.) The Corrupt and Crony-driven Duchy
of Broward County: Hallandale Beach DPW
Director John Chidsey.

The John Chidsey experiment in the City
of Hallandale Beach is a complete and utter
failure for the citizen taxpayers, residents
and business owners of this city.
He needs to go -NOW!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Once again, sports reporters eager to avoid angering Tiger Woods and becoming 'Persona non Tiger'

My comments follow this latest update from TMZ.

Tiger Woods Cornered -- Turns Cops Away

Well, what do you know?
ESPN's Sunday morning edition of
The Sports Reporters will actually be
and relevant for the first time in
what seems like
ages, as the Usual Suspects
of sports sages
weigh-in, gingerly, on what's
happened the past
few days on the golf icon
and guaranteed
moneymaker named
Tiger Woods.

Personally, though I know it will
I'd love to hear them be
straight-shooters for
a change and publicly
call-out their more
spine-less and craven
colleagues in the sports
and marketing
industry, esp. at the TV networks,
walk on eggshells when speaking about

Tiger Woods, someone whom I've yet
to ever
hear an original and thoughtful
comment from,
just like fellow Nike
Michael Jordan,
even though he has the benefit of a
Stanford education.

(Not that a Stanford education really did devout
Oriole fans like me any good in the '90's while
Mike Mussina was pitching for the Orioles,

despite how frequently it got brought-up during
ballgame broadcasts, much to our consternation.

A lot of my friends and I still blame Mussina for
not winning Game 3 of the 1996 ALCS against
the Yankees at Camden Yards -I was there-
blowing a 1-0 lead in the eighth inning, with a
dominating David Wells slated to pitch for the
Orioles the next day, which could've plausibly
created a 3-1 Oriole series lead.

His choking performance prevented the Orioles
from getting to the World Series and beating
the Atlanta Braves, when the O's were clearly
the best-balanced team in baseball that year
-despite being the AL Wild Card team- having
thoroughly annihilated the Braves in Atlanta
during an intra-league weekend series.)

Which is fine, of course, since Woods
have to be interesting off the course,
or even
take a public stand about any issues
he privately
cares about, as long as he keeps

But it would be nice if he would...

How interesting would it be if he declared
in the near-future that, as a matter
of fact, he's
greatly troubled by the whole
'immigration reform'
racket in this country,
including the basic concepts
behind the
so-called "
Dream Act."

That he was particularly dismayed at the

overwhelmingly sympathetic and one-sided
the American news media have
portrayed the debate, having
been played,
hook, line and sinker, by someone
Cheryl Little of the Florida Immigrant

who seems to promise access to her clients
in exchange for favorable media coverage.

(So where are the on-camera questions
about -or interviews with- the parents
came here illegally or who knowingly
broke the law and have successfully
avoided deportation for YEARS?

Not on camera, that's for sure because
that'd be off -message, don't ya know.
So who's the most recent example I've
seen of a local Miami TV reporter playing
Cheryl Little's game of Show-and-Tell?
CBS4's David Sutta, who did one on
Nov. 20th after CBS4 did a story the
previous day on the same kids attending
Miami-Dade College.
"Reyes Bros. Freed After Immigration

Woods actually said that he thinks this sort
upside-down proposal penalizes hard-working
foreigners who have followed the proscribed
and laws we've insisted they follow, and
bided their time waiting anxiously for
legal admittance,
while others have come to
this country either illegally,
or intentionally
overstayed their visas, and now want
to create
cause célèbre just because their kids aren't
and actually paid attention in American
schools, just imagine what people would be

It'll never happen, of course, but...
Personally, I suspect this latest incident in
Orlando, whatever the true facts, will only
show once gain the full extent to which the
news media, in this case, well-known sports
reporters and columnists -like certain
well-known political
reporters and
columnists last year were (and remain)
in the tank for Obama-
have drunk the Tiger Woods marketing
Kool-Aid, and have deluded themselves
into thinking that , a la O.J., that they
'really know him.'

They don't.

They just think they do.

What those particular reporters fear most
is losing access to him
and his tightly-knit
entourage and being put permanently
his "No comment" list.

That's the same thing as excommunication,
since it will
quickly become known throughout
the industry.
And they will be labeled 'Persona non Tiger.'

Friday, November 27, 2009

Hollywood and Hallandale Beach parents aren't feeling love for Notter and Broward Schools; Where's Bob Butterworth?

My comments follow the article.


South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Broward school merger proposal upsets parents, officials in east

By Akilah Johnson and Jennifer Gollan, Sun Sentinel

November 26, 2009

Faced with the possibility that their underenrolled schools may be merged, some parents and officials in the eastern part of the county are warning the Broward School District to tread lightly.

There could be a minor rebellion among students upset over being moved, said Thomas Douglas, president of the Parent Teacher Student Association at Boyd Anderson High School in Lauderdale Lakes.

"There can be some separation anxiety and the implications are some of these young people will decide that it is not even worth attending school," he said. "It is basically a no-win situation."

The district projects as many as 33,000 empty desks in the 2013-14 school year, most in the eastern part of the county. As long as there are empty seats, the state won't allow the district to add classrooms or build new schools in the crowded west.

In response, the district is pushing a plan to measure classroom space by using eight geographic regions rather than individuals schools. The county and its cities must agree to the change. So far, Davie, Dania Beach and Cooper City voted to approve the measure. Lauderdale Lakes and Pompano Beach voted against it.

But that plan doesn't address underenrolled schools, and schools Superintendent James Notter is proposing that some elementary schools be consolidated, others could morph into kindergarten through eighth-grade schools or unused wings may be converted into office space for district administrators.

Notter explained that the district's leases on office space in Sunrise and Fort Lauderdale will soon expire and consolidating some underenrolled campuses helps with both money and boundary issues.

In the coming year, only Pioneer Middle School in Cooper City is scheduled to see significant boundary changes but district maps show scenarios in which thousands of students are moved out of overcrowded western schools into less-crowded schools starting in the 2011-2012 school year.

Hollywood Commissioner Richard Blattner said Notter's recommendation is reasonable. "If it means that older schools are closed and it reduces expenses that taxpayers have, it should be done," he said.

But Kristina Brazil, whose children attend Plantation Middle School, questions its merits.

"So…we move these kids out and put [administrators] in and it's a win, win?" she said. "The stance has been 'what's the most important thing for kids?' That doesn't sound like that's what they're doing."

Notter and School Board Chairwoman Jennifer Gottlieb stressed the board has not approved anything yet.

"There are too many unanswered questions," Gottlieb said this week. "We need to know where the kids are going to go; the impact on communities."

Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper said the proposal to change how class space is measured benefits western communities and the district, which won't have to anger parents by changing boundaries. It does little to address the needs of communities with underenrolled schools, she said.

"If there is crowding in one place in the county and the mechanism is in place to fill those seats through boundary changes, I cannot sit idly by because of the lack of will," Cooper said. "Other cities, particularly those in eastern communities…should be concerned."

Longtime Pompano Beach community activist Ernestine Price vowed to rally against any proposal that might mean eastern schools will close. Price helped found the grassroots group that sued the district in 1995 for neglecting to provide older schools in eastern Broward with the same facilities, programs and quality teachers as newer schools out west.

The thought of consolidating underenrolled schools leaves her resentful and heartbroken, she said. But, it compels her to keep advocating against disparities.

"You have a Broward County School District, and when schools were being opened out west they bused these kids," she fumed. "And now the schools are overcrowded and they don't want to bus anyone to the east. I don't know how anybody can fix their mouth and say that."

Parents and officials in western cities fear that if the proposed change doesn't pass, thousands of students countywide will be moved in a domino effect.

Cooper City Mayor Debby Eisinger has been avid supporter of the proposal and said the intent was never to sacrifice some schools for the benefit of others. The resolution, she acknowledged, may need to be modified to include "some protection for underenrolled schools."

"It should not be an east/west fight," she said. "Let's work together to continue to provide a quality public school education for the children throughout Broward County."

Reader comments at:

Seventy per cent of this article from yesterday is the
same as the Sun-Sentinel article from Saturday
that I sent many of you.

Since I returned to South Florida in mid-October of
Mayor Cooper and the Hallandale Beach City
Commission have
never held a single city-wide forum
on the sad state of education in this city,
nor has she
has a single meeting of the City Commission
that dealt
with it in a serious way.

And in the year since she was elected, we know that

Cooper has also never asked our MIA School Board
member Ann Murray to speak at any city function
to explain what, if anything, she's doing.

Why not?

And lest you forget, Hallandale High School also
serves kids from Hollywood,
whose parents surely
must wonder what it takes for HB City Hall to get
off their butt and actually get more involved in changing
the mix of options for kids in the HB/Hollywood area.

To say nothing of the new residents of Hallandale
Beach with kids who are now moving into
on A1A like The Beach Club.
Who exactly is looking after their best interests?

People who make the sort of financial investment in
place like they have will simply not accept half-assed
explanations from elected officials like Cooper and
Murray for why schools are so bad in the area,
and why they seem to have been mere spectators
while it all happened.

So when is
Mayor Cooper and the HB City
Commission going to convene a city-wide meeting
on the state of education in this area, one with

Ann Murray
present and accounted for,
so that people can have their legitimate concerns

aired and maybe even addressed?

A few months ago, showing what happens when
you have a person in charge who keeps their eyes
and ears open and responds in a constructive and
forthright fashion,
Mayor Bober and the Hollywood
City Commission had an interesting meeting that
discussed the pluses and minuses of the city pursuing
an application for a city-run Charter school.

It was very informative and anyone who had an
opinion on the proposal or schools in Hollywood
or Broward in general, got their chance to put in
their two cents and sound-off.

Why is that SO difficult to replicate here in
Hallandale Beach?

Not the Charter School part, simply having the
public meeting?

To me, the one thing that became really apparent
as one parent after another spoke was the full extent
to which the Middle Schools are perceived as a
huge problem for the greater area.

Parents and citizens are
VERY disturbed at what
they see and what they hear, and their perceptions
that mediocrity and sub-standard performance is
becoming the accepted norm, no matter what the
Broward School Board and Supt. Notter insists.

There was much discussion of the negative effect
of the Middle Schools in this area on attracting
families to the area, with many Realtors -
'amateur' real estate experts
- speaking to
the fact that they knew or had met people who
had decided to locate elsewhere.

It was also mentioned that as much as people
may prefer not to acknowledge it, many people
already living here were contemplating moving
elsewhere for the very same reasons.

Blame the reality or blame the perception,
but in the end, it's all the same thing if everyone
thinks it's bad.

Again, to repeat myself, since I returned to South
Florida six years ago from Arlington County, VA,
a place that is, if anything, perhaps, a little
concerned with education, the city has never held
a single meeting on education.

One that, in my opinion, optimally, ought to be held
on a Saturday morning over at the HB Cultural Center
starting around 10:30 a.m., so that kids can be there,
too, with at least one parent or guardian.

You simply won't get the same kind of turnout if you

hold it at night, and we all know that, so how about
some common sense coming into play for a change?

And maybe, for once, the city actually putting up
legible signs advertising
the meeting at least ten days
in advance
in appropriate places
throughout the city,
including near schools, rather than
the typical way
everything gets done here:

Just wondering: when are we going to get our chance
to speak to the hydra-headed PR squad selected
Supt. Notter to reassure Broward taxpayers
parents that the whole Broward School Board
shouldn't just be blindfolded and tossed overboard?

Or as Michael Mayo wrote in his interesting
Nov. 1st Sun-Sentinel column about FP&L
Notter both turning to Bob Butterworth
to lend some assistance,
In Sticky Situations, Just Add Mr. Butterworth
a "
volunteer three-member panel to explore
the school district's recent troubles."

Since Mayo's column ran three-and-a-half weeks
have you read or seen even one article or
segment on
local TV about actual Broward citizens
getting a chance
to speak to them, in either private
or public?

I haven't, and I've been actively looking for news
stories spelling out what they were actually doing.

There's been nothing reported for over three weeks
in either
the Herald or Sun-Sentinel in the form of
an actual article, and my recollection was
that they
were only going to be in operation for 90 days
or so.
What gives?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Coming Sunday: The Hallandale Beach Blog 'Turkeys of the Year'

The turkey balloon at the Publix on Hallandale
Beach Boulevard.
November 24, 2009 photo by South Beach Hoosier

Owing to the prospect of so many truly deserving
nominees, I've had to create multiple categories.
It's NOT just the usual suspects!

Now you'll see how my keen powers of observation
will pay dividends.

Now you know what those lists I've been creating
over at Panera Bread the past few weekends were
all about.

Deciding who's been naughty and who's been creepy.

By the way, if you can believe this, owing to their
efforts to cut costs, the corporate honchos at Panera
Bread have decided that they will no longer lay out
a carpet inside the front door on rainy days to prevent
customers from falling on their butts.

That's what it's come to under the first year
of the Obama Economy.
Saving pennies despite the obvious liability angle.

In Which the Florida Panthers Change Their Stripes to Appeal to Moms out in Weston; Lafleur et les Habs

In Which the Florida Panthers Change Their Stripes
to appeal to Moms out in Weston

Whose young kids bought this
jersey for her because
they got talked into it by the twenty-something guy
who works
at the sports store at the Sawgrass Mall,
who wanted to move some
inventory before Christmas,
and saw that the kids were gullible.

So now, for a few months at least, she'll wear it
when she goes to the Mall or picks them up after
practice, just so her kids don't know that she
really doesn't like it.

After all, whoever heard of a cat without whiskers?


Then it goes into the closet for a few years!

So, when did Hawaii get an NHL team? LOL!

Just when you thought there was no other way
left for the woe-begone, star-crossed
Florida Panthers to ruin a great sport...

They show three varieties of the Reebok
third jersey on their website, ranging from

The Business of Sports blog

Florida Panthers' new jersey; Jimmie Johnson's legend grows;
Ray Lewis' Hurricanes' Fatheads

by Sarah Talalay
November 25, 2009

Uni Watch blog -
"The Obsessive Study of Athletics Aesthetics"
In Which the Panthers Change Their Stripes
by Paul Lukas
November 23, 2009
See also: Chris Creamer's SportsLogos.net
at http://www.sportslogos.net/
A trip down memory lane in a virtual museum
dedicated to the history of sports logos and
sports uniforms.

The Panthers page there is at: http://www.sportslogos.net/team.php?id=13
See also my 2007 post on hockey and growing-up
in North Miami Beach as a fan of the
Montréal Canadiens
at my other blog,
South Beach Hoosier

If you're not already familiar with it, a really
great hockey blog, with a Montréal Canadiens
orientation is called, not surprisingly,
HabsEyesOnThe Prize.com

It's written with a lot of insight and understanding
in the ways of the Canadiens and their fans,
who while not "long-suffering" like Cubs and
Red Sox fans, still have an obvious anxious gene
that is not found in quite so many of the devout
fans of other sports teams, and NHL teams in

It's sort of like how Dolphin fans like me felt in
'75 and '76, wondering what had happened to
the methodical planning and execution they'd
become used to, suddenly seeing -more often
than not
- other teams doing that, namely
the Steelers and Raiders, and seeing something
unrecognizable in the aqua, orange and white
Dolphins: road losses to the Oilers and late
collapses against so-so teams that you're used
to beating nine times out of ten.
That's when the anxious gene really
kicks in!

The blog also consistently has great photos and
illustrations, and really speaks to someone who
knows the history of the NHL and the Habs
in particular.


In fact, today's post concerns Number Ten,
25 Years Ago Today: The Surprise Retirement Of Guy Lafleur

When I close my eyes, just like I can for the
Dolphins and Orioles of that era, I can still
name those players from the late '70's.
Their names, their numbers, their ingrained
habits and quirks and favorite moves on the
ice and the way they played with flair and grace.
Now THAT was a team for the ages.

Je me souviens.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ilene Lieberman, churlish chronic, self-interested obstructionist to common sense and ethics

Wednesday November 25th, 2009

Once again, below, clear evidence that Comm. Ilene
is playing her by now familiar role.
Not the role of pragmatic idealist, not the role of
reasonable compromise, but the role of obstructionist.

She waited until after the county Charter Review
made their recs last year before deciding
to offer up a measure that the County Auditor
-whom I have no quibble with- ought to be required
to makes financial estimates of the prospective costs
of ballot initiatives and referendums, and that such info
appear on the ballot.

There are lots of well-informed people in Broward
who are in complete agreement with me that
Comm. Lieberman came up with the proposal that
became an ordinance, at least in in part,to sink the
idea of having an independent, advisory MTA in
this area that could start making positive suggestions
based on what the public and transportation-users
think, not what box the county wants to put people in.

And by an advisory MTA, I mean one that was
composed of real taxpayers and which paid
proper heed to citizens, and which was NOT
the puppet play-thing of the County Commission
and their faceless bureaucratic MPO system,
which few citizens know about or understand.

That MPO system, while not without some smart
and well-meaning people, many of whom I've met,
is great in the abstract, but the reality is that it's
also the refuge of many bureaucratic drones who
give taxpayers and bus riders the back of their
hand, like they're laboratory rats.
Employees I'd like to see axed, toute-de-suite.

It's the last refuge of the dim-witted Joy Coopers
of the world, who say that everything should be
done thru MPO as a way of avoiding true
accountability, even while keeping parochial pols
in charge, due in large part to the
pervasive influence
of the
Broward League of Cities, which is too
great in my opinion.

For simple proof of this, go to the
Minutes of the
last public Charter Review Commission meeting,
April 9, 2008, 1 p.m.

Start at the public comments on page 6 and watch
what happens
when Joy Cooper is asked a series
of very reasonable questions by CRC members
Ted Mena and Michael C. Buckner.

It speaks for itself.

In the year 2009, citizens don't want to take a
seat in the back of the bus while imbeciles like
Joy Cooper do the driving -off the cliff.

(The woman who at the formal presentation
and Commission vote on the city's over-due,
over-budget Transportation Master Plan,
at the HB Cultural Center, was too dumb
to ever ask the city's consultants whether
or not the city's own mini-bus drivers were
ever interviewed for input; they weren't.

Right, ignore your own employees who are
best-positioned to speak to traffic issues
and patterns and take the word of consultants
who do their research based on city traffic
patterns during the slowest part
of the year.
That's her enlightened management style
which has so coarsened public sentiment
and common sense here.

In case you forgot, that's the meeting that
Comm. Anthony A. Sanders
never attended
and subsequently never gave an explanation
for missing.
Yeah, because traffic isn't really much
a concern here.

About what you'd expect from a city like
Hallandale Beach that is so poorly-run and
with so little apparent awareness of how
very poorly it is regarded in South Florida,
that when it came time to host BCTA chief
Chris Walton for one of his frequent visits
throughout the county, that he was given
the HB Cultural center at the SAME TIME
as a HB City Commission meeting.

As if, somehow, Broward taxpayers would suddenly
forget everything they knew and had experienced in
the recent past and would suddenly accept govt.
estimates on construction costs -and Broward's
in particular as reliable
- and use that factoid
as a deciding factor in deciding an issue.

See also:

When that move of Lieberman's later seemed
to be a real impediment when the Broward
County Commission wanted to do something
to help fast-track a new county Courthouse,
in part because that would have to appear
on the ballot if a bond issue, along with that
estimate she insisted upon, Lieberman
appointed herself to the county's Courthouse
Taskforce, and was promptly made Chair,
giving her two chances to bite the apple
and affect this important decision, not just one.
Right, because she has no obvious conflicts.

You read about that decision where in
the South Florida media, exactly?
Right, it never came up.

As to the Ethics Commission. simply do what
Charlotte Greenbarg
suggested, as quoted
by Scott Wyman in his very good Sun-Sentinel
article of September 10th:
Broward ethics
panel plans sweeping reforms

"My ideal would be something very simple -- don't ask and don't take,"
said Charlotte Greenbarg, president of the Broward Coalition, a
umbrella group representing area homeowner and condo associations.
"They shouldn't ask for anything and they shouldn't take anything.

Who could argue with that?
So easy that even a Broward County
commissioner could remember it,

did a poor job as Chair in the view
of many who were closely following the actions
of Taskforce members, many of whom seemed
to have conflicts of interest of the sort that in a
more enlightened community with higher standards,
would cause them to have never passed muster
in the first place.

Not that they were bad people, simply that their
own experience and personal and professional
relationships with certain people was of a sort
that would tend to cause them to not be objective
as to the basic question of whether a new
Courthouse was, in fact, needed.

As opposed to having the existing one modified
and expanded, using some artistic creativity and
making it far safer, more energy-efficient,
technology-based and taxpayer/citizen-friendly,
NOT lawyer/judge-friendly

Some outside-the-box thinking was required,
but as usual, that kind of thinking was shown
the door.

Quick, name the Taskforce member who was
appointed specifically to represent the average
county taxpayer?
There wasn't one.

As you know from my previous posts,

did NOT properly update Taskforce
meeting information on the county website, and
under her leadership, they actually had the gall
to place agendas, past Minutes and other
pertinent material on the county website hours
AFTER their last public meeting, not prior
to that meeting

So, where did you read about that in the
South Florida media, exactly?
Right, it never came up.

And all of a sudden, word started emerging in
the usual places that the County Commission
was going to try to finesse this project instead,
so that it won't ever have to appear on the ballot
for taxpayers to give their informed consent,
because it's abundantly clear that Broward
taxpayers are NOT in favor of building a new
Broward Courthouse.

Ilene Lieberman
, churlish chronic,
obstructionist to common sense.

This is part of an email that was forwarded to me.
I've deleted some blank space to make it more
compact.and easier to read:

From: Cepero, Monica
Sent: Friday, November 20, 2009 1:13 PM
To: 'Alfreda Coward'; 'Carl Shechter'; 'Comm. Carl Shechter'; 'Felicia M. Brunson'; 'Howard Bakalar'; Jardine, Arlene; 'Julie Lakosky'; 'Kenneth Fink'; Leu, Leah; Cepero, Monica; 'Neal de Jesus'; Robert Wolfe; 'Robin Rorapaugh'; Russo, Jean; Seff, Bradley; Teitler, Robert; 'Washington Collado'; 'William Scherer'
Subject: Broward County Ethics Commission verbatim minutes

Attached are the verbatim minutes from the last Ethics Commission meeting. The summary minutes will be forthcoming next week.

Have a nice weekend,


Monica M. Cepero

Assistant to the County Administrator

115 South Andrews Avenue, Room 409

Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301

Well, it's now 4:15 p.m. on Wednesday Nov. 25th.
the day before Thanksgiving, with county
employees off on Friday.
I just went to the
Broward County Ethics Commission
homepage at:

As you can see for yourself, the Minutes for the
November 12th Ethics meeting are not there now,
two weeks later.

Trust me, based on what the verbatim Minutes
say, when you actually see the Minutes in print,
you will be very, very angry.

The next meeting of the Broward County
Commission is Monday December 9th, from
9-11:30 a.m.

Broward Beat

Sources: County Commissioners Trying To Block Ethics Rules
By Buddy Nevins

Some Broward County commissioners are apoplectic over what’s happening at the Ethics

And it is causing them to act, well, downright unethical.

Some County Commissioners are accused by sources of applying pressure to reign in the ethics group. The group was created by voters to draft new ethics rules for the county.

“We’re having trouble and it’s coming from the Fourth Floor,” said one ethics commission member.

The Fourth Floor of the Government Center is where commissioners are cloistered behind two sets of receptionists.

See the rest of the story at:

Monday, November 23, 2009

Politics, Ice Coolers and Fighter Jets on the Beach: 2010 Air Lauderdale Beach Fest

South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Broward Politics blog
Air Lauderdale leader proposes political booths, responds to criticisms

by Brittany Wallman
November 17, 2009 06:06 PM

Among the offerings planned at the April 24-25 Air Lauderdale Beach Fest is a political area, where candidates can set up tables to reach out to voters, said Stan Smith of Air Lauderdale.

He noted that 2010 is a big election year, and thought candidates would want to take advantage of the opportunity to reach thousands of South Floridians.

Smith responded a moment ago to early criticisms of his plans to charge a gate fee for the festival area, and to ban coolers in the gated festival area

Read the rest of the post at:
The National Mall in Washington, D.C., belongs to all Americans, but for years, despite the fact that many events like the Fourth of July or Memorial Day Concerts/Fireworks were pretty much all-day family events, for which people arrived in the morning with all their stuff, the National Park Service banned coolers within The Mall area and, eventually, the consumption of alcohol as well. http://www.nps.gov/mall/index.htm

Video of The National Mall plan http://www.nps.gov/nationalmallplan/Timelapse.html

There were predictable outcries against the change of policy, especially from suburban families that for years had used the Metro system to get to and from the Mall quickly and cheaply.
With their ice coolers full of sandwiches and cold soft drinks and beer.

These changes produced rather predictable bad results in the view of most Washingtonians, and combined with what most thought were the high prices charged by officially-licensed vendors, only further hastened the ruination of what had been one of the few traditions -
besides the Redskins- that united all the myriad racial and cultural demographics of Greater Washington.

I pretty much attended both events every year for over ten years, and for me, they always represented one of the highlights of the year, especially if out-of-town family or friends were attending with me.

Sitting on the lawn off the steps of the west side of the U.S. Capitol, they'd often get a kick out of the fact that there were so many people there they recognized from TV or newspapers, like Senators or Congressmen, or even Hill or media folks whom I knew and had might've mentioned in passing over the telephone at some point, who'd come by and say hello, often with their spouses and kids.

It was very affirming and a reminder that for certain days at least, everyone in Washington, regardless of their political opinions or policy prescriptions, had the same two goals:
good weather and a good show!

Given the NPS changes and the impediments placed in their way, rather quickly, less and less people wanted to attend the events in person, and more resorted to simply watching them on PBS, as I do while I'm down here.

Sort of like South Florida's traditional apathetic sports fans.
Except that last time I checked, all the teams in the area still serve alcohol, no?

The $5 for access to a special area discussed above seems reasonable enough, since you don't have to go there if you chose not to, but overall, they only have one year to prove themselves.

Any out-of-the-ordinary screw-ups or rip-offs will kill what some think is a golden goose.

As I've mentioned here before, The Mall is also where my coed Capitol Hill softball team played in the early Nineties, when I was an outfielder for the National Democratic Club's DNG squad, Democrats of a New Generation. http://www.natdemclub.org/

The NDC was located right next to the
Democratic National Committee HQ on Ivy Street, where many of us had reason to be fairly often, though it wasn't the safest neighborhood at night.

NDC is also where I watched the the Dan Quayle-Lloyd Bentsen VP debate in 1988, with a few dozen friends and colleagues who left in a better mood than we arrived with. Though we played all over The Mall, usually, we were fortunate and played on an area either near the Smithsonian Castle or its Carousel, or in the field just south of the West Building of the National Gallery of Art.

Places with lots of people nearby so we could could get in our fair share of people-watching in between
innings and at-bats.
And the people-watching was always very good, too.

See also:
The National Coalition to Save Our Mall

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Exciting match expected today when Terps play Tar Heels for NCAA D1 Field Hockey title

At Noon on Sunday I'm watching the NCAA
D1 Field Hockey championship
match on
CBSC -CBS College Sports, DirecTV 613-
between undefeated, # 1 and defending champion
and #3 19-2 North Carolina in what
looks to be a really exciting match from Winston-Salem.





In my opinion, the handful of matches televised
this past season on The BigTen Network were
much better than in the past, though
naturally got the lion's share of the games,
befitting their national reputation
and consistent
Top 15 ranking.

Last year's
Big Ten tourney in Bloomington
was played under some cold,
wet and windy
conditions on the field just off
of 17th Street
between Fee Lane and N. Jordan.

The weather sometimes seemed to affect play,
which is always a possibility in early November
in Bloomington.

This year's tourney up in East Lansing,
thankfully, seemed blessed with much nicer
weather that allowed all the teams to flash
their skills.

I was very pleased to see
IU make it to
finals against the Spartans on Nov. 8th,
and to be able to watch the match from
beginning to end.

Though they ultimately lost 3-2 to an
Spartan squad, whom I knew
fairly well from watching
their earlier matches
on TV over the past few months,

the closeness of the match and the
gritty spirit
and character the Hoosiers
displayed in
hanging-tough with a top
national team on the
road, clearly
demonstrated to all who are paying
close attention
to the sport, that IU's
growing positive national
is well-deserved.

Kudos to
Hoosier Head Coach
Amy Robertson
and her assistants
for getting the most out of the
and making it to the NCAA Sweet 16
this year, before losing to a tough
Wake Forest squad, which is always
well-coached and full
of very talented
international players.


Efforts like those will only increase the
word-of-mouth about the
Hoosier's FH program's upward direction
and increase the flow of
recruits from field hockey hot-spots

on the East Coast and in the Midwest

Not that it wouldn't be great to get
some silly-talented girls from
The Netherlands or Great Britain,


Thru fortuitous timing, that same day,

I was also able to watch the ACC
final and watch the Terps
stage an amazing
comeback in
overtime against a scrappy and
somewhat heart-broken
UVA squad at Charlottesville,
one of my favorite places.

The talented
Cavaliers regrouped
later eliminated Michigan State
from the NCAA tourney 3-2 and
made it to the Final Four where they
lost 3-2 on Friday to UNC .

The sheer talent and ability of the
Terps in that game demonstrated
once again that no matter
what the
score is, no matter how well you're
playing, you can NEVER EVER
take your
foot off the accelerator
when you play

They will not quit, no matter how
close to the end
of the match it gets.
They are relentless!

The Terps tradition of winning NCAA
titles and playing tough matches even
when they are not at their best, is a
valuable lesson that ought to be more
widely-known and appreciated than it
currently is.


I like them to win 4-2 over a talented
Tar Heels squad.

#HollywoodFL based photographer/entrepreneur Esther Chuang

#HOLLYWOODFL based photographer and entrepreneur Esther Chuang with Hollywood Mayor-elect Josh Levy
Thumbs up! What a night! #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 now-closed 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 really saying something considering 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 atop Mount Corcovado way out in the horizon on the top of another mountain, to the left of her head. To the right is the world famous beach of Ipanema and to the left is the equally famous beach of Copacabana. In case you forgot what the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio looks like, up close, plus the Amazon area of Brazil that Esther grew up near in Manaus, 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

A floresta Amazônica tem um papel fundamental no equilíbrio do clima na Terra e, portanto, na vida de cada um de nós. Nos últimos anos a proteção diminuiu e o desmatamento aumentou drasticamente. E o que já era ruim, pode ficar ainda pior. Se as medidas que o governo vem tomando não forem vetadas, nosso futuro estará ameaçado. Diga NÃO à diminuição da proteção da Floresta do Jamanxim! Diga NÃO à exploração de minério no coração da floresta! #TodosPelaAmazônia #342Amazonia #TodosPelaAmazonia Assine a petição: link na bio. ������✨���� The Amazon Rainforest plays a key role in balancing the climate on the Earth and therefore in each of our lives. In recent years, protection has decreased and deforestation has increased sharply. And what was already bad can get even worse. If the measures that the government has been taking are not vetoed, our future will be threatened. Say NO to the reduction of the Jamanxim Forest´s protection! Say NO to ore mining in the heart of the Forest! #togetherfortheAmazon

A post shared by Gisele Bündchen (@gisele) on