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.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Unpopular RAC proposal and Diplomat Country Club expansion affecting Hollywood and Hallandale Beach

Darkness on the Edge of Town,
October 30, 2009 photo by South Beach Hoosier.

Above, the City of Hallandale Beach's pathetic
monument sign on
the median of U.S.-1 that
greets north-bound visitors from Aventura
a bit since Spring- which STILL
doesn't work at night.

What a telling and dreadful first impression
for visitors.

It's been well over FIVE YEARS since there
was a light shining on this
particular sign,
which is as simple and stark a reminder of the
gross incompetence and mismanagement
of the current Cooper & Good regime as you
could find in the city.

(Well, actually it's first by a nose, since tomorrow,
the so-called
Community Center under the
A1A Water Tower
celebrates 27 MONTHS
of being closed to average HB citizens and taxpayers,
but occasionally open for HB City Hall pals and
cronies, as I've chronicled here many times before.)

To give you some useful context for understanding
this fact, that's LONGER than the U.S.'s involvement

in World War II.

So where's the light?
Good question.
Why don't you ask that question of the man
responsible, John Chidsey, the city's DPW
Director since February?

Soon, you'll be able to see the video I've shot
the last few months of it looking neglected
and forlorn at night.

Below, some photos I snapped Saturday night around
6:30 p.m., after spending some time writing and
reading at Panera's.

The public notice sign is on the west-side sidewalk

of Diplomat Parkway, just north of Hallandale
Beach Blvd. and adjacent to the Diplomat
Country Club'
s property.

October 31, 2009 photos by South Beach Hoosier.
Are you going to Monday night's important meeting?

It's very important for HB citizens and others in the
greater community to keep in mind that there are
more than just the residents in the immediate area
of the Diplomat Country Club who will be
adversely affected by this out-of-scale proposal,
now up to bat for the second time, after folding
their tent last year.

Based on the phone calls and emails I've personally
received within the past week, and what I've heard
from others in conversations, I expect that we'll see
quite a lot of Hollywood residents present and
accounted for at the HB Cultural Center to see what
we're all up against.

As it happens, over the past few weeks, the Diplomat's
lawyer/lobbyist on this project, Debbie Orshefsky,
who along with Diplomat Properties LP's Suzanne
formerly of Forest City's lobbying efforts
with The Village at Gulfstream- is attempting to get
this passed here, has greatly increased her public profile.

Orshefsky was at the October 14th City Hall-sponsored
'community meeting' at the HB Cultural Center regarding
their controversial and poorly thought-out RAC proposal,
which featured citizen after citizen taking the microphone
in hand and mocking, attacking and vilifying Hallandale
Beach City Hall, and City Manager Mike Good personally,
for, among other things, not being more proactive about
letting the community know exactly what the city was
planning to do.

I plan on posting video of that highly-charged
meeting onto my blog and my YouTube Channel

Orshefsky was also one of the forty or so people
in the audience attending Wednesday afternoon's
HB P&Z Advisory Board meeting on that subject,
which I recorded.


The unpopular RAC proposal was rejected on a
3-2 vote, largely on account of the city's continued
inability to definitively answer the most basic
questions about it
, as well as their refusal to even
wait just one month to re-present it when they could
answer those questions to the Board's satisfaction,
and could produce more specific, finalized details
of the plan to the public.

What really bothered me, the Board and the
other citizens in the room the most was
City Hall's embarrassing inability to specifically
answer the simple question of why,
if the RAC is such a great idea,
can't it be used to cover the entire city,
except for residential A1A?

You'd think that given what they're proposing,
they'd have all thought about this question
a little bit, but the reasons given for not doing
this were utterly unconvincing.

It reminded me all over again of why I'm so
openly critical of the way things are done at
HB City Hall, after giving people there the
benefit of the doubt for way too long:
poorly-conceived and executed policy
decisions are wrapped in anti-democratic
stealthiness and
an unwillingness to accept any
criticism, and crowned
with petulance and a desperate
self-serving need
to cover-up when
found out.

It seems like I heard at least one metaphorical
reference by someone in the Chambers that
afternoon to the effect that HB City Hall is,
essentially, asking the P&Z Board to sign
onto a blank check without asking any

In response to P&Z Board members' requests
for the city to wait one month and come back
to the P&Z for approval, Richard Cannone,
the Director of the city's Development Services
, who did much of the city's Power Point
presentation -along with a woman from
Calvin-Giordano who's often at Hollywood
City Hall
- said that although the plan wouldn't
really get started until 2011 or 2012, after coming
back from Broward County for approval, the city
DIDN'T want to wait even one month.

This very negative response by City Hall seemed
to genuinely surprise some people in the audience,
many of whom I'd never seen before, because it
seemed at odds with both common sense and the
expressed desires of the HB citizens in the room,
who'd come specifically to actually get MORE

Rather than being prudent and reasonable and
agreeing to provide more answers to the public
in the future, the city's response was to
pick-up their football and go home.

After everything that's already happened
with this proposal, all very negative,
this move on Wednesday by HB City Hall
really showed a tremendous amount of contempt
and disrespect for the citizens of this community,
and particularly the ones who found time away
from work or their families to show-up in the
middle of the day.

It only proved once again why the HB P&Z
meetings should be held in the evening,
when more HB citizens and business owners
can actually attend and participate, as is the
case in Hollywood.

That's how I was able to learn the details last year
about what was going on with the plans for the
Beach One Resort hotel project on A1A and
HBB, before it ever went to the Hollywood
City Commission for two separate meetings,
both of which I also later attended.
You might recall that this is the project for which
HB is foolishly suing the City of Hollywood.

Wednesday's HB P&Z meeting was the first
time that the city has definitively stated for the
record that the RAC's eastern border north
of HBB was the West side of N.E. 8th Avenue,
and did NOT include the area across the street,
adjacent to the Hallandale Jewish Center
that Peter Deutsch desperately wants to make
another campus of his Ben Gamla Charter
Hebrew School
empire, for which he and his
financial partners will be paid over $2 million
a year
by the Broward County School system
if the HB City Comm. gives him the zoning
variance he needs to build the K-12 project
in that quiet single-family home neighborhood.

Wednesday afternoon was also the first time
that City Hall publicly said that the original area
to be contained within the RAC zone had actually
shrunk, following a meeting they'd had just days
before with residents from NW HB, who were
VERY concerned that too many residential areas
there seemed to have been tossed into the RAC
grab-bag without any serious thought or
consideration, which echoed the complaints
about indifference cited many times by speakers
at that meeting on October 14th.

This admission that changes had been made
to the proposed zone only heightened the
generalized sense of frustration among many
in the room on Wednesday afternoon,
some of whom, no doubt, feel that the zone
should perhaps be further down-sized,
even if they agree with the general idea of it.

That reasonable option seems obvious to you
and I, but not to HB City Hall, since Cannone
said that they are going forward with the
map/zone they already have.


Yet having declared this in public, I know for
a fact that Cannone will be at the Hepburn Center
again on Monday night at 6 p.m., since civic
activist Mary Washington said as much to me
after Wednesday afternoon's meeting was over.

Talk about sending mixed messages.

But don't call HB City Hall with any ideas
of them sending someone to your neighborhood
group to explain what's going on with this.
That's simply not gonna happen.

It seems to me that in a normal city that's
well-run and that fully understands its
obligations to its citizens to properly explain
its policy proposals, in this instance, it's the
burden of the city to explain or rationalize
why one area is included and another
is excluded, so that residents better
understand the process and the eventual
goal, even if they disagree with it.

You and I don't currently live in such a city.

Of course, some people were angry that the only
they could even find out whether or not their
home or commercial property was in the RAC
zone was by showing-up and asking.

So now the city's RAC plan which, goes to the
HB City Commission for their Nov. 18th meeting,
which starts in the afternoon, takes a
break, and then concludes in the evening.

Both the unpopular RAC proposal and the
unpopular Diplomat expansion project have
been fast-tracked by HB City Manager
Mike Good for no logical reasons that
can be explained.

But then that's just the standard M.O.
around here, isn't it?

As always, failing a logical reason that
you can point to based on the evidence
at hand, you have to 'follow the money'
and see who profits from the decision
to push these particular proposals NOW,
exactly a year before next year's election.


Published in Miami Herald on 10/25/2009

No records found for Suzanne Friedman


Lobbyist NameOrshefsky, Debbie M
CompanyGreenberg Traurig
Address401 East Las Olas Boulevard
CityFort Lauderdale
Company Phone(954) 768-8234
Client NameDiplomat Properties, LP c/o Capital Hotel Manageme
Client Address584 Cabot Street
Client CityBeverly
Client StateMA
Client ZIP01915
Client Phone(978) 522-7009
General SubjectLand Development Approvals
Specific SubjectLand Development Approvals
Registration Date10/5/2009
Lobbyist StatusApproved
Client StatusActive

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