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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.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Nothing quite proves the lip service of FL transportation policy like Joe Gibbons being MIA on those issues in his own district

Sent this out as an email a few minutes ago to the
folks in my network of concerned South Florida
citizens and to some of the reporters who've written
about this subject over the past week.

December 2nd, 2009
1:30 p.m.

Regarding some of the recent articles and blog posts
-at bottom- on State Rep. Joe Gibbons and lots of
'huffing and puffing' about changing the dates of the
special FL legislative session on public transportation
issues because of some conflicting logistics over the
National Black Caucus annual meeting to be held
in FTL, that Rep. Gibbons is speaking at tomorrow
-a little local perspective goes a long way.

I think I sent it to many of you originally as a bcc,
but just in case I didn't, back in June, I wrote an
email and subsequent blog post on June 4th that
gets to the heart of the problem as it involves the
state's many transportation issues and what
seems to be a clear fact pattern of Joe Gibbons'
here in his own district on those
very issues.

I include it below for your perusal, along with
some other pertinent facts that seem worth
mentioning now that he is expecting the entire
legislature to change their plans because of his
That is, in case facts actually still matter.

A few paragraphs into my post I write:

Nothing quite says lip service like folks

acting all concerned with transportation

policy and Quality of Life issues when being

interviewed by reporters, but then skipping the

chance to appear at an informative Saturday

morning event where actual concerned South

Florida citizens are present and accounted


Plus there was a great speaker like Gordon Price

of Simon Fraser University in Vancouver,

the noted Smart Growth expert, who made a truly

fantastic presentation that had most attendees

wistful as they watched it, and even more angry

than they expected at seeing, once again,

how much worse this area is than it ought to be

compared to other places.

(See http://www.sfu.ca/city/bioGordon.htm and

http://www.pricetags.ca/presentations.html )

Mr. Price flew across North America from

beautiful Vancouver to deliver a powerful message

in Fort Lauderdale, and I made time to make the

relatively short trip up to the Broward County

Convention Center to hear him - and was very

glad I did, as many other attendees told me

as well.

Based on her pathetic track record and apparent

fear of actually interacting with knowledgeable

taxpayer citizens, instead of the govt. officials

and trade groups she clearly prefers to interact

with, which I've written about here before,

I completely expected FDOT Sec. Stephanie

Kopelousos to be a no-show.

She didn't disappoint, so her non-appearance

was NOT exactly Breaking News.

But where was my own State Rep., Joe Gibbons?

Or my State Senator, Eleanor Sobel?

Gibbons, the former Hallandale Beach City

Commissioner who now acts oblivious to

all the self-evident unethical and incompetent

activity taking place here in HB, happens to be

the ranking Democrat on the House Transportation

and Economic Development Appropriations

Committee, and yet was a no-show that morning,

as were South Florida Senators Alex Diaz de la

Portilla and Chris Smith, both of the Senate

Committee on Transportation and Economic

Development Appropriations.

Nice going!

Way to represent!

The folks who actually attended the Summit won't

soon forget who the no-shows were.

See also:


Because of my longtime interest in transportation
and public policy issues, I have been to every
SFECC meeting held in Gibbons' own district
since he was elected, both here in Hallandale Beach,
as well as meetings in next door Hollywood and
And I've been to ones in Miami and in Fort

I've seen engaged county and city commissioners
from South Florida like Sue Gunzburger,
Beam Furr, Keith London, Zev Auerbach,
Linda Sherwood
But no Joe Gibbons.

I think it's fair to say that I've been to every major
public transportation meeting held in South Florida
over the past 3-4 years, whether the Regional meeting
I reference above, the one held in Dania last Fall
on funding sources for Tri-Rail and commuter rail
in the state, or the one hosted by Broward County
three years ago at the Broward County Convention
Center, all of which had hundreds of people

I was even at the somewhat impromptu meeting
held over a year ago at Hollywood City Hall hosted
by Rep, Elaine Schwartz and Sen. Eleanor Sobel
on Tri-Rail funding and related transportation problems,
that drew a few dozen concerned citizens from this
part of Broward County and Northeast Miami-Dade

That doesn't make me an expert, of course, just
a concerned citizen who pays attention to what
is and isn't happening.

Given his position, a State Representative and
the Chair of a Committee that deals directly with
transportation, why is it that at these meetings,
ALL held within minutes of Joe Gibbons' district,
he's NEVER seen?

Not even at the ones NOT held during the
regular legislative session?

That seems like a reasonable question a real
reporter might want to ask him one of these days.

At some point, it's perfectly fair to say that he's
a no-show on this issue in his own area of the
That time is now.

And please, if you can, explain to me why House
Leader Sands and Gibbons won't
answer the basic
question of what would happen
to the special session if the legislature actually
waited until
Monday to start and run head into

We know the answer to that, don't we?
The predictable hue and cry that we would arise.
And yet for their own purposes, Sands and Gibbons
feign ignorance and act like they don't know that
holiday is on calendars in everyone's house and
That attitude certainly explains a lot of why things
are the way they are in this state.
Second-rate, backwards and half-assed.

So what, exactly, is their clever alternative to the
To start on Monday and then stop on Wednesday
for a few days for the holidays and have everyone
leave town, then come back the following Monday?
And to what, use Christmas as a cudgel and

That not only doesn't make sense but means the
public will once again be forced to listen to
Members complain about how difficult it is to get
to far-off Tallahassee from South Florida,
a tiresome complaint that doesn't elicit any
sympathy from anyone not related to them,
esp. since taxpayers are stuck paying the
ridiculous sum of $600 for Members' round trip
flights to Tallahassee because of the Legislature's
inability to run logically even during the Regular
Zero sympathy!

If Joe Gibbons is genuinely concerned about
transportation issues in South Florida, why,
to the best of my knowledge, has no-show Gibbons
and his State House Committee never held a single
field-hearing in South Florida, the scene of the
crime, if you will?

In his representation of me and other constituents
in this district on these important economic and
Quality-of-Life issues, at a certain point, it's fair
to say that it's exactly what it looks like: somnolence.
He's now morphed into Rip Van Gibbons.


Black lawmakers: Delay session

MiamiHerald.com - Steve Bousquet, Marc Caputo -
A special legislative session scheduled for this week on Florida rail projects has raised the ire of black lawmakers because it conflicts with their plans ...

Fla. speaker refuses to delay special session

MiamiHerald.com -
AP TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- House Speaker Larry Cretul has refused to delay a special legislative session that will conflict with the annual meeting of the ...

Black lawmaker flap: House Dem leader asks for excused absence from special ...

Palm Beach Post - Michael C. Bender -
Designated House Democratic Leader Ron Saunders, R-Key West, requested an excused absence from the first two days ...

Count Saunders out of special this week: He's with black caucus

Tampabay.com - Ron Saunders -
And so the game of chicken/who flinches first continues between House leadership and black legislators and House Dems... Rep. ...

Black legislators seek to delay special session

Sarasota Herald-Tribune - John Kennedy -
TALLAHASSEE - Republican legislative leaders Tuesday struggled to tamp down rising anger among House Democrats ...

House leaders won't delay special session for black legislators conference

Tampa Tribune - Catherine Dolinski -
TALLAHASSEE - House leaders stuck today to their schedule for a special legislative session starting on Thursday, ...

Session timing at odds with national meet of black legislators; GOP leaders ...

Palm Beach Post - Dara Kam -
TALLAHASSEE — Florida House Speaker Larry Cretul on Tuesday refused to delay the onset of the special session slated to begin Thursday despite ...

Speaker Larry Cretul: no dice on special session delay

Juice - Josh Hafenbrack -
House Speaker Larry Cretul is sticking to his guns: The special session will start on Thursday, as planned, despite protests from Democrats that the ...

Saunders says he'll skip first two days of session

Juice - Josh Hafenbrack -
How many days can the flap over the scheduling of Thursday's special session – which coincides with a national black legislative conference in Fort ...

South Florida meeting won't delay special session on transportation

Sun-Sentinel.com -
AP TALLAHASSEE - (AP) -- House Speaker Larry Cretul has refused to delay a special legislative session that will conflict with the annual meeting of the ...

Black legislators' caucus meeting in Lauderdale

Broward Politics - Brittany Wallman - ‎Dec 1, 2009‎
Leaders from across the nation are expected to gather in Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday for the 33rd annual National Black Caucus of State Legislators ...

Rail special session conflicts with black legislator conference in South Florida

Orlando Sentinel - Aaron Deslatte - ‎Nov 30, 2009‎
By Josh Hafenbrack, Tallahassee Bureau TALLAHASSEE -- The Legislature will be in special session starting Thursday at 9 am, it looks like. ...

House GOP "racially insensitive," Sands charges

Sun-Sentinel.com - Josh Hafenbrack - ‎Dec 1, 2009‎
House Democratic Leader Franklin Sands, D-Weston, warned that the Legislature's Republican leadership is verging on being “racially insensitive” for ...

Black legislators up in arms about special session date

Juice - Josh Hafenbrack - ‎Nov 30, 2009‎
Just one problem: That's a big day for the state's black caucus, which is hosting a national conference for black legislators in Fort Lauderdale from ...

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