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.
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.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Broward Schools' incompetency: reductio ad absurdum. Writ large! Lack of Integrity!

On Monday, I will have for you here the official
answer
why this particular meeting will NOT
be televised on
the Broward School Board's
own channel, BECON-TV, Channel 63.

Just like the last meeting I wrote about before
and after
it took place.

Here's what's scheduled to run on
BECON instead:
http://www.becon.tv/becon-tv-schedules
6:00 pm Historic Hotels of America : Jefferson, The
6:30 pm Broward School Beat : Episode 45
7:00 pm Celebrate South Florida! : Farewell Show
7:30 pm Dateline Health Nsu : Dh#257 Emergency Medicine/M. Campbell & K. Nugent

At some point, you have to wonder why they

even bother with the pretense of caring.

No, not just the
BTU, James Notter, the
Broward School Board, their bureaucracy
and the Integrity Trio, but the local
reporters
in South Florida as well, especially
TV reporters,
who do stories on them that,
to varying degrees
of clarity and professionalism,
don't so much
illuminate as obfuscate the
larger issues here:
integrity, or rather the
lack thereof.


This is reflective of the great thinking that
led
to the 1977 AMC Pacer, below.


How many of those do you see on the road
these
days?
How many people rhapsodize about them?

Do you know of any museum that trumpets
their collection of Pacers?
No, instead, every time you see one featured
in a TV show
or film, it's designed to serve as
comic relief about that era.

There's a very good reason for that, isn't there?

In my opinion, the current education system

in Broward County is a 1977 Pacer.

Earlier this week I wrote about the paid ad

the BTU, Broward Teachers Union,
ran in the Miami Herald and, apparently,
since I didn't see it that day, the South Florida
Sun-Sentinel
as well.

An ad that was precipitated by a
Wall Street
Journal
article in early January about special
education funding and which specifically
mentioned what Broward Supt. James Notter
was doing with that money here.

The Wall Street Journal
EDUCATION
JANUARY 6, 2010

Special-Ed Funds Redirected
School Districts Shift Millions of Dollars to General Needs After Getting Stimulus Cash
By ANNE MARIE CHAKER

Florida's Broward County Public Schools saved as many as 900 jobs this school year. Nevada's Clark County School District just added more math and tutoring programs. And in Connecticut's Bloomfield Public Schools, eight elementary- and middle-school teachers were spared from layoffs.

These cash-strapped districts covered the costs using a boost in funding intended for special education, drawing an outcry from parents and advocates of special-needs children.
Read the rest of the column at:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB126274303415617219.html
Reader comments at:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB126274303415617219.html#articleTabs%3Dcomments

Let's be clear on one point: WSJ reporter
Anne Marie Chaker did a great job of bringing
this story to light.
She deserves to take a bow,

But nobody in South Florida's news media ever

bothered to pick up the ball and follow-up that
well-written and informative WSJ story with
the sort
of necessary connect-the-dots story,
column or TV investigative piece that should've
appeared shortly
afterwards
Nobody.

Surprise!
Except it is no surprise at all, is it?
Nope!
It's what we've come to expect from our local
media -nothing.

Since then, all manner of people have written

about the paid ad and some related matters,
but in my opinion, improbably, they have all
have managed to miss the forest for the trees.

They never wrote about
a.) special education and
b.) they never ask a very simple question:

Why is the BTU, having already repeatedly
failed
over two years to do their not-so-clever
mass email
as planned, continuing to repeat
their mistake,
over-and-over?
Plain and simple, it doesn't work.


What don't they understand about that?


At some point, as an organization, when you
continually fail, you have to admit that your
particular strategy
doesn't work and you
either need a new strategy
or a new general
Which one is it?

Miami Herald
http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/02/18/1485927/btu-ads-blast-superintendent-notter.html
Broward teachers, superintendent escalate hostilities
By Hannah Sampson
February 17, 2010

Long-simmering tensions between the Broward Teachers Union and the school district's superintendent escalated publicly Wednesday in morning newspaper ads and an afternoon news conference.

The union bought half-page ads in local newspapers accusing Superintendent Jim Notter of misusing school district money.

The allegations touch on use of stimulus money intended for kids with disabilities; job perks for Notter; rehiring of retired administrators and unnecessary travel on the taxpayer's dime.

They're all accusations the union has made before, but for the first time, Notter responded. He was appaled, he said, about the photographs of children that were used in the ad.

''When in fact you look at a paid ad and what looks back at you are children who clearly do not know and understand the untruths that I just shared with you, I will tell you that is wrong,'' he said, calling the children ''exploited.'' The ad, which cost up to $1,000 to run in each paper, features a picture of seven angry-looking children posing with their hands on their hips. They are the children of union members, a BTU spokesman said.

If not for the picture of the children, Notter said he would have ''maintained what leaders maintain, and that's taking the high road.''

Later, union spokesman John Ristow countered: ''It's time for Superintendent Jim Notter to stop misleading taxpayers and playing the blame game or take the high road out of Broward County.''

Teachers are working without a contract this school year as the union and district continue negotiations. The union wants raises for teachers, while the district says it could only afford to cover increases in the cost of health insurance for members. Negotiations last school year hit an impasse.

BTU spokesman John Ristow said Wednesday's ad was unrelated to the ongoing talks, however.

''Some things rise above contract negotiations,'' he said.

Some of the claims in the ad allege that Notter:

• Wasted $32 million intended for special education students;

• Got free health insurance for his wife while dependent insurance for employees went up 45 percent;

• Receives gas money for his ''new Corvette;''

• Rehires ''administrator friends'' who earn large paychecks;

• Took a non-essential trip for himself and other officials to an award ceremony;

• Has expense accounts for top administrators that exceed the yearly take-home salaries of many support professionals.

In the news conference, Notter addressed each accusation.

• He said the $32 million in stimulus money was used to pay part of the cost for special education that the district had paid for from its general fund.

• As part of a $26,000 reduction in compensation, he pays for his wife's health insurance and for gas for his 2002 Corvette, which he bought used.

• Since he became superintendent, 10 previously retired administrators have been rehired, with five making less money than before and the largest increase being $4,000 a year.

(However as retirees they still collect a pension).

• He traveled at the expense of the Broad Foundation to accept a prize of scholarship money.

• No one but him has an expense account, which amounts to about $260 per pay period.

Wednesday's ad wasn't the first one taken out by the union. It was just the latest volley in a series that has included baseball-themed protests, press events featuring piglets and fax, phone and e-mail campaigns.

''The ad is only one method that employees are using to try and educate the public about what's happening in Broward schools,'' Ristow said. ''They want the public to know that while Superintendent Notter cries poverty every day, he is wasting tens of millions of their tax dollars.''


Reader comments at:
http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/02/18/1485927/btu-ads-blast-superintendent-notter.html?commentSort=TimeStampAscending&pageNum=1


Above, the Hot Wheels representation of the
1969 General Motors Corvette


South Florida Sun-Sentinel
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/broward/fl-btu-suit-20100218,0,7445770.story
Teachers union files suit against Broward School Board for blocking e-mails
By Akilah Johnson
February 18, 2010


The battle between the Broward Teachers Union and the Broward School District is heading to court for the fourth time in the last year. This latest round is focusing on Internet free speech and a mass email campaign.

The case involves an electronic campaign by teachers seeking a pay raise. The union urged teachers to email administrators and the School Board, but 1,860 messages sent via a union website in March 2009 were blocked.

District officials told the union it blocks "mass emails or volume spam…which flood or cripple the School District website or e-mail system."

According to the lawsuit filed in the Broward Circuit Court on Wednesday, that "violates the civil rights" of the teachers. The district has "intentionally engaged in a continuing pattern or practice that limits Plaintiff's speech on a matter of public concern," the suit says.

School District Spokesman Eddie Arnold declined to comment Thursday, saying "we don't discuss lawsuits at all."

The relationship between the district and union began to sour in 2008 during contract negotiations and have continued to deteriorate. The teachers are now working without a contract and demanding a 4 percent pay raise, which the district says it can't afford to pay.

The three other suits and injunctions involved rising insurance costs, access to public records and district layoffs. Two of those cases have been settled out of court while the other is still active, the union said.

Union President Pat Santeramo admits the frequent legal action "is rather extreme. We have not in the history of the BTU had to pursue any issue as vigorously as we've had to since Superintendent [ James] Notter is here."

The union says this latest court case has far-reaching implications that could affect the ability of the public-at-large to contact elected officials in this electronic age.

"If district officials within Broward schools can block e-mails of constituents to elected School Board members, what would prevent a staff member of a U.S. representative from doing the same thing or the staff of a governor from deciding ‘we don't want the governor reading this because they come in too quickly or there is too many of them,' "said union spokesman John Ristow.

Lawyers from the state and national union as well as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit organization that defends digital rights, are helping with the latest lawsuit.

There's no dollar amount on how much this most recent legal battle will cost, but the tab is being paid by the dues of union members nationwide. If the union wins, it plans to ask the district to pay legal costs.

Reader comments at:
http://discussions.sun-sentinel.com/20/soflanews/fl-btu-suit-20100218/10


Miami Herald
http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/02/20/1491665_teachers-unions-smear-campaign.html
Teachers union's smear campaign misses target
By Fred Grimm
February 21, 2010

J
ust an ordinary news story: Young hackers penetrated Broward school district computers and altered grades. You've read so many variations of the Feb. 12 piece that such stories hardly register.

Until the sixth paragraph of the Sun Sentinel story. Up pops a startling bit of vitriol: ``Union officials said teachers and principals knew about the alleged grade tampering, but didn't report it for fear of retaliation by district officials.''

Apparently, educators privy to the computer-hacking scheme at the four affected Broward schools were so terrified of the potential wrath of Superintendent Jim Notter they shrank away from exposing a cheating conspiracy.

The statement, of course, carried as much credibility as a Scott Rothstein testimonial. But the Broward Teachers Union proudly posted the story on its website. No one at union headquarters seemed to notice the collateral damage caused by the union attack on Notter, smearing teachers and principals as cowards.

ANOTHER NOTTER ATTACK

Last week, the BTU went after Notter again. The union purchased half-page ads in The Miami Herald and Sun Sentinel charging Notter, among other sins, with ripping off special-education students and using school funds to gas up his ``new'' 2002 Corvette. The advertisement featured a goofy photo of Notter and the headline: ``Did Superintendent Jim Notter really take money from special education students?''

Well, not really. But Notter barely had time to respond to the accusations before the union slapped the district with a lawsuit in Broward District court. The union, citing criminal wiretap statutes, charged Notter and the district ``have intentionally engaged in a continuing pattern or practice that limits plaintiff's speech on a matter of public concern.''

The school district's server apparently intercepts mass e-mailings -- not an uncommon policy, designed to keep the e-mail system from crashing down. But last year, according to the lawsuit filed Thursday, the union's mass e-mails protesting the stalled salary negotiations failed to reach the School Board. As if board members, robbed of an e-mail basket stuffed with several thousand identical protestations, never knew teachers were upset.

The lawsuit claims a violation of free speech. (Leaving the door open, I suppose, for a spammer to claim a constitutional right to peddle natural Viagra across the district). But the suit is really about union frustration with contract negotiations that have been at an impasse since the fall of 2008.

LEGISLATURE TO BLAME

Teachers want a raise. Deserve a raise. But it was the budget-slashing Florida Legislature, falling property values and the state's erratic tax base that left per-pupil funding at less than $6,900 a year. With more cuts coming. The union, going after Notter, ignores the very politicians who have failed to sustain education funding. Instead of going after actual villains, the union suggests the superintendent wasted and misappropriated the mythical millions required to cover a four percent teacher raise.

This was the same union leadership that claimed racinos would save Florida schools. That hit the streets in 2006 to protest ``attacks on Sheriff Jenne'' a few months before Jenne was hauled off to federal prison.

The union that vouched for Jenne now attacks Notter with all the dignity of a middle school grudge. The super might find solace in the absurdity of his enemies. Reader comments at: http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/02/20/1491665_teachers-unions-smear-campaign.html?commentSort=TimeStampAscending&pageNum=1


Above, taxpayers paying for the one on the left
and actually getting the one on the right instead.

The long and short of it is that Broward taxpayers

uniformly have buyer's remorse with education.
They know they've been had, but how badly have

they been conned, they're really not quite sure.
But they also know that a day of accounting is

approaching.

It's a similar strain to the infuriating anger
felt in
Hallandale Beach, where citizens feel
that the results of huge spending
and incompetent
policy by the geniuses at HB City Hall to help their
friends and developers are NOT what they
want.

That
point is driven home -I couldn't resist!-
most clearly by Assistant City
Manager
Mark Antonio, who actually tools around
town in a blue
Corvette.

Taxpayers feel like they have generally paid
enough over the years, and that the Broward
education bureaucracy is sufficiently large
enough,
that there ought to be Corvette
results more
than once in a while.

But instead, as far as their eyes can see,
the
results they see in exchange for their
taxes
are almost uniformly AMC Pacers.

Pacers that aren't safe, aren't reliable
and
which fare quite poorly when compared
to
results in other parts of the country,
regardless
of awards that the Broward
school system
establishment and their
educrat acolytes crow about,
even
throwing a party for themselves to celebrate.


And
Pacers which are always in need of
repairs or construction.
But it never seems quite enough, does it?

We need both a new model, a new strategy

and new generals, because the current
system
is broken with the current people
in charge.

That day of accounting is fast approaching...

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Miami Dolphins QB capable of winning 2 playoff games in a row is NOT on roster now

Hallandale Beach Blog

Hallandale Beach Blog
Hallandale Beach Blog/South Beach Hoosier's crimson-colored Indiana University cap. If you see someone at a South Florida govt. meeting or public policy discussion wearing this IU cap, scribbling notes furiously -and shaking his head in disbelief- don't be afraid to come over and say hello or pitch prospective story ideas. Photo by South Beach Hoosier. Move your mouse over the cap and be sent to the IU Athletic Dept.'s YouTube Channel.

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.

Defining The Hoosier Nation

Defining The Hoosier Nation, via IUAthletics YouTube Channel Uploaded Oct. 26, 2014 http://youtu.be/rZSKbRGA5hs Most schools have a basketball program, but we have the Hoosier Nation.
____________________________________________
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.
"And David put his hand in the bag and took out a stone and slung it. And it struck the Philistine on the head and he fell to the ground. Amen."- Preacher Purl encouraging the underdog Hickory High basketball team before the state title game against heavily-favored South Bend Central in 1986's Hoosiers
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091217/
Audio of pregame speech:
_____________________________________________

Paradise Lost? South Florida

Paradise Lost? South Florida
TIME magazine of November 23, 1981: Paradise Lost? South Florida . Click photo to see original article.
The South Florida I Grew Up In
Excerpted from Joan Didion's Miami, 1987, Simon & Schuster:
In the continuing opera still called, even by Cubans who have now lived the largest part of their lives in this country, el exilo, the exile, meetings at private homes in Miami Beach are seen to have consequences. The actions of individuals are seen to affect events directly. Revolutions and counter-revolutions are framed in the private sector, and the state security apparatus exists exclusively to be enlisted by one or another private player. That this particular political style, indigenous to the Caribbean and to Central America, has now been naturalized in the United States is one reason why, on the flat coastal swamps of South Florida, where the palmettos once blew over the detritus of a dozen failed booms and the hotels were boarded up six months a year, there has evolved since the early New Year's morning in 1959 when Fulgencio Batista flew for the last time out of Havana a settlement of considerable interest, not exactly an American city as American cities have until recently been understood but a tropical capital: long on rumor, short on memory, overbuilt on the chimera of runaway money and referring not to New York or Boston or Los Angeles or Atlanta but to Caracas and Mexico, to Havana and to Bogota and to Paris and Madrid. Of American cities Miami has since 1959 connected only to Washington, which is the peculiarity of both places, and increasingly the warp...

"The general wildness, the eternal labyrinths of waters and marshes, interlocked and apparently neverending; the whole surrounded by interminable swamps... Here I am then in the Floridas, thought I," John James Audobon wrote to the editor of The Monthly American Journal of Geology and Natural Science during the course of an 1831 foray in the territory then still called the Floridas. The place came first, and to touch down there is to begin to understand why at least six administrations now have found South Florida so fecund a colony. I never passed through security for a flight to Miami without experiencing a certain weightlessness, the heightened wariness of having left the developed world for a more fluid atmosphere, one in which the native distrust of extreme possibilities that tended to ground the temperate United States in an obeisance to democratic institutions seemed rooted, if at all, only shallowly. At the gate for such flights the preferred language was already Spanish. Delays were explained by weather in Panama. The very names of the scheduled destinations suggested a world in which many evangelical inclinations had historically been accommodated, many yearnings toward empire indulged...

In this mood Miami seemed not a city at all but a tale, a romance of the tropics, a kind of waking dream in which any possibility could and would be accommodated...

Nice from a distance, not so nice once you're there and see the years of City Hall's neglect

Nice from a distance, not so nice once you're there and see the years of City Hall's neglect
The public beach that is "North Beach" in Hallandale Beach, FL. June 19, 2012 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

So this is where our tax dollars go to die?

"So this is where our tax dollars go to die? My friend and fellow civic activist Csaba Kulin, perhaps wondering when we're FINALLY going to get the clean and inviting public beach that Hallandale Beach residents believe we're entitled to but have never received under Mayor Cooper and her Rubber Stamp Crew.
Instead, we get rusty pipes in the middle of the beach and garbage cans on the beach -without lids- at the windiest place in the entire city. And a public building across the street from the beach that the public can't use for free but which city employees can -for their holiday parties." Click photo to see many more photos of the site and the original post, or http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/2012/06/latest-info-photos-re-related-groups.html; 2012 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

Just as true now as it was when it was written in June 2012!

The View from the Hallandale Beach/Hollywood city line

The View from the Hallandale Beach/Hollywood city line
Looking south towards The Beach Club and the Hallandale Beach Water Tower on A1A from the beach, near the Hollywood cityline, May 2, 2009 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

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.

"Why do they need that in the Broward County charter?"

"Laws and Constitutions go for nothing where the general sentiment is corrupt."
-New York Times, September 22, 1851

"Why do they need that in the Broward County charter?"
-Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper at April 2, 2008 HB City Commission meeting, in discussing possible inclusion of Broward County Charter Review Commission's proposal for Ethics Commission to deal with Broward County Commission, on November 2008 ballot.
Six YEARS after the county's voters had overwhelmingly passed an amendment to the County charter requiring its adoption, the Broward County Commission had yet to live up to its legal responsibility. That's why!

Looking east on State Road 858/Hallandale Beach Blvd.

Looking east  on State Road 858/Hallandale Beach Blvd.
Looking east on State Road 858/Hallandale Beach Blvd., over the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway bridge, toward the iconic Hallandale Beach Water Tower and the three condo towers comprising The Beach Club. September 8, 2008 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

Hallandale Beach Water Tower on A1A/South Ocean Drive

Hallandale Beach Water Tower on A1A/South Ocean Drive
Hallandale Beach Water Tower on A1A/South Ocean Drive. Located below the Hallandale Beach Water Tower on A1A/South Ocean Drive, on the south side (right) is the "Community Center" that HB City Hall, thru their gross incompetency, has made impossible for HB citizen taxpayers to use now for 41 MONTHS as of January 2011. (And where's the American flag on the Fourth of July weekend? Missing in action as it had been for months!) July 3, 2009 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2012 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

Looking towards southern Hollywood Beach

Looking towards southern Hollywood Beach
Trump Hollywood, Diplomat Residences, Westin Diplomat, Crowne Resort. Looking NE towards Hollywood on State Road A1A from the 2500 block of East Hallandale Beach Blvd./State Road 858 just before crossing the Intracoastal Bridge: (l-r) Trump Hollywood, Diplomat Residences, the Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa, the Crowne Plaza Hollywood Beach. March 25, 2009 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

The Related Group's The Beach Club, consisting of three condo towers

The Related Group's The Beach Club, consisting of three condo towers
The Beach Club. Looking SE at The Beach Club from the Hollywood side of State Road A1A. May 12, 2008 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2012 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

City of Hollywood City Hall, 2600 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, FL

City of Hollywood City Hall, 2600 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, FL
City of Hollywood City Hall. An early morning shot of the east side of Hollywood City Hall the morning of the Johnson Street Redevelopment RFP Evaluation Committee meeting, where presentations were heard; October 14, 2009 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved. For more info on what's going on with this important project, see http://www.hollywoodfl.org/html/JohnsonStBeachRFP.htm

Corruption Isn't Unique to South Florida, It's the Level of the Stupidity That Is

Corruption Isn't Unique to South Florida, It's the Level of the Stupidity That Is
"[Chicago Mayor] William Hale Thompson was defeated Tuesday after a campaign which he alone made disgraceful. The election was an ejection, a dirty job, but Chicago has washed itself and put on clean clothes. Thompson recognized the [Chicago] Tribune as his chief enemy. The Tribune was glad to earn that opinion. It certainly tried to do so. It has taken the fight to him on every occasion during the long and depraved course of his administration. It is unpleasant business to eject a skunk, but someone has to do it. For Chicago, Thompson has meant filth, corruption, obscenity, idiocy and bankruptcy. He has given the city an international reputation for moronic buffoonery, barbaric crime, triumphant hoodlumism, unchecked graft and a dejected citizenship. He nearly ruined the property and completely destroyed the pride of the city. He made Chicago a byword for the collapse of American civilization. In his attempt to continue this he excelled himself as a liar and defamer of character. He’s out. He is not only out, but dishonored. He is deserted by his friends. He is permanently marked by the evidences of his character and conduct. His health is impaired by his ways of life and he leaves office and goes from the city the most discredited man who ever held place in it."
-Excerpts from April 1931 Chicago Tribune editorial following Republican "Mayor Big Bill" Thompson's loss to his Democratic rival Anton Cermak. A friend of organized crime during the Al Capone era, Thompson was the last Republican elected mayor of Chicago. But less than two years later, Mayor Cermak was shot while shaking hands with President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt at Miami's Bayfront Park. He died from gunshot wounds to his lungs three weeks later.

For more see http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/3686.html

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

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

Want to hear some REAL music talent? Of course you do!

Want to hear some REAL music talent? Of course you do!
Click on this photo of Anni to go to the FoK YouTube Channel
Full of Keys (Anni Bernhard) photographed in Rome, 2012, by Alessandro Leone. Click on the photo of Anni to go to her YouTube Channel and see videos from her first album, "Traces of a Human," and the first single of her upcoming 2nd album, "The Grazing Grounds." http://fullofkeys.com/ https://www.facebook.com/fullofkeys https://twitter.com/FullOfKeys More videos and photos of Full of Keys are at: http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/p/full-of-keys.html

Andreas Jismark, Anni Bernhard and Mats Jönsson

Andreas Jismark, Anni Bernhard and Mats Jönsson
Photo of Andreas Jismark, Anni Bernhard and Mats Jönsson, Södermalm, Stockholm, Sweden. January 11, 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier. (c) 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved. The Dolphins caps and goodies are in the yellow bag :)

A dynamic and original talent with personality to spare!

Photo above is from my June 2nd, 2013 post titled, "Our 'Full of Keys' drought is finally over! Full of Keys (a.k.a. the amazing Anni Bernhard) will be playing a showcase in New York City at Cake Shop on June 10th as part of the week-long New Music Seminar. Her new album was recorded recently in Gotland, will be mastered in NYC, aiming for a September release -with lots of very big and exciting plans coming soon! @FullOfKeys, @AndreasJismark, #AnniBernhard, #MatsJönsson, #GrazingGrounds, #NMS2013, #NYMF, #CakeShop" http://www.hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/2013/06/our-full-of-keys-drought-is-finally.html
Click the photo to read that post, watch her videos and learn more about this dynamic and original talent with personality to spare!

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 my post on Anni last summer.

Full Of Keys - Silent Agreement, from the new #GrazingGrounds album

FullofkeysOFFICIAL YouTube Channel: Full Of Keys - Silent Agreement. Uploaded January 9, 2014 http://youtu.be/7yHULYTxEt4 From the second album by Full of Keys (Anni Bernhardt) #grazinggrounds http://www.youtube.com/user/FullofkeysOFFICIAL

Full Of Keys - Cover My Eyes (Stills Video)

Full Of Keys - Cover My Eyes (Stills Video) via Andreas Jismark YouTube Channel. Uploaded February 23, 2014. The 2nd track released from #grazinggrounds album. Full Of Keys 2014. http://youtu.be/aha-pf_QrXo

"Heart" from @fullofkeys #GrazingGrounds

Cecilia Nilsson - A new super-talent from Gävle, Sweden

Cecilia Nilsson - A new super-talent from Gävle, Sweden

Let's end the 27-year NCAA title drought!

Let's end the 27-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.

Breaking Away" opened in movie theaters 35 years ago today

IU's NCAA Basketball Championship banners

Our five NCAA Basketball Championship banners are on the north side of the court; I was there for 1981's.

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.

Here's the first banner of the Crean Era

Indiana University Athletics

Perhaps you'll enjoy this view more!

We Are IU (Official Version) 2013


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 January, 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.