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. Pictured in upper-left is Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower on State Road A1A; September 2008 photo by me, South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Latest on Broward School Board ethics, slow-moving Bob Butterworth Integrity Crew; Adios, Gottlieb & Murray!

Some of you may recall that back on January 28th, I sent out
an email and then posted as a blog posting most of the following:

If you really want to spend some time chasing your tail,
try going to the website of the Broward School system group
I've been referring to here in emails and in blog posts as the
Three Amigos, a.k.a. the Commission on Education
Excellence Through Integrity, Public Ethics and

Using their own website, try to find the time, date and location
of their next public meeting.
Go ahead.
Really, go ahead.
It's not there.

In fact, the only thing that has been added tothe website since
it came online are links to news articles about the group.
And nothing since January 12th, the day after their first and
only public meeting.

To me, that sounds a lot more like a fan's celebrity website than
an actual watchdog group's efforts to get the public engaged.
Time's a wastin'.

Well, today, February 7th, ten days later, guess what has
Hardly anything!

They've now listed info about their next meeting on Feb. 22nd
in Coconut Creek, having previously met on January 10th at

Six weeks in-between public meetings for a watchdog
group that has a limited shelf-life to begin with?

And what about a public meeting in SE Broward?
Off the top of my head, I can think of at least five locales in
Hollywood and Hallandale Beach that are more than capable
of handling the number of taxpayers and parents who would
attend such a meeting, with plenty of room for media.

In case you were wondering about my clever suggestion
previously that the January 10th Butterworth & Company
public meeting could've been and should've been televised
on the Broward School Board's own cable channel, BECON-TV,
using the very TV cameras that Broward taxpayers have
already paid for, I received a lot of email responses seconding
that motion.

Frankly, many people wondered why nobody else thought of it,
including the highly-paid legal staff at the Broward School Board,
much less, Butterworth himself, the former Attorney General
of Florida

Everyone who has contacted me so far on that issue also believes
that all the future meetings of the so-called Integrity group be
televised, recorded and replayed so that more people can see it
for themselves.

(FYI: Turns out that BECON/Channel 63 is also available on
DirecTV, unlike the County's cable channel, which as I found
out this past week
in investigating the Courthouse issue, is
-or unwilling?- to replay their own webcasts of
Commission meetings on their own website,
something the
City of Hollywood has been doing for years.

After I sent that email out ten days ago, I got very curious
about what was more important than the School Board
introducing taxpayers and parents to the three men that
Supt. James Notter selected to clean things up.

For the record, here's what BECON-TV showed the night
they could've taken a small step towards accountability and
transparency by showing
Butterworth & Company:

6:00 pm Historic Hotels of America : Le P Avillon
6:30 pm Broward School Beat : Episode 45
7:00 pm Untold Stories : Barnstormers to Blue Angels
7:30 pm Dateline Health Nsu : Public Health Dh#277

Early next week, I'm going to send an email to Supt.
James Notter
and the School Board Attorney directly
asking them to put a fire under Butterworth & Company
and get them to actually put useful info on that Integrity
website, and to fully explain why BECON-TV can't or
shouldn't be televising future public Integrity meetings.

By the way, one good reason why you don't want to follow
School Board" as a subject on Twitter is
three and three-quarter
pages of the same Tweet,
hour-after-hour for about five days


Not that
http://twitter.com/browardschoolnw is of much use either.

The things you find out when you take a hard look
at a very dysfunctional crew.


South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com

A costly lesson: Broward school district mistakenly pays out $290,000
Return money or be sued, builder told

By Megan O'Matz, Sun Sentinel
February 7, 2010

In the midst of a crushing budget crisis, the Broward school district mistakenly paid more than $290,000 to a Fort Lauderdale firm for a school classroom addition that it quickly scrapped. Now the district finds itself in the awkward position of asking for the money back.

If Pavarini Construction Co. refuses, the district could be headed for a costly legal battle. According to Pavarini President Gary W. Glenewinkel, the company is "in the process of reviewing our records and all data related to this issue."

The error upset the district's new head of construction, Thomas E. Lindner, who took over in early January after the former administrator retired.

"You can't rubber-stamp invoices, even if they're for $5," Lindner said. Asked if the district mistakenly paid other construction companies, he said he doesn't know but is going to find out.

"This is just one that I discovered," he said.

District auditors are now reviewing how the error occurred. Lindner said he will consider their findings and determine how to ensure it doesn't happen again.

The district's construction department has been under intense scrutiny after the September arrest of suspended School Board member Beverly Gallagher. She was snared in an FBI sting for allegedly taking bribes to rig construction contracts.

On April 21, the School Board agreed to hire Pavarini to handle the construction of a $6.7 million, 24-room addition to Westglades Middle School in Parkland.

The company stood to make $581,365 in management fees for the project's initial "pre-design" and "design" phases.

But declining enrollment and years of aggressive building left the district with thousands of empty seats. State officials ordered the district to halt its building spree. In August, the School Board voted to abandon the Westglades project along with scores of others.

But by then, Pavarini had already submitted an invoice seeking payment for $387,596. The invoice is dated April 25, only four days after the contract was awarded.

A project manager for the school district reduced the amount due to $290,683 — half of the $581,365 — and approved payment May 11, records show.

"Four or five people sign invoices like this," Lindner said, but only two have access to the full project file: the project manager and a reviewer in the Capital Budget Department.

The invoice shows that Pavarini had hired a Coral Gables architectural firm, Wolfberg Alvarez & Partners, to design the addition.

Lindner said Pavarini was not entitled to any money because the district never issued a "Notice to Proceed" — a document authorizing companies to begin work. Lindner said he did not know if Pavarini or the architect did any work on the project at all, but if they did without the formal notice "that's on their nickel … not our nickel."

In a letter dated Jan. 25, Lindner asked Pavarini to refund the money. "If they decide not to, then we'll litigate for it," he said.

The district sues architects and contractors for mistakes their firms make on projects, but it can take years to recover the money, if ever.

School Board chairwoman Jennifer Gottlieb said she was unaware of the billing problem with Pavarini. "That's a lot of money," she said. "Apparently something fell through the cracks, and it seems it's a pretty expensive issue."

The payout left others scratching their heads as well.

"Why didn't school district employees check to make sure the project was going to be built before they cut a check of that size?" asked Nick Sakhnovsky, chairman of the school facilities task force. "Doesn't anyone review quarter-of-a-million-dollar checks?"

Reader comments at:

I'll leave it to you to decide whether or not it's a positive sign
for oversight and accountability in the year 2010 that someone
who, as Chair of the Broward School Board, like Jennifer
, is "unaware" of $290,000 mistakes, or even
whether there are many more such ticking time-bombs out
there, waiting to go off.

Personally, as you may surmise from my previous critical
comments about them here, under no circumstances would
I vote for the re-election of Jennifer Gottlieb or Ann
in November.

To me, they have consistently proven thru their own words
and deeds that they are ineffective as representatives of
the taxpayers and parents of this county, especially if you
live in SE Broward and don't like what you see from them.

In short, their good intentions have NOT translated into
good results for children, parents or taxpayers.
They are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

That simple fact should be more than enough to tell you
that they ought to be replaced by people who are more
curious, serious and capable of providing the necessary
oversight and accountability for one of the largest school
systems in the country.

An institution whose self-evident weaknesses and chronic
inability to be truthful about its own actions actually repels
many out-of-state businesses from relocating here.

In my opinion, Jennifer Gottlieb and Ann Murray
have been given a free ride for quite some time.
Their free ride should end in November.

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#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 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 way out in the horizon on the top of another mountain, to the left of her head. �� In case you forgot what the Christ the Redeemer statue looks like, up close, here's another Brazilian beauty to connect-the-dots for you: Gisele Bündchen, aka @Gisele.

Abençoado por Deus e bonito por natureza!✨ ������

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View of Rio De Janeiro from my room.

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"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase." - Martin Luther King, Sept. 1962. #MLK I was a young kid living in #Memphis with my family that April night in 1968 when we returned home from a trip to #McDonalds and like so many nights before, I raced to the TV set in the living room to beat my two younger sisters to be the one who turned on the TV. As my parents walked in and settled down on the family couch, to see what was on TV, literally, within one minute, came the Breaking News that Dr. King had been shot elsewhere in the city. And the news only got worse as the night went on as news soon confirmed that Dr. King had died as a result of the assassination attempt, and soon there was widespread looting and violence in Memphis, the very things he had adamantly opposed. Eventually came the news that the city was under curfew, and sometime before midnight, because my family lived in a new-ish apt. complex that was on the same road as the nearby Armory, my parents and I and many of our neighbors watched in silence from the sidewalk/curb as tanks driven by members of the mobilized National Guard drove towards downtown Memphis, because the city's powers-that-be had decided that this would show the people who was boss. As my mother tells the story, one of my neighbors remarked on the irony of U.S. Army tanks being used to try to stop violence by Americans who were upset about the murder of a great man who had won the #NobelPeacePrize. It was the first time I remember ever hearing this strange word: #irony.

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When you leave but bring the spare key because it is yours to keep.

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2 0 1 7. I made new mistakes and old ones again. I learned things I didn't know and I things I had already learned the hard way but needed to repeat either way. I fell in love again and again, with the same man, and realized that is the way to do it. I stopped thinking life happened to me and started enjoying taking control of what tomorrow would entail. I wrote even when it hurt and I apologized even when they didn't. I almost gave up but woke up and stood up and spoke up and didn't budge and moved on and forgave myself for not always knowing what to do. I decided the most important thing is to be proud of who I become and to make sure she is someone to be proud of. All I truly have is the opportunity to be whoever I want to be, and knowing that is everything.

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I'm not the only poet in this relationship ❥

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The boyfriend of Mikaela -Malin and Jennifer's sister- wrote above: "Honey, you are my everything, my dream, my imagination, my reality, my future. Sounds like something that I would write to someone special -and have!
FYI: There are 10 photos below, including a rare one of yours truly!