Miami's lazy, second-rate news media continued their hyper-local march into insipid insignificance today by ignoring some important news you could use about the area's near-future and quality of life, and how realistic and sensible planning rules are no match for high-priced lawyers, lobbyists and companies that will spend mucho dinero in political contributions to get the results they want, regardless of what citizens want.
You don't hire Greenberg Traurig and Becker & Poliakoff because you want subtle, though I did hear someone out in the hall during a break joking that Bernie Freidman and Alan Koslow "were just hired to hold Debbie Orshefsky's purse."
I guess that's what passes for lawyer levity in Broward these days.
But on the positive side, since they didn't cover this story that cried out for some air-time for all sorts of reasons, there'll be time for them to run at least one news story tonight on one of the four English-speaking TV stations about some local Miami woman who claims she's losing weight by doing something other than actually getting control of her own life, giving up her lazy ways or getting off the sofa and getting some real exercise.
Cue CBS4's Lisa Petrillo, reporting LIVE from South Beach!
Yes, five-and-a-half hours after their meeting started -late, of course- in a rambling and poorly-run advisory meeting, the Broward Planning Council voted against the explicit recommendation of their own professional staff this afternoon to deny the Diplomat LAC and instead passed it by more than a 2-1 vote, with only a handful of votes against.
All the predictable pols on the Planning Council were for it as we knew going in -plus some I didn't expect to be for it- preferring to kick the can further down the road than stop it dead in the tracks.
Many of the Planning Council members sounded exactly like the Diplomat employees and union members who were bussed in to the event, mouthing the same bland and cliched banalities on the dais, ones that Hallandale Beach residents have been hearing for so many months out of local pals of HB City Hall like Hallandale Beach CRA loan recipient Joe Kessel, longtime Joy Cooper family friend Gerry Natelson and the terribly annoying HB Chamber of Commerce mouthpiece, Patricia Genetti, who has thoroughly proven herself over two years to be no friend of Hallandale Beach's citizen taxpayers.
Boy are they ever a smug and tiresome lot!
Today, with Joy Cooper and Anthony A. Sanders both out-of-town, with William Julian up on the Council dais, and Keith London in the audience with HB residents and speaking against its approval, Dotty Ross was the only HB Commission member with no real excuse for missing this key meeting. But miss it she did.
I'd tell you the actual final vote tally here but since the Chair of the Planning Council never actually said it... I'm not going to mention his name.
I guess somewhere along the line in my 15 years in and around Capitol Hill, I got so used to U.S. House and Senate Committee roll calls, where common sense procedures are used and the Committee clerk actually calls the roll and then announces the final result of the vote immediately afterwards, rather than someone on a dais with an open microphone just blurting out "it passed," as happened today, I got fooled into thinking that everyone knew how to manage a proper roll call.
Based on what I saw today, clearly they don't.
I was not real impressed with very much of what I witnessed today in downtown Fort Lauderdale, whether it was the self-impressed union bosses in suits constantly getting-up and annoying others by walking the aisles like they were House Whips on the Floor of the House, telling their Members what to do, the numerous annoying female professionals in the chambers who kept talking on their cell phones even while the public was speaking down at the lectern, or folks you've never heard of walking around like they were waiting for someone to recognize them.
Sorry, dude, I don't follow Cooper City or Coconut Creek politics or wherever it is you're from, so I have no idea who you are, so could you please stop standing in the aisle so obliviously, and getting in the sight-lines of all the people who actually came to watch the meeting and not you?
Wow, there were so many annoying people at this ponderous meeting!
Dear readers, you just have no idea!
And returning to the poor flow of the meeting in general, allowing Diplomat attorney Debbie Orshefsky to just go on-and-on to a fair-thee-well, congratulating her client over-and-over, and constantly repeating her pat phrases that I and many others have heard dozens of times by now -like something being "her favorite part"- in a meeting that didn't even get to the Diplomat LAC issue until 11:55 a.m., was downright brutal.
Trust me, being on the aisle seat on the last row in the chambers allowed me the opportunity to notice that this death-march of a meeting directly led to many people leaving the chambers for lunch -and never returning.
The fact that I had to continually move my camera tri-pod from beside my seat every time someone from my row got up to leave was the first tip-off.
In that sense, the Planning Council meeting was the exact opposite of the very well-run and very well-attended Citizen Budget Workshop I witnessed in Hollywood on Tuesday night, where, yes, there was a Steve Geller sighting in the lobby after I got in and had found a place to park -a block away- but I chose not to snap a photo.
And not that you asked, but if you didn't like Broward County Commissioner Stacey Ritter going into today's meeting, finding it embarrassing that someone as thoroughly mediocre, self-important and bereft of practical, original ideas as her could really have so much influence in this area, you left the meeting today shaking your head about this county's future, knowing that she will not leave the stage until she is dragged off.
Hollywood's brutally-honest financial meeting was as professional a meeting as any I've witnessed in my six years back here, and a real credit to City Manager Cameron Benson and his myriad Dept. heads.
It was a real model for how all cities in South Florida ought to run meetings.
In Hallandale Beach, though, it's but a distant dream.
More details on both of these meetings tomorrow, I've got some Olympics to catch up on.
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, Europe 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.
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Thursday, February 25, 2010
Shocker! South Florida TV stations ignore Diplomat LAC vote at Broward Planning Council
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, Hollywood and Aventura.
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. But seldom if ever see...
This is particularly true in the Broward County city I live in, the City of Hallandale Beach, north of Aventura and south of Hollywood and right on the Atlantic Ocean. Here, the "Perfect Storm" of years of apathy, incompetency and cronyism are all too readily apparent. Sadly for its beleaguered 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 tremendous potential because of its terrific location and well-educated populace, yet its citizens have almost become numb to HB City Hall's frequent outrages and screw-ups, the result of YEARS of the worst kind of mismanagement and lack of foresight. On a daily basis, residents and Small Business owners 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 for others to solve in the future.
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 of my own that could try to do some of these things, taking the p.o.v. of a reasonable-but-skeptical person seeing the situation for the first time with fresh eyes, 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 in public policy and goivernment engagement. 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 of Florida's state, regional and local govt./agency officials, elected and otherwise. Hallandale Beach Blog aims to be a small step towards regaining some of that needed accountability, whether it's thru shining some well-needed public scrutiny on the issue or pol, or requires a higher degree of follow-up investigation and public exposure of the incompetency, cronyism or negligence -South Florida's usual governing style.
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