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.
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Thursday, February 25, 2010
Shocker! South Florida TV stations ignore Diplomat LAC vote at Broward Planning Council
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