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 & 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 South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Perennial defender of the unethical and the slipshod: Joe Gibbons. Call him a serial apologist and be done with it!

My pithy comments about my embarrassing
State Representative,
Joe Gibbons, follow the article.

St. Petersburg Times

Ethics bill for PSC stalls in House
By Mary Ellen Klas and Steve Bousquet,
Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau

TALLAHASSEE — A bill aimed at tightening the ethics rules at the Public Service Commission flew through the Florida Senate Wednesday and then became snagged by a House committee, which raised red flags about some parts of the measure.

With no debate, the Senate passed the bill aimed at ending improper communications between commissioners or senior staff members and the utilities the agency regulates.

The vote was 39-1 with Sen. Gary Siplin, D-Orlando, the lone no vote.

Senate President Jeff Atwater applauded the measure's sponsor, Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, for championing the issue. The Senate made the issue a top priority by approving the bill on the second day of session.

The bill would ban private conversations between commissioners or their staff aides and anyone with a pending rate case. Last year, PSC staff members and commissioners communicated through text and BlackBerry messages with Florida Power & Light representatives as they were awaiting PSC rulings on several issues. A PSC lobbyist also attended a Kentucky Derby party last May hosted by a Florida Power & Light executive.

Fasano called the episodes "egregious violations of the public trust."

The measure doesn't prohibit all communication between commissioners and staffers with utility officials. Instead, it requires that any conversations that take place must be written down and posted within 72 hours.

The bill also requires commissioners to apply the same ethical standards as judges when ruling on a rate case, and it would ban senior staffers and commissioners from leaving the agency and going to work for a utility company within four years.

Minutes after the Senate vote, the House Energy and Utilities Policy Committee debated but did not vote on the companion bill by Rep. John Legg, R-New Port Richey, as well as two other PSC-related bills.

Several House Democrats led the opposition to the four-year employment ban in Legg's bill. The ban would not affect current PSC members or staffers but would apply only to anyone hired after July 1.

"We're going to run people out of the industry or run people out of state," said Rep. Joe Gibbons, D-Hallandale Beach. "By making it four years, we make the industry less attractive."

Legg argued that when commissioners or key staff members cross over and work for utilities they once regulated, it smacks of "consumer exploitation."

Another PSC-related bill by Rep. Tom Anderson, R-Dunedin, would ask voters to approve a constitutional amendment to make commission seats elected positions rather than appointed. State law now requires a nominating council to recommend candidates to the governor, who selects from that list to choose appointees to the five-member commission.

The measure would also ban candidates from accepting campaign contributions from regulated utilities. Florida had an elected PSC until the 1970s.

Also Wednesday, the rate case was back in the news as the First District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee overruled the PSC's order to force FPL and Progress Energy of St. Petersburg to disclose employee salary and benefits packages as part of their rate case requests. FPL's rate case ended with the company getting $75 million of the $1.3 billion it requested. Progress got none of its $500 million increase.

See also, Sansom wants Rep. Joe Gibbons off panel, from
The Buzz politics blog of Feb. 15, 2010

Way to bring attention to yourself,
Another sad and pathetic example of the Hallandale Beach ethical taint,

writ large
, as yet another Akerman Senterfitt consultant shows his
of thinking 'big picture' -creating jobs for pals, cronies and
prospective clients

For me, this recalls so many exasperating Hallandale Beach City
meetings I've attended in the past where, rather than
do what was right,
Gibbons continually tried everyone's patience
and credulity by trying to
simultaneously appear both publicly
above-the-fray, yet also a savvy insider
and wheeler-dealer,
the latter role of which he was eminently laughable in.

(Not unlike present-day HB Commissioner
Anthony A. Sanders'
recent attempts to
appear savvy and demanding with the Westin
Diplomat Resort & Spa
over their preposterous LAC proposal
rubber-stamped and wink-winked by the HB City Commission.

Gibbons' particular case, his two-faced strategy was never more
or absurd than in his long-winded attempts at HB City
Commission meetings
to gain concessions or some small handfuls
of sugar from
Magna Entertainment's Gulfstream Park
Race Track & Casino

Instead, all
Gibbons accomplished was looking like a two-faced
pol who
argues not over matters of principle, but rather over price
Where's something for me and mine?

Honestly, why do ethical issues continue to be such a serial problem
for my
State Representative, Joe Gibbons?

Per my blog post here on Saturday, February 27th,
Missing voices in Broward County's ethics debate are ignored
by South Florida news media. It's our old media friend:
Mr. Lack of Curiosity!


discussing last month's very important Broward Legislative Delegation
meeting at the downtown Fort Lauderdale campus of FAU/BCC
on Las Olas
to discuss State Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff's common sense
ethics proposal
for an IG for Broward County, Gibbons, just like
State Sen.
Chris Smith and State Rep. Perry Thurston III,
were no
Profiles in Courage, though Gibbons at least voted for it
in the end, unlike the other two, though doing
himself no favors with
his comments or attitude.

Gibbons has always been perceived as an apologist for
Beach mayor Joy Cooper and city manager
Mike Good
serial incompetence and has consistently looked
the other way
when unethical and anti-democratic things
happened either right in front of him, or in his district,
as continues to this
very day.

Seriously, when was the last time
Gibbons publicly spoke-out
against what
everyone paying serious attention knows has been
taking place at Hallandale
Beach City Hall for years?

The answer is that
Joe Gibbons NEVER has.

Whether coming or going, as a Hallandale Beach City Commissioner
or State Representative,
Joe Gibbons has never ever been a
Profile in Courage.

He is imminently replaceable in the State Legislature, even if he doesn't
have the good sense to realize it.
Fine -all the better.

a candidate with integrity and smarts ran directly at Joe Gibbons
and his dismal track record, I'd vote for them in a heart-beat and
so would most of the well-informed people I know and respect in
Southeast Broward County.
Just saying...

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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.
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New this year: you!

New this year: you!
Close-up photo of the cute head-turning window display at the Apotek Hjärtat -Sweden's largest independent pharmacy chain- located at Ringvägen 113, near the Skanstull T-bana in Södermalm, Stockholm. Sign reads, "Årets nyhet: du! Ett helt nytt och obrukat år är här. Just nu känns det lite lättare att välja om, förändra vanor och bryta gamla mönster. Vi hjälper gärna till. Du vill, du kan, du törs!' (New this year: you! A brand new and unused year is here. Right now it feels a little easier to choose, change habits and break old patterns. We're happy to help. You want to, you can, you dare!) Sounds like good advice that I ought to be following, too! January 12, 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

Paradise Lost? South Florida

Paradise Lost? South Florida
TIME magazine of November 23, 1981: Paradise Lost? South Florida . Click photo to see original article.

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.

Palm tree, Stars & Stripes

Palm tree, Stars & Stripes
Palm tree obstructing the sun at Hallandale Beach City Hall, May 28, 2012 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino and Village at GP retail complex, Hallandale Beach, FL

Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino and Village at GP retail complex, Hallandale Beach, FL
Entrance monument to Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino and The Village at Gulfstream Park retail complex on U.S.-1 & SE 3rd St. Hallandale Beach, FL. October 5, 2010 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

Hallandale Beach Water Tower, looking east from State Road A1A/South Ocean Drive; May 2009 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

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 her videos, read my blog posts and Tweets about her and learn more about this dynamic and original talent with personality to spare!

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.

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.

Let's end the 28-year NCAA title drought!

Let's end the 28-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.

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.

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


The welcoming party that greeted me at the luggage carousel at Arlanda Stockholm Airport in January of 2013 was... ABBA. As seen in my May 7, 2013 blog post. Click photo to see that post!

Congratulations Sweden - 200 years of peace! Solveig Rundquist (@RundquistS)


Hej #STHLM, jag saknar dig, hejdå. So wish I was there RIGHT NOW!

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 mid-January 2013, 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.