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, 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.

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

Monday, March 22, 2010

South Florida news media's silence in asking Steve Geller hard questions has never been more noticeable than now

What follows is an email I sent out this afternoon
to numerous South Florida print/TV reporters
and columnists, raising questions that you may
well have been asking yourself.

The part about Steve Geller could've been
asked last month or last year.
Oh, that's right, I did.
Reporters and columnists, not so much.
-------------

Monday March 22nd, 2010

Noon

Many of you have a reputation for being more

than willing to indulge former State Senator
Steve Geller's ego, and to contact him for
almost any reason under the sun if you think
he'll say something pithy that'll make your
audience chortle, even if he really doesn't
know any more about the subject than many
other people you could ask.

So that said, is there a reason that you and

the rest of the South Florida news media
haven't asked Steve Geller to publicly
declare his own sympathies, one way or
the other, in the fight by Hallandale Beach
citizens -and their allies in Hollywood-
against the incompatible Diplomat LAC
plan scheduled to be voted upon Tuesday

afternoon by the Broward County Commission?

Or to ever mention what other local Broward
pols are saying or doing in relation to the
prospect of four or five 25-story-plus condo
towers being dropped on a residential
neighborhood, largely because the Union
that owns the Diplomat Country Club,
along with their partner Starwood, has done
such a dreadful job of improving and marketing
the expensive golf course, that nobody wants
to play there.

(If they get the approval they seek from the
Broward County Commission, it's clear that
the Plumbers & Pipe Fitters Union will
try to sell it toute-de-suite.)

For instance, sounding-out local pols like
Eleanor Sobel, Joe Gibbons, Jennifer
& Ken Gottlieb,
Elaine Schwartz or
Ann Murray or...

In most parts of the country, they'd be part
of the equation, and maybe even vocal leaders
in the fight.
But here, they just sit on the sidelines, as if
local voters in HB and Hollywood don't notice
their MIA status, and won't take it into account
negatively come Election Day.

(They're in for a surprise, as we WILL
take it into account and ask questions
about
their silence.)

No, instead, we are met with completely
incurious reporters who don't seem to want
to ask reasonable questions that Southeast
Broward residents want answers to.


It's the biggest issue in this city -
besides
reforming a very corrupt HB City Hall
-
and yet you all have, individually and
collectively,
given Steve Geller a free ride
for months.


You've been completely averse to asking basic

questions of someone who could, theoretically,
actually represent most of this city and
Hollywood
if he were to actually somehow defeat
Sue Gunzburger
, though I think it's unlikely.

Why?

Why this great reluctance to ask
Steve Geller
tough questions?

Is it the possibility of losing access to
a quotable source?


Frankly, that's what most people I know who

are interested in public policy in South Florida
believe.
You know, the ones interested enough to actually

show-up and participate and be quoted by you
or
featured in interviews you conduct?

That's also the belief of many Florida reporters
from
outside of South Florida.
If you didn't already know, many of them think

Geller plays the South Florida media like
a violin,
some more easily than others
-
from practice!

And why the great reluctance to ask Geller
to state the specific date by which he will
actually be living in the Commission
District he's running
for, while he continues
to live outside of it up in Cooper City?

Geller
has been a carpetbagger this entire
campaign, an adjective that you all seem
very reluctant to use for reasons that don't
necessarily speak well for your profession's
integrity.
It's all just so very, very curious.

And what is Broward Commissioner
Diana
Wasserman-Rubin
going to do on the
Diplomat LAC, since Hallandale Beach is part
of her District, even if the project
itself is not?

Will she continue to give the concerned
neighborhood the complete runaround?


DWR had no problem at all in meeting Hallandale
Beach Commissioner Anthony A, Sanders
in person on March 8th at the
Hepburn Center
in HB to hear the typically one-sided rhetoric
sans facts that he specializes in.

But when the actual neighborhood directly
affected
by the over-the-top project wanted
to show her
around and give her some first-hand
perspective
and context to better understand
their plight
-
and more easily imagine a 25-30-story
condo suddenly going up 100 feet from
their kitchen window, and plunging them
into near permanent shade
- after initially
agreeing to come,
DWR decided the following
day, last Friday,
that she didn't want to meet
with them on-site.

Which defeats the purpose of a walking
tour,
no?

Instead, she asked them to come to her

West Park office today at 4 p.m., at the
Family Success Center, 4733 SW 18th Street,
one block south of Pembroke Rd.


Those of you who want to break away from
the media herd may want to consider
swinging-by there and see how it's goes,
but at this point, given all her other myriad

problems, DWR seems to just be digging
herself into a deeper hole with HB citizens,
who already thought she was distant and
far-removed from their day-to-day concerns,
which will only be magnified if she votes
for
the Diplomat on Tuesday.

After failing to meet residents where
the project is slated to be built.


For the record, besides
Sue Gunzburger,
who has been to numerous meetings in both
HB and Hollywood on this issue that I've
attended, NONE of the other Broward
County
Commissioners have bothered
to come to
the affected area to see what's
in store for
these beleaguered residents.

Perhaps the attached Massing Study done
by the Diplomat's consultants will give
you a sense of their future if the Diplomat
gets their way.

Seeing is believing, which perhaps best explains
why
DWR chooses not to visit the scene.

She knows that she can't look people in the eye
and say that she
likes what the Diplomat
proposes to do to their
home, so she forces a
handful of them to have to come
to HER office,
where she has home-court
advantage, and can
conclude the meeting whenever she wants.


If I were a betting man, as of this afternoon,
I'd say that
Diana Wasserman-Rubin will
vote for the
Diplomat's project, along with
both Stacey Ritter and Elaine Lieberman,
the latter two forever the
developer's friend
and among the biggest individual drags on
Broward getting into the 21st Century thru
their smirky, ham-handed ethical problems.


Me, I'm just wondering when the news media

down here will once again have both some bark
and some bite.

-----

Those of you who want to see the Massing Study
I referred to above for yourselves should drop me
an email and I'll send it to you.
Write me at hallandalebeachblog(-at-)gmail.com

No comments:

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Joe Gibbons & Parker Plaza

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.
____________________________________________
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.

Ordinary people can make a difference in fight against corruption in Broward County

The next time you hear someone in Broward County, like one of the usual "experts" or pundits or maybe a self-interested lobbyist like Joy Cooper's supercilious pal Judy Stern repeat the Conventional Wisdom that nobody really cares about ethical behavior, transparency and accountability in Broward cities, except a handful of people, just keep this in mind.
As of March 6, 2014 at 12:30 p.m., in the 71 weeks since I first wrote my October 15th 2012 post titled, "Ethics? Not for us! Follow-up to my post re Hallandale Beach's unethical "business as usual" attitude, with "special rules for special people" if they are named Joy Cooper, Bill Julian and Anthony A. Sanders; What ethics? What rules? @MayorCooper, @SandersHB" it's been viewed 85525 times. That's MORE than a thousand page views a week! Imagine that!
That total doesn't even include the number of people who saw it the day it was first posted, when it was the default post of the blog. That's a lot of people who now know a lot more facts about the truth regarding the corruption and incompetency that have been commonplace in Hallandale Beach all these years while Broward State's Attorney Mike Satz and his staff did NOTHING. Just saying...
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.

Hallandale Beach. Actually, it's a city of gross incompetency, red-tape & myopia

Hallandale Beach. Actually, it's a city of gross incompetency, red-tape & myopia
Hallandale Beach, City of Choice. Hallandale Beach.Hallandale Beach, City of Choice. The monument sign that greets northbound drivers on U.S.-1/South Federal Hwy. at the gateway into the city as they leave the City of Aventura and Miami-Dade County in the rear window, on one of the three main streets into Hallandale Beach. Unfortunately, it's the perfect metaphor for the City of Hallandale Beach and its elected officials and employees the past 10 years: myopic and lacking in common sense. This sign, five blocks south of City Hall, was originally placed so far west on the median strip -and practically BEHIND a palm tree- that drivers actually COULDN'T actually read it even if they wanted to. In any case, because of the city's longtime gross incompetency, negligence and lack of appropriate oversight, the spotlights that were supposed to illuminate the sign at night HAVEN'T worked since about mid-January of 2004. Which is to say, yes, MUCH LONGER than the U.S.'s involvement in WW II. Welcome to the City of Hallandale Beach! Begin heavy traffic, chronic red tape and mis-adventures in government! My original photo here on the blog of this situation was taken January 2007; this one was taken May 8, 2008; photo by South Beach Hoosier. The three palm trees that had been in front of it on the median that obstructed it for so long have come and gone, with the result that for a few years you couldn't help but notice that it DIDN'T work! In February of 2009, in order to make room for a southbound left-turning lane at S.E. 5th Street into The Village of Gulfstream retail complex, the 'invisible' sign was removed and placed farther north on the median. For more than a year, despite a solar panel nearby, there were no actual light fixtures present! As of March 11, 2014, if you can believe this, with a new expensive street-lighting project along the median of U.S.-1 finally finished, where recently-planted trees now have lights shining on branches -as if that meant anything- guess what? Despite another nearby solar unit, there are STILL zero actual light fixtures pointed at the sign! ZERO! Correct, all these years and tax dollars later, the City of Hallandale Beach is STILL unable to figure out how to light this sign on the busiest street in the city at its southern gateway. Yet another sign of the ruinous reign of Mayor Joy Cooper. No attention to detail! © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

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

Political Actions Speak Louder Than Words: Lies of Mayor Joy Cooper and City Manager Mike Good

Political Actions Speak Louder Than Words: Lies of Mayor Joy Cooper and City Manager Mike Good
Political Actions Speak Louder Than Words: Lies of Mayor Joy Cooper and former City Manager Mike Good. March 3, 2009 photo by South Beach Hoosier, This photo was taken just days before the Air Supply fundraising/concert on the beach, as Hallandale Beach DPW employees try to make the area "appear" to be well-maintained -when in reality, it hadn't been properly maintained -and thus fool HB taxpayers and visitors alike. This building underneath the city's iconic Water Tower, just steps from both the Atlantic Ocean and State Road A1A, was given to the City of Hallandale Beach for free by The Related Group on August 3rd, 2007, and yet STILL remained OFF-LIMITS to everyday HB citizens, taxpayers and residents, the true "owners" of the building, until July of 2010, 35 MONTHS later. As of April 15, 2013, there hasn't been a single public forum held by the city dedicated to gauging how citizens want to utilize it best. That's because the community wants to actually be able to use THEIR OWN facility, while the city prefers keeping it locked-up, or as currently, rented out to The Realted Group to use as a model for their Beachwall development. Even worse, for years, the building remained a veritable clubhouse for the cronies and pals of HB City Hall's elected officials and city employees, who get to use it for free. And for many separate periods of time, often six months, the city couldn't even manage to keep an American flag on the city flagpole next to the fountain, even on Holiday. Like MLK day in 2012, among several others. Once again, HB City Hall & DPW shows their gross incompetency by being unable to manage something as simple as keeping a flag flying. Pathetic! © 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

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

Championship banners

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.
Perhaps you'll enjoy this view more!

We Are IU (Official Version) 2013

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.

Here's the first banner of the Crean Era

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