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.

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


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
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 -
reforming a very corrupt HB City Hall
and yet you all have, individually and
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
if he were to actually somehow defeat
Sue Gunzburger
, though I think it's unlikely.


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
You know, the ones interested enough to actually

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

That's also the belief of many Florida reporters
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?

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
It's all just so very, very curious.

And what is Broward Commissioner
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
by the over-the-top project wanted
to show her
around and give her some first-hand
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

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
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
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
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

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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'dALREADY 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, theCity 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 forYEARS 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.