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.

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

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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, 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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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.