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.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Wednesday's N.E. Quadrant meeting in HB: a perfect opportunity to capture the angry mood of a city re over-development

Those of you who have called or written me in
the recent past and said that you'd have loved
to have covered this particular story earlier...
well, now you'll have your chance on Wednesday
Mieux vaut tard que jamais.

Next Wednesday, April 7th, is the
day that the Johnson Street RFP goes before
the Hollywood City Commission and the
commissioners finally get to pose questions to
the presenting teams, and vote for one team,
vote for both teams to proceed, or vote to start

According to the City Manager's office, whom I
spoke to earlier today, their tentative schedule
is to have the regular City Commission meeting
at 1 p.m., the CRA meeting at 4 p.m. and their
combined CRA/City Commission meeting at 5 p.m.,
which is when the Johnson Street proposals
will come up.

I expect to have pared my video of the past
Johnson Street meetings down to the best
parts I recorded since last year and up on
the blog and YouTube page by this weekend,
so you might want to swing by and see what's there.

By the way, for those of you who don't know,
the DUO, pictured below, is located south of the
Diplomat Golf Course in HB and next to the
already commercially-zoned parcel the
Plumbers and Pipe Fitters Union already
owns that neighborhood residents can live with,
just as they are also okay with a new upscale
500-room hotel to replace the existing 60-room
building and a new adjoining small retail complex
to it, located in the center of the golf course.

We all genuinely wish they'd manage and market
the golf course better than they currently do,
so that more people would use it, but we don't
have any control over that.

It doesn't help, however, that they seem
completely disinclined to actually listen to
the honest criticism of the course by avid
golfers in the area, real consumers, as if the
self-evident problems will somehow resolve

What the community and nearby Hollywood
residents oppose is the Diplomat's owner
proposal to build 4-5 more of these incompatible
out-of-scale condo towers in a single-family
residential neighborhood, on secondary roads,
and threatening the future of the golf course
if they do not get their way with the condos.

We will not let their threats and bluffs
go unanswered.

Below, DUO

Below, depiction of a Diplomat condo tower on Atlantic Shores Blvd.,

looking SE towards the Intracoastal and the Atlantic Ocean.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Csaba Kulin
Date: Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 12:56 PM
Subject: N.E. Quadrant Meeting

Hello Friends;
Tomorrow night, the City of Hallandale Beach will hold a "quadrant" meeting to INFORM US what is going on and ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS we may have.
This is OUR TIME to ask about the DIPLOMAT LAC. NO 3 MINUTE CLOCK. It is OPEN to ANYONE. Even if you do not live in the N.E. area. Even if you do not live in Hallandale.
It does not get any EASIER to let the Mayor and Commissioners know how you feel about MORE TRAFFIC, MORE DEVELOPMENT, MORE HIGH RISES etc.
How would you like to see 6 or 7 high rises the size of the DUO on Diplomat Parkway? 900 residential units plus the 500 room hotel on Diplomat Parkway?
With 3000 residential units approved, do you think we need another 950 units to be approved? We have a ton of vacant, unsold and foreclosed units.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010 6:30 P.M. Towers of Ocean View South, 600 Parkview Drive, HB.
Csaba Kulin
President, Fairways North, Inc.
VP United Condominium Association of Hallandale Beac

from Csaba Kulin
to Commissioner Anthony Sanders
date Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 2:57 PM
subject Broward County Commission Second Meeting on the Diplomat LAC

Honorable Commissioner Sanders;
We, the presidents, directors and residents of Fairways North, Inc., Fairways Inc., Fairways South, Inc. and Seventeenth Green Condominiums joined together in a coalition to be able to better represent out interests, wishes and desires. The 450 residential units of our 4 associations stand shoulder to shoulder with each other to protect our quality of life. I am sure that our collective voice will be more difficult to dismiss than each of us individually, now and in the future.
As you know, we have achieved something very seldom happens. The residents of HB with the help many others, were able stop BIG MONEY even if its is not the final vote. The most important thing that it "DID NOT PASS". As I understand the Diplomat can come back for an "other bite of the apple" in April.
I am sorry that you found it in your heart to speak up against us, but what BC Commissioner Diana Wasserman-Rubin said was that really bothered me. She said "my 1360 registered voters in the N.W. section of Hallandale Beach, which I represent, want me to vote in favor of approving the Diplomat LAC". That was our 5th vote we needed to stop the LAC.
The 1360 registered voters of N.W. represent 6.5% of the 20,200 registered voters of HB. They are welcome to do whatever is in their best interest.
On the other hand, Commissioner, you were also elected by the other 93.5% registered voters of HB, and that 93.5 does not want the Diplomat LAC.
You are all about jobs, jobs and jobs. I agree with you, but you know that jobs are in hotels and commercial buildings. Residential units DO NOT create jobs. The Diplomat is already zoned for a hotel and a large commercial building with stores and offices. Please do not listen to the fear tactics of the Diplomat.
On behalf of the "Fairways Coalition" I ask you to meet with me/us to discuss what you are able and willing to do to help us secure that most important FIFTH vote on BC Commission on April 27, 2010.
To the Diplomat it is money, to some others it is politics but for us it is our quality of life is at stake. Tell me how any elected official can be for either of the first two?
The following Associations and Individuals stood shoulder to shoulder with us in this epic struggle. Not everyone was able to be at the Commission Meeting in person for various reasons but I can assure you, they were there with us in spirit. I hope the announcement after our victory will include the name HB Commissioner Anthony Sanders.
  • Broward Coalition - President Charlotte Greenbarg
  • Fairways Coalition Members
  • Fairways South, Inc. President Michel LaPalme and Residents
  • Fairways Inc. President Colin Edwards and Residents
  • Fairways North, Inc. Board of Directors and Residents
  • Seventeenth Green, Hon. Don Boudria, P.C.
  • The Hemispheres President Julian Axelrod
  • United Condominium Association of Hallandale Beach President Louis Parades
  • Hollywood Lakes Section Civic Association President Terry Cantrell
  • Hallandale Beach Vice Mayor Bill Julian
  • Hallandale Beach Commissioner Keith London
  • Dave Smith
  • Catherine Kim Owens
  • Former Hallandale Beach Mayor Sonny Rosenberg
  • Drs. Bob and Judy Selz
  • Golden Condo Association President Beverly Carawan
  • Venetian Park Condo Association David Chizen
  • And many, many others with their e-mail, phone calls and going the meetings.
Thank You,
Csaba Kulin
President, Fairways North, Inc
VP United Condominium Association of Hallandale Beach

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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.