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 and Europe, especially the UK 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.

@FLGovScott #RemoveHer #HallandaleBeach mayor & town bully #JoyCooper

Friday, April 30, 2010

Comm. Dotty Ross hiding in plain sight at Hallandale Beach's "Special Meeting" on City Manager Mike Good's employment; "Recall" is in the air!

By now you've all probably heard thru the Hallandale Beach version of the grapevine that this morning's Special City Commission Meeting proved to be just the latest debacle and punchline in a long line of embarrassing and cringe-worthy moments for its beleaguered citizen taxpayers, as a result of continuing anti-democratic and un-professional conduct at City Hall.
To quote myself, "Just when you think you've seen it all before at HB City Hall..."

The public notices about this morning's meeting as seen at Hallandale Beach City Hall. Of course, last Wednesday, April 21st, as I mentioned at that night's City Commission meeting, instead of having the required list of April city Advisory Board meetings posted, they had the one for -wait for it- March.
back on April 2nd, I'd told them they needed to put up the correct list, but they don't take criticism well, so it was left up for three weeks, and was still there on April 23rd.
That's the kind of people we are dealing with.

This morning, displaying a foolish bravado and sense of anti-taxpayer sentiment that shocked even many of her usual defenders and apologists throughout the city, HB Comm. Dotty Ross refused to come down to the HB City Chambers, the new location of the meeting.
Apparently, she was hiding up in her office.


The tip-off?
Her Camry in its reserved parking space.


Hallandale Beach civic activist Csaba Kulin, one of the leaders in the fight against the Westin Diplomat's LAC proposal, near the car of Comm. Dotty Ross just minutes after the pathetic debacle we witnessed inside the City Chambers.
Did the car drive itself to HB City Hall today?

Comm. Dotty Ross' car in its reserved space this morning, before the meeting, from the point-of-view of the breezeway in front of the Hallandale Beach Police Dept. HQ.

With Vice-Mayor Julian wielding the gavel and Comm. Sanders alongside of him, and with Mayor Cooper and Comm. London each out-of-town but 'present' via a popular technology we now call the telephone, the meeting was canceled before it could really begin due to there NOT being a "physical quorum" present.
Really.


Bewildered HB citizens, including many Cooper & Good apologists, mill around in the City Hall breezeway after the Ross no-show debacle.

But don't worry, I videotaped the entire ridiculous spectacle for you to analyze for yourself from the comfort of your own home, as you once again are forced to try to make sense of the inexplicable that has become our norm the past ten years.

I'll have the video posted to my YouTube page on Saturday, and have some other photos and my thoughts on what this means in the bigger scheme of things, on my blog as well.

Whatever else today's low-light may signify in this city, one thing is certain.
The heretofore abstract idea of launching a petition effort to Recall Dotty Ross from office in November got some rather unexpected help.
From her.

Her own words and actions add fuel-to-the-fire as they show her utter contempt for the rules of this city and HB citizens, just the latest in a long line of words, actions and behavior that belie her appearance, as just last week, she called HB citizens in the Chambers "shills" even
before they could get to the microphone during Public Comments.

She's the very same woman who continually voted AGAINST placing the Diplomat's application and related documents on the city's website for their citizens to examine days or weeks before the actual votes took place.
That's how it came to be that the docs only became available 28 hours before the first vote in mid-December.
Not that Dotty Ross and the other three HB commissioners who voted that way want you to remember that now.

Afterwards, I had to check to see if "our flag was still there." But are we really in America, or just an alternative universe, a "Twilight Zone" if you will, where the norms and conventions of laws and logic have no power and where law enforcement is well-nigh invisible?

See also:
BrowardPalmBeach NewTimes Meeting on Hallandale City Manager's Fate Canceled After Mayoral No-Show
By Thomas Francis, Friday, Apr. 30 2010 @ 10:50AM
http://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com/juice/2010/04/hallandale_special_meeting_mike_good_canceled.php


BrowardPalmBeach NewTimes

Hallandale Mayor Calls Special Meeting to Discuss "City Manager's Employment" By Thomas Francis, Thursday, Apr. 29 2010 @ 12:26PM
http://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com/juice/2010/04/hallandale_special_meeting_mike_good_employment.php


Thursday, April 29, 2010

The last time the Miami Herald mentioned Hallandale Beach City Hall's incompetency and antics was...

Despite all the self-evident cronyism, public corruption and intentional deceit emanating from the City Hall of this ocean-side city for years, the Miami Herald has sent a reporter to a City Commission meeting here just once since June of 2008.

For that dearth of coverage, while everything was going to hell, we can thank current Broward editor Jay Ducassi and his predecessor, Patricia Andrews.

What follows is an excerpt from the last item the Herald ran that dealt with actual governance in Hallandale Beach.
You remember August of last year, don't you?

Tiger Woods
and Sandra Bullock were, separately, happily married to their spouses, Tom Brady was poised to take the Patriots back to the Super Bowl after an injury, and the Florida Marlins were still fighting for a National League Wild-card spot.
And
Marco Rubio, whom I'd seen wow a crowd two months earlier, was trailing badly in state polls that South Florida's know-it-all reporters said proved Rubio simply didn't have the requisite experience and resources to beat a popular incumbent governor like Charlie Crist.
Some reporters even darkly hinted that it might be because he was Hispanic.

Hmm-m-m...


Miami Herald

POLITICAL BEAT
Monday, August 10, 2009
By Amy Sherman
HALLANDALE BEACH MINUTES APPROVED -- A FEW YEARS LATER

Hallandale Beach City Commissioner Keith London, often at odds with other city officials, cried foul at a meeting Wednesday as the commission approved meeting minutes as old as 2003.

"It seems a little bizarre to go back and approve minutes going back six years," said London, suggesting that the city is violating its own procedure about creating written minutes "as soon as practical."

London is also ticked that the city decided to publish brief minutes rather than a verbatim transcript. "They don't want people to know what's going on," he said in an interview.

At the meeting, acting City Clerk Shari Canada said her audit found some minutes that had yet to be officially approved. They included meetings where the commission sat as other city boards.

"The fact that they are tardy is of no legal consequence," city attorney David Jove said.


Mayor
Joy Cooper said if the public wants to review debate from meetings, anyone can come to City Hall and review the video.

Sunshine State awaits announcement on future of... Mike Good


Along with many other concerned residents of Hallandale Beach, I received the following email from Commissioner Keith London at 1:07 p.m. today
--------

Everyone,

The City Attorneys’ office has advised me that the Mayor has requested a “Special Meeting” regarding the employment of City Manager Mike Good and the details are as follows:

· City Hall

· Upstairs in Room 219

· Friday, April 30, 2010

· Time 10:30 A.M.

· Open to the Public

Please plan on attending if you are available. This is a “Publicly Noticed” meeting.


Thank you,

Keith S. London

City Commissioner

Hallandale Beach

954-457-1320 Office

www.KeithLondon.com

------------------
I will be in attendance at the Special Meeting and suggest you make plans to do likewise, since we know from years of experience how existing city rules and state laws are routinely flouted around here.
There's no reason to think this will be handled any differently.
The more HB residents present the better.

There are lots of ideas floating around as to what will actually happen tomorrow, and after hearing from lots of people already, I'd say the three separate scenarios competing for oxygen are:
family reasons, health and Loss of Confidence.

I can confirm what Thomas Francis mentions below about the unusual requirement of a super-majority in order to terminate Good's contract, because I can distinctly recall talking with mt friend Michael Butler over at Panera Bread after he'd already spent an enormous amount of time carefully reviewing the docs he had requested on the City Manager's curious contract.
See Michael's excellent factually-based website, Change Hallandale Beach at
http://www.changehallandale.com/

Considering where we live and the small size of this city, I'd say that you'd be quite surprised upon learning some of the other aspects of his contract, including, among other things, the proviso about HB taxpayers being on the hook if he ever wanted to go to Business School,
even after he left the city.

After all, as I've written so many times, this is the same city where in clear violation of the state's
Sunshine Laws, the existing City Manager (Mike Good), the Police Chief (Thomas Magill) and Fire Chief (Daniel Sullivan) were all re-hired at separate City Commission meetings where these items (contracts) were NOT on the published agenda, NOT held in the City Chambers but rather upstairs in a room where it was NOT videotaped, and with ZERO HB citizens present to speak on the issues involved.

And in the case of Good, there was no documentation provided for the commissioners to read before voting.
Guess who the staffers who'd usually do that work for?

None of this happened by accident, of course, it was all done intentionally according to Mayor Joy Cooper's personal desire to keep this community in the dark as often as possible while she orchestrated policy, even though she is just one of five votes.


Joy Cooper's longstanding anti-democratic behavior, words, actions and notions about what truly constitutes a participatory democracy, will make an excellent case study someday, but in the meantime, the very people who are supposed to protect the community and enforce the laws in this state continue to look the other way -as they have for years.


BrowardPalmBeach NewTimes

Hallandale Mayor Calls Special Meeting to Discuss "City Manager's Employment"
By Thomas Francis, Thursday, Apr. 29 2010 @ 12:26PM
http://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com/juice/2010/04/hallandale_special_meeting_mike_good_employment.php

At top: September 17, 2008 photo of Hallandale Beach City Hall by South Beach Hoosier.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Upcoming 2010 Spring Cleaning Media & Blog Purge: Sleepwalking South Florida news media and lemming blogs to be tossed overboard!

There is just a tremendous amount of news and information that will be coming to this space over the next few weeks, much of it about political ideas and strategy and upcoming elections that will have the possibility of seriously shaking up the deplorable status quo hereabouts.

Things both long in the planning as well as items that I've, admittedly, sort of lucked-into by paying close attention while most of South Florida's news media continues their 2010 spring slumber, preparing for their 2010 summer-long siesta.

But that's how it goes when you try to keep your eyes and ears open, return emails and phone calls from others promptly, and try to remain on good terms with people in a position to either make news -or cover it- all over the county, state and country.

In fact, I suppose you might even call what I have in mind -and in many cases, already have written- a torrent, though given the Broward School Board's continuing sub-par performance, if there are any Broward high school grads reading this, that's your cue to right-click 'torrent' and see what Google says it means.

I've got some big changes in store for my humble little blog, as this weekend I'll begin my 2010 Spring Cleaning Media and Blog Purge, wherein I make some long overdue changes that I had originally planned on making after Christmas, but couldn't due to time constraints
and some family obligations.

It's my hope that these particular changes will improve the blog's functionality and topicality, though perhaps not to everyone's satisfaction.
C'est la vie.

Frankly, I don't spend any time worrying about what people I've NEVER met, actually spoken to or received an email from, think about the blog, whereas those who have taken the time to actually contact me with their thoughts know that I generally take their constructive criticism pretty well, and only wish that I could change it the way I want to.

In the case of the former, people who have never contacted me but who have heaping helpings of criticism, I refer to people who never seem to actually manage to attend South Florida govt. or public policy meetings in person, what most people in the country might call no-shows, and who seem to "cover" things almost entirely second-hand from their living room or dens.

As anyone paying attention knows, that's the exact OPPOSITE approach of Genius of Despair and Gimleteye at Eye on Miami, http://eyeonmiami.blogspot.com/;
Daniel A. Ricker
at Watchdog Report, http://www.watchdogreport.net/;
Chaz Stevens
at My Acts of Sedition, http://www.myactsofsedition.com/;
Michael Butler at Change Hallandale Beach, http://www.changehallandale.com/;
Sara Case at Balance Sheet Online, http://www.balancesheetonline.com/;
Bett Willett at Blog by Bett, http://blogbybett.blogspot.com/ and myself.

(In case you're unfamiliar with the situation involving my friend Michael being sued by Joy Cooper, the thin-skinned, anti-democratic mayor of our fair city -who calls her political opponents "Nazis" while at Hallandale Beach City Hall- for simply attempting to get some public records, YET ANOTHER story that the Miami Herald and all of the local Miami TV stations have completely ignored, please see the following:
1.) http://openrecords.wordpress.com/2009/04/29/michael-butler-sunshine-troublemaker-of-the-week/

2.)
http://weblogs.sun-sentinel.com/news/politics/broward/blog/2009/10/mayo_why_are_taxpayers_footing.html
)
3.)
http://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com/pulp/2009/10/judge_patti_henning_and_mayor_joy_cooper.php )

While I obviously don't agree with them on everything they might say about a particular subject,
I ALWAYS know that they are actually spending their time and energy to be physically present and accounted for when news could be made that's of interest to the discerning and concerned citizens of South Florida.
And they don't lie or intentionally misrepresent the facts.

Both are more than can be said for the large majority of South Florida's sad sack excuse of a press corps, who would be greatly improved if 75% of them were fired toute-de-suite, and simply replaced by some of the plucky and curious kids on the journalism farm at Ernie Pyle, Medill and some other places I could name, where curiosity is a prerequisite.
See http://journalism.indiana.edu/ and http://www.medill.northwestern.edu/


Then we'd see some serious Who, What, Why, When Where and How action in our local media diet, and improved verb subject agreement and proper verb tense, to boot, and less fluff TV stories on liposuction, women's clothes, Rapping Grandmothers, and Grade D celebs and celebutantes making paid appearances at South Beach clubs.

It's exactly like the sad and feeble approach employed over at WTVJ-6 -the News Nobody Watches- "who don't know what's going on, and send a cameraman (without a reporter) to an event at the last minute just so they can maintain the illusion they're a real news operation."

That particular tart quote
comes from one of their most industrious TV news competitors, who told me that exact thing two years ago while we were both sitting in the Broward County Chambers for a Broward County Charter Review Commission meeting.

This comment about Channel 6 only served to confirm what I'd long felt since returning to the area from D.C., and when I shared this comment with other industrious reporters and bloggers I know, who have often shared their take on what ails South Florida and its incurious news media, they all seconded that emotion.

It goes without saying that if I knew then what I know now, I'd have perhaps made some different choices when starting the blog, perhaps going with TypePad instead of Blogger, or perhaps some other blogging platform, as many newspaper and TV friends of mine in D.C. had originally suggested. http://www.typepad.com/

Since many of you readers probably don't know this, with Blogger's software structure, unless I remove all the 'anchors' on it at the beginning, the photos and thoughts about the area, I can't physically move my most recent comments up to the top of the blog.
If I could, I'd have done that years ago.
But I can't, hence the upcoming changes.

But even with the changes I hope to make over the next few weeks, I know that I won't be matching the prodigious blog posting and video output of South Florida's number one Watchdog, Chaz Stevens, who surely must get less sleep than anyone in the 954 area code.

FYI, last night and early this morning, I downloaded all the video I shot from Tuesday afternoon's historic Broward County Commission meeting, where the plucky underdog activists from Hallandale Beach brought the Broward County development/lobbying machine to heel, 6-3, and hope to have at least some of it on my YouTube page on Thursday.

My personal take on what transpired yesterday will soon be here, along with photos, now that I'm finally starting to get caught up on all the sleep I've been missing the past few weeks.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

With friends like Gregory M. Dell, concerned citizens of Hallandale Beach don't need enemies in their battle against the Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa's ill-conceived plans that threaten the area's Quality of Life

Above, Hollywood attorney Gregory M. Dell's Feb. 9th letter of support for the Diplomat LAC proposal to the Broward County Planning Council.


In previous emails and blog posts, I've written that the owners
of the Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa -which also includes the Diplomat Country Club- the Plumbers & Pipe Fitters Union, as well as their management company, Starwood, and their high-paid team of lawyers,
lobbyists and consultants
would engage in all sorts of lies and misrepresentation, if need be, in order to get their way, and they have.

Now you will see for yourself that this deception also extends to their supporters and apologists in Southeast Broward as well, and I have that proof.


This matters because the vote on the Diplomat LACwill take place before the Broward County Commission this afternoon at 2 p.m., in an effort to break the 4-4 tie in March.

Since I've so often contemplated here why the South Florida news media seems to be going out of their way NOT to cover this story in
a way that equates to its actual importance to the greater community's Quality-of-Life, when they'd absolutely be falling over themselves if it was happening in Coral Gables, Cutler Bay or in Weston, I can't help but wonder if perhaps the bit of news I'm sharing today will change equation a bit and make at least some of them a little curious how things
got to this point.

But then again, maybe not.

In previous emails to some people in the community, as well as in blog posts here, I've noted with a fair degree of concern the fact that some local residents with claims of ties to
the Hallandale Beach or Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, have claimed they were SO concerned about the economic health of HB, but most of whom you and I have NEVER seen before, not even at Hallandale Beach or Hollywood City Commission or CRA meetings, which I regularly attend.
Even more than reporters.

Frankly, everything else being equal, I don't really mind the people supporting the Diplomat so much as their rather transparent attempts to buffalo us in this process in such a very condescending way, while acting like they were the ones looking at "the big picture."

Yes, "
the big picture" that you might otherwise not recognize as your family's daily existence hereabouts and their future.
But the reality is rather different, isn't it?

Actually, we are the ones looking at that "
big picture" scenario, while they were the local opportunists and butt-kissers looking at self-enrichment, which is one of the reason that I found it so easy to take some verbal shots at some of them during my public comments before the Broward County Commission, specifically referring to them as "water carriers" for HB City Hall and the Diplomat.
That's what they were, whether wearing 
Ann Taylor pantsuits or not.

It was their smug attempts to seem intellectually elevated that I found grating, especially since you know these same people would never tolerate multiple 25-30 story condo towers next to their own home in a single-family residential area.

Speaking of public misrepresentation, consider the curious case of Hollywood attorney
Gregory Dell, quoted in the otherwise excellent Daily Business Review article of March 27th, which appeared two days after the 4-4 tie vote.
I've highlighted his comments in red.

========
Daily Business Review
http://www.dailybusinessreview.com/news.html?news_id=61386

Planning & Zoning
Clock ticks for massive development as vote looms

By Luis F. Perez
March 25, 2010

The owners of The Diplomat Golf Resort & Spa are pushing to obtain approval for an ambitious redevelopment of a Hallandale Beach golf course as a critical deadline approaches.

Running the gauntlet of land use and zoning hurdles is never easy, but winning approval of such a huge project could get tougher after November. That’s when Floridians will vote on a constitutional amendment that would allow them to veto any changes to a municipality’s comprehensive land-use plan.

The Plumbers & Pipefitters National Pension Fund, which owns the Hallandale Beach resort, wants to build up to 950 residential units, a 500-room hotel, a 48-slip marina and about 3,000 square feet of commercial space and upgrade the golf course.

Diplomat officials proposed changing the land use from commercial and recreational use to a designation called “local activity center,” which would allow a mix of residential, hotel, commercial and recreation uses.

Some in the development community expect Amendment 4, also known as Florida Hometown Democracy, to pass. That would make it much more difficult to change land use and zoning, experts said.

That’s why the Broward County Commission’s failure on Tuesday, by a 4-to-4 vote, to send the development plan to the state’s Department of Community Affairs for review — a necessary step before the final approval — is a big setback for the pension fund.

The commission’s vote raises doubt about whether the 96-acre project can get the needed approvals by the time voters go to the polls in November.

In addition to the land-use issues, the pension fund also needs to find financing for the $500 million project and faces increasing competition from condo projects already in the pipeline.

“They’re trying to rush this stuff through in advance of Amendment 4,” said Jack McCabe, a Deerfield Beach-based housing analyst.

The consensus among builders is that if Amendment 4 passes, “it’ll put tremendous constraints on large-scale building projects like this,” he said. Builders all over Florida are pushing for approvals now, McCabe said.

Specter of Change

The specter of the change to the state constitution wasn’t raised at the commission meeting. Instead, it was skepticism on the part of Commissioners Lois Wexler and Sue Gunzburger that dominated the discussion.

Wexler questioned developers’ claims the project would add only 180 peak-hour car trips to nearby roads, which are already over capacity.

Gunzburger asked how the developer planned to comply with Hallandale Beach’s affordable-housing provisions, which require a developer to either set aside 15 percent of a project for affordable housing or that it pay into the city’s affordable-housing fund. Diplomat officials agreed to pay into the fund.

Gunzburger wondered how a city with nearly 3,000 condo units already approved but not yet built could absorb even more inventory.

“I don’t see the need for another 950 units,” she said.

Diplomat officials argued that the residential portion of the project is critical to make it work financially. A hotel alone won’t work, they said. Wexler also asked if the property was for sale.

Debbie Orshefsky, a Greenberg Traurig lawyer representing the developer, answered: “It’s not for sale at the present time.”

She then added: “The property is not actively being marketed.”

Earlier, Orshefsky said the entitlements would position the property for when the market rebounds.

She acknowledged that the owner currently doesn’t have financing or investors in place to pay for construction and said the pension fund would most likely need to partner with an experienced builder.

Joining Commissioners Wexler, Gunzburger and Kristin Jacobs in voting against sending the proposed land-use changes to the state was Mayor Ken Keechl.
Commissioners John Rodstrom, Stacy Ritter, Diana Wasserman-Rubin and Albert C. Jones voted in favor. Commissioner Ilene Lieberman was out of town.

The developer, union officials and their supporters that filled the commission chamber were stunned by the vote.

“It’s a procedural nightmare,” Orshefsky said after the vote. “I don’t know what it means. But it’s a procedural nightmare.”

The county commission will hold another public hearing on the project in April. Both the city and county have to vote to send the proposal to Tallahassee for review by the DCA. Another public hearing and a final vote of approval by the city and county commissions are required after the DCA’s input. It’s a process that often takes months.

Long Fight

Opponents and proponents are sure to gear up for yet another battle. It has been going on for years.

In 1997, the Plumbers & Pipefitters National Pension Fund bought the resort and spa on Diplomat Parkway, east of Northeast 14th Avenue, north of Hallandale Beach Boulevard and south of Atlantic Shores Boulevard.

It also owns the oceanfront Westin Diplomat hotel several miles away on A1A in Hollywood.

In 2000, the fund refurbished the golf course, added a new club house, tennis center, spa and a 60-room boutique hotel. The cost was about $45 million.

But like many golf courses across South Florida, the one at the resort saw its fortunes decline.

Golf Course Costs Increasing


It was originally envisioned to be a high-end resort and golf club sustained by locals and guests from the Westin Diplomat. But that hasn’t happened.

And while the golf course loses customers, its operating costs have continued to increase, officials said.

To preserve the golf course, planning started about four years ago to create a golf course community and destination, Orshefsky said before the meeting.

The first proposal was for 1,600 residential units and a 350-room hotel, Orshefsky said. By the time Diplomat officials submitted their first application in early 2007, they proposed building 1,400 residential units and the hotel, she said.

After months of back and forth with Hallandale Beach officials and residents, Diplomat officials withdrew their application. They refiled with the city in September 2009 after lowering the density and rethinking the design, Orshefsky said.

The wrangling with Hallandale Beach and Hollywood residents and Hallandale Beach city officials continued.

The original proposal was too much, Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper said.

“It didn’t fit our city,” she said.

But after a year and half of back and forth and many changes, city and Diplomat officials developed a plan they could agree on. The Hallandale Beach City Commission voted 3-2 in December to approve the plan.

Cooper and commissioners Dotty Ross and Anthony Sanders supported the measure with Commissioner Keith London and Vice Mayor Bill Julian opposed.

This “will continue to make that a viable, sustainable golf community,” the mayor said.

‘DEVELOPMENT RUN AMOK’

No one is completely happy, including Terry Cantrell, president of Hollywood Lakes Section Civic Association. The association worries mostly about traffic heading north through neighborhood streets.

“Hallandale Beach represents development run amok,” he said.

City officials there “never take into account” the amount of traffic its residents have to deal with, he said. He called the traffic studies the developer conducted “grossly inadequate.”

Luis Paredes, president of the United Condominium Associations of Hallandale Beach, said his group’s main worries are the added traffic and the compatibility of the high-rise project in a low-rise neighborhood.

In e-mail blasts he sent out, he raised issues such as the number of empty condo units currently in Hallandale Beach and the possible sale of the property. He also questioned why the developers were fast-tracking the project.

David Schwartz, a third-generation South Florida hotelier and principal of The Management Consortium, a hotel consultant group, doubts the project will ever get built.

“I can’t see the pipefitters taking on that risky venture,” he said.

Schwartz said he also doesn’t think there will be any buyer for the property in this economy.

Still, the supporters of the project say it’s important for the city’s future success.

“With all due respect, the time has come for Hallandale to shed its reputation as a senior citizen community,” said Gregory Dell, a local resident and lawyer not connected to the project. “In an economy that is suffering, Hallandale needs to seize an opportunity and look to the future growth and reputation of our city. “I fear that if this project is not approved and the Diplomat golf course is forced to shut down, our property values will further decline and our city will have another vacant lot with no development.”

McCabe questioned the Diplomat’s contention that the project is needed to maintain the golf course’s viability.

The project would cost hundreds of millions of dollars, he estimated. And with Amendment 4 looming, getting the rights to build such a large project would dramatically increase the property’s value, he said.

“They really just want to get the entitlement to flip it to someone else,” McCabe said.

----------------

So, is Gregory Dell really "a local resident and lawyer not connected to the project" or something else entirely?

Well, it's true that he used to live in Hallandale Beach and now lives in Hollywood.
I can't quibble with that, since I have a friend who lives on the street that Dell formerly lived on in Hallandale Beach.

But the part about him not having a dog in the fight is not true.

I have the proof.

This very same Gregory Dell is still listed on golf merchandise manufacturer Haas-Jordan's website as a distributor, using both his (former) home address on Hibiscus Drive in HB, and listing a contact phone number that upon further examination, you discover is actually the very same number used by his attorney wife Kelly's business, also located on Hollywood Blvd., right near Hollywood City Hall.

Well, actually, she's in the same exact building -2404 Hollywood Blvd.

Gregory Dell wasn't just some dis-interested Hollywood attorney who was speaking his mind on some aspect of local public policy.

He is, apparently, someone with at least the appearance of a financial rooting-interest in the Westin Diplomat Resort, the Union and Starwood getting their way with regard to their high-priced condo towers next to the golf course.
Simple math: Golf merchandise + golf course = $$$

That doesn't make him a bad guy, per se, just someone who seems to be playing fast and loose with the truth when it serves his own economic interests.

You know, just like what everyone complains is the case with Wall Street and Capitol Hill and Tallahassee?

Dell
has the appearance of an economic conflict that 
should've been publicly disclosed to the DBR reporter so that we'd all know that when we read the story.
Just be honest about it, and then we'd weigh his words accordingly.

(For instance, does Dell still have that golf equipment distributorship? Just wondering!)

Mention THAT conflict to the reporter right away instead of leaving it up to yours truly to dig that bit of information up.

Not that it was so hard - I was able to figure this all out in less than 20 minutes after seeing the story.

See for yourself below:

----------------
http://www.haas-jordan.com/UI/DistributorsListing.aspx?cid=200&sid=11


Customer Name: GKO Concepts
First Name:
Last Name: Gregory Dell
Designation:
Telephone: (954)9209811
Email: noemail@email.com
Country: United States

Address1: 613 Hibiscus Dr.
Address2:
City: Hallandale Beach
State: Florida
Zip Code: 33009
PPAI Id:

-------------
When you perform a Google search for the phone number
listed, what do you suppose you get?
This!
http://gotticket.com/firm_profile.htm.


FIRM PROFILE - 1-800-Got-Ticket Law Firm DUI and Traffic Ticket ...

Fax: 954-920-9811. Main Office Address: 2404 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, Fl 33020
Office Locations in Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and throughout Florida ...
gotticket.com/firm_profile.htm - Cached

Well, now you have a much better idea of what we're up against, as we continue play the role of David in that familiar story about the underdog.

We're up against people not content to just use their influence in the community to get their personal opinion out, but also, so it seems, willing to use it to better their own economic circumstances, even if that means being less than truthful when speaking in public.

And as if all that wasn't enough to cause you to question Dell's degree of objectivity when speaking on this issue, there's also the rather curious letter that he conveniently forget to mention to the reporter of the story. 
And it's not just any letter, but rather his own letter of Feb. 9th, addressed to the Broward County Planning Council, the body that heard the issue before it went to the entire County Commission.

A letter that he had already written six weeks before that County Commission meeting.

Sort of curious that an attorney would forget to mention that germane letter or his own past experience as a golf equipment distributor to the Daily Business Review reporter in a story about a golf course and real estate, don't you think?
I guess Gregory Dell is just a very forgetful guy, huh?

Well, I guess at this point, you won't be too surprised to hear that in his letter, at the top, Dell completely neglects the legitimate concerns of HB & Hollywood citizens: the ruinous effect these multiple 25-30 story condo towers would have on the current neighborhood.
Nope, our pal Gregory Dell just skips right past that.

Instead, he says the following, and you'll understand, I think, if I suspect that he said this in a rather superior and condescending way, since that's exactly how it sounds:

The benefits of this project far exceed any potential negatives
such as potential traffic concerns, Traffic is a fact of life and if it takes each of us an extra 3-5 minutes to get somewhere, this is not a reason to deny the project...


But if it's not such a big thing, why did Comm. Diana Wasserman-Rubin tell Hallandale Beach residents who live in the neighborhood, who spoke to her in her West Park office the day before the vote, that the current traffic is already so bad that she "avoids thearea if at all possible."

How is it that you imagine having thousands more residents in that area will not directly affect the ability of people to evacuate when the sites in question are ALL mandatory hurricane evacuation areas?


Well, in a few hours, we'll see what narrative of t
his area carries the day: citizen's Quality-of-Life or incompatible over-development by big money interests.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

David is a great name for a British Prime Minister!; Repeat of U.K. debate on C-SPAN at 9 p.m. Sunday

David is a great name for a British Prime Minister!
“We can’t go on like this.”

Above, David Cameron's Year for Change campaign poster,
January 2010.
See the May 2009 video about his series of in-person town hall
meetings -called Cameron Direct- which he held over the
past year at
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newsvideo/?bcpid=4464161001&bctid=22302847001
See also: http://www.conservatives.com/

David Cameron: The Big Society

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2uVYgAuO_c


-----


I watched the 90-minute British election debates in Bristol
on
Sky News via Fox News Channel at 3 a.m. Friday
morning
and due to lack of sleep,felt like I have a bad case
of jet-lag all
day.

The debate will be repeated Sunday night on C-SPAN at
9 p.m. and I strongly urge you to watch it as it was everything
a genuine debate ought to be, which is to say, that some real
insight on public policy ended up being expressed, often in
very articulate ways, despite their campaign's best efforts
to have them talk in a fashion that we might better describe
as, well, American sound-bites-PLUS.
More than what we get here, but less-than-scholarly
banter.

I like David Cameron quite a bit as you probably know by
now from my blog and any conversations with me, and
generally thought he got the better of it by tweaking both
Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Nick Clegg, the latter
of whom often sounded in the debate more like a popular
university prof trying to ingratiate himself to liberal activist
grad students to persuade them to help elect him to the city
council, than a person who wants to be the head of the British
government.

I actually think Clegg's somewhat breezy/extreme comments
actually made Cameron sound even better in the comparison,
and Brown's frequent spot-on put-downs of Clegg seemed
especially effective when he talked about the LibDem and
Clegg's longstanding streak of anti-Americanism.

To me, based on what's previously been said in the campaign,
that served to remind many British voters that however
imperfect Brown or Cameron may be, Clegg is still someone
who simply can't be trusted with power.

Many of the initial post-debate polls aired on the Sky News
post-debate program I watched have said as much.

The best part to me was when all three discussed the issue
of immigration in a serious and thoughtful way that I believe
a majority of Americans would very much like to hear more
of by elected officials in Washington.

Sadly, debate that national Democrats, unions and special
interest groups -and locally, the Miami Herald- are at
great pains to keep sotto voce: the current system isn't
working for the country as a whole and only
seems
to encourage illegal entry, corruption and crime.
And the country does NOT favor AMNESTY for illegal
aliens.

As it happens, this question was asked by a woman who
appeared to be of Caribbean descent and who said that
she'd lived in England for about 13 years.

The audience questions from a group of self-selected people
from the Bristol area -SW England- were all of a much
higher caliber than you'd generally find over here.

Latest polling information is here: Poll of polls: Tories edge ahead http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/vote_2010/poll+of+polls+tories+edge+ahead/3624387

Channel 4's Saturday night newscast, April 24, 2010:
A hung Parliament in store for Britain?
http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid62744310001?bclid=79125446001&bctid=7996565300
1


http://www.channel4.com/news/


C-SPAN
Jon-Christopher Bua and Adam Boulton on
the second debate for Prime Minister candidates, 40 minutes.
http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/293157-6

Saturday, April 24, 2010

UCLA edges Sooners to win 2010 NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championship at Gainesville; Coverage of Women's Sports in the Miami Herald

UCLA Bruins: They're Number One!

Above, a screenshot I took Friday night of a beaming Anna Li,
the UCLA
senior gymnast, the best in the Pac-10, holding the
2010 NCAA Championship trophy in Gainesville, while jubilant
teammates show everyone who's number one this year.

Above, Bruins Rock, Los Angeles magazine, November 2006

Before I get to what was going to be the main point of
my post today, a few comments are in order about some
sports realities in the year 2010.

First, despite whatever awards they claim to have won,
the simple fact is that the Miami Herald's sports section
has long been among the worst in the country, and an
absolute embarrassment for its circulation size and the
amount of resources they have at their command.

(Future blog posts here will get into lots of details about
the
whys of that, something I'm sorry to say I blame myself
for, since
I've written something about it often and saved
it to Draft, but then thought that it was too petty.
But then I remembered that I'm my own Executive Editor
and Sr. VP of New Media.)

Second, the most-popular spectator sport at the Winter
Olympics is Women's Figure Skating, while the most popular
sport at the Summer Olympics is Women's Gymnastics.

We all know this even if we didn't like the sports because
the American TV networks would constantly remind us
of their primacy with their constant teasers of upcoming
action before fading to commercials, often going to shots
of petite gymnasts or leggy skaters pacing in the arena
hallway or of them contorting themselves in various
ways to get completely loose, before fading to patriotic
beer commercials.

It a TV sports production cliche as old as Olympic TV
itself in the Roone Arledge era of "Up close and
personal
."

Myself, I love both sports and have been involved with
both on a high-level to an extent that would probably
surprise many people reading this, though to be sure,
that's more true with gymnastics than figure skating.

When I first got to Bloomington in late August of 1979,
the only person
I actually knew and had ever met who
lived in Indiana was former Miami Central High
School
grad and Indiana State and Olympic star Kurt Thomas,
though it's not like we were friends or anything.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurt_Thomas_%28gymnast%29
http://www.kurtthomas.net/




But despite loving gymnastics and figure skating, or even
still having the old U.S.F.S.A. address in Boston still stuck
in my head, like a flashlight rolling around in a car trunk,
I also know that both sports have suffered over the years
publicly for many of the same reasons: less-than-scrupulous
judging, nationalistic
chauvinism and frequent prima donna
athletes who defy
belief with their massive egos and sense
of superiority,
even when it's no longer justified.

That said, I think it's very sad that in the year 2010,
the two spectator sports that are most popular with
American women are ones that 99.99% of them have
NEVER competed in on a competitive level, whether
K-12 or college.

It's rather inconceivable that the two most popular
spectator sports for American men would ever be ones
that 99.99% of them had never participated in.

That's just one of those things that we know but don't
really ever talk about at length because we all have
experience with girls or women who have a complete
aversion to sports of any kind.

Which also explains the obesity situation with Hispanic
and African-American K-12 girls to an extent that
never gets discussed when it's so much easier to write
stories blaming McDonald's or Coca-Cola.

I mention these things because the 2010 NCAA Women's
Gymnastics Championship have been held at U-F in
Gainesville since Thursday, with the team title decided
on Friday night.

Despite this NCAA championship of one of the two most
popular spectator sports for women being held in-state,
in a place that we are used to seeing stories from, the
Miami Herald had not one word about it on Friday.

Despite the Gators having one of the better teams in the
country.

They just couldn't be bothered.

In fact, they didn't just avoid writing anything about it,
they also didn't even run the results of the two Semi-finals
on Thursday night on their Scoreboard page, page 11A,
the traditional dumping-ground of the Herald sports
section, going back to the 1960's.

This is not surprising when you consider that the night
of the two NCAA Women's Basketball Semi-finals a few
weeks ago, while the New York Times was able to
print their South Florida edition in Fort Lauderdale
and managed to not only get the story, but also photos
of that second Semi-final game in their Monday print
editions, the Miami Herald had zero information
about the second game.
ZERO!

Ask yourself this question: when was the last time you
saw a photo of a female athlete -who wasn't a golfer,
tennis player or Danica Patrick- who was on the
front page of the sports section of the Herald?

Was Don Shula still the Dolphins head coach then?

Just wondering out loud.

If you have a few minutes, you might want to bring
these and many other items you may've noticed
yourself with the Editor of the Herald's mish-mash
of a sports section, Jorge Rojas, jrojas@Miamiherald.com,
since this guy keeps a lower profile than any sports
editor of any newspaper where I've lived.
He's a veritable ghost.

And the sports section is getting worse not better.
Everyone seems to know this but the people at One
Herald Plaza.

More on this topic over the weekend.

--------------
Above, a shot of the NCAA Channel I watched Friday night's
meet on.

With the Five-in-a-Row defending champion Georgia
Gym Dogs
not qualifying this year, the Women's NCAA
Gymnastics title is returning to fashionable Westwood,
one of the most beautiful college campuses in the country,
for the sixth time.

See http://tweetphoto.com/19647726 and
http://www.uclabruins.com/sports/w-gym/recaps/042310aaa.html



Super Six Team Finals from Friday night,
April 23rd, 2010:
UCLA, Utah, Florida, Stanford,
Alabama, Oklahoma


The videotape starts immediately with audio, visual comes
on at about the 0:01:17 mark
http://all-access.cbssports.com/player.html?code=ncaa&media=178160


Final team results:

UCLA Bruins 197.725

Oklahoma Sooners 197.250

Alabama Crimson Tide 197.225

Stanford Cardinal 197.100

Florida Gators 197.00

Utah Utes (Red Rocks) 196.225


Individual All-Around Champion -award at 2:45:23 on tape-

Susan Jackson, Senior, LSU with a score of 39.625, winning

every event but Floor Exercise.

Videotape ends at 2:54:45 with UCLA senior Anna Li waving
the championship trophy to the crowd.
Now THAT'S the way you want to end your college career!

The Daily Bruin
UCLA gymnastics wins sixth NCAA championship title
By Mansi Sheth
April 23, 2010 at 10:31 p.m
http://www.dailybruin.com/articles/2010/4/23/ucla-gymnastics-wins-sixth-ncaa-championship-title/

Highlights -NCAA Women's Gymnastics National Semi-final #1 and 2
Go to http://all-access.cbssports.com/player.html?code=ncaa&media=179038
and click Event Guide in upper left.


See http://www.ncaa.com/sports/w-gym/ncaa-w-gym-body.html
and official blog at: http://www.ncaa.com/blog/200910d1womensgymnastics/
and http://www.uclabruins.com/sports/w-gym/spec-rel/10-media-guide.html

#HOLLYWOODFL based photographer and entrepreneur Esther Chuang with Hollywood Mayor-elect Josh Levy

Thumbs up! What a night we had! #HOLLYWOODFL based photographer and entrepreneur Esther Chuang with a very elated Hollywood Mayor-elect Josh Levy at his Victory Party, held at Leo Anato's Atelier3/AT3 on Harrison Street & S. 19th Avenue, Hollywood. AT3's great environment and the amazing variety of food prepared by chef Kevin Dreifuss, former owner/chef of ENDS MEAT restaurant, was SUPERB! November 8, 2016

Esther Chuang, Morro Dois Irmãos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2015

Above, perhaps my most-favorite photo ever of Esther, which is saying something considering what seems like the THOUSANDS that I've actually seen of her, from all over the world. But despite the fact that you can't actually see it here, trust me, her amazing smile and inner and external beauty are there. This photo is an even more amazing achievement when you know the backstory of what it took for Esther to get to the top of the mountain, since it's NOT for the faint of heart. Next time you see her, ask her about that! Morro Dois Irmãos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on her birthday, July 10, 2015. That's the Christ The Redeemer statue way out in the horizon on the top of another mountain, to the left of her head. �� In case you forgot what the Christ the Redeemer statue looks like, up close, here's another Brazilian beauty to connect-the-dots for you: Gisele Bündchen, aka @Gisele.

Abençoado por Deus e bonito por natureza!✨ ������

A post shared by Gisele Bündchen (@gisele) on

Miami Dolphins classic logo

Miami Dolphins classic logo
What I grew up with in South Florida in the 1970's - not just an expectation for winning, but for excellence and 100% effort!

North Miami Beach High school alumni

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.