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.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Galling Geller Gambit II: Gary Plancher of Davie running against Ann Murray for Broward School Board seat -HERE

My comments follow these two blog posts on prospective
candidates for the Broward School Board, though for
a change, Lauren Book is not mentioned in either one.

Because the Herald doesn't have an Education
blog, the first one ran last Wednesday in their political
blog instead, a constant criticism of mine, while Buddy
Nevins advances the curious case of Gary Planchar
in Wednesday's Broward Beat.
Miami Herald
Naked Politics blog

By Patricia Mazzei
April 7, 2010

Until this week, only one of the four Broward School Board members seeking reelection had drawn an opponent: Laurie Rich Levinson had filed to run against Phyllis Hope.

Then Bob Parks drew a challenger for the first time in 12 years in Nora Rupert, a teacher at Piper High School. And now Ann Murray is being challenged by Gary Plancher of Davie. Murray, who was elected in 2008, represents the Southeast Broward district that includes Hollywood and Hallandale.

Read the rest of the post at:

Broward Beat

Applaude Two Board Members; Boo Bob Parks
By Buddy Nevins

Two School Board incumbents are doing something unusual – raising no money for their re-election.

Meanwhile, long-time School Board member Bob Parks has the usual suspects pouring money into his campaign.

Read the rest of the post at:

I have never heard of Plancher, and neither, apparently,
a week after the fact, has anyone else I know in Broward

But within a few minutes, I was able to discover that
Plancher, who lives in Davie, wrote the comments
at the bottom of this post about Anthony Man's
Sun-Sentinel article from last November, below,
which gives you some keen insight(!) into candidate
Plancher's views of residency rules and representing

He appears to be for whatever is best for him, rules
or no rules.

As I've been mentioning since last year, County
Commission candidate Steve Geller lives in
Cooper City, yet is running for a District he doesn't
actually live in -ours- and now, Plancher is
mimicking this galling Geller gambit, daring news
reporters to ask him about it or mention it in print
or TV.
They don't.

He's seen over a period of many months that
there is no apparent downside to doing this,
despite Mitch Caesar's crocodile tears, but
then again, Plancher's NOT the go-to
quote-meister for all occasions for South Florida's
news media that Geller has, unfortunately, become,
especially for the Sun-Sentinel, where he is
relentlessly quoted regardless of how little he
actually knows about a particular subject.

I found this info on Plancher on a Broward
website in seconds

Seriously, how lucky is Ann Murray to draw an
opponent like this instead of the savvy, serious challenger
that she truly deserves -who actually lives here-
who will go right at her and her dismal track record
with some vigor?

As you all know by now, I believe that track record is
a woeful one, given what Murray herself continually
said she'd do and be if elected: a pro-reform voice,
not an echo of the status quo

She's been well-nigh invisible in Hallandale Beach
since being appointed and then elected for the
remainder of Eleanor Sobel's unfinished term,
and has done almost nothing to justify the vote
some of us gave her, including yours truly.

Whenever I've written about her or Jennifer
in the past, I've received plenty of
negative email about them rather quickly,
often from people I personally know around
the county and deal with fairly regularly,
of course.

They offer up much of the same criticism as me,
albeit tinged with the hope that those two will,
eventually, do the right thing by their constituents
-some day.

Though "some day" never is a specific date on
a calendar as you and I understand it.

I take the more traditional point of view, which
is that past performance is the best predictor,
and that since neither has distinguished herself,
I don't have to pretend to like them when I don't.

What's most surprising to me is the large number
of very dis-satisfied, even angry voters/parents
in SE Broward, who've written me to say that
until they'd come across my blog comments about
these two characters, however they did, they had
thought THEY were the only ones around who felt
like they'd been had by Gottlieb and Murray in
past elections, since the education reporters down
here tend not to write negative stories about
individual School Board members, absent an
indictment or perp walk.

At first, I must admit, it was odd to hear that my
admission of voter remorse provoked pleasure in
others, but that's the case and I've learned to roll
with it.

Many of these same frustrated Broward residents
also wonder why South Florida's news media has
given the School Board members -in both Broward
and Miami-Dade
- so much latitude, since they
are elected officials, too, after all.

Of late, I've even heard a criticism voiced that I often
heard expressed up in Arlington County, VA, where
I lived for 15 years, which was that the reporters
assigned to the education beat, overwhelmingly female,
were more prone to be cheerleaders for the subject
in general, perhaps because of having teachers in the
family, and thus not likely to have the temperament
to really go after a School Board member with quite
the same relish they would a member of a city, county
or state elected body.

Not that you asked, but judging from my emails,
people are still really ticked-off about School C in
Hollywood, too!

But you need a qualified opponent first before you
can vote against her, and as Buddy Nevins notes
above, at present, Jennifer Gottlieb is a solo act.

Updated about 4 months ago
Gary Plancher
Gary Plancher
Rubbish, moving from one to another district will be a matter of formality.
should i avoid shopping in distrcit 9? absolutely not, Al jones is a very qualify
candidate and that is all matter? should Obama be running a country where
African Americans are not the majority?
it is simply that is not the way we do it in this country. qualification is what
Al jones will do an excellent job representing the district.
November 25, 2009 at 8:11am

In case you forgot:
BrowardPalmBeach NewTimes

Ann Murray Gets the Royal Treatment

By Bob Norman
Friday, Aug. 28 2009 @ 3:56PM

Broward County School Board Member Ann Murray was surrounded yesterday by sycophants who showered her with campaign checks.

It wasn't in her home district in the Hollywood area where she lives but in Okeechobee, the little town on the big lake up north. It was at a business called Royal Concrete Concepts, which currently has contracts worth at least $15 million to build storage facilities and other buildings for the School Board.

The company showed its appreciation for Murray's support with a shindig and plenty of campaign checks (we'll tally the number later). Make no mistake: When you're getting treated like a queen, it's hard not to succumb to the machine.

Read the rest of the post at:



At Broward County Commission meeting of January 27, 2009:

MOTION TO REAPPOINT Mr. Gary Plancher to serve on the Health and Sanitary Control Board. (Commissioner Rodstrom)


New commissioner's residency a huge issue or insignificant - depending on your political party prism
By Anthony Man
November 24, 2009

Broward Democratic Chairman Mitch Ceasar said Tuesday he’s outraged that Gov. Charlie Crist’s appointment to the Broward County Commission, Al Jones, doesn’t live in the district he’ll be representing.

Jones, a Republican, was tapped on Monday by the Republican governor to fill the vacancy created by the suspension of Democratic County Commissioner Josephus Eggelletion, who was arrested two months ago as part of an FBI undercover operation into corruption among Broward officials.

Read the rest of the post at:

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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.