Hallandale Beach Blog -A common sense public policy overview offering a critical perspective on the current events, politics, government, public policy, sports scene and pop culture of Europe, Sweden, the U.S. & South Florida. In particular, Broward & Miami-Dade County, and the cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood & Aventura.
Trust me when I tell you, this part of Florida is NOT the Land of Lincoln. Pictured in upper-left is Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower on State Road A1A; September 2008 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Joe Kessel is the spy/mole for Hallandale Beach City Hall's Ruinous Mike Good & Joy Cooper Regime

So what if the South Florida city you called home
had a spy of its very own... paid for with your tax
dollars to, among other things, spy on you and
other residents, especially those that opposed
the status quo at City Hall?

To report back to City Hall what you and others

said and did at public meetings and maybe even
whom you talked to?

And to support City Hall's policies and positions

when they made their way around town under
the guise of a 'cover."

You'd hardly expect someone in that morally
compromised position to be honest about what
they really did, now would you,
since admitting
it would open up a
can of retribution and karma
among the many people you've conned and

Well, in this case, you're 100% right.
Ladies and gentlemen, as Thomas Francis'
post below makes clear, Joe Kessel has
into 'silent running' mode!

BrowardPalmBeach NewTimes
Hallandale City Manager Under Fire for Payments to Real Estate Agent
By Thomas Francis
April 5 2010
Do you know this man?

This story resonates because it's precisely
the sort
of story about Hallandale Beach's
uniquely creepy
mixture of crony capitalism
and incompetent corruption
that packs a
wallop, because it comes with a hook
anyone in South Florida watching this story
local newscasts can easily understand:
unaccountable government run amok
trying to use
taxpayer funds against
their own citizens.

It will cause a ripple that turns into an ethical
that reaches far beyond the bunker
mentality at
400 South Federal Highway.

(As it happens, as I've remarked here before,
I actually have an ancestor who was a real-life spy,
during the Revolutionary War, which is how he
came to own some land in the Ohio Territory
before Ohio became a state in 1803. Which also

explains why my father was born in Ohio just
a few miles from where that homestead was
first created 135 years before.)

One way or another, everything about Kessel's
longstanding duplicity and covert spying in
this ocean-side city is going public in a big way.

And guess who has him on video from
February and March, pretending that
he isn't, in fact, a paid agent of HB City

Yes, yours truly, Hallandale Beach Blog.

This week's tentative plans include a formal
public letter of complaint and protest to the
Broward County Attorney, the Broward
County Commissioners, et al, about him
being an unregistered agent for the city
who has repeatedly testified without
the proper legal public disclosure.
You know, lobbying regulations?

I should mention here that more than
a few people at the March 23rd Broward
County Commission meeting knew all
about Kessel's unique favored status
before he ever walked up to the microphone
to speak in favor of the incompatible
Diplomat LAC
, as I'd spoken to them
in advance of the meeting, even bringing
some docs along, just in case they needed
some friendly persuasion.

Most of them were, quite naturally,
astonished by
the brazen gall of it all.

I watched intently while Joe Kessel
huffed-and-puffed about "naysayers"
and they all took
his performance
in while shooting
daggers at him!

Hallandale Beach City Manager
Mike Good's
failure to publicly reveal the details of a
relationship he entered into with
Joe Kessel while ALSO recommending
that the HB City
Commission give taxpayer
CRA funds to corporations or entities
in which
Joe Kessel is or was a participant
or director, positively
screams conflict
of interest that ought to shock
even the
conscience of the most jaded South Florida


The fact that Hallandale Beach's
CRA has,
in the opinion of many, including myself,
been used as an ATM by HB City Hall for their
friends like Kessel or Anthony Sanders'
acolytes, without actually doing
anything serious
to alleviate poverty or blight,
is going
to come out sooner rather than later.

Among other things, Kessel is the past president
of the HB Chamber of Commerce, a dubious local
organization that is a financial orphan,
on City Hall for sustenance in the
$50k a year.

Hard as it may be to believe, I was actually looking

at the city's so-called Current Development
again over the weekend, something you'd
think Kessel would know something about.

That city report is like a portal into the past,
as it's
currently over 21 months old, and
includes many
properties that have long since
been either foreclosed
upon or completed,
but which the city STILL shows as active.

http://www.hallandalebeachfl.gov/Docume ntView.aspx?DID=727

The last time it was updated, the information online

then was also almost 18-months old.
Notice a pattern?

I guess I hardly need to say that in many
communities, that sort of
report, complete with
renderings, is often used
to impress developers
and business interests
considering activity in that
city, and is kept
up-to-date on a weekly or monthly
basis in
order to show that the city is genuinely
forward-thinking and on top
of things.

In fact, in a normal city, the Chamber of
would constantly be putting
the necessary pressure
on City Hall to keep
the city clean and competitive
with others
in the region and would actually try to
JOBS to the city, instead of just condos, a la
Joe Kessel.

They'd also insist that the online city docs
kept accurate and up-to-date,
for obvious reasons.

Here, though, because the HB CoC has
myopic people the caliber of Kessel
as the "brains." they are nothing more than
a voice-less
eunuch, a truly embarrassing
appendage to the
Mike Good and Joy
City Hall that does nothing but
clap in unison and support whatever
they say.

So what did Kessel and Company do with
that $50k of taxpayer dollars exactly?
Nobody asks and there are zero tangible

Well, to be fair, these days, Panera Bread
likes the Chamber, because from what I hear,
they have standing orders almost daily and
spend pretty freely with your tax dollars.

For Joe Kessel, City Hall is a source of HB
CRA loan money for a ridiculous purpose
that is
so damn laughable on its face that
no bank would even
think of giving him and
his pals a loan.

And they didn't.

But when you're a longtime crony of the
of HB City Hall, CRA tax dollars can
be showered
on you and your pals like rain
for old times sake.
More on that soon!

Compare operating in the open to how things

are routinely done in HB.
Quite a contrast!

What do you think is the first and second
of serious business people when
they see that
Hallandale Beach's official
Current Development Report
is SO old
that it
STILL includes information on the
long-since completed condo towers of
The Beach Club?
How is that current exactly?

And what about when they drive around the
city's main streets and see the haggard,
disheveled way things look?

The city signs that are either broken,
twisted, chronically obstructed from
or never put up in the first place?

See the same old things here neglected for
months-and-months that in well-run cities
in the year 2010 are fixed quickly and

They get impressions of incredulity and
borne of improper attention
to detail by
city officials.

So why would you consciously choose to deal

with such incompetent people that actually
repel visitors and businesses to the city?

You wouldn't and therein
lies the rub.
Money down a rat hole!

Coming later today, my videos of
Joe Kessel
speaking at the Broward Planning Council

and Broward County Commission in favor
of positions that are -surprise- identical
to that of his paymasters at 400 S. Federal
Get your popcorn ready!

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Hallandale Beach Blog is where I try to inject or superimpose a degree of accountability, transparency and insight onto Florida and local Broward County government and public policy issues, which I feel is sorely lacking in local media now. On this blog, locally, I concentrate my energy, enthusiasm, anger and laser-like attention on the coastal cities of Hallandale Beach and Hollywood.
If you lived in this part of South Florida, you'dALREADY be stuck in stultifying traffic, paying higher-than-necessary taxes and continually musing about the chronic lack of accountability among not only elected govt. officials, but also of city, county and state employees as well. Collectively, with a few rare exceptions, they couldn't be farther from the sort of strong results-oriented, eager work-ethic mentality that local residents deserve and expect.
This is particularly true in the town I live in, theCity of Hallandale Beach, just north of Aventura and south of Hollywood. There, the "Perfect Storm" of years of apathy, incompetency and cronyism are all too readily apparent.
Sadly for its residents, HB is where even easily-solved, quality-of-life problems are left to fester forYEARS on end, because of myopia, lack of common sense and ineffective supervisory management. It's a city with lots of potential because of its terrific location, yet its citizens have become numb to its outrages and screw-ups after years of the worst kind of mismanagement and lack of foresight. On a daily basis, they wake up and see the same old problems that have never being adequately resolved by the city in a logical and responsible fashion, merely kicked -once again- further down the road.
I used to ask myself, not always rhetorically, "Where are all the enterprising young reporters who want to show that through their own hard work and enterprise, what REAL investigative reporting can produce?" Hearing no response, I decided to start a blog that could do some of these things, taking the p.o.v. of a reasonable but skeptical person seeing the situation for the first time, and wanting questions answered in a honest and logical way that citizens have the right to expect.

Hallandale Beach Blog intends to be a catalyst for positive change. If there's one constant gripe in South Florida, regardless of your age, race, nationality or political persuasion, it's about the fundamental lack of PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY here among Florida's state, regional and local govt./agency officials.Hallandale Beach Blog aims to be a small step towards regaining some of that needed accountability, whether it's thru simple public scrutiny, or requires a degree of follow-up investigation and public exposure of incompetency, cronyism or simple negligence -South Florida's usual governing style.
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Some older elements and building blocks formerly seen at Hallandale Beach Blog, such as photos, graphics and videos have been moved into cold storage. Visit them again or see what you've missed at: http://hallandale-beach-blog.blogspot.com/

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.