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

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
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

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
grad and Indiana State and Olympic star Kurt Thomas,
though it's not like we were friends or anything.

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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Hallandale Beach Blog is where I try to inject or superimpose a degree of accountability, transparency and insight onto Florida and local Broward County government and public policy issues, which I feel is sorely lacking in local media now. On this blog, locally, I concentrate my energy, enthusiasm, anger and laser-like attention on the coastal cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood and Aventura.

If you lived in this part of South Florida, you'd ALREADY be stuck in stultifying traffic, paying higher-than-necessary taxes and continually musing about the chronic lack of accountability among not only elected govt. officials, but also of city, county and state employees as well. Collectively, with a few rare exceptions, they couldn't be farther from the sort of strong results-oriented, eager work-ethic mentality that local residents deserve and expect. But seldom if ever see...

This is particularly true in the Broward County city I live in, the City of Hallandale Beach, north of Aventura and south of Hollywood and right on the Atlantic Ocean. Here, the "Perfect Storm" of years of apathy, incompetency and cronyism are all too readily apparent. Sadly for its beleaguered residents, HB is where even easily-solved, quality-of-life problems are left to fester for YEARS on end, because of myopia, lack of common sense and ineffective supervisory management. It's a city with tremendous potential because of its terrific location and well-educated populace, yet its citizens have almost become numb to HB City Hall's frequent outrages and screw-ups, the result of YEARS of the worst kind of mismanagement and lack of foresight. On a daily basis, residents and Small Business owners wake up and see the same old problems that have never being adequately resolved by the city in a logical and responsible fashion, merely kicked -once again- further down the road for others to solve in the future.

I used to ask myself, not always rhetorically, "Where are all the enterprising young reporters who want to show that through their own hard work and enterprise, what REAL investigative reporting can produce?" Hearing no response, I decided to start a blog of my own that could try to do some of these things, taking the p.o.v. of a reasonable-but-skeptical person seeing the situation for the first time with fresh eyes, and wanting questions answered in a honest and logical way that citizens have the right to expect.

Hallandale Beach Blog intends to be a catalyst for positive change in public policy and goivernment engagement. If there's one constant gripe in South Florida, regardless of your age, race, nationality or political persuasion, it's about the fundamental lack of PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY of Florida's state, regional and local govt./agency officials, elected and otherwise. Hallandale Beach Blog aims to be a small step towards regaining some of that needed accountability, whether it's thru shining some well-needed public scrutiny on the issue or pol, or requires a higher degree of follow-up investigation and public exposure of the incompetency, cronyism or negligence -South Florida's usual governing style.

Paradise Lost? South Florida

Paradise Lost? South Florida
TIME magazine of November 23, 1981: Paradise Lost? South Florida . Click photo to see original article.
Unless otherwise indicated, all ORIGINAL photos appearing here were taken by myself. © 2014 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved. The use or modification of original photos or original images appearing on this blog WITHOUT the written permission of the author is expressly prohibited. DO NOT modify or alter any original photo/image on this blog and use it in any other media, whether for commercial advertising, marketing purposes, political campaign advertising, or on any Social Media platform or digital media forum. Do NOT modify or alter the photos or use them in a confusing way that suggests sponsorship or endorsement, or in a way that seeks to confuse Hallandale Beach Blog with another blog. This includes but is not limited to sites such as Dipity, Facebook, flickr, MySpace, Pinterest, Posterous, Topsy, Twitter, YouTube or VIMEO. Original photos and images also can NOT be used as avatars or icons on website forums.

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.


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!


Hej #STHLM, jag saknar dig, hejdå. So wish I was there RIGHT NOW!

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!

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 29-year NCAA title drought!

Let's end the 29-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

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.

Congratulations Sweden - 200 years of peace! Solveig Rundquist (@RundquistS)

Ringvägen, Stockholm, Sweden

Ringvägen, Stockholm, Sweden
Poster display seen on Ringvägen, in Södermalm, Stockholm, Sweden. January 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved. Here's snapshot of the poster featuring the ubiquitous St. Erik, whose crowned head is the City of Stockholm's coat of arms. 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.

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

Which European country has the most attractive citizens?

As seen in my July 31st, 2013 blog post titled, "Which European country has the most attractive citizens?" Sweden won in a landslide with almost four times as many votes as second-place France, with Spain third and Norway fourth. Yes, seeing is believing!; Norwegian.com's non-stop flights from Fort Lauderdale to Oslo start in 4 months! :) http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/2013/07/boredpandacom-poll-of-europeans-asked.html