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. Photo in upper-left is Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower on State Road A1A, September 2008; March 2018 photo below of North Beach, looking left-to-right, looking north, HYDE Condominium, Etaru Japanese Robatayaki restaurant, and Hollywood Beach in the distance, with umbrellas. All photos by me, © Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Old Tradition vs. New Tradition as Maryland faces Northwestern for NCAA D-1 Women's Lacrosse Championship in Towson

NCAA D-1 Women's Lacrosse Championship, 5:30 p.m. on CBS College Sports, DirecTV 613 Replay is tonight at 9 pm, on Monday at 6:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. and 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Well, despite my hopes that #3 North Carolina might knock-off #2 Northwestern on Friday night so that they would have a chance at possibly winning their third NCAA title this year in a Women's sport that I follow -having previously won the Field Hockey and Soccer titles- the Wildcats, and in particular, their plucky and ridiculously-talented Senior play-maker Katrina Dowd, last year's tourney MVP, would hear none of that, as Northwestern won going-away 15-10 against the talented Tar Heels, who'd given the Wildcats AND Maryland their only losses of the season, after scoring four straight goals.

So now, Dowd and her Wildcats find the only thing standing in their way of winning their 6th straight NCAA title are the #1 Maryland Terrapins, the very school that dominated the sport for most of the past 20 years, with 9 titles of their own, including seven straight from 1995-2001 under former head coach Cindy Timchal.

The Terps dispatched a valiant un-ranked Syracuse squad that could never get any offensive momentum going against the stifling Terp defense, winning 14-5, with a late goal by former Glenelg Gladiator Kristy Black, who was a field hockey teammate of my oldest niece.

Friday's attendance of 8,762 fans at Johnny Unitas Stadium at Towson University for the two national Semifinals set a record for the largest United States women's lacrosse crowd.

Photo galleries of Friday night's UNC-Northwestern match:
http://tarheelblue.cstv.com/view.gal?id=70134 http://tarheelblue.cstv.com/view.gal?id=70143

UNC Women's Lacrosse homepage:


Women's Lacrosse homepage:

tourney stats:

Photo gallery of Friday night's Maryland-Syracuse match: http://www.umterps.com/view.gal?id=70111

Maryland Women's Lacrosse homepage:

tourney stats:


Worth reading: Baltimore Sun's Lacrosse homepage, the best in the country:

Northwestern Women's Lacrosse: Inside An Unlikely Dynasty
by Hilary Lee
May 30, 2010 12:15 PM CDT

Maryland-Northwestern Championship Game One Year In The Making

Women's Lacrosse
by Amy Farnum:

Reminder: Tomorrow is the deadline for applying for 2011 NCAA Final Four basketball tickets for the games on April 2 and 4 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, hosted by the University of Houston and Rice University.


Friday, May 28, 2010

The FL-17 race that Scott Galvin ought to be hitting his stride in, is actually showing his immaturity. Has Galvin ALREADY blown it?

My comments follow the article, which continues South Florida's recent rash of quorum problems: Hallandale Beach City Commission, Fort Lauderdale Planning & Zoning Board and North Miami City Council.

Miami Herald

North Miami Councilmen Scott Galvin and Michael Blynn leave meeting

Outraged over a comment made by North Miami Mayor Andre Pierre, Councilman Scott Galvin and Councilman Michael Blynn stormed out of a contentious meeting with Solar Mountain, the firm expected to take over the now-defunct Biscayne Landing site.

The walkout occurred after Pierre told the two councilmen -- who had already threatened to leave -- that they should not make threats they didn't intend to keep.

Wednesday's meeting drew a crowd of residents to City Hall to voice their opinions on the prospect of a solar-powered theme park on what was originally intended to be a massive residential condo development.

Solar Mountain is asking for a controversial change to the lease agreement that would absolve them from having to spend $28 million in improving other areas of the city.

In place of the off-site improvements, the company proposes to pay a flat $7.5 million.

The proposal came across heavy opposition from Galvin and Blynn, who openly expressed skepticism over whether Solar Mountain's principals would be able to secure financing to complete the proposed winter-themed park.

Galvin asked Marc Douthit, president of Solar Mountain, for proof that the company had money.

Douthit said the firm's funding was solely through private equity. He indicated he was willing to share the firm's money source with the city confidentially, but because any documents presented to the city becomes public record, he could not.

If Solar Mountain cannot open its books to the city, Galvin said, "Let us cease and desist.'' Dissatisfied with Douthit's response, he threatened to walk out of the meeting.

Blynn also said he would walk out.

Shortly after a 10-minute recess an hour into the meeting, the mayor asked if Blynn and Galvin planned to stay.

When both councilmen indicated that they would, Pierre sniped: "Don't make any threats you have no intention on carrying out.''

That comment prompted Galvin to walk out, followed by Blynn, leaving only Pierre and Councilwoman Marie Steril, who had arrived late.

Councilman Jean Marcellus, whose wife passed away over the weekend, did not attend Wednesday night's meeting.

With no quorum, the workshop ended early -- frustrating many residents who had unanswered questions

"This is nonsense,'' said Gerier Origene. "There is no respect for the people. I want to know what Solar Mountain can do for the city, but the politicians are too busy playing politics.''

The plan was on the agenda for the city to hold a public workshop for Solar Mountain representatives to present their project followed by an emergency council meeting to vote whether the city would enter into negotiations to amend the lease.

Critics of Solar Mountain argue that the group's principals are inexperienced developers with ties to the mayor, and say they are trying to cheat the city out of millions of dollars owed in off-site obligations.

Pierre and Douthit are former law partners. Another principal, Willis Howard, is Pierre's former campaign manager. "If they will not live up to the agreement that they bought, we need to let it fall,'' said Michael Killiany, a North Miami resident who suggested the city go out to bid for new developers.

From early on there was obvious friction on the dais when Galvin announced the vote was two to one, indicating he and Blynn were against and the mayor was in favor of the project.

But reached after the meeting, Pierre said he had not made a made a decision on the project.

Supporters say the group's proposal -- which says it will create 5,530 construction jobs plus support another 3,983 permanent jobs -- will aid unemployed and struggling residents.

When the subject of jobs arises, North Miami resident Tanisha Rizer, said she is willing to listen.

"You have a lot of poor families in North Miami, a lot of impoverished children. I'm unemployed, I need a job,'' she said.

It's unclear if another workshop will be rescheduled with the city, but Douthit said he would prefer to meet with community members outside of city hall.

"I'm not interested in another workshop with the city,'' he said.

The walkout spurred allegations of racism from one Solar Mountain representative.

After the meeting, Howard said he believed Galvin and Blynn left because the last person to speak, Rizer, is an African-American resident who spoke about unemployment.

Galvin did not leave immediately after Rizer spoke, however. He left shortly after the meeting reconvened after the break.

Reached after the meeting Galvin said, "It's ridiculous to suggest I'm racist, I just want to focus on the project on hand and not get into name calling.''

Residents like Carol Keys supported the council members' hasty exit.

"The mayor has a tendency to be rude to fellow council people and Scott wasn't going to take it,'' Keys said.

Pierre who grew up in a Long Island suburb defended his comment, saying he was not being rude.

"I grew up in the ghetto of Westbury, New York,'' he said after the meeting, referring to the Long Island village. "You don't make threats you're not going to keep.''

The purpose of this post is not to discuss the relative merits of the development project described above in North Miami, in an area I know very well, since I spent lots of time growing-up down here doing things in North Miami -Fourth of July fireworks at the city park on NE 135th Street when it first opened,
Marcella's, Carvel's, and the fabulous Spinelli Brothers barber shop, to name but a few.

The latter was the fabulous hangout for South Florida sports media and Dolphin players -esp. Garo- in the early and mid-1970's, and the brothers were my official NMB Optimist sponsor for football, which meant that my photo hung up in their shop that was full of photos of show biz celebs, their particular place on the wall memorized by me as I sat in the barber chair as if they were stars up in the night sky.

I even recall when the specific area in the article was going to be part of our path to the furure,

No, the purpose of this particular post is to ask publicly whether or not North Miami City Councilman
Scott Galvin, one of 11 candidates to replace Kendrick Meek in Congress for the 17th District -and the only White candidate- has already blown his opportunity to lay the groundwork for a big upset in late August?

In reading this story, I can't help but wonder if Scott Galvin has actually been to Capitol Hill before, and and seen what long House Committee meetings are really like?

Or is he our very own latter-day Edward Markey, the Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Energy and Environment Subcommittee -whom I first came to know in the early '90's when he was the Chair of the super-important Telecommunications & Finance subcommittee, which had many well-known controversial hearings I attended- but who in his first campaign running for Congress from Massachusetts, had to admit that he'd never visited Washington before? http://markey.house.gov/

For the newest Members, it's hours and hours of listening to people with much more seniority -
but perhaps much less actual smarts or common sense- ask all the good questions in front of whatever media chooses to attend, while you just have to sit there like furniture, filling up the picture.
It just gnaws at you, but hey, that's the system.

The important thing is to not fall asleep!

Given what I had heard about
Galvin, that he was a savvy guy full of good ideas, despite having worked for Carrie Meek, I really would've thought that at this point in the CD-17 campaign, he'd actually be publicly asking some questions and raising issues that re-inforce his strengths, even while the other candidates -and the Herald- seem inclined to just ignore those issues for another couple of months, given their largely inarticulate and ineffective campaigns, especially their lack of serious outreach to the Broward part of the district -where I live.

My slice of the political universe -map of Florida’s 17th Congressional District.

"We help you keep tabs on the U.S. Congress. This is the independent, nonpartisan website that started the "civic hacking" movement around the United States Congress."

But after reading an article like this one, that seems to indicate a great deal of immaturity, I'm beginning to wonder whether there's any point in him making appearances in Hallandale Beach in the future, where none of the other candidates have visited, which if he'd played his cards right, he could have have made into a relative stronghold by now.

The sort of immaturity described in the article is rewarded in Congress by your colleagues simply ignoring you.

As most of you know by now, I spent 15 years up there and saw it for myself on Capitol Hill, since nobody wants to be regularly seen in the presence of someone who can't keep their ego and mouth in check. That's part of why they call it a collegial body.

Oftentimes, the very people you dislike the most are in your own party, and then what do you do? If you're a Freshman Member, you just have to sit there and take it, not pop-up and pop-off.

See also: Tim Smith's Fort Lauderdale
P&Z ... What's Up With No Meeting Again?

Posted by Tim Smith at 5/28/2010 9:27 AM http://blog.timsmith.com/2010/05/28/pz-pawn.aspx

Something to smile about: NCAA Women's Lacrosse Final Four Weekend in Bawlmer, Hon

NCAA Women's Lacrosse Final Four, Johnny Unitas Stadium,
Towson, Md.
-Home of the Tigers

Friday on CBS College Sports,
DirecTV Channel 613
5:30 p.m. #1 Maryland (20-1) vs. Syracuse (15-6)

8:00 p.m. #2 Northwestern (19-1) vs. #3 North Carolina (17-2)
Sunday on CBS College Sports, 5:30 p.m. Division I Championship

I'm pretty sure that Maryland will win the first game since I've seen Georgetown play Syracuse twice in the past few weeks, including for the Big East title two weeks ago where they beat the Orange, so I'm mostly waiting for the second game and here's why.

The Terps lost to the Tar Heels in last year's Semifinals which was brutal for Terp fans to take since many really thought they'd do the Field Hockey & Lacrosse double-championship thing -again.

But it didn't happen, though they could at least take solace in the Wildcats beating UNC in the final, for their fifth straight NCAA title.

The Tar Heels beat the Terps in the NCAA Field Hockey championship in November, scoring the winning goal with just 11 seconds left.
More brutality for Turtle fans!

Back on April 18th, I watched the Tar Heels' huge victory at beautiful Lakeside Park in Evanston on The BigTenNetwork, their first live Women's Lacrosse telecast since the network started, and what a match to start with. http://tarheelblue.cstv.com/sports/w-lacros/recaps/041810aaa.html

As I've previously mentioned here, that was only THE single best women's lacrosse match I've ever seen, and was keyed in no small part by the elusive Megan Bosica, #2 for the Tar Heels. http://tarheelblue.cstv.com/sports/w-lacros/unc-w-lacros-body.html

Megan Bosica and Corey Donohoe

Megan's from perennial lacrosse power Mt. Hebron in Howard County, MD, where my sister's family lives, one of the real traditional lacrosse and field hockey hot houses on the East Coast that exports talent to teams all over the country.
My two oldest nieces played field hockey for
Glenelg, playing in the state championship game for their division three times in five years.

ability to find a hole in the defense or pass like a laser-beam reminded me of Isiah Thomas going thru the lane for the Hoosiers, once-upon-a-time, always getting that second defender to follow him, leaving someone wide-open for the pass.
She's uncanny and never stops hustling!

I'll have some comments about the Men's NCAA Semifinals at M&T Stadium on Saturday morning.

You're not really surprised, are you, that the geniuses over at the Miami Herald's Sports section didn't even bother to list these NCAA Women's Semifinal matches in the paper today?
It's par for the course at one of the WORST-designed and edited sports sections in the entire country.

They're the same geniuses who had nothing in the paper about the UEFA Champions League title game the day before it was played.
Yeah, that's normal at newspapers that think they've got something to brag about.

See for yourself:
On TV / Radio Today

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Focus of Mobile DTV Consumer Showcase in D.C.: Making TV Portable Again; Answer to News Junkies Dilemma!

Overview from today's National Association of Broadcasters' SmartBrief:
Nine Washington, D.C., area TV outlets are taking part in the DC Mobile Digital Television Consumer Showcase, a four-month initiative during which hundreds of users will give their opinions on a range of cutting-edge devices.

, Washington, D.C. a.k.a. Fox 5

Mobile DTV Making TV Portable Again -DTV on laptops, DVD players, mobile phones

Updated: Tuesday, 25 May 2010, 12:51 PM EDT

Published : Monday, 24 May 2010, 6:48 PM EDT




Mobile TV Comes To Washington

By Topper Shutt & Elizabeth Jia

FOX 5 News: Live on the Web:

Monday, May 24, 2010

Have Peter Deutsch & Ben Gamla Hebrew Charter School formally pulled their application in Hallandale Beach? Looks like it!

Late this afternoon in Hallandale Beach, word began spreading -yes, like wildfire- that well-informed sources were confirming that the Ben Gamla Hebrew Charter School's application had been formally pulled, and that Wednesday afternoon's scheduled P&Z meeting was canceled.

On Friday, the city had posted the docs below to their website, which included the Hallandale Beach Planning Dept. staff's recommendation that the HB Planning & Zoning Board recommend DENIAL of
Ben Gamla Hebrew Charter's application, as it was not in compliance in six areas.

I will post more about what's going on here when there are more specifics to report.

Applications # 28-09-CU and #29-09-V by Hallandale School LLC/Ben Gamla Charter School for a Conditional Use and a Variance in order to operate a public charter school with 600 students at the existing Hallandale Jewish Center located at 416 NE 8th Avenue.

The applications are as follows:

a. Application # 28-09-CU requesting a Conditional Use Permit to operate a charter school in a residential single family zoning district pursuant to Section 32-152(c)(2) of the City’s Code of Ordinances.

b. Application # 29-09-V requesting a Variance from Section 32-152(c)(2) of the City’s Code of Ordinance in order to provide outdoor play equipment closer than 50 feet from any adjacent residential use.

Ben Gamla Application
, 131 KB,
Last Uploaded: 5/21/2010 3:52:15 PM ]

Ben Gamla Plans, 4393 KB,
Last Uploaded: 5/21/2010 3:52:15 PM

Ben Gamla Staff Report, 102 KB,
Last Uploaded: 5/21/2010 3:27:05 PM

Backup to Staff Report, 3202 KB,
Last Uploaded: 5/21/2010 3:27:05 PM


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Charles Krauthammer's analysis of Obama's ineffective & wrong-headed foreign policy; Blue Valentine's Michelle Williams as Jean Seberg? A big YES!

My comments follow the excellent column by Charles Krauthammer.


Washington Post


The fruits of weakness

By Charles Krauthammer
May 21, 2010

It is perfectly obvious that Iran's latest uranium maneuver, brokered by Brazil and Turkey, is a ruse. Iran retains more than enough enriched uranium to make a bomb. And it continues enriching at an accelerated pace and to a greater purity (20 percent). Which is why the French foreign ministry immediately declared that the trumpeted temporary shipping of some Iranian uranium to Turkey will do nothing to halt Iran's nuclear program.

It will, however, make meaningful sanctions more difficult. America's proposed Security Council resolution is already laughably weak -- no blacklisting of Iran's central bank, no sanctions against Iran's oil and gas industry, no nonconsensual inspections on the high seas. Yet Turkey and Brazil -- both current members of the Security Council -- are so opposed to sanctions that they will not even discuss the resolution. And China will now have a new excuse to weaken it further.

But the deeper meaning of the uranium-export stunt is the brazenness with which Brazil and Turkey gave cover to the mullahs' nuclear ambitions and deliberately undermined U.S. efforts to curb Iran's program.

The real news is that already notorious photo: the president of Brazil, our largest ally in Latin America, and the prime minister of Turkey, for more than half a century the Muslim anchor of NATO, raising hands together with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the most virulently anti-American leader in the world.

That picture -- a defiant, triumphant take-that-Uncle-Sam -- is a crushing verdict on the Obama foreign policy. It demonstrates how rising powers, traditional American allies, having watched this administration in action, have decided that there's no cost in lining up with America's enemies and no profit in lining up with a U.S. president given to apologies and appeasement.

They've watched President Obama's humiliating attempts to appease Iran, as every rejected overture is met with abjectly renewed U.S. negotiating offers. American acquiescence reached such a point that the president was late, hesitant and flaccid in expressing even rhetorical support for democracy demonstrators who were being brutally suppressed and whose call for regime change offered the potential for the most significant U.S. strategic advance in the region in 30 years.

They've watched America acquiesce to Russia's re-exerting sway over Eastern Europe, over Ukraine (pressured by Russia last month into extending for 25 years its lease of the Black Sea naval base at Sevastopol) and over Georgia (Russia's de facto annexation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia is no longer an issue under the Obama "reset" policy).

They've watched our appeasement of Syria, Iran's agent in the Arab Levant -- sending our ambassador back to Syria even as it tightens its grip on Lebanon, supplies Hezbollah with Scuds and intensifies its role as the pivot of the Iran-Hezbollah-Hamas alliance. The price for this ostentatious flouting of the United States and its interests? Ever more eager U.S. "engagement."

They've observed the administration's gratuitous slap at Britain over the Falklands, its contemptuous treatment of Israel, its undercutting of the Czech Republic and Poland, and its indifference to Lebanon and Georgia. And in Latin America, they see not just U.S. passivity as Venezuela's Hugo Chávez organizes his anti-American "Bolivarian" coalition while deepening military and commercial ties with Iran and Russia. They saw active U.S. support in Honduras for a pro-Chávez would-be dictator seeking unconstitutional powers in defiance of the democratic institutions of that country.

This is not just an America in decline. This is an America in retreat -- accepting, ratifying and declaring its decline, and inviting rising powers to fill the vacuum.

Nor is this retreat by inadvertence. This is retreat by design and, indeed, on principle. It's the perfect fulfillment of Obama's adopted Third World narrative of American misdeeds, disrespect and domination from which he has come to redeem us and the world. Hence his foundational declaration at the U.N. General Assembly last September that "No one nation can or should try to dominate another nation" (guess who's been the dominant nation for the last two decades?) and his dismissal of any "world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another." (NATO? The West?)

Given Obama's policies and principles, Turkey and Brazil are acting rationally. Why not give cover to Ahmadinejad and his nuclear ambitions? As the United States retreats in the face of Iran, China, Russia and Venezuela, why not hedge your bets? There's nothing to fear from Obama, and everything to gain by ingratiating yourself with America's rising adversaries. After all, they actually believe in helping one's friends and punishing one's enemies.


So, did you happen to notice as I did whose name is
NOT mentioned at all above: Sec. of State Hillary Clinton, who has helped make this foreign policy embarrassment possible.

Keep it to yourself, so the
MSM can maintain their prohibition on public criticism of her a little longer.

Here's an actual Saturday headline from

Clinton avoids China disputes, hands out teddy bears

And if you think that headline is bad, wait 'til you read the first paragraph: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE64L0X020100522

(Reuters) - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton passed out teddy bears to Chinese children as she toured the Shanghai World Expo on Saturday and carefully skirted the United States' many policy disputes with China.

Reading some truly bracing criticism like Charles Krauthammer's reminds me of two things: why I voted against Obama in the first place, as well as that I'm not the only American who's been noticing all these negative things happening with American foreign policy under Obama.

Krauthammer correctly notes, seeing Obama perform this way -intentionally- only increases pressure on other countries we consider allies to make their own side deals.

For years under
Bush 43, the MSM constantly spoke about how unpopular the image of the U.S. was becoming overseas, as if that was really something we needed to either lose sleep about or could change.

Living in the Washington area at the time, one could hardly ever get on the Metro train in the morning without at some point hearing some rider who was no fan of
Bush complaining out loud to someone that Bush was personally responsible for how unpopular the U.S. was over in, well, for example, the Duchy of Grand Fenwick.

The Mouse that Roared


In this one-sided PR game where the point was never to ask any hard questions about the methodology of such polls, you never heard of corresponding polls of Americans on what they thought about the various government policies of France or Germany or whomever, but every other month brought forth some anecdotal news about what Greece thought about the U.S.

Question: Sixteen months later, can you name a single country where the U.S. is now
MORE respected than it was before his inauguration?
Yeah, that's what I thought, too.

Funny that the same folks who said that
Obama could be the foreign policy cure for Bush 43 haven't publicly acknowledged that the reality is that that he has only made our allies MORE nervous, NOT our legitimate adversaries.


By the way, you'll notice in that trailer I included above of the
The Mouse that Roared, a few shots of the beautiful Jean Seberg, whom I had, of course, read much about, but first became genuinely aware of thru showings of Bonjour Tristesse and Breathless at the National Gallery of Art's film series on French New Wave directors, one of the most interesting summers of my film-going life, with weekends spent alternating between Camden Yards and
the NGA, depending on whether or not I had Oriole tickets for a game.

From the first time I ever saw actress
Michelle Williams, in Dawson's Creek and then Dick with Kirstin Dunst, I was absolutely convinced that if I could ever have anything to do with it, I'd do everything in my power to convince her to be in a well-written bio-pic on Seberg's interesting yet very tragic life.

, currently starring in Blue Valentine, could do wonders with that role and win an Oscar.
Michelle Williams
is scary talented, it's just that her attractiveness often disarms you into
forgetting how terrific an actress she truly is -one of the best around.

Jean Seberg
Michelle Williams http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0931329/

From last week in Cannes, with Ryan Gosling promoting Blue Valentine: http://www.popsugar.com/Photos-Michelle-Williams-Ryan-Gosling-Promoting-Blue-Valentine-Cannes-8496257

Sundance: Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams show you what acting is all about in the wrenching 'Blue Valentine'

by Owen Gleiberman

Cannes 2010: The Euros love 'Blue Valentine' like Nutella; Sony Classics makes this not just another year

May 18, 2010


See also: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/movies/



Sore loser Mark Kukulski & Westin Diplomat renew threats: they'll huff and puff and blow the Diplomat Golf Course down!

Below, an email that I sent out early Sunday morning to some concerned citizens in Broward County, following word from Hallandale Beach Comm. Keith London that the Diplomat is trying to get a second bite of the apple on Tuesday.
Me, well, somebody's got to play the role of Paul Revere, no?


After the April 27th
Broward County Commission meeting, where he and his team lost 6-3 for their incompatible LAC plan, Mark Kukulski, the General Manager of the Westin Diplomat was particularly steamed at me for having publicly revealed the truth about the falsehood surrounding his many claims in the past to being a consummate hospitality professional and marketing whiz.

And if there's one thing that
Mark Kukulski has been consistent about since last year in all of his public appearances, it's been in reminding everyone how very skilled and professional he was.

Frankly, what I said that afternoon was something that almost anyone who has recently lived or worked in the Hallandale Beach area -
or any news reporter paying attention- would've noticed and remembered because it seems so ridiculously self-evident and counter-intuitive.
And for good reason -
it's just plain bad business.

When I spoke towards the very end of the meeting, I reminded everyone present that with Kukulski in charge of the hotel and the golf course, there's NOT a single directional sign of theirs on any street exit off I-95, on Hallandale Beach Blvd, on U.S.-1, on A1A or Pembroke Road, leading customers towards the Diplomat Golf Course.

Nothing like the ubiquitous green signs for
Gulfstream Park Racing & Casino that you find at all those same locations -including one on south-bound U.S.-1, directly near the entrance to the Mardi Gras Casino- as well as many directly across the street from Gulfstream itself, even though you can hardly miss it.

For instance:

Above, April 28, 2010 photo of Gulfstream sign on U.S.-1 & S.E. 7th Avenue, directly across the street from the racetrack, casino and Village at Gulfstream.

Above, April 28, 2010 photo of Gulfstream sign on Hallandale Beach Blvd. near the 10th Avenue entrance to the racetrack, casino and Village at Gulfstream.

Above, April 28, 2010 photo of St. Matthews Catholic Church sign off Hallandale Beach Blvd. and 14th Avenue, near the Publix and Walgreen's.
So why are there more directional signs on HBB for this church than there are for the
Diplomat Golf Course? Good question.

After the meeting broke-up and people were walking out, as I was breaking-down my camera tripod near my seat on the second row that I'd used to film the meeting, unexpectedly, he walked right up behind me 'till I turned around and he was just six inches away from my face.

Then, in a rather creepy voice that I can only call a combination of threatening AND condescending, he said "You don't know ANYTHING about marketing."

Yeah, I guess all those years of me faithfully reading
Advertising Age, Dunn's Marketing Monthly and books by the foremost marketing professor in the country, Philip Kotler of KGSM at Northwestern University, near where I lived, were just wasted.
http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/faculty/bio/Kotler.htm )

I may be no "expert," but I'm smart enough to know that even in the digital age, when you claim to have invested millions of dollars in your property, yet are also claiming that the reason you need to get your out-of-scale proposal approved is because you are LOSING millions of dollars every year, no detail is too small to overlook to make sure that your paying customers can find your business!

Neighbors and residents of HB and Hollywood had no problem with them
ACTUALLY doing what they are legally entitled to do NOW, since nobody wants them to close the Diplomat Country Club, but the Diplomat management -Starwood- and owners has only to look in the mirror to see who's actually responsible for them being in the economic bind they're currently in: they have a particular product that few people want.

Their property is not just poorly-marketed, but, for the current market, charging far too-much for such an undemanding and uninteresting golf course. Consumers with plenty of choices vote with their feet and with their wallets everyday, and this is no different.

Currently, consumers are making themselves heard, but the Diplomat & Co. are NOT listening to that evidence and customer feedback.

That's their problem to resolve, and not one to be borne by neighbors and residents of HB and Hollywood, who, after all, DON'T owe the union a profit, no matter how much their well-financed PR team has tried over the past year to paint a sky-is-falling scenario if they don't get their way on their application.

To me, this issue is an example of where the more you know the true facts, as well as the historical context for those facts, the more you realize how truly flimsy the Diplomat's arguments were.


It has come to my attention that the Diplomat LLC is lobbying the Broward County Commissioners (BCC) to have another bite at the apple for the proposed Local Activity Center (LAC) in Hallandale, this coming Tuesday May 25, 2010 after losing a 6-3 vote on April 27, 2010.

They have requested their supporters to blast email the BCC and request the Local Activity Center (LAC) be heard for reconsideration.

They are threatening to close the Diplomat Country Club and Golf Course if the item is not reconsidered (see attached communication, second paragraph)

Please take a moment of your time to contact the Broward County Commissioners’ and respectfully ask them to DENY reconsideration of the Diplomat LAC.

If the Diplomat wants to be reconsidered, let them return to the resident/taxpayers of Hallandale Beach and come up with a compromise plan we can a support and live with. This is what the Diplomat representatives promised at the Broward County Planning Council and then never followed up with or attempted to fulfill that promise.

Mayor Ken Keechl 954-357-7004

Vice Mayor Sue Gunzburger 954-357-7006

Commissioner Ilene Lieberman 954-357-7001

Commissioner Kristin Jocobs 954-357-7002

Commissioner Stacy Ritter 954-357-7003

Commissioner Lois Wexler 954-357-7005

Commissioner John Rodstrom 954-357-7007

Commissioner Diana Wasserman-Rubin 954-357-7008

Commissioner Al Jones 954-357-7009

Thank you,


Keith S. London

City Commissioner

Hallandale Beach

954-457-1320 Office

954-494-3182 Cellular


Diplomat Banner

Thank you for your time and effort in support of The Diplomat Country Club's revitalization plans. While we hoped for approval to move ahead with our plans, unfortunately, the Broward County Commission denied The Diplomat's application at its April 27 meeting.

With no hope of being able to implement a longer-term investment strategy to turn things around, we are faced with having to shut down the hotel at the Country Club and the other amenities including the golf course.

The Commission's 6-3 vote came despite the hundreds of supporters on record, the endorsement of the Hallandale and Hollywood Chambers, and consensus about the importance of preserving golf course land. In a letter to Broward County Commissioners, Mr. William Hite, Chairman of the PPNPF, the pension fund which owns The Diplomat, expressed his concerns about the Commission's recent rejection of the LUPA.

Many people have asked what they can do to change this situation: You might want to contact the County Commissioners and ask them what they can do to resolve this issue now. (See list below.)

Our plan was to prepare The Diplomat Country Club for a sustainable future, to protect the golf course and in the process, to provide a boost to the local economy. Without the opportunity to redevelop the property, the future of the Country Club's hotel accommodations and its amenities, including the golf course remain grim. The property continues to sustain losses while requiring added capital for renovation, upkeep and annual cash shortfalls.

We are grateful for your support throughout this process and wish we had better news to share. As we continue to evaluate our options and timeline, be assured we will let you know of any change in the status of our plans.

Broward County Commissioners:

Ilene Lieberman, Kristin D. Jacobs, Stacy Ritter, Ken Keechl,

Lois Wexler, Sue Gunzburger, John E. Rodstrom, Jr.,

Diana Wasserman-Rubin, Albert C. Jones

Friday, May 21, 2010

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss -the apple doesn't fall far from the Mike Good tree in Mark Antonio; Hallandale Beach NEEDS an outsider as CM

Three-quarters of the 2010 Hallandale Beach Rubber Stamp Crew that have made this dysfunctional ocean-side South Florida community a perennial laughing-stock, in large part by keeping its own citizen taxpayers in the dark and on the outside looking in, while Mayor Joy Cooper and City Manager Mike Good did whatever they pleased.
Above, as they appeared in a 2008 campaign flyer, left-to-right:
William Julian, Dotty Ross and Joy Cooper.
Rubber Stamp: Anthony A. Sanders.

The predicates for my blog post today have been evident for days now, but on the chance that you haven't seen them all yet, they are the following:

Hallandale Beach to take another look at city manager
By Amy Sherman,The Miami Herald
May 6, 2010


Hallandale Beach city commissioners voted Wednesday to bring back an item in two weeks that could lead to firing City Manager Mike Good.

Commissioners said Good has been unresponsive and preoccupied with personal problems that Mayor Joy Cooper said included "back problems, cancer, a daughter falling victim to easy access to pain clinics, an ailing grandmother . . . and of course the continued stress of dealing with the antics of Commissioner London."

Commissioner Keith London is the pony-tailed commissioner who has challenged the status quo and often been at odds with Cooper and Good.

Good told commissioners that his family issues had been resolved, and suggested that commissioners evaluate him again in six months.

"The mayor is right in the fact that I have had a lot of issues," Good said.

Under his contract, Good, who is 49, would get nine months of severance pay and health insurance for himself and his family until he is eligible for Medicare.

Commissioner Dorothy Ross was the only member to vote against the motion.


Hallandale Beach firing chronically absent city manager
By Jennifer Gollan, Sun Sentinel
May 20, 2010


Longtime Hallandale Beach City Manager Mike Good is being fired after failing to show up for work off and on since January. He is entitled to a severance package that could cost taxpayers $306,893, according to the city.

City commissioners cited chronic absences, an uncommunicative work style and questionable contracts as reasons for his dismissal.

Good, 48, could not be reached for comment despite three messages left at his home and office.

"It is long overdue," said Commissioner Keith London on Thursday. "The untold secret all around town is that guy does not show up for work."

Indeed, Mayor Joy Cooper said Good's ouster was somewhat delayed because he refused to schedule it for commission discussion over the last six weeks.

City commissioners on Wednesday night suspended Good for 45 days. He has five days to request a public hearing to appeal the decision. If he does not respond, the commission will likely move to fire Good in the next 30 days.

Assistant City Manager Mark Antonio was named interim city manager. The city is working out how much he will earn as part of a new contract.

Good joined the city in March 1985 as a welder and rose through the ranks, becoming city manager in November 2002. His total compensation last year for salary, pension, health benefits and other insurance and car allowance was roughly $275,139.

He drew stiff criticism in December 2008 when he grossed $422,373 in salary and benefits. That sum included $176,054 in accrued vacation and sick time he collected after he resigned, only to be re-hired days later. At the time, the city reasoned it would save money by halting contributions to his pension plan, which promised retirees a set benefit.

Commissioners on Wednesday offered Good five months of severance worth roughly $88,547. He is also entitled to health insurance for him and his family until he is eligible for Medicare at 62, and tuition and books so he can complete his masters degree in public administration.

Good is not owed any money for unused sick and vacation time, Antonio said, adding that it is not clear how many unpaid days Good took.

The deal is still pending Good's approval.

In a telephone interview, Cooper said Good stopped consistently turning up for work in January and then he took family medical leave for two weeks, using sick and vacation time. His attendance failed to improve, leading commissioners to take preliminary steps to fire him Wednesday.

London said he was also troubled by some of Good's actions. For example, he said Good approved a yearlong contract worth at least $36,000 with consultant Joseph Kessel but failed to inform the commission. City rules require the city manager to report such expenditures to commissioners each month.

"The city manager's obligation is to report to us when he uses his spending authority," London said. "He is breaking the city ordinance. This is city taxpayer money."

The July 2008 contract calls for Kessel, a Realtor with Keller Williams, to assist the city manager with finances, public relations, growth management, and strategic planning.

Prior to becoming a Realtor, Kessel was a chief operating officer for Esat Corporation, a Melbourne-based healthcare technology company that went bankrupt in the dot com bust; and an executive vice president at Sequoia Corporation, a healthcare technology company bought by Fort Lauderdale-based Citrix Systems, Inc.

London said he had asked Good for documents showing how much Kessel has earned, but never received them.

Cooper said she had "no issue" with the contract.

"I was aware that Joe Kessel was doing work under contract," Cooper said. "He was contracted with the city manager to work on the purchase of a property for Sunset Park a year and a half ago. And he also worked on redoing the Golden Isles Tennis Center."

Cooper said she could not explain why other commissioners did not know about the contract, not could she provide details on how Kessel helped clinch either deal.

In an interview, Kessel said he received only $4,200 around the end of 2008.

"I don't know what the big to-do is," said Kessel, who also serves on the Hallandale Beach Area Chamber of Commerce board.


South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Mayo on the Side blog of columnist
Michael Mayo
Hallandale Beach city manager Good on chopping block
Posted by Michael Mayo on May 19, 2010 09:07 AM

The Hallandale Beach city commission is poised to fire longtime city manager Mike Good.

A resolution to be considered at a 7:30 p.m. meeting tonight cites Good's "repeated and ongoing failure to report to work during normal business hours, failure to maintain communication with the city commission and city staff, and his resulting failure to adequately perform his duties and responsibilities as city manager."

Read the rest of the post at:


BrowardPalmBeach NewTimes
Handsomely Paid Hallandale City Manager Had 50 Percent Attendance
By Thomas Francis, Thursday, May. 20 2010 @ 10:14AM

During last night's Hallandale Beach Commission meeting, Vice Mayor Bill Julian cited documents indicating that over the past six months, City Manager Mike Good came to city hall on only about half the work days.

That spotty attendance record made it hard to meet with city staff, business owners and other members of the community. Julian said it was one of the primary reasons he reversed his past support of Good and voted to continue moving toward terminating Good's employment.

Read the rest of the post at:


BrowardPalmBeach NewTimes
Hallandale Vice Mayor Speaks About Firing His "Friend," the City Manager By Thomas Francis, Thursday, May. 20 2010 @ 2:32PM

Hallandale Beach Vice Mayor Bill Julian says that he considers Mike Good a "friend" but that the city manager's absenteeism made it necessary for the commission to find another person for the job.

At the meeting yesterday, Julian pointed to documents that showed that in 2010, Good only made it to work roughly half the time.

Read the rest of the post at:


South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Hallandale Beach's proposed exit deal for Mike Good
7:02 PM EDT, May 20, 2010


Total annual compensation: $275,139

Base salary: $212,972

City contribution to 401(k): $30,754

Health, life, dental and disability insurance: $19,413

Car allowance: $12,000

City's exit offer: $306,893

Severance: $88,740

Health insurance: $16,554 a year until age 62, for a total of $215,000.

Tuition and books to finish masters degree in public administration (he has nine credits left): $3,153

SOURCE: City of Hallandale Beach


BrowardPalmBeach NewTimes

If a City Manager Is Hit by Scandal and the Dailies Don't Report It, Did It Really Happen?
By Thomas Francis, Friday, May. 21 2010 @ 9:07AM

Hallandale Beach Vice Mayor Bill Julian says he was "not concerned" about reports of an ethically dubious contract between City Manager Mike Good and a local real estate agent because those reports did not appear in the Miami Herald or Sun-Sentinel. They appeared here in Juice and in a print edition of New Times.

The city is finalizing its termination of Good, but Julian's remarks illustrate the difficulty that the region's major newspapers have in performing watchdog duties, given their dwindling resources and economically frail condition. If they cannot, the question is how that affects local government.

Read the rest of the post at:


A couple of things for you to consider after reading the above:

First, addition-by-subtraction works in local government as well as it does in sports, and this situation proves that, since people can actually imagine a future where information is not kept by the hired help (staff) from both the elected officials and the citizens of this community.

Second, the next few months are going to be
VERY DIFFICULT for quite a lot of people in this community who have become quite accustomed to taking a lot of things here for granted, not least, in some cases, their job at HB City Hall, whether elected or otherwise.
This is all for the -wait for it- GOOD.

Many of my friends and I plan on having a lot to do with that.

People who have supported and winked at the ruinous Mike Good & Joy Cooper Regime without question for years
without ever uttering a single independent thought are going to find themselves under the microscope.

I won't name them all here, but some of them are named Alexander Lewy, Patricia Genetti, Joe Kessell and the Brown family, the latter of whom seems to have been the lucky recipient of more HB taxpayer grants and CRA loans than seems either reasonable, logical or desirable.

Their condescending words and brazen behavior, along with their complete unwillingness to deal straight-forwardly with the citizen taxpayers of this community, plus the generally
questionable -and perhaps even illegal- way things have been done for years at HB City Hall under Good & Cooper and the city staff, leads me to state publicly here what I've already expressed in emails around the region over the past year: these particular people, along with their many pals, clones and acolytes around town, should be prepared for their words and behavior to get the full-airing before the community its long deserved but heretofore avoided.
Me, I'm happy to help make that a reality!

As some of you who communicate with me fairly often already know, the two HB City Hall apologists who have the most to fear most immediately from Hallandale Beach voters knowing what their real words and behavior are like are Alexander Lewy and William Julian., both candidates for City Commission in November.

This summer, their own foolish and condescending words and brazen behavior will be like a hanging noose they self-administer, while the rest of us just watch.

Trust me, the more you know about these two, the more that you will see why they are like poison for this community: TOXIC!

Are the beleaguered citizens of Hallandale Beach honestly supposed to believe that all this dysfunctionalism at HB City Hall was going on for years without ANY other Broward elected officials noticing what was happening on U.S-1, when it was patently obvious that everything that happened there happened ONLY with the direct approval of Mike Good and Joy Cooper?

So nobody at the Broward County Commission, the Broward League of Cities, the Broward MPO or the South Florida Regional Planning Council had any idea?

Of course, in the recent past, as she has always been so quick to remind everyone without any prompting, Joy Cooper was the head of the Broward League of Cities, so perhaps that explains why the elected officials over at that not particularly taxpayer-friendly group looked the other way.

Do you think that Joy Cooper being in charge at the LOC is the reason that she told Mike Good in 2008 to get some money together and build her a brand new office up on the second floor of City Hall, even though there was nothing physically wrong with her old office?

Other than her being the city's presiding officer at meetings and being able to call emergency Commission meetings, under the city's charter, Cooper has no more power that any other elected commissioner.

So why is it that more than 16 months after Cooper got her brand new office, her name does NOT actually appear anywhere on the building's directory downstairs when you first walk into the building?

That's taking government stealthiness to a new low, but then that's what Hallandale Beach City Hall specializes in.

Are there other City Halls in South Florida that don't actually mention where the mayor's office is located on a bldg. directory?
Me, I get around the area and keep my ears open, but I'm not aware of another one.

At consecutive meetings over a few months this Spring to decide the future of the Westin Diplomat's incompatible LAC proposal, I reminded the Broward Planning Council and the Broward County Commission that Mike Good, Joy Cooper and Commissioners William Julian, Dotty Ross and Anthony A. Sanders had consistently rejected calls by the community to put the developer's documents on the city's third-rate website for citizens to read them and see what was in them, as they consistently refused to second Comm. Keith London's common sense motion to do so.
Mike Good and Joy Cooper didn't like that idea, so it died, over-and-over.

The logical result of this thoroughly anti-democratic, anti-transparency behavior was that HB citizens could only see the public docs on the city's website 28 hours before the first vote in the city took place, before the HB Planning & Zoning Advisory Board.
And the very next day, the City Commission voted.

That's Mike Good and Joy Cooper's view of government transparency in a nut-shell: keep relevant public documents away from citizen taxpayers until the last possible minute, even while meeting and speaking constantly with the developers, lawyers and lobbyists who already knew everything in them.

While the Broward Planning Council, Broward County Commission and their staffs had weeks to examine the docs, 4/5ths of the city's elected officials and the City Manager who is SUPPOSED to work for them decided that they didn't want the people they work for to know what was in those documents.

That wasn't by accident, that was THEIR plan from the beginning to help the developer get the project approved over the wishes of the majority of the community.

The larger question of public officials looking the other way while something wicked or creepy was happening right in front of them is an especially uncomfortable question for people who have actually had an office located in Hallandale Beach City Hall while Mike Good has been City Manager and Joy Cooper has been Mayor -people like Joe Gibbons and Steve Geller and Eleanor Sobel.

Their complete silence for YEARS about what's been going on at HB City Hall will definitely have some negative consequences for them in the near-future, as they fully should expect well-informed citizens to ask some hard questions about their rather convenient laissez-faire attitude towards incompetency and sleazy corruption on the taxpayer's dime.

For instance, can you name one city in the State of Florida besides Hallandale Beach wherein the City Commission has hired their City Manager, Police Chief and Fire Chief WITHOUT that action ever:
a.) being placed on a public agenda in advance of the meeting,
b.) being approved without ANY citizens being present to discuss the matter, and
c.) taking place in a room where the vote was not videotaped?

That doesn't happen by accident, that's intentional.
That's THEIR plan.
Keep Hallandale Beach taxpayers in the dark and on the outside looking in.

As to the ethical fitness of interim HB City Manager, Mark A. Antonio, who already makes just under $200,000 a year in salary and benefits as an Assistant City Manager for this small ocean-side city of under 4.5 square miles, the apple doesn't fall far from the Mike Good tree.

For more info on Antonio's less-than-transparent management style, please see these previous posts:
It speaks for itself.

Hallandale Beach's pro-reform citizens desperately want an outsider brought in as City Manager who will work diligently and cooperatively with the community to make it the prosperous city it ought to be in fact.
An outsider who'll uphold the spirit and letter of the state's Sunshine Laws and who will fire city employees who evade it.

Because Hallandale Beach City Hall needs cleaning from top-to-bottom, Hallandale Beach's pro-reform citizens DON'T want to recycle one of the city's high-paid apologists for the ancien régime.
Mark A. Antonio is NOT part of the solution, he's a systemic part of the larger problem.

#HollywoodFL based photographer/entrepreneur Esther Chuang

#HOLLYWOODFL based photographer and entrepreneur Esther Chuang with Hollywood Mayor-elect Josh Levy
Thumbs up! What a night! #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 now-closed 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 really saying something considering 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 atop Mount Corcovado way out in the horizon on the top of another mountain, to the left of her head. To the right is the world famous beach of Ipanema and to the left is the equally famous beach of Copacabana. In case you forgot what the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio looks like, up close, plus the Amazon area of Brazil that Esther grew up near in Manaus, 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

A floresta Amazônica tem um papel fundamental no equilíbrio do clima na Terra e, portanto, na vida de cada um de nós. Nos últimos anos a proteção diminuiu e o desmatamento aumentou drasticamente. E o que já era ruim, pode ficar ainda pior. Se as medidas que o governo vem tomando não forem vetadas, nosso futuro estará ameaçado. Diga NÃO à diminuição da proteção da Floresta do Jamanxim! Diga NÃO à exploração de minério no coração da floresta! #TodosPelaAmazônia #342Amazonia #TodosPelaAmazonia Assine a petição: link na bio. ������✨���� The Amazon Rainforest plays a key role in balancing the climate on the Earth and therefore in each of our lives. In recent years, protection has decreased and deforestation has increased sharply. And what was already bad can get even worse. If the measures that the government has been taking are not vetoed, our future will be threatened. Say NO to the reduction of the Jamanxim Forest´s protection! Say NO to ore mining in the heart of the Forest! #togetherfortheAmazon

A post shared by Gisele Bündchen (@gisele) on