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

Monday, May 17, 2010

re South Florida's elected officials and law enforcement continually acting ignorant of First Amendment rights -feigned ignorance or real stupidity?

Below is a copy of an email that went out to a few dozen pretty well-informed people around the State of Florida late Monday afternoon as a bcc.

The email also went out as a CC to the following individuals:
Katie Fisher of the First Amendement Foundation in Tallahassee, http://www.floridafaf.org/; Dominic Calabro of Florida Taxwatch, http://www.floridataxwatch.org/, someone who has proven himself to be a person who won't put up with alibis or nonsense from govt. bureaucrats abusing their authority or failing to give proper accountability; Doug Lyons of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, and Anders Gyllenhaal and Edward Schumacher-Matos of the Miami Herald.

In the near future, there will be much more context and details to the story below about legal, ethical and bureaucratic excess in -surprise- Tamarac, the city that along with Deerfield Beach and Pompano Beach continually fights Hallandale Beach for the title of most venal and corrupt.

Those helpful details and context will include some particulars on the continuing pathetic performance of Broward County Sheriff
Al Lamberti, someone who needs one of his many apologists or minions throughout the county to tell him to wake the hell up and stop sleepwalking his way thru his job, and in particular, STOP disrespecting the very citizen taxpayers who pay his salary.
We are not amused!

This isn't Sparta, Mississippi, comprende, and he doesn't get to pick and choose which laws he want to follow.
What doesn't he understand about that?


Message to the South Florida news media: Al Lamberti's 'hall pass' has expired, so please stop treating him like he's some frigging old-line royal, okay?
It's very uncomfortable to read and watch and only makes you reporters who walk on eggshells in your stories about him seem even more like sycophants than you are.

And now to the email:

In case you missed it the first time, last month, please consider the following material below as predicates for today's email from Broward community activist Bett Willett to myself, and ask yourself, where-oh-where is Michael Satz and the Broward State Attorney's Office or Judge Victor Tobin's free-floating anti-corruption crew to make examples of all the miscreant pols and LEOs in South Florida?
MISSING IN ACTION!

And are things really so bad in South Florida's media community in the year 2010 that the news media willingly ignores example after example of South Florida city attorneys pretending they DON'T know what's permitted at public meetings under the State and Federal Constitution?
Really?

Once upon a time in South Florida media, Hallandale Beach's reflexively anti-democratic city attorney David Jove's continual winking at self-evident violations of the state's Sunshine Laws by the City Manager, Mayor and City Commission would've gotten a reporter's attention and resulted in an utterly devastating front page story, along with a handy chronology graph
of all the curious things that had transpired while he was present but looking away, all while drawing a taxpayer-funded paycheck.

Alternately, I would've come home tired from practice after school and would've seen a devastating Ike Seamans or Susan Candiotti story -with very long legs!- that would've literally caused his family to cry after it aired, and it would've been thoroughly sourced and 100% accurate.

Which would make it powerful as hell and a warning to others like him to shape-up and fly right -or else!

A story that would've been updated often as more and more people told what they knew and had seen, with video showing Jove's nonchalant attitude towards the law being bent, broken and ignored with him just sitting there.
And we'd have literally gulped at his sheer stupidity.
But now?

Outside of a handful of reporters, these stories just sit there, limp, waiting for a better-late-than-
never arrest to suddenly give some news editor or TV news director's the idea to give the story some well-needed oxygen.

If public corruption is a 24/7 effort by public officials in South Florida, and it is, is it too much to ask that in the year 2010, a local Miami TV station or newspaper actually have a few reporters whose only job is reporting on and investigating municipal, county and state chicanery, who promptly return emails and phone calls.

While I lived in the Washington, D.C. area for 15 years, I was fortunate enough to come to know more than a fair amount of people who'd won Pulitzer Prizes, and even more people who should've but didn't, if you believed what they told me at Oriole ballgames at Camden Yards.

The one characteristic they all shared is a genuine willingness to reach out to people who actually know something of value and to try their best to be approachable, since they never knew when or how a compelling story would make itself known to them.
You know, our old friend serendipity?

In South Florida, it's not exactly Breaking News that there are far too many reporters and editors who are NEITHER.

They practically have to receive invitations to be convinced to show-up for some government meeting or public policy matter.
(Question: When did that become the job of the citizen, to convince the reporter to actually show-up and do THEIR job?)

And everyone knows who they are, regardless of what city or county you live in, because they are the same names that always come up in private conversations.

That's fine, after all, I'm not a publisher or a TV station general manager, but then they shouldn't expect me to care when they are the next one thrown overboard because of either the economy or a station management shake-up or "creative differences."

And trust me, that's the opinion of the majority of people I know down here who follow local government and politics VERY CLOSELY.

They're the same discerning folks who agree with me that South Florida NOT currently having a dynamic Cable TV station with a local hard-news focus is a deep embarrassment that belies the area's claims to sophistication.

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

1.) From: Bett's G-Mail
Date: Fri, Apr 16, 2010 at 2:22 PM
Subject: Tamarac

I went to the Tamarac Commission meeting after being asked by the Colony West folks to speak to the commission about Amendment 4 and golf course conversions, read below from my blog about what happened:

Friday, April 16, 2010
-
Civil Rights Trampled in Tamarac

http://blogbybett.blogspot.com

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