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 23, 2010

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

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#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!✨ ������

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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

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