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.
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.
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.
From: Keith London [mailto:londonshow@bellsouth.
Sent: Saturday, May 22, 2010 9:50 PM
To: 'firstname.lastname@example.org'; 'email@example.com'; 'firstname.lastname@example.org'; 'email@example.com'; 'firstname.lastname@example.org'; 'email@example.com'; 'firstname.lastname@example.org'; 'email@example.com'; 'firstname.lastname@example.org'
Cc: 'email@example.com'; 'firstname.lastname@example.org'; 'email@example.com'; 'firstname.lastname@example.org'; 'Dee Platt'; 'email@example.com'; 'firstname.lastname@example.org'
Subject: Diplomat wants a second bite at the apple
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
Keith S. London