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.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

2010 Summer swelter budget blues, NYC's ballooning pension costs and cutting-back elected officials perks

KNVB -Koninklijke Nederlandse Voetbalbond

Sunday July 11th, 2010
Just biding my time waiting for
The Netherlands to beat Spain 4-2 in today's World Cup final.

Per the spot-on New York Post article below, City taxpayers foot 90% of municipal pensions, it'd be nice to see a South Florida news media organization that could produce a reliable chart indicating what those pension numbers are for South Florida's myriad cities and counties.
Don't hold your breath!
It's summer after all.

In two weeks here in Hallandale Beach, the city's staff will have their public budget workshops with the City Commission that they could've actually conducted weeks ago when more of the city's populace was actually still here, and hadn't fled the summer swelter, so they'd have had more time to go over the staff's numbers and projections in devising questions of their own.

In case you forgot, that was yet another motion made by Comm. Keith London that lost 4-1.

But that's fine... now I and many other concerned residents just plan on spending more time asking
LOTS of specific questions for Comm. Ross, Sanders and Julian to personally answer about what specific city programs they want to cut or pare-down, as well as explain why should the community trust their judgment given how reluctant they've been to fully carrying out their legal oversight role of the City Manager's Office and keep an eye on the the Depts of this city, almost all of whom believe they are princely kingdoms of which there can be no criticism.

Though I'm not opposed to it in the abstract, since there's something to be said for attending conventions, a very good place to start cutting the city's budget is the city's travel expense account.

Can you name another city in South Florida, much less, one as small as Hallandale Beach, that routinely sends ALL of its City Commissioners to the Florida League of Cities' convention in Orlando, usually noted for its anti-taxpayer agitprop and propaganda?

But that's what happens here every year, as if it's an entitlement written in the city's charter.

Why do they
ALL have to go at our expense?
It's pretty ridiculous when you think about it.

It's like rewarding people who don't pay attention to their own city, and telling them they can take a travel junket to a place where nobody knows what a truly abysmal job they do.
Actually, it's not "like" that, it's exactly our reality.

At least this year's event is at the
Westin Diplomat in Hollywood, from August 19-21, right before the primary election, so there will doubtless be lots of statewide candidates milling about, eager to talk to anyone who will listen.

Can't be sure but I'm guessing that considering FLOC's bluster on this and so many other public policy issues, there will be at least a few hours of one day spent debating(!) the question,
Will Amendment 4 really destroy Florida like we said it will, or are we just angry that FL citizens will no longer defer to our infinite wisdom as elected officials?

And what about HB instituting a prohibition like many other South Florida cities on city taxpayers paying the hotel expenses for any city employee or elected official attending an event, forum or convention in Miami-Dade or Broward County -
and something with real teeth?

I'd be in favor of forcing HB City Hall to put all taxpayer-paid travel expenses for city employees and elected officials on a designated page on the city's website within 72 hours, with name, title, total costs and description of event.

Why do I think this?

Perhaps you forgot about this telling story about HB Mayor Joy Cooper from 18 months ago:

My mayor went to the Inaugural but all I got was the bill and her imperious attitude!

New York Post
City taxpayers foot 90% of municipal pensions
By Susan Edelman
Last Updated: 10:31 AM, July 11, 2010
Posted: 2:10 AM, July 11, 2010

Taxpayers kick in an average $8.60 for every dollar that city employees contribute to their pensions, a sweet deal costing the Big Apple a bundle.

Even though their own retirements are less secure, as private businesses have shifted from traditional pensions to riskier savings plans like 401(k)s, taxpayers' support for rock-solid public employee pension plans is growing. That's because pension funds are guaranteed to grow 8 percent a year -- and taxpayers have to make up the difference if they don't.

Taxpayers' share of city pension costs has skyrocketed more than 900 percent in the last decade -- from $703.1 million in 2000 to $6.5 billion in 2009, according to the city comptroller's annual reports.

Read the rest of the story at:

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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.
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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.