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.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Charlotte Greenbarg sounds the alarm about Broward back-scratching in action: Bob Norman: Lieberman in China; Looks, walks & quacks like a duck? Duck!

Thought you'd find this of interest, though some of you may've already received Broward Coalition president Charlotte Geenbarg's email.

At the bottom, I've added Charlotte's spot-on email to the Broward County Commission yesterday, plus the copy of the amendment
Comm. Lieberman wants to have heard on the 14th, after her trip to China, which I sent many of you on Monday.

I've seen ducks up close before -this ethics amendment of her's looks like a duck to me.

Perhaps we should all get a t-shirt printed-up reading:
"One of my commissioners went to China but all I got was much-weaker ethics laws."

By the way, for those of you who don't know your Texas geography, Tarrant County includes Fort Worth, and it's county pop. is 1.7 million, says the guy whose family first moved to the Hill Country of Texas in 1855.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Charlotte Greenbarg
Date: Tue, Aug 31, 2010 at 12:59 PM
Subject: Bob Norman: Lieberman in China
To: Charlotte Greenbarg

This probably isn't the best time to visit China;
all travel should be on hold until the County gets it act together, ethically and fiscally

Personal note: When we were in business late 70s, 80s and until 1993 when we sold and retired, the Chinese government offered to provide at no cost to us for 2 years all the labor we needed to manufacture our orthopedic soft goods and the famous black belt w/suspenders that my late husband perfected. We said no thanks. First, we'd have to lay off the factory full of people who supported families, many single moms, and second, we knew that once they made our goods, they'd go back to China and undercut us, probably with inferior products.



BrowardPalmBeach NewTimes

Daily Pulp blog
Lieberman In China
By Bob Norman, Tue., Aug. 31 2010 @ 10:43AM

While the Chaitgate corruption investigation rages on, Broward County Commissioner Ilene Lieberman won't be at today's commission meeting. She's gone to China.
Lieberman's office confirmed she left for Beijing yesterday as part of a delegation representing the National Association of Counties. She will be there for ten days to "promote econcomic development."

The commissioner, who has come under intense scrutiny in the State Attorney's Office investigation of the dealings of dirty developers Bruce and Shawn Chait, is currently the president of the Florida Association of Counties, which is affiliated with the national group.

Read the rest of the column at:

Reader comments at:

Charlotte's email to the Broward County Commission last night at 7:50 p.m.:

Ladies & Gentlemen:

You've just had (5 p.m. today) an item added to tomorrow's agenda, dealing with the selection of an insurance provider. Staff tied on the selection (Commissioners are no longer on selection committees now that the Ethics ordinance has passed) between Coventry and Aetna.

Problem is that the Florida Assoc. of Counties (FAC), President of which is Comm. Ilene Lieberman, contacted each Commissioner re: this selection. Turns out that the FAC would get $2/month for each enrolled employee if Aetna gets the contract. This is a statewide "arrangment" that FAC has with Aetna.There's nothing wrong per se with the company Aetna; but the "arrangment" waddles and quacks.

Furthermore, FAC Pres. Lieberman is presently in China representing FAC.

So how is this connected to Item 51? Well, we need an open record of who gets and gives what to whom. We wanted
full public disclosure when we demanded an Ethics ordinance. When FAC has an event (and the National Assoc. of Counties and others likewise), there are sponsors for the open bars, for example, and those sponsors are often law firms and lobbyists that do business with counties or have clients who do. But we don't know that, do we? It's not easily available information. And there's the rub.

You need to let the Ethics Ordinance continue to take effect before you begin to make any changes, and Item 51 is a very large change.

I am copying my members on this communication, and know from many, many meetings, emails and conversations that they totally agree with this position.

Charlotte Greenbarg

The Broward Coalition, Inc.


Wendy Murray's cc of her email to the Broward County Commission

Thank you, Wendy!
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, August 31, 2010 8:03 AM
Subject: Re: Poster Child for why Item 51 should not be passed

Dear Commissioners,

I agree with both Charlotte and Don.

Please inject ethics and integrity into the Broward County Commission by acting openly and with the avoidance of perceived mischief.

Being an elected official is an honor bestowed upon you by the votes of the residents you serve. Public service should be discerning and in the best interest of the residents. It should not be self-seeking nor give the appearance of such.

Truly, I thank you for your service and hopefully, I observe your actions to avoid all perceived mischief while embracing the arms of integrity and character.

Thank you for your time.


Wendy Murray

P.S. Please forgive any typos as sending from phone. Thank you.

Wendy Murray, FEMV, CMCA, LCAM
Director of Business Development
Association Services of Florida
10112 USA Today Way
Miramar, FL 33025


Per my email yesterday


Meeting Agendas


Item #: 51.

Broward County Commission Regular Meeting



Director's Name:

Jeffrey Newton


County Attorney


Requested Action

MOTION TO ADOPT Resolution directing the County Administrator to publish Notice of Public Hearing to be held on Tuesday, September 14, 2010, at 2:00 p.m., in Room 422 of the Governmental Center to consider enactment of a proposed Ordinance, the title of which is as follows:


(Sponsored by Commissioner Ilene Lieberman)

Why Action is Necessary

The proposed Ordinance was prepared by the Office of the County Attorney at the direction of the Board of County Commissioners at its Commission meeting of August 17, 2010.

What Action Accomplishes

The proposed Ordinance amends the Code of Ethics to provide an exception to the gifts restriction and prohibition, allowing County Commissioners to accept accommodations to attend official events and functions that are provided for, or arranged by, state, regional, national, and international organizations, including the National Association of Counties (NACo) and the Florida Association of Counties (FAC), which promote the exchange of information or the professional development of elected public officials, thereby saving Broward County the cost or potential cost of such attendance.

Is this Action Goal Related

Previous Action Taken

Summary Explanation/ Background

The proposed ordinance amends the Code of Ethics to provide an exception to the gifts restriction and prohibition, allowing County Commissioners to accept accommodations to attend official events and functions that are provided for, or arranged by, state, regional, national, and international organizations, including the National Association of Counties (NACo) and the Florida Association of Counties (FAC), which promote the exchange of information or the professional development of elected public officials, thereby saving Broward County the cost or potential cost of such attendance.

Fiscal Impact

Fiscal Impact/Cost Summary:

Fiscal Impact Statement by Office of Management and Budget attached as Exhibit 3.

See also:
for the Motion to Direct and Motion to Adopt requested by Comm. Lieberman and
County Attorney Jeffrey Newton.


In case the link to Bob Norman's column of last Monday above -which mentioned Hallandale Beach mayor Joy Cooper- doesn't work for you:

Our Politicians at the Trough

By Bob Norman


Speaking of ducks, if only South Florida news reporters would start paying closer attention and boning-up on the context and backstory of these sorts of stories, maybe even showing-up en masse to the County Commission meetings just to humor citizens like myself, and started channeling Le Canard enchaîné.

Of course, the Chained Duck intentionally has very limited info on le Internet, which they explain away thusly at

ais notre métier, c'est d'informer et de distraire nos lecteurs, avec du papier journal et de l'encre. C'est un beau métier qui suffit à occuper notre équipe."
But our job is to inform and entertain our readers, with newsprint and ink. It is a wonderful profession that's sufficient to occupy our team.

If only the Sun-Sentinel and Herald were both like-minded and high-minded, and focused their energies on the very large task before them in Broward County, a target-rich environment for corruption with a Capital "C" rather than waste their resources. But no.

Miami TV news reporters have no such excuses.

Instead, the latter do "news stories" on eyelash operations, or get sucked into doing stories on bus shelter advertising signs bought by Hollywood film studios to promote an upcoming film with the word "virgin" in it, which got on the air last night on Channel 4 at 11:11 p.m.

Which only makes me ask:
If a dog chases its own tail, is that news?
As we all know from personal viewing experience, in South Florida TV circles, dogs that chase their own tails are golden!

Examining a music phenomenon: ABC News Nightline's Chris Connelly interviews pop sensation Justin Bieber: "The Business of Being Bieber"

The Business of Being Bieber 07:55
We're backstage with teen idol and pop sensation Justin Bieber.

When I saw last Tuesday that ABC News Nightline would be doing a segment that night on teen singer Justin Bieber, I must admit that I was of two minds about actually watching it.

The first was the old default attitude that I grew-up with as a guy coming of age in the 1970's, one that had usually proven so accurate, which was that if 95% of a singer's fan base consisted of young teenage girls, with posters in their bedrooms of unicorns, or, if they were REALLY wild, posters of unicorns AND whomever the singer/group was -Bay City Rollers, perhaps?- chances were pretty good that most self-respecting teenage guys would NOT respect them as an artist.

History is replete with examples proving this music & social theorem so there's no point in my
kicking that can all over again.
And certainly every news video I've seen of Bieber over the past year prior to last Tuesday, if I even paid attention to it, showed that his fan base was... well, about as expected, albeit perhaps with less unicorn posters these days, and in the U.K., probably also including posters of girl group, The Saturdays. http://www.thesaturdays.co.uk/

On the other hand, for all of Bieber's apparent popularity, and knowing who he was, I'd never actually listened to one of Bieber's songs, since I don't actually listen to Miami's FM radio stations and couldn't name one of his songs to save my life, though I could, to save my life, name the entire Dolphins' or Orioles' 1972 roster, or recount key plays, good and bad, from closely following the Dolphins since 1970 and the Hurricanes from 1973, in-person at the Orange Bowl, complete with commentary on the sights and sounds around me.

Yeah, if my life depended on it, I could even tell you which teams baseball Hall-of-Famer Grover Cleveland Alexander pitched for and why the legacy of his greatness and toughness can never be challenged.
Or tell you that the semi-fictionalized biopic on him, starring Ronald Reagan and Doris Day, was much better and more accurate than 75% of the sports-themed films made in the past thirty years. http://www.tcm.com/video/videoPlayer/?cid=319902&titleId=12906
(Or more honest and heartfelt than anything Alex Rodriguez will ever say or do.)

But Justin Bieber, well, he might as well have been the 2010 Slovakian contestant for the Eurovision Song Contest.

Except, of course, that I might've actually heard of THEM, for reasons that I've previously discussed here in discussing my music interests and education, such as it is.

In fact,
in a March 7th post about Timoteij, I even included the original version Kristina Pelakova did of Horehronie, this catchy song that I was humming to myself over-and-over
after first seeing the national entry video.

I found myself humming it while stuck at red lights or in check-out lines at stores, which, living around here, means that I was doing a LOT of humming.
And once it's in your head, that's it -it's there forever.

But then who doesn't love great singing with flutes and drums?

That post of mine five months ago also included an interesting fan video of the song that featured a scenic travelogue of that part of central Slovakia, with its verdant hills and beautiful mountains, which, then as now, seems so very, very far from here and our gridlocked traffic next to oh-so ugly buildings.

Here's Kristina Pelakova performing Horehronie at Eurovision in Oslo back in May with her dancers and musicians.

(I mentioned in March that a former housemate of mine now work for the U.S. State Dept. in Slovakia, so I'm a little more conscious of things going on there than I was before.)

On the other hand, any thirteen-year old kid who has the self-confidence to pull a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey when he meets and auditions for one of his idols, Usher, can't be all bad.
I will give him props for that!

And at sixteen, for better or worse, he seems intent on ignoring YES Men and is going to do things his way, however that winds up in the end years from now.
Kudos to the kid.


Chris Connelly
bio: http://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=4853214

Kristina Pelakova: http://www.eurovision.tv/event/artistdetail?song=24973&event=1503

Background on the song, Horehronie, and the effect of it.

Monday, August 30, 2010

BBC 5 live's Bryan Alexander's behind-the-scenes special from Eastlands on Manchester City FC from last Thursday

Football Daily podcast, 26/08/2010

Brian Alexander spent a day behind the scenes at Eastlands, speaking to Roberto Mancini and also Brian Marwood, Manchester City's chief football operations officer, who gives an intriguing insight into life at the richest club in the world.


Manchester City v Liverpool extended highlights - Video - Manchester City FC

This was a beautifully played game, the best Man City has looked in ages! And the triangle passes were like a training video, with Liverpool channeling the Washington Generals, the perpetual opponents of the Harlem Globestrotters.

Official Manchester City FC website:
A lot more honest than the Dolphins website!

Official Barclay's
Premier League website:

5 live Football Daily homepage
: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0070hx6

Miami Herald's leadership foolishly ignores 1990 advice of its own respected columnist by pretending important news only happens in Miami. Nope!

My comments after the column exactly 20 years old this weekend, by Bill Braucher, the Miami Herald's Miami Dolphins beat columnist from the glory days of the early 1970's, and after some years in Cincinnati at the Post, a Broward County general columnist and editor for the Herald from the early 1980's-1991.

Now THERE was a guy who knew what he was talking about!


Miami Herald


August 26, 1990
By Bill Braucher

Broward County is full of surprises.

Malls spring up where cattle grazed yesterday. Neighbors vanish overnight.

Construction detours keep motorists guessing, particularly commuting prisoners of the moonscape that is Interstate 95. Crawling in makeshift lanes under cranes and bulldozers, traffic hostages seem resigned to I-95 jackhammers grinding for their lifetimes.

In 11 years under the same Davie roof, qualifying me for pioneer status compared to the surrounding transition, I have had six sets of immediate neighbors and four dogs. I wake up to find them going or coming.

Even in the bedroom communities of West Broward, where families dominate, restlessness is evident. County records reflect homeowner changes involving about 25 percent of the population.

Once blessed by nominal taxes compared to assessments in Dade County, which many fled, Broward's relative newcomers face realities of rapid growth and the attendant need for government services. But they keep coming.

New home buyers in the sprawling community of Weston, where Broward meets the Everglades, got a big surprise this year. Their district taxes soared 600 percent, from $50 to about $300 on the average.

Poverty is no factor in Weston, an Arvida project of six- figure homes amid imported palms and well- trimmed greenery. Even the 7-Elevens look expensive.

Still, targets of the assessments were not amused. The increase had nothing to do with county or school or maintenance taxes inevitably rising with the population growth.

Rather, the Weston hike illustrated the free rein developers continue to enjoy, including pocketbook domination of Broward politics.

Weston's roads, sewers and lush ambience were products of the Indian Trace Community Development District, one of 14 county drainage districts operating like medieval fiefdoms with rules of their own and accountability to no government entity.

To accommodate developers draining the Everglades for communities like Weston, Indian Trace floated bonds.

When the bonds came due this year, homeowners were handed the tabs. They could hardly be blamed for resenting the costs hidden in their closing arrangements.

But they had no say in the matter, because members of drainage districts vote for board members by acres. Thus, Arvida cast 7,017 votes at last November's election for the undeveloped land the company still owns. Irwin Richmond, schoolteacher and Weston homeowner, came in with one vote for his acre.

Defenders of the environment are more concerned, not only with wetlands drainage but also with an overall county pattern of development at any cost. Broward is losing its natural surroundings.

The core of outnumbered environmental defenders is composed mostly of longtime residents who envision their surroundings in the rural perspective they once enjoyed, rather than urban sprawl the county has become -- 28 cities, road congestion that is apparently unmanageable during the winter tourist season, and a population spreading across the county's 1,211 square miles toward a 2 million count by the start of the next century. The projection seemed impossible only a dozen years ago.

From 1960 to 1970, Broward experienced an 85.7 percent growth rate. In the decade ending in 1980, the rate was 64.2 percent. About a third of those numbers were retirees, predominantly New Yorkers settling in condominiums that rose
from the Atlantic shores to the Everglades in a building frenzy encouraged by tax-coveting politicians.

With the rates of growth came crime, the bulk of it related to the crack cocaine scourge and an overwhelmed criminal justice system.

The county recorded 115 slayings and 6,202 aggravated assaults last year.
The jails are not large enough to hold the candidates, notably after Sheriff Nick Navarro conducts the periodic drug sweeps that have gained him national recognition. Navarro enjoys political clout rare for his office, perhaps unknown for a lawman since the Sheriff of Nottingham pursued Robin Hood.

Navarro's power is so visible that the Florida Legislature this year enacted a law enabling him to erect massive tents for his prisoner surplus.

He has appeared with Geraldo, and even made Ted Koppel's Nightline during a bizarre episode in June in which his deputies arrested two members of the rap band 2 Live Crew for expounding on below-the-belt lyrics at a Hollywood nightclub.

The Crew's output was deemed obscene, in an interpretation of a vague state statute that the defendants plan to continue contesting in the courts, presumably as long as the group's notoriety keeps selling records.

Navarro's action was abetted by an unprecedented judicial ruling that the band's efforts were indeed obscene. Sales of its album, As Nasty as They Wanna Be, were banned in Broward. Record-shop violators faced arrests, to both the amusement and indignation of liberals.

While Navarro takes criticism, the sheriff knows that his well-publicized actions are popular with a large segment of a populace seeing his office as a force against a drug-related criminal element undermining traditional values and moral integrity. Navarro gets elected by landslides, which seem to be his bottom line.

No more conservative faction exists than in Fort Lauderdale, the county's largest and best-known city. Ironically, the city gained national repute by catering for years to a college spring-break crowd dedicated to reckless abandon and beer-drinking bouts on the spacious beachfront, featured in the forgettable film, Where the Boys Are.

It took city commissioners several years, but they succeeded in discouraging the collegians while making a pitch for tourist families seeking a more wholesome environment.

George Hanbury, the new city manager, plans to speed a long-delayed proposal to spend $150 million on beach redevelopment. The new face would include a cluster of hotels, townhouses, retail shops and restaurants on 33 acres where the boys once romped.

In line with upscale planning, a $7.4 million Riverwalk project nears completion in midtown, and the Downtown Development Authority keeps trying amid an anti-tax sentiment to get a $9 million bond referendum approved in the interests of further sophistication through high rises.

An opposite trend seems afoot in Hollywood, where Mayor Mara Giulianti's development ambitions were dashed in a startling upset that put the conservative Sal Oliveri in the mayor's office in March, backed by an old-Hollywood faction calling itself People Against Concrete.

The city's veterans prefer to keep the small-town ambience of Young Circle as is, interrupting U.S. 1 traffic flow and complete with a bandshell evoking visions of The Music Man among the homeless park drifters and empty storefronts aggravating the progressive element.

The same caution is evident in addressing the future of Hollywood's spectacular stretch of beaches, the largest expanse of undeveloped sand in South Florida, particularly South Beach. Its easy ambience and tacky shops have proved magnets for swimmers, strollers and Canadian winter visitors welcomed by the Maple Leaf in addition to the Stars and Stripes adorning motels and restaurants.

Farther south, Gulfstream Park in Hallandale functions in winters as a hub of tourist activity. The racetrack's success has relegated Hialeah Park, once the queen of America's tracks, to the verge of oblivion. Gulfstream's brisk business reflects both tourist destinations and the shift of a more prosperous permanent population north to Broward's greener pastures.

If the pastures are deceiving to some, with taxes rising and jobs scarcer and the state's Growth Management Act curbing development while causing home prices to rise, a stranger would not suspect it.

As steadily as the disenchanted move out, they are replaced and augmented with such consistency that the county's documented population of 1.2 million may well top 1.5 by the time 1990 census tabulations are completed.


How many times have I written here about the common knowledge in the year 2010 that as the physical, economic and political environment around you changes, you either have to adapt to them to remain relevant and compelling to consumers who have more choices than ever, or you fall by the wayside and become an embarrassing anachronism? Too many to count, right, especially in regard to South Florida?

Question: Who has done a worse job of keeping up with all the changes in Broward County than the Miami Herald, with David Landsberg as publisher, and South Florida local TV news operations that enjoy technology that makes their jobs easier than ever, but who can't be reliably counted-upon to show-up when real news is taking place?

Consider the following and add it to the equation.

South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Broward Politics blog
Change in media is altering the political game
By Anthony Man
August 27, 2010 09:45 AM

The dramatic changes in the news media are having an effect on the way politics is practiced.

It’s a profound change, said Jack Furnari of Boca Raton, a conservative activist who’s active in the Republican Party, serves as a political consultant for some candidates, and is a sometime-opinion journalist himself in the blogosphere.

“This [election] cycle is going to change the way a lot of campaigns are run,” Furnari said.

Read the rest of the post at:


The Ellyn Bogdanoff-Carl Domino fight for the Florida State Senate 25 GOP nomination cited above is a very good example of a much-neglected media story, but so is local Miami TV stations almost completely ignoring the District 8 and District 9 Broward County Commission primary election campaigns.

I never once saw District 8's Barbara Sharief or District 9's Dale Holness on TV Tuesday night after they won.
In fact, I never saw Holness on TV before the election, either!


I literally would not recognize his face or his voice if he walked up to me today.

So is that my fault or the South Florida news media's?

In any case, because of the demographics of this county, both candidates stand a great chance of being elected Broward County commissioners in nine weeks despite almost zero serious analysis or discussion of their professional qualifications or personal temperament, which is not exactly the way they taught civics in textbooks when I was growing up, to the extent it was taught at all.
But it is the current state of civics in South Florida.

Having been largely ignored by the South Florida news media and the Broward political flacks and operatives who roam around this county, especially the really condescending Queen Bees of these two groups, if they win, do you really imagine that there won't be consequences for those who were so over-the-top oblivious to what was going on right in front of them?

Yes, karma is a bitch that way, and
revenge is a dish best served cold.

As was so ably articulated in one of the best episodes ever of Northern Exposure when Ed Chigliak was describing the ups-and-downs of success and the caste system in Hollywood:
"It's worse than dog eat dog. It's dog doesn't return other dog's phone calls."

There are a lot of you out there whose phone calls won't be returned in the future.

And you know who you are.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Film Trailer: The American, starring George Clooney, directed by Anton Corbijn, opening Wednesday Sept. 1st

The American, starring George Clooney, Violante Placido and Thekla Reuten Directed by Anton Corbijn.
Opening on Wednesday, September 1st, 2010.

Anton Corbijn's entertaining on-set blog, with great photos is at

Filmed in Abruzzo, Italy
: http://www.abruzzoturismo.it//tourism/index.php?&lan=en

The American Featurette:

Trailer #1

Trailer #2

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Miami Herald is channeling Pony Express in its reporting on Broward School Board elections from four days ago. But it's the year 2010!

My comments below the article.

re http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/08/27/1794357/broward-school-board-election.html
Posted on Friday, 08.27.10
Broward School Board election results still in doubt

Late Thursday, the Broward County elections canvassing board was still counting provisional ballots to determine the outcome of a School Board election.

School Board Chairwoman Jennifer Gottlieb, in the race to retain her countywide seat, received 50.01 percent of the vote in Tuesday's primary.

To avoid a runoff, Gottlieb had to win 50 percent plus 1 vote.

Because of the closeness, the elections department opted to meet to determine if Gottlieb had met the threshold.

Gottlieb would face political newcomer Susan Madori in November if there is a runoff.

For updates, visit www.MiamiHerald.com.



It's now 4:55 p.m. on Saturday the 28th as I write this and there is
STILL no updated information since Thursday on an election that took place on Tuesday.
In two hours, the polls will have been closed for four days,
96 hours.

Perhaps this should be the signal to the Herald that it's time -FINALLY- for them to bite the bullet and actually have an Education blog that covers both Miami-Dade and Broward, because the manner in which these Broward School Board elections have been reported in the Herald is completely unsatisfactory.

There's no doubt that the Broward Supervisor of Elections is driving this effort but four days later, isn't there already sufficient evidence for some public criticism of the snail's pace?

And, as I wrote in an email to folks I know the other day, where were the updates on the Herald website between late Tuesday night and Wednesday night?
There weren't

Not a single one.

I know that because I was actively looking for them.
Along with some actual fact-based reporting in stories on why things went the way they did in the various School Board districts plus the At-Large race.

And so here we are, frozen in place in the fourth-largest county in the fourth-largest state in the U.S.A., still waiting for some smoke signals from Andrews Avenue.
That's where we live.

Is this because we have a primary election in late August instead of the last week of September, so everyone is moving in slow-motion?

USA Today commercial from mid-1980's reminds me of the girl who got away: How I (Almost) Met Your Mother -and she was a newspaper industry executive

La Bilson is very definitely the Gold standard with me... Rachel Bilson

USA Today commercial from mid-1980's.

I was living in Evanston Illinois, just a few blocks from Northwestern University and Lake Michigan when this USA Today commercial was heavily promoted on TV.

A few years later, after I moved to the Washington, D.C. area and was living in Arlington County, VA, where I remained for 15 years, I constantly lived within three miles -and often eyesight of- the twin towers in Rosslyn at
1100 Wilson Boulevard, formerly called the Gannett/USA Today building, with its great views of D.C. and the Potomac River.

That is, until they foolishly moved away from being only one block SE of an underground D.C. Metro train station, which was incredibly convenient for employees and people needing to go over there, and headed west to auto-centric Tyson's Corner in Fairfax County.


After doing some research projects for the paper starting with a 1988 election project, I eventually fell in love with a
Gannett middle-manager whom I constantly kept running into in the morning and at lunch at one of the many little stores and restaurants located in the lobbies adjoining the huge escalators.
These stores made the building feel more like a small city, unlike so many of the bland office buildings with atriums I've seen in South Florida that are SO uninviting and have a bad retail mix.

The object of my affection bore a striking resemblance to an actress I particularly liked, and had a very friendly and endearing voice on the few occasions I'd heard it, so my radar was finely tuned whenever she was nearby.

I was absolutely convinced I could recognize her laugh from across a crowded room!
Plus, she loved college basketball!

Like the way an IU or UK fan loves college basketball, but she didn't go to a big sports school, which made it all the more endearing.
One fall morning I swung by one of the small stores in the building I frequented on my way to the area I worked out of when I was there and the owner noticed me subtly looking around while I had some newspapers under my arm, and was trying to decide what sort of drink to buy -cold or hot.

Yes, Mr. Obvious!

He looked at me and said, "I think I know who you are looking for."

Then, like he'd been rehearsing it for hours, he handed me a business card with her contact info on it, with a note in an envelope attached by a small black metal binder clip, like the millions of them I had in my desk drawer and would toy with while talking on the phone.

On the note she had written that she'd been doing some detective work on me and heard some very good things about me from people she trusted, would be going out-of-town for about a week for some newspaper industry-related shindig, then would be visiting her family...
and, oh by the way, would I be interested in going with her to the big Eagles-Redskins game at RFK in two weeks time?

You could have knocked me over with a feather!

And the rest is history... well, at least for a few years anyway.
Yes kids, that's how many great romance stories start in Washington -with an educated and calculated move- he said, sounding like Ted Mosby doing the voice-over narration from an episode of "How I Met Your Mother."

That doesn't seem to be the style down here, which is a pity for all concerned.
Fickle fate is nobody's friend.


The "How I Met Your Mother" season premiere is Monday, September 20th at 8 p.m. Eastern. (The ESPN Monday Night Football game that night is Saints at 49ers.)
I genuinely hope there's much more Rachel Bilson in the show's future other than a few minutes here-and-there, as Hallandale Beach Blog loves, loves, loves La Bilson!

First Look: Rachel Bilson Heads Back to HIMYM For Season 6

New York Post's Page Six Magazine
The Fashion Issue starring Rachel Bilson

By Amy Spencer
Bilson's Divine Inspiration
On The O.C. and in real life, Rachel Bilson launched a million fashion crushes with her unique but subtle sex-bomb style. Now the actress—who talks to Page Six Magazine about everything from Coco Chanel to Hayden Christensen—is making it easy for copycats to steal her look, in her new role as a designer.
Read the rest of the story at:
The photos are great, oui?
ooh la la la Bislson

Poor Maurice Ferre - He never imagined his political career would end with him losing to the likes of a no-talent like Kendrick Meek; The lasting ethical lessons of the late Bill Sadowski, the FL pol who might've fundamentally changed FL for the better if he'd ever been elected Governor

Above, August 24, 2010 photo of Maurice Ferre for U.S. Senate poster on A1A in Hollywood, FL by South Beach Hoosier.At some point over the past three days, Maurice Ferre must've surely wondered to himself: "How did it happen that my political career ended losing to the likes of a no-talent like Kendrick Meek?"

How could he not?

Once upon a time, if you has asked "the experts" around the Sunshine State which Hispanic-surnamed Florida politician was most-likely to get elected to the U.S. Senate first, the vast majority of them would have said Maurice Ferre, hands down, even if they didn't like that prospect personally.

Mel Martinez?
Who the hell is that?

But fate, circumstances and reality intervene and... well, things don't always work out the way you thought they would, and many people who thought it would happen for Ferre at least twenty-five years ago now see it will never happen.

I got to wondering about that not long after I'd voted on Tuesday in the Florida Democratic primary over at the Hallandale Beach Cultural Center, and was on my way up to Hollywood to see what was going on up at Hollywood Beach, since it was so dead outside the polls in HB.

In a just a few minutes I was up at the Hollywood Cultural and Community Center on State RoadA1A/South Ocean Drive and Azalea Terrace, which is connected to a Broward County Library Reading Room, un mignon of a library.
(Extra credit if you're reading this now and recall that "Mignon" was the name of Lisa Douglas's dog the first year she and Oliver lived in Hooterville in the fabulous "Green Acres," one of my all-time favorite TV shows.)

It was while walking around the center and looking for something interesting to shoot besides the sweating campaign workers milling around that I first spotted the Maurice Ferre campaign sign taped to a post, the first time I'd seen one anywhere in Southeast Broward County.
Which is telling of how things have gone.

And it was then and there that it hit me how Ferre must feel after all his years in politics and that famous line of T.S. Elliot finally crashing down upon him: Not with a bang but a whimper.

All August 24th, 2010 photos below by South Beach Hoosier.

Sometimes, when I see how clueless everyone in Tallahassee seems to be to the reality of the bleak economic circumstances of this state and the lack of strong articulate leadership, some of it a direct result of their ill-informed and backwards policies, I think about what if... Bill Sadowski hadn't died in that plane crash in 1992, and was governor now?

Instead, we have in Gov. Charlie Crist, the most self-involved and selfish governor since my family moved to this state in 1968, a person for whom ambition is, for now, a substitute for a well-developed personality, though in that regard, as we all know to our regret, he has much in common with far too many elected officials in South Florida, who long ago gave up the ghost for serving others before themselves, as well as many who now seek to gain office locally.

The myopic political hacks with their palms out-stretched who are like kudzu to our civic dreams and responsibilities, forever getting themselves entwined in places they don't belong.

In my mind, none of Crist's wannabe replacements are half the caliber of a Bill Sadowski.

Instead, we have myopic, self-involved, genuflecting, flawed mental midgets as far as the eye can see.
Quel dommage!

St. Petersburg Times
The legacy of Bill Sadowski
By Martin Dyckman
March 21, 2004

TALLAHASSEE - Whenever someone writes about how much lobbyists spend to influence the Legislature - as my colleague Lucy Morgan did this month - the winers and diners plaintively insist that they don't discuss actual legislation over good food and drink. It's only about getting to know one another, they say.

That's probably true. But it misses the point.

As the lobbyist and legislator perfect their friendship, it's awfully easy for both of them to forget who's not at the table. You have to suspend belief in human nature to accept the notion that this doesn't matter when the time comes to vote.

Not a workday goes by during a session without at least one major lobby hosting a luncheon, cocktail reception or dinner. The biggest by far is the grand garden party Associated Industries stages at its palace just a few doors from the governor's mansion on the evening before the Legislature convenes. Thousands of people go to see and be seen, and to take note of which lobbies are paying for it.

The late Frank Trippett, this newspaper's first bureau chief in Tallahassee, captured the significance in his 1967 book, The States: United They Fell:

"By providing and financing lavish entertainment (liquor, women, breakfasts, lunches, dinners, banquets, balls) the true constituency establishes itself as the host at the state Capitol. It dramatizes its position as the well-spring of bounty and power and affluence, and by casting the Legislature in the role of guest it dramatizes through the social charade the command which it exercises over the Legislature in other substantial ways . . . By accepting the role of guest the Legislature similarly dramatizes its actual role as an intimate and affectionately subservient adjunct of the true constituency."

Once in a while there are legislators who don't play the role. One of the best of them was Bill Sadowski of Miami, who served in the House from 1976 to 1982, when he chose to leave so that he could watch his children grow up, and who died in a plane crash in 1992 while serving as Gov. Lawton Chiles' secretary of community affairs. He was only 48.

He had never allowed the lobbyists to buy him meals or drinks, but that didn't mean he disrespected them. To the contrary, he wrote a 16-point creed for legislative service in which respect for the right to lobby was high on the list.

Lobbyists were perfectly welcome in his office but he thought it was better for everyone if they kept the relationship at arm's length. He brought his family to Tallahassee every session and went home to them instead of to the party circuit. Invited to the home of an old friend who had become a lobbyist, he refused to go until his wife, Jean, persuaded him that taking a bottle of Grand Marnier would set it right.

"He felt like there's a place for lobbyists, but you don't have to do wining and dining," she explained the other day.

If you were to ask the veteran lobbyists, I think they'd tell you they never met a legislator they respected more than Bill Sadowski.

And here's an encouraging sign about the future of your Florida House of Representatives. On the second day of the session, Majority Leader Marco Rubio, R-West Miami, put on every member's desk a copy of the 16 principles that Bill wrote in 1982 for freshman members of the Miami-Dade delegation.

These are some of them: "Always respect another person's right to hold their own views . . . Avoid taking a position on an issue until you have talked to persons on both sides of the issue . . . Do not rely on others to adequately educate you on an issue. They will frequently have a bias . . . Public office is a public trust, both legally and conceptually. Never violate that trust . . . Your family is a source of strength and a point of real world contact. Preserve and protect that strength at all costs . . . You have two constituencies: one that elects you and one that you serve. The one that you serve consists of all the citizens of Florida . . . You are a politician in a democracy. Take pride in that. Use your office to generate public debate on important issues of the day."

Rubio, who never met Sadowski, said he was impressed by the creed because "They're great ideas." This matters because Rubio, 34, is in line to be House speaker for the two years beginning November 2007. He couldn't find better advice on how to use that power.

Though he supports term limits, he acknowledges that "one of the things you lose is access to mentors . . . to individuals who are grounded in the system." He particularly regrets that few legislators seem to take the time to know each other as people before they find themselves doing battle across a committee table. Sadowski's creed speaks to all that.

Because of term limits, there are no House members and only four senators who were here when Florida's affordable housing act was named for him, posthumously, in honor of his efforts to enact it. Let's hope his creed guides them as they vote on whether to let the governor kill the trust fund and siphon off the money.

#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 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 looks like, up close, here's yet another Brazilian beauty to connect-the-dots for you: Gisele Bündchen, aka @Gisele.

Abençoado por Deus e bonito por natureza!✨ ������

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View of Rio De Janeiro from my room.

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