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Thursday, October 21, 2010
Reminder: Hallandale Beach P&Z meeting on Peter Deutsch's Ben Gamla Hebrew Charter School is Wednesday the 27th at 1:30 p.m.
The next formal step in Ben Gamla Hebrew Charter School founder Peter Deutsch's attempt to cram a Middle School & High School version of Ben Gamla Hebrew Charter School into a single-family residential neighborhood in NE Hallandale Beach will be the Hallandale Beach P&Z meeting on Wednesday October 27 at 1:30 p.m. in the Hallandale Beach City Hall Commission Chambers.
Get there early, since the Ben Gamla parents from Tamarac, Sunrise, Plantation, Fort Lauderdale, Weston, Pembroke Pines and the rest of the county will descend en masse, yet again, to tell HB residents one more time what we HAVE to do.
Yes, they do rather love to lecture us, don't they, that is, when they aren't patronizing us or maligning the schools in this city?
That Peter Deutsch & Co. will make millions a year is beside the point we're told, just like the fact that less than 10% of any kids there will actually be from this city.
You know, where they want to locate the school.
Which means it's not really a community school, is it?
Given his past, often-repetitive comments about opportunity, you'd think that just on principle alone, that would make HB Comm. Anthony A. Sanders quite angry, and very eager to see that ANY charter schools in this city accurately reflect the demographic reality of THIS city's school children.
In this city, given the still-large but decreasing number of retirees, that's African-American and Hispanic kids. Everyone knows this.
But on this issue, as has been the case with him on so many over the past two years, where is Sanders, knowing as well as we ALL do that there are plenty of vacant, larger places in HB -or elsewhere- better-suited for this proposal, than this family neighborhood on a secondary street that consistently floods when a cloud comes over it?
When he first ran for City Commission two years ago, after he was hand-picked and installed as interim commissioner by Mayor Joy Cooper in a completely un-democratic process that was completely counter to the already-established process the city had used to fill short-term vacancies -the very one that led to Keith London becoming a commissioner in the first place- Sanders often said that he was going to be a "voice" for positive change, not an echo of the status quo, remember?
That's what Sanders said and that's what the editorial boards of the Miami Herald and South Florida Sun-Sentinel implied (and desperately wanted to believe) in their surprising election endorsements of him, which many of us strongly questioned, then and now.
Frankly, it's almost as if they liked the abstract idea of Sanders more than the actual candidate.
Well, it hasn't quite happened as they predicted, has it?
No it hasn't.
In fact, if anything, Sanders has been quieter on the dais than he ever was when he simply appeared at city meetings as a regular citizen, regardless of the merits of what he was saying.
Why is he SO mute and SO unwilling to do his homework as a commissioner and ask genuine questions to get responsive answers, instead of his non-sequiturs?
It's embarrassing, just like with book-ends Dotty Ross and Bill Julian, whose intellectual laziness and utter lack of curiosity on the dais as commissioners are both BIG parts of the longstanding problem in this town.
Those traits are also why they are NOT part of any logical solutions to turning this city around in a tangible manner so that residents and business owners can have some degree of satisfaction that someone besides Comm. London is looking after their best long-term interests.
But London is only one vote.
To say that Ross and Julian are totally disconnected from reality is an understatement, and this is proven time-and-again as they evince complete surprise at hearing information that is
common knowledge among HB residents and business owners alike, as well as anyone paying attention.
In fact, sometimes this weakness reveals itself in especially cringe-worthy fashion as Comm. Ross reminded us of all over again last night, when the word "annually" was uttered in a discussion of the city manager's new contract, which is for $213,000 a year by the way.
Her comment, which I have on videotape, was something along the lines of "Annually? You mean like every year?"
Yes, that kind of annually!
You'll recall that I mentioned on my blog last year that Sanders left the Ben Gamla's "Community Meeting" of last year about 45 minutes into its two hours.
Yes, the very community meetings that Peter Deutsch publicly admitted a number of times last week that he'd NEVER have held if he wasn't required to by the city, since he doesn't care what the HB community thinks.
As it happens, Sanders appears to have been a no-show for last week's meeting, as nobody saw him there, including me -and I was looking.
If you want to share your thoughts with Comm. Anthony Sanders on this issue, his City Hall
phone number is (954) 457-1319.
We already know from past experience that Wednesday will be quite a chaotic and emotional scene and that HB City Hall will once again handle it poorly, not bothering to have a TV available in the City Hall lobby for overflow crowds -as they'd have at Hollywood City Hall- so if you want to see it for yourself, and actually speak your mind, you have to be there.
Today, six days before the meeting, despite numerous inquiries -or simply doing it because it's the fair thing to do- the City of Hallandale Beach has still refused to put Ben Gamla's entire formal application on the city's website for the public's examination, despite the fact that they have had the documents since June -over four months.
Meet the New city manager, Mark Antonio, same as the old city manager, Mike Good.
See for yourself at http://www.hallandalebeachfl.gov/index.aspx?nid=648
and see my recent posts about the Ben Gamla situation,
No doubt they are planning on repeating their pathetic anti-democratic template from December, when they didn't place the Diplomat LAC proposal docs on the city's website until 28 hours before the P&Z meeting.
A system where all the insiders, the lobbyists and the lawyers get to know what's going on -but not the taxpayers who have to live with the results.
That's a pertinent fact that I reminded the Broward County Commission of when I spoke before them when the proposal came before them earlier this year -TWICE- much to the chagrin of the mayor's pals and cronies in attendance, who had all spoken in favor of it.
While the County Commission and their staff had WEEKS to make sense of the many docs.
Why are Hallandale Beach taxpayers who are paying thousands of dollars a month for a third-rate, universally-reviled website, consistently the last ones to find out?
Some HB residents say those documents should have been on the city's awful website within 72 hours of being received.
Or a week.
Or a month.
But here we are, four months later, and there's still NOTHING for taxpayers to look at -FOUR MONTHS.
That's not by accident, that's by design.
Like so many other things in this poorly-run city that are intentionally done with stealth, deception and mendacity, that's the way that Mayor Cooper and the three-member Rubber Stamp Crew want it, otherwise, they'd direct City Manager Mark Antonio to change it.
They haven't done that, have they?
There's your story.
If you want to personally call Mark Antonio and ask him why the Ben Gamla application and associated documents STILL aren't on the taxpayer-funded website for the citizen taxpayers of this city to examine, his City Hall phone number is (954) 457-1300
The City Hall phone number for Development Services director Richard Cannone is (954) 457-1375.
Ask them why they and the mayor seem so afraid of a level playing field on PUBLIC information.
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