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. 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.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Why won't Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper follow the rules and let the people in Golden Isles vote? Some rare logic & reason re the Oct. 19th Golden Isles meeting

Above, October 19, 2010 photograph by
South Beach Hoosier of Part C-1, TERM
of the "Protective Covenants relating to the residential section of Golden Isles" in Hallandale Beach, FL effective May 26, 1959.

The key area for you to consider is
"unless an instrument signed by a majority of the then owners of the lots has been recorded, agreeing to change said covenants in whole or in part."

What could possibly be simpler?
In order to change any aspect of the covenants, you need 51%.

Every homeowner in the Golden Isles section of Hallandale Beach has a copy of these rules.

But certain people living in Golden Isles don't want to follow these rules, and that includes the mayor of this city, Joy Cooper, the current President of the Florida League of Cities, and many of her friends and neighbors.

They want to go around the written rules they had already agreed to.
Not surprisingly, a LOT of people don't like that idea one bit, and for good reason.

Below is an email that I wrote and distributed on Wednesday afternoon throughout Hallandale Beach, Broward County, South Florida and beyond to some concerned Floridians, elected officials and news media regarding the very curious and queer SRO public meeting that I attended (and videotaped) on Tuesday night at Hallandale Beach City Hall.

It was one of the oddest public meetings I have attended of the dozens I've gone to throughout South Florida over the past seven years since returning to South Florida after 15 years living and working in the Washington, D.C. area.

In fact, it may be THE oddest, since it was the most obvious failure, though the Miami-Dade County hearing I attended in early 2009 on proposed public financing of a Marlins Stadium had been the leader up 'til now.

That was the public hearing where Chairman Dennis Moss refused to allow the hundreds of citizens in attendance
at the M-D Commission Chambers in downtown Miami to watch the City of Miami's public hearing with the Marlins' David Samson -the reason for the long delay where we were, and its eventual postponement -after a few hours of nothing happening- on the large TV screens in the Commission Chambers, even though the staff, commissioners and news media could watch it in their offices or the next door media room.

But for the assembled citizens, Moss delivered an emphatic

Dennis Moss compounded the basic problem by lying to the public (and the hordes of news media) by saying that it wasn't technically possible, even though county employees I spoke to there said it would only take a few seconds to do it.

Plain and simple, Dennis Moss didn't want the South Florida public to know what was going on at that other hearing.

This was the smug, elitist and entitled attitude I saw displayed by
Comm. Moss in a taxpayer-funded room in a taxpayer-funded building, where everything you see is something that taxpayers paid for, including the very equipment the M-D commissioners, staff and news media watched the City of Miami meeting on!

A fact that the dutiful South Florida news media conveniently ignored, as usual.

You bet I want to see Dennis Moss recalled by Miami-Dade County voters, with Norman Braman's help and leadership.
I only wish I could legally sign the petition!

As for v
oter recall in Hallandale Beach, it'll be here sooner than you think...

Tuesday night's meeting in Hallandale Beach was held to discuss some news regarding proposed changes to the status quo in the
Golden Isles section of southeast Hallandale Beach, which is a separate taxing district for certain purposes, and which has a security gatehouse at its entrance
on Layne Blvd., though anyone can still enter since it's on a public road.

But what Tuesday night's meeting most resembled was a failed pep rally, run by supporters of HB mayor Joy Cooper and her cronies.
That's because that's exactly what it was.

My email below appears exactly as sent, minus a few cleaned-up typos and a few things I've completely spelled out in order to make it clearer for blog readers.

Wednesday October 10th, 2010

I commend to you the common sense email, below, from attorney David C. Barnett, a resident of Hallandale Beach who seems able to see what most of the city residents attending last night's meeting at HB City Hall could see with their own eyes: an attempted hijacking of democracy by a small clique under the guise of maintaining high-property values.

Mayor Joy Cooper
and Comm. Keith London, both of whom live in Golden Isles, were precluded from speaking publicly on this issue at last night's meeting -which I videotaped- because it could/will come before the Hallandale Beach City Commission in Dec. or Jan. if approved by the Hallandale Beach Planning & Zoning Board.

Not that this stopped Harry Cooper, the mayor's husband, from speaking and blaming Comm. London, who was responsible for the large turnout of residents last night by informing and educating people about the possible long-term ramifications of what is being proposed, which from Harry Cooper's personal p.o.v., necessarily, makes his wife look bad.
But if that is the reality, and it is, it's true whether he likes it or not.
Having carefully read the documents provided, including the covenants involved, it's pretty clear that there needs to be an election of the homeowners in the Golden Isles taxing district, which will be approved if 51% say yes.
In fact, it says EXACTLY that.
The powers-that-be among the two self-selecting Golden Isles groups that met last night at City Hall are chock-a-block full of Joy Cooper supporters, and don't think they can reach that low threshold -and even said so.

But rather than follow the proscribed rules, and take their chances with an election, they are trying to go thru the backdoor and have the city take care of things, even though that will be an expense that the entire city will be asked to pay for.

Naturally, thanks to the mayor's efforts at mis-direction, the rest of the city doesn't know anything about this, or that they are going to have to pay for the enforcement of these Golden Isles-specific rules that they no longer do, as Mr. Barnett correctly states below, despite how many times Cooper family friend Gerry Natelson calls them the same rules.

As it happens, his daughter, Sheryl Natelson, is on the city's P&Z Board.
(Guess who appointed her?)
She's one of the two geniuses on the city's P&Z board who threatened to have me removed by the Hallandale Beach Police from a public P&Z meeting last year for... taking photos of the Board at a public meeting!

From about 50 feet away.

At a public meeting where I was one of only three citizens present in the entire HB Cultural Center.

Natelson's yet another attorney in HB who doesn't understand or doesn't like the state's Sunshine Laws, just like City Attorney David Jove, who for years has looked the other way at what was going on right in front of him, regardless of how badly it illegally disadvantages the citizen taxpayers of this community, because that's what Mayor Cooper and former
City Manager Mike Good wanted.

I'm hardly sharing Breaking News when I tell you that it's the opinion of the majority of concerned and well-informed people in HB that Jove's number-one priority is keeping his job. Period.
Just saying...
If this situation is going to be handled fairly and legally, the residents of that special taxing district need to have their referendum, plain and simple, and the two Golden Isles groups and Mayor Cooper need to STOP trying to bypass THEIR OWN RULES.
And any pretense at fairness and transparency.

Why won't Mayor Joy Cooper follow the rules and let the people in Golden Isles vote on the matter?
There's your story.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Keith London
Date: Wed, Oct 20, 2010 at 12:12 PM
Subject: FW: 10/19 Meeting
To: "Commissioner, Hallandale Beach - Keith London" <klondon@hallandalebeachfl.gov>


Please read the attached email from one of your neighbors concerning the meeting last night.
Please feel free to contact me with any thoughts, comments or responses of your own.
Keith S. London
City Commissioner
Hallandale Beach
954-457-1320 Office
954-494-3182 Cellular
The email below was written by David C. Barnett and was addressed to Hallandale Beach mayor Joy Cooper and Commissioner Keith S. London.
Other than my removing their email addresses at the top of the letter, it appears exactly as sent.
Sent: Wednesday, October 20, 2010 8:19 AM
Subject: 10/19 Meeting
Barnett & Lerner, P.A.
Fighting for injured workers
Dear Keith & Joy:
It was a pleasure seeing both of you last night at the Safe Neighborhood and Overlay meeting. As you know, although I am extremely busy with my law practice, once in a while I do find the time to go to a meeting to learn about what is happening in our little town.
I found last nights meeting offensive in that there seems to be an attitude of superiority exhibited by both "voluntary" boards. I thought they were volunteering their time in order to make our neighborhood - Golden Isles - better. Rather, it is apparent there are political and power issues behind everything. With these political and power issues come costs - both hard and soft costs.
At the beginning of the Overlay meeting, Gerry Nadelson started by reminding everyone that we are a volunteer homeowners association with volunteer dues of $20.00. He went on to tell everyone that we need to have this City Overlay done in order to protect the residents of Golden Isles from the threat of litigation. Gerry stated that if we (I guess he means the ENTIRE community of Golden Isles) get sued, our dues would not provide enough money to pay an attorney to defend the lawsuit. I do not know the statistics, but I know that I am not the only attorney living in our neighborhood and I am sure that if there was a threat to Golden Isles, there would be plenty of resident lawyers who would be there to maintain our little waterfront community.
As someone who has been involved politically, on both a state and national level, it scares me to hear the "threat of litigation" as a basis for change. What we found out however, is that in 56 years, there has been maybe one (1) lawsuit. Thus, based on the foregoing, a question needs to be asked - What is the motivating factor for this requested change? The answer, although not disclosed, is very simple to see.
As everything stands now, if we, the residents of Golden Isles, have a problem or a concern over a neighbor regarding deed compliance, it is up to us as individuals or as a community to retain our own lawyer to enforce the restrictions by suing the non-compliant neighbor. Nobody wants to get sued, and quite candidly, over 56 years we have been able to keep Golden Isles residents fairly compliant with deed restriction.
By adopting this Overlay, what will really happen is that the City Attorney will now be the free private "retained" attorney by the activists within our neighborhood without any direct costs to those individual activists. We already have individuals who drive up and down the streets, inspecting everyone's home and invading privacy while others get on their boats and inspect everyone's home from the water. Essentially, we have a group of our own "SS" within our community. These individuals constantly complain, but they will not fund a lawsuit against a non-compliant neighbor either because they cannot afford it or they are concerned about the repercussions that will develop within our neighborhood. To give them access to a "free" attorney with anonymous deed compliant complaints is very scary!
If we adopt this Overlay, our Golden Isles SS group will have unlimited access to the City Attorney, at no expense to themselves individually, but rather to the expense of not only Golden Isles, but also the ENTIRE city of Hallandale Beach. Has this volunteer Overlay Board of nine actually conducted a cost analysis of this Overlay proposal. Do ALL the residents of the CIty of Hallandale - beyond just Golden Isles - know, and are they aware and in agreement, that this Overlay will result in additional costs to the City, which will have to be placed within the City budget. Where is this money going to come from - our taxes! How many more attorney's will the city need to hire in order to be responsive to the demands of the Golden Isles SS group for enforcement litigation? We need to see a true, independent, cost analysis of this Overlay, before we proceed further.
I certainly understand the frustration that Gerry, Joy and Alex may have over the home near the end of Holiday which is falling apart and is a blight on the neighborhood, but the methodology they are bringing forth is very dangerous. Not only will there be real financial costs (City attorney budget will have to go up) associated with the City Overlay, there will be the soft, emotional costs on our neighborhood. Gerry said that we "need" this Overlay as it will increase the "value" of our homes! I heard the same garbage about Gulfstream how our homes would go up in value and the people that promoted it most were actually on the payroll of either Magna, Gulfstream or Forest City, which they never revealed. In any event, values did not go up but rather, we have all experienced about a 40-50% decline in home values (I know the economy has a lot to do with it) This Overlay will NOT increase the value of our homes. I hope that this statement is challenged and I would like to see an impact study supporting such a statement. Rather, I see the value of our homes dropping with this Overlay as the Overlay will pit neighbor against neighbor when the Golden Isles SS overwhelm the City Attorney with anonymous complaints about residents of Golden Isles. Thereafter, the City will be forced to flood the Courthouse with suits filed by the City Attorney against residents of Golden Isles. This is offensive, crazy and shows the lack of insight, common sense and good judgment.
We all moved to Golden Isles because we did not want to live in a structured condo type community. We have had a nice neighborhood for 56 years without the Overlay. I do not see any upside to this proposed Overlay, only problems. This madness has to stop and we need your help to stop it.
Very truly yours,

David C. Barnett, Esquire
Barnett & Lerner, P.A.
2860 Marina Mile Blvd; Suite 105
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33312
954-920-9492 fax
888-732-7425 US Toll Free

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