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.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

You're surprised? 13 days before HB election, Alexander Lewy was ALREADY running afoul of rules -no campaign signs on City Hall land, capisce? Uncouth

Above and below, October 20th, 2010 photo by South Beach Hoosier of the Hallandale Beach Municipal Complex monument sign (the City Hall and Police Dept. HQ) off of U.S.-1/Federal Highway and S.E. 5th Street, with an Alexander Lewy campaign sign four feet away.

In the year 2010, there is no other sign on the entirety of U.S.-1 indicating what this building is, and there is NOT a single directional road sign in the entire city indicating where HB City Hall or HB Police Dept. are located.

Interestingly, and completely upside-down, as so many other things at HB City Hall are, the monument sign above faces SE even though City Hall itself is located off of south-bound U.S.-1, so you don't actually see the sign as you approach City Hall or the Police Dept., rather you only see it when you are driving the opposite direction.
Or in your rearview mirror.

And there is no entrance off of S.E. 5th Street, opposite the main HB U.S. Post Office branch.
Really.

Another embarrassing everyday legacy of Joy Cooper's ruinous reign in this ocean-side city of under 40,000 in Southeast Broward County.
And Cooper is Lewy's mentor and financial rainmaker, eager to groom him into another dependable drone vote for whatever she wants, no matter how absurd, ridiculous or financially unsound.
Grab your wallet!




Two of the many terrible personality traits that back-stabbing Hallandale Beach city commission candidate Alexander Lewy shares with his mentor, HB mayor Joy Cooper, is his rather grand sense of entitlement, and deep and abiding belief that he can get away with breaking rules of all kinds -legal, civil and social- if he just continues to ignore them.
Or, if these violations are pointed out to him, to feign innocence and act as if he is the real victim, rather than the perpetrator.

That instantaneous and almost intuitive bad feeling that people get about Lewy is one of the main reasons that so many well-informed people in this small city loathe him to a degree that would be well nigh impossible for outsiders to believe and appreciate, as Lewy seeks to use his threadbare career track record of being a "Yes man" for another "Yes man" in political office -Kendrick Meek- and his strident ambitions for himself, to get into elective office.

That his campaign, such as it is, is so self-evidently built on nothing but the emptiest of empty words and false promises, shows him to be the absolute worst sort of person you could possibly have in office.

One who wants to use the office for personal career advancement, not the social and economic advancement of the city and the citizens who live there.

That this is so transparent to so many people who have been paying close attention, is also what makes it so galling to concerned residents of the failure of a fourth (and second pro-reform) candidate to enter the race, such a very tough pill to swallow.

(But there is a very practical solution to that problem at hand which I will be discussing here soon in more detail, though not today.)

These two negative shared traits -of many I could cite here- are best shown thru concrete examples of Lewy's actions, statements and behavior, ones that anyone can recognize and understand, and in the coming days, share them I will.

Not just telling examples and anecdotes with multiple witnesses, illustrating Lewy's demonstrably bad judgment and character, but also photographic and video evidence of the sort that you simply can't refute.

In this post I want to bring your attention to something that proves "The past is predicate," just as it says on a small monument outside of The National Archives entrance on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., an amazing building that I sometimes felt I lived in when doing genealogy research on weekends.

More specifically, to buttress that maxim about the past being predicate, the fact that late last Wednesday, the 20th, as I was driving over to Hallandale Beach City Hall, after having NOT attended that afternoon's City Commission meeting, I couldn't help as I got closer all the Alexander Lewy campaign signs placed in completely inappropriate places, including on public City Hall property, not the right-of-way.




Above and below, October 20th, 2010 photo by South Beach Hoosier of the Alexander Lewy campaign sign in front of Hallandale Beach City Hall on U.S.-1/Federal Highway.


So I turned into the city hall parking lot that I have spoken about so often here, and whom do you think I saw coming towards me but my friend, HB civic activist Csaba Kulin, who had been at the city commission meeting all afternoon, and who was heading home. I told him what I had seen and asked him to walk with me over to the sidewalk along U.S.-1/Federal Highway so he could be my witness. He shook his head dismayed at what I had told him and quickly agreed to bear witness.

Well, my second witness, actually, since even before I ran into Csaba, I planned on taking photographs of all the offending signs and going into City Hall and filing a formal complaint with the Code Compliance Dept.



Above and below, October 20th, 2010 photos by South Beach Hoosier.




It was roughly between 4 and 4:30 p.m., and I was concerned that there might not be anyone available to talk to until long after 5 p.m. and didn't relish the possibility that this would go on for even longer.
I didn't know how many hours they had all been up but whatever it was, it was too long.

There are some common sense rules, even in an election, and one of them is to
NOT put signs on property where it is forbidden.

In fact, when they officially file to run and pay their fees, all the candidates are issued a doc packet about what the rules are for sign placement, sinne it's such a sensitive subject.
I have a copy of that.
Not surprisingly, City Hall property is one such place where it's forbidden, and that should be apparent to anyone.

It's why there were no others signs there but Lewy's despite the great location and the fact that there are dozens of candidates running for various office in Broward County on Tuesday.
Only Lewy's signs were there.

He just doesn't get it, does he?

No, not when you are dealing with someone whose ambition is so much larger (and craven) than his common sense or any and sense of propriety, like Alexander Lewy.


Csaba walked with me as I snapped some shots of the offending signs and waited in the breezeway while I went inside and was able to speak to Corrine Yoder of the city's Code Compliance Dept.

After I told her the specifics of my complaint, and where the signs were located, she agreed that any signs on City Hall property were illegal, and she'd get someone to remove them shortly.

Just a few minutes later, Csaba and I watched and followed as a city employee walked down the sidewalk and removed the Lewy signs from the highly visible location they had been placed in.

Above and below, October 20th, 2010 photos by South Beach Hoosier.



Later, after taking photos of all of this, what do you suppose we saw on the west side of city hall but more Lewy signs on city hall property.

This time, I only stepped outside of the car for a few seconds to snap some shots of them as Csaba remarked on the sheer gall of the whole thing, and the city's failure to see what was right in front of it, since dozens and dozens of people surely had seen these signs, too.

But nothing was done, was it?

Why?
Why do you think?

I had Csaba get out so I could get a shot of him next to one of the Lewy signs on the west side of City Hall, also on city hall property, next to one of its memorial plaques .

Above and below, October 20th, 2010 photo by South Beach Hoosier of the Alexander Lewy campaign sign on west side of Hallandale Beach City Hall



Above, October 20th, 2010 photo by South Beach Hoosier of Csaba Kulin next to a Alexander Lewy campaign sign on west side of Hallandale Beach City Hall.
Dozens of people are running for office in Broward County, but Lewy is the only one foolish enough to press his luck with rules.
If it was okay for them to be there, where are all the other candidate signs?


No sooner did I step back into the car to get out and drive over to Panera Bread with Csaba
in tow, then Alexander Lewy shot out of the HB Cultural Center telling me -lecturing me- that what we all saw wasn't really what we saw, but rather something else.

Above, October 20th, 2010 photo by South Beach Hoosier of Alexander Lewy coming out the door of the HB Cultural Center -and one of his campaign sign in front- after he sees that someone is paying attention to his completely inappropriate behavior.

At that point I had had enough of the Lewy nonsense and was preparing to drive away when Lewy came over to the side of the car, like he could somehow talk his way out of this one.

I told him in no uncertain words that I had seen hjs illegal signs on city hall property, had taken photographs of them, had formally complained about the self-evident rule violations and generally uncouth behavior, and that the city's Code Compliance people completely agreed with me.

I then said with no trace of irony that if he had a beef, he was going to have to take it up with City Hall, since they were the ones who had actually removed his signs.
And I was the person who told them.

Then I drove us around the circle in the parking lot to turn around and get back to S.E. 3rd Street and cut thru Gulfstream Park to get to Panera's.

But I had no sooner turned us around when Csaba immediately spotted Lewy talking with City Manger Marc Antonio in his blue Corvette, leaving the parking lot directly behind City Hall and next to the library.

Under normal circumstances, the sight of the two of them talking and knowing that Lewy was 'acting' -improperly- indignant, would've caused the two of us to laugh, but we were in no laughing mood, since once again, as has happened so many times in the past in this city, someone thought that the rules that applied to everyone else, somehow didn't apply to them.

If I had never driven by City Hall, those illegally placed campaign signs would still be there, even though Lewy knew better.

Tell me, why would you expect Lewy to be any smarter or ethical if you elected him?
He's only going to be more of what he already is, which is something this city can't afford.

That selfish and contemptible behavior has been the ruling ethos in this city for years and years, and current HB Comm. Bill Julian is among the most egregious violators of this norm, as you all will FINALLY read over the weekend, complete with photos.

It's not just simple and self-evident, but devastating for a guy like Julian who wants everyone to think of him as a nice guy.

No, the truth is that he is someone who abuses his power and believes that he is entitled to bend the rules that govern everyone else in society.

And what makes Julian's situation worse, is that he takes full advantage of people who need every advantage that can.
People whom the government has even passed laws to help.

Laws that Bill Julian has been blithely abusing and ignoring for years because of who he is and who he knows.

Period!


That whole law onto themselves attitude which Cooper and Julian so frequently demonstrate in all sorts of peculiar ways, is precisely what immature and undeserving Alexander Lewy aspires to be able to do after next Tuesday.

That particular site directly in front of Hallandale Beach City Hall along south-bound U.S.-1/Federal Highway where City Commission candidate
Alexander Lewy's campaign signs were illegally placed, has particularly strong resonance for certain Hallandale Beach residents in particular.

Though they don't comprise the majority of the full-time population here, they more than make up for their numbers by being articulate defenders of reform, transparency and accountability in government, state and local, and vocal in reminding others in town of important stone-cold facts involving this city's political and govt. class in matters involving history and public policy that others find politically inconvenient.


This sub-set of well-informed HB citizens:

a.) pay attention

b.) can remember something in their long-term memory longer than the gang in town who want them all to simply forget it because it's so potentially embarrassing,

c.) maintain a very strong antipathy towards hypocritical and self-serving political candidates and elected officials.

d.) universally despise HB mayor Joy Cooper for a whole host of sound and legitimate reasons grounded in fact, because of her own past questionable actions, words and threats while in office
as commissioner and mayor.

Some even occasionally remind me of a situation that happened here in town, Once Upon a Time...

-----
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
RESIDENTS: KEEP RELIGION OFF DISPLAY - COMMISSION AGREES, CHANGES HOLIDAY PLANS
THOMAS MONNAY Staff Writer
October 8, 1997

Arnold Lanner wanted to please Jews and Christians when he persuaded his fellow commissioners to approve funds for a menorah and a Christmas tree for the city's holiday lighting display.

The move, however, has landed the city in church-and-state hot water

Several upset residents, including Alan R. Griffith, a lawyer, have warned officials against using taxpayer's money to erect religious symbols on public property.

The lighting display, the city's fifth in a row, kicks off Nov. 22.

"We hold both the city and its employees responsible for making such an unwise decision accountable," Griffith told commissioners in an Oct. 1 letter. "Please be advised that we take the Constitution very seriously and will, if necessary, seek help of the courts to protect its provisions."

Joy Cooper, an activist who also criticized the proposed use of religious symbols, said she would be willing to sue the city.

"The government has no right to get involved in religion," Cooper said.

She is concerned that city officials might some day add a cross or a nativity scene to the display.

Fearing a nasty court challenge from the residents, commissioners on Tuesday backed down from their plan with a 4-1 vote, leaving Lanner an angry man.

The symbols would have cost the city $3,000.

"I'm very unhappy about it," Lanner said. "I feel it's a holiday that denotes the two major religions [Christianity and Judaism)."

When commissioners unanimously approved Lanner's request in January, they thought the city was "mature" enough to deal with the change. But the public protest continued to mount as the holiday season approached.

City Attorney Dick Kane has told commissioners that it is probably illegal to use tax dollars for such purposes, but Lanner is not so sure.

Lanner said he could not understand why the federal government can spend tax dollars to erect a giant Christmas tree on the White House lawn and Hallandale can not do something similar.

He pointed out that Broward County's main library, a tax-supported facility, also displays a Christmas tree.

"Where do you draw the line," Lanner said. "It's kind of saying Christmas doesn't exist; it's kind of saying Hanukkahdoesn't exist."

Commissioner Sonny Rosenberg said many Jewish residents requested that a menorah be part of the holiday display. But the latest uproar made him realize that there are more people who don't want one.

"If it's illegal, I think we ought to obey the law," Rosenberg said. "We don't always [do that), but in this case we will."

Lanner is still not convinced.

"I think we have to be more lenient as far as religion is concerned in the city of Hallandale," Lanner said.

City officials launch the display each year with a lighting ceremony and entertainment in the Diplomat Mall's parking lot. It illuminates Hallandale Beach Boulevard with thousands of colorful lights.

Cooper and Griffith, who have small children, said they love the event. But they want it to remain a holiday display _ not a religious celebration.

"I like it the way it is now," Cooper said. "I don't think it needs to be bigger, I don't think it needs religion in it.

-----
Below are two photographs I took on January 2nd of this year in the same exact spot.
While Joy "The government has no right to get involved in religion" Cooper was mayor.
For those of you who just dropped in from another universe, please let me explain what these are.

This is the decorative holiday light version of a Jewish Menorah.
That's religious.

This is the decorative holiday light version of the creche scene, featuring, from left to right, Joseph, Baby Jesus and Mary - the Christmas VIPs.
That's religious.


Both are religious symbols on the public property of Hallandale Beach City Hall, and they were there for weeks.

Now you know a little bit more about HB history and can see that once again, when it was personally convenient, the stone-cold facts didn't matter one bit to Joy Cooper.
Despite what she herself had once said.

similarly, below is the Lewy campaign direct mail that I received on Wednesday.


The second line in the text of Lewy's flier says, "Efficient Effective and Ethical Leadership"

Actually, Alexander Lewy has no connection to any of the three, and his leadership has never been seen or felt in this community -as he sought to ingratiate himself with people in the mayor's orbit, knowing he would run again- just like his mentor, mayor Joy Cooper, who wants to install him on the City Commission to be the newest "YES man" member of her anti-reform crew that's deathly afraid of facts and reasonable scrutiny.

He just can't wait to vote exactly as she tells him to.


But in what universe would a 5-0 vote on the elected City Commission, leading to even less public transparency and accountability or reasonable questions about spending priorities and public policy constitute leadership, or be a desirable goal?


Apparently, the very scary and upside-down universe of Joy Cooper & Alexander Lewy.

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