Above, photo of Hallandale Beach Water Tower and so-called North Beach/A1A Community Center. July 12, 2010 photo by South Beach Hoosier.It should be a positive and dynamic resource, not a storage closet on the beach!
I've been meaning to bring your attention since last week to Buddy Nevins' spot-on blog post at Broward Beat, titled simply, Blogger Chaz Stevens Scores Again, as it underscores a point that I've been wanting to make here on the blog for quite some time.
While I was, of course, happy to see Chaz finally get some overdue credit where credit is rightly due, that dispatch, good as it was, could've easily been written any number of times in the recent past by others in the South Florida news media if they'd been more curious, were paying more attention and were, frankly, more professional and savvy.
To me, what makes that piece last week unusual is not so much where it appeared so much as that it took so long for it to ever appear anywhere.
In other parts of the country, that is to say, one where the majority of the news media professionals are NOT so inclined to be spoon-fed information when they show-up at a public meeting to compensate for having done so very little homework prior to walking thru the door -as seems to be the case in South Florida, based on my own personal observations the past seven years- Chaz Stevens would have an even higher profile than he does now.
And would be a valuable resource that someone would be smart enough to want to help from time-to-time to keep information about public policy issues coming out.
And everyone concerned would benefit, most especially, the public -taxpayers.
In that part of the world where common sense, logic and reason STILL makes personal appearances once in a while, someone in the local news media, especially at a TV station that imagines itself savvy on the investigative front, would've been smart enough to know how to use the valuable information that Chaz digs up thru dint of personal effort -at personal expense- and know how to actually carry the ball forward from that point on.
Many former South Florida TV reporters you and I could all name -Ike Seamans, Susan Candiotti,et al- would know exactly how to get the facts in Deerfield Beach gleaned by Chaz dispersed to the greatest number of South Florida TV viewers in an informative and
perhaps even amusing way.
Perhaps by using video of certain pols voting one way in public and claiming no conflicts of interest, yet money still somehow winding-up in their own pocket, their family's or those of pals and cronies.
Those two reporters were expert at coming to people under scrutiny with all the facts and asking them to explain them all away -on camera- just like the golden age of Sixty Minutes in the 1970's and '80's.
Here, it's a simple case of one person who's been paying attention -Chaz- having bought all the ingredients and making it easy for the South Florida news media to put it all in the oven for the appropriate amount of time.
It's not rocket science! After besides, the oven does all the hard work.
But instead, the continual problem that I and my friends Chaz and Micheal Butler and some other South Florida bloggers and civic activists that I could name here share with the South Florida news media, is the one for which there is seemingly no cure for in the year 2010.
How do you fix the South Florida news media's longstanding apathy, lack of curiosity, lack of effort and even the inability of them to seriously think thru a situation to see the possible consequences, given certain options?
In short, what to do if the South Florida news media simply doesn't care?
On a personal level, how do you combat their apathy, other than simply by de-listing certain print reporters, columnists, editors and TV producers and reporters from your email list if they consistently fail to respond to the self-evident, fact-based material that you give them on a silver platter, often with photos or links to video?
Well, I've already deleted plenty of them because certain print and TV reporters have made it abundantly clear that they don't really want to hear from readers or viewers who actually know something of public interest, despite all the faux encouragement on their websites that they do.
You can't make reporters, columnists and producers curious or conscientious if they aren't already.
You'd think that natural competitiveness would drive at least some of them to try to get the most interesting and compelling stories in print or on the tube ASAP, right?
In the abstract, that's true.
But that abstract idea of journalism simply DOESN'T exist in South Florida.
Consistent, rigorous fair-minded reporting is something glimpsed from time-to-time, but it's often but a dream, and usually disappears moments later.
Some members of the South Florida news media that I've met and otherwise observed from close distance over the past seven years are, indeed, very professional, and exactly like what you hoped they'd be like.
They give you some solace when things look bad that at least some people really do seem to be in the business for the right reasons.
But these few people in South Florida-very few- are doing the vast majority of the real heavy lifting for everyone else, and often are given to apologizing for their colleagues down here who evince a more, well, dis-interested approach to news, when you speak with them in private.
Trust me, this apologia happens much more often than you imagine.
But sadly for South Florida citizens, the truth is that the media industry people these true professionals are often apologizing for are almost comically disconnected to reality.
At times, seeing in-person how clueless they are, their inability to formulate good probing questions that can lead to rich sources of information being made public, is downright scary and jaw-dropping.
It's almost as if they seem to imagine that they are merely practicing for what they foolishly imagine will be some lucrative PR gig for themselves in the future.
As if they don't really see the gigantic dis-connect staring back at them in the mirror -their own lack of curiosity and willingness to follow-up on information they are already given.
And they want to be on the other side?
They're the very reporters you WOULDN'T contact with information on behalf of a PR client!
Let me give you a perfect example of this lack of media curiosity, if by perfect, you mean one that causes me and other concerned citizens in this community great consternation and distress. I do.
Last Friday, December 3rd, was the 40th-month anniversary of the so-called Hallandale Beach Community Center on State Road A1A being given to the citizens of this city by the developers of The Beach Club, which had used it for their sales office and as a 'model.'
It has been CLOSED continuously to this city's citizen taxpayers to whom the facility belongs,
for all but one day in those 40 MONTHS, July 24, 2010, a city-sponsored Parks & Rec Master Plan meeting that I attended.
See my post on that meeting with photos at: http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/2010/07/final-hallandale-beach-parks-rec-master.html
Photos by South Beach Hoosier
For years, I've written multiple emails and blog posts about it, with photos and video, and sent information not only to the responsible officials and other concerned citizens, but to the South Florida news media.
A new two-story building off of A1A, located below an iconic landmark, the HB Water Tower that is just steps from the Atlantic Ocean, and that was given to the city for FREE over three years ago, REMAINS CLOSED to the very people who ought to be using it every day -the residents and taxpayers of this city.
It's a new facility near the beach that land-locked cities like Hialeah, Pembroke Pines, Doral, Miramar and others would kill to have the opportunity to have, and yet here in Hallandale Beach, it has remained closed to citizens, even while it has been used by cronies of HB City Hall for their use, usually parties and fundraisers.
But what about a public building being open to the public?
Did you see that story last week in the Miami Herald or in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel or on ANY of the Miami TV station newscasts?
No, you didn't, because the South Florida news media may talk a good game about being sophisticated news professionals, but in general, they fire nothing but blanks.
The South Florida news media has completely ignored the story that is just staring at everyone on the beach.
But if this happened in Coral Gables, do you think that it would be ignored for 40 months?
That's where South Florida's concerned residents all live in the year 2010, in a landscape largely populated by an incurious and hibernating news reporters, editors and producers.
Blogger Chaz Stevens Scores Again
By Buddy Nevins
Chaz Stevens is the face of the new media.
Not me. I’m the old media working on the Internet.
Stevens, with no experience in journalism listed on his biography, has brought Deerfield Beach City Hall to its knees. He is the the new version of a city hall gadfly– electronically empowered, fighting the power structure with bits and bytes.
This week he got more results.
Read the rest of the post at:http://www.browardbeat.com/blogger-chaz-stevens-scores-again/
Now, though, as you can see in my photos below, it's just an airy storage room for stacked-up chairs, albeit in a room that just happens to be steps from the shore of the Atlantic Ocean.Pathetic!
Above, July 12, 2010 photo by South Beach Hoosier looking east from front door of HB A1A Community Center. The Palm trees you see thru the window are on the beach.
Above, July 12, 2010 photo by South Beach Hoosier looking north from window of HB A1A Community Center, opposite The Beach Club condo towers.
Above, July 12, 2010 photo by South Beach Hoosier looking west from window of HB A1A Community Center, reflecting the Palm trees behind me and the Atlantic Ocean less than 80 yards behind me. The color teal you see is the bottom of the Water Tower outside the front door.
A two-story facility with an observation area on the roof that is but a stone's throw from the Atlantic Ocean, one that other towns and cities in South Florida would positively kill to have, which was given to Hallandale Beach for free, and yet under Mayor Joy Cooper and former City Manager Mike Good and present City Manager Mark Antonio, for 40 very long months, it's been strictly off-limits to its rightful owners, the citizen taxpayers of Hallandale Beach.
I'll have more news about this facility in the days ahead and who will be using it
before New Years Day.
One guess: NOT the Hallandale Beach citizen taxpayers who own it.