Above, the pathetic little sign erected on the side of the city's North Beach complex, facing away from most passing traffic, is the perfect reminder of the sort of over-paid geniuses who populate Hallandale Beach City Hall. January 21, 2011 photo by South Beach Hoosier.
Per my last blog post on the longstanding fiasco that is Hallandale Beach's two-story North Beach facility, located just steps from the Atlantic Ocean, and which despite being given to this city's residents for FREE on August 3rd, 2007, has NOT been open to the general public but once in those intervening 41 months, my plan for the blog today was simple.
I'd post numerous photographs of the facility from several different angles and perspectives so those of you who come here regularly could get a better sense of just what is at stake here, and why the vast majority of this city's concerned and well-informed residents, full-time and seasonal, are VERY ANGRY at HB's mayor, city manger and city commission for squandering a valuable and dynamic resource for what is now three-and-a-half years.
A facility that communities in South Florida not located on the ocean, like Hialeah, Pembroke Pines, Miramar, Miami Lakes, Sunrise, Tamarac, et al, would positively kill to have in their city, especially for FREE.
(And then there's the observation deck on top, too...)
Yes, those are just some of the many South Florida communities which, however poorly-run they might well be on a day-to-day basis, you know with certainty have at least some elected officials who would've had the common sense to see what a dynamic facility it could be, and who'd have done everything in their power to "fix" and and open to the public ASAP.
All the more so so they could pat themselves on the back at the public dedication.
Now contrast how those hypothetical and presumably enthusiastic dedications elsewhere might've been to the very somber and subdued one that will surely take place in Hallandale Beach on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m., where the very people who are most responsible for totally mismanaging this and screwing-over the residents of this city, are going to be present, and try to say with a straight face to them that the only way that you residents can utilize it is if you pay for it. Yes, it's been one slap in the face after another for 41 months.
(Not like it's the only city boondoggle in this city, since the city's municipal storage parking lot on Ansin Blvd., near1-95, that cost well over a million dollars, had but seven vehicles utilizing it the other day when I paid my most recent visit of the past several months, leaving what seems like hundreds of parking spots empty. It was very weird! Oh, trust me, dear readers, I have literally dozens of photos and video of that facility, too, just waiting to see the light of day here.)
Yes, Tuesday afternoon here promises to be yet another "only in Hallandale Beach" moment for this city's beleaguered citizen taxpayers, one more civic insult for them to endure, individually and collectively.
I was also going to post video here of the North Beach facility, showing just how close it is to State Road A1A/South Ocean Drive, the sand and surf of the beach, as well as the neighboring Beach Club condos, which are the three tallest buildings in the entire city.
Well, there's been a change of plans for the blog today. And a concurrent change of philosophy in how some things will be done going forward into the future.
Late Saturday night I received an unexpected phone call from a friend who is more aware than most of the stories and personalities that have come to animate this blog over the past four years.
Someone noted for their candor and savvy who knows a lot more about me than most people I know and deal with regularly in Hallandale Beach and South Florida, and who has been encouraging when it was needed, but also pointed-out mistakes or areas that needed improvement when they were needed, too.
In the case of the latter, both in the blog and in my life.
As it happens, this person is also pretty aware of many if not most of the blog posts that never made it online, for whatever reason, since they're part of the sounding board that I consult from time to time when I rethink something that seemed genius, funny, or insightful at the time, but which... well, maybe not so much.
This person reminded me of some of the things that we had discussed just a few weeks ago when talking about things we'd both learned in the past year and some things we both wanted to avoid in this new one, as well as some new ideas and traditions we wanted to inaugurate.
One of the things on that short list of mine, which I've hinted at here but written about more forcefully in emails to friends, with very specific examples, was to stop enabling South Florida's lazy and dis-interested news media.
To stop making excuses for the middling mediocrity that characterizes far too much of what passes for news media in South Florida, and their sorry excuses to me and others privately when they pump us for information and either don't do the story at all, or do it in such a piss-poor way that I don't even recognize it, and wish I had never wasted my time talking to them.
(You know, like my bad experience with Channel 4's I-Team, which proved to be a one-way street just months after I was invited down to the station in Doral and met everyone.
Unfortunately, I got sucked-in and didn't wise-up and cut them out-of-the-loop until months after I should've.)
I needed to stop pretending that certain people I'd met in the local news media really gave a crap about Hallandale Beach, Hollywood or Aventura specifically, or Broward and South Florida in general -or the intricacies of public policy- when they called or emailed, wanting information from me or access to something or someone I could arrange.
Instead, go back to using the measuring stick that I'd used so well -usually- in Bloomington and Chicago and Washington, where the benchmarks were genuine accountability and actions spoke louder than words.
It probably won't surprise many of you that over the past four years, I've tried many times to get the local Miami TV stations and local South Florida newspapers to give various compelling stories I knew about some play, and in the case of the North Beach facility in particular, had many sit-down discussions with reporters and columnists about the facts and context of what has or hasn't taken place, even sharing chronological photos to show that nothing was being done for LONG periods of time.
All so that something positive would come from it, and that people here in HB could actually gain some use and enjoyment from something on the beach that already belonged to them, and which had been, in essence, stolen from them by Hallandale Beach City Hall's custodians.
To paraphrase that very animated phone conversation with my friend, here's a taste, and I should mention that this savvy person used to make a lot of money in media circles:
"Why the hell are you going to run photos and video on Sunday of that facility and video or whatever of that oblivious Antonio guy totally stepping all over HB's citizens at London's meeting, with his totally unacceptable comments to citizens about who works for who, when you know that the press down there is so f-ing lazy that they will use whatever you've done, ignore you, and then try to make it seem like they always knew what was going on, just finally decided to do something about it themselves?
Dave, don't help them, ignore them or beat them at their own game, but whatever you do, DON'T make their job any easier. Better yet, start FINALLY doing those video reports you kept talked about doing months ago, and simply go around the
news media and post your stuff to your YouTube page. And though I know you already know this well, let me just remind you: reporters are NOT your friends."
So that's what I'm doing.
The promised photos and video will be up soon, but I'm no longer making public promises here on the blog about that sort of thing when there's nothing positive to gain from it.
Believe me, last night, once I realized I was changing my plans, I was very keen on publicly revealing what news and print reporters and columnists and correspondents have taken information from me in the past, who has called me up or who has sat across a table from me and promised me that finally -finally-their editor or producer or news director was going to let them file that story.
But as my friend reminded me, there's no point in burning a bridge when they don't have to know they're being burned -digitally.
Eventually, it'll sink in when they don't hear from me anymore.
No more promises.
Results, not words.
The old benchmark is back in play, and there will be no substitutions.