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.
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Thursday, March 10, 2011
"Hallandale Beach Hides Financial Contributions From Public Record" as policy -stealthy public records are longstanding issue under mayor Joy Cooper
Is it true that "Hallandale Beach Hides Financial Contributions From Public Record"?
A stealthy approache to public records and lengthy delays in getting them are a longstanding issue and specialty-of-the house at HB City Hall under mayor Joy Cooper's long reign of ruin. You could almost call it a tradition, if by tradition, you mean a lengthy and often expensive obstacle course.
In fact, it's said by some very smart and well-informed HB residents who have lived here longer than me that the Broward State Attorney's Office has even sent written warnings to the city within the past few years because of both numerous complaints and the SAO apparently feeling their previous attempts to communicate the importance of the city ACTUALLY COMPLYING with STATE LAW were falling on deaf ears.
After you've heard the same story from dozens of people over several years, and you know from experience what REALLY happens at HB City Hall under Joy Cooper/Mike Good/Mark Antonio, and I clearly know better than most, dispiriting as it is, you have no reason to not believe it's true.
Perhaps I should make a public records request for the SAO document, don't you think?
One of the things that particular "tradition" here instills in you is a knowledge that even before you submit your request for PUBLIC RECORDS, citizens will NOT receive the sort of respectful response they would get in most other South Florida cities, and that there will often be demands that you pay absurd amounts up-front -due to the city's own poor record-keeping- not because the query is actually so hard to complete if things were better organized.
There are so many egregious examples of this problem at Hallandale Beach City Hall under this regime with regard to access to public records and even more importantly, the public's ability to access them in a timely fashion before required public meetings -Diplomat LAC, circa 2009, anyone?- that I have literally gotten myself hoarse telling reporters, editors and producers at the Miami Herald, South Florida Sun-Sentinel and the local Miami TV stations about the self-evident facts.
What was the South Florida media's response?
To promptly ignore it, even the absurd example of mayor Joy Cooper forcing the city to sue my friend, Michael Butler, of Change Hallandale, for demanding access to public records that the Florida Constitution explicitly guarantees.
That story, of Mayor Cooper turning the Florida Constitution completely upside-down to save herself public embarrassment, and other local pols and civic groups mouse-like stance on the
sidelines, should have been on the front page of the local section of the newspapers and on TV.
In most cities in this country it would've been.
But here in South Florida, it was largely ignored, except for some Michael Mayo columns and blog posts after Michael was sued.
The South Florida media's unwillingness to do their "job" in favor of doing soft stories on breast milk and bra sizes, has led many citizens of this part of Southeast Broward County to make certain assumptions, based entirely on past experience and first-hand observations.
Assumptions that have proven time and again to be 100% true.
One assumption is that the majority of print/TV reporters down here are, in fact, simply lazier and not as smart as the reporters and columnists they see regularly on TV elsewhere.
There's simply no curiosity or desire to unearth facts.
Some, in fact, like at the Miami Herald, are resistant to information.
That itself is a fact that has now gone onto be part of this area's "common knowledge."
The second assumption is that nobody on the current City Commission except Keith London is willing do any hard work or express any concern about the upside-down way that information and access to it by the public is handled by City Hall via the City Manager and City Attorney's office.
In fact, from the evidence, it could hardly be clearer that Joy Cooper and her Rubber Stamp Crew of Dotty Ross, Anthony A. Sanders and Alexander Lewy are completely disinterested in the subject of employee performance, no matter how bad and unsatisfactory it is, and just there like bumps on a logs when it's brought up.
They see, hear and speak 'No Evil.'
In fact, they even have the gall to publicly berate HB citizens and residents speaking at public City Commission/CRA meetings about the city's longstanding failures and inability to solve problems -on time and under budget and with transparency- with Dotty Ross being by far the worst offender.
Ross berates citizens even before they have said anything -while they're still walking to the microphone!
The third assumption built on first-hand observation and past history is that the sleepwalking news media of South Florida is mayor Joy Cooper's best friend.
You know, the Joy Cooper who is the head of the Florida League of Cities?
Yes, in case you were wondering, it often DOES occur to many of us living here and paying close attention to matters large and small affecting this ocean-side city that IF the local news media had simply done even 10% of the fact-based reporting here they should've done the past seven years, Joy Cooper would have NEVER become the public face of that anti-taxpayer group, one that always seems to be looking for a way to empower elected officials and keep the Florida public on the outside looking in.
In a different time and place and with very different reporters with a more traditional view of
journalism, Cooper's embarrassing paper trail would simply be too much to overcome, even for other Florida pols to swallow.
She'd literally be a reporter's favorite piñata.
But with no media-generated paper-trail...
Besides, why do you think she created that website of her's when she did, because she really cares what anyone living here really thinks? LOL!
Today, Stefan Kamph of the BrowardPalmBeach New Times has once again shed a needed light on the mendacious and outrageous business-as-usual way approach that HB City Hall employs to get thru the day.
I'm already very familiar personally with the particular situation cited, one of many, having talked to Dr. Judy Selz and heard her describe in detail what happened -and didn't.
You would think it wouldn't be so hard to get elected officials and govt. employees to actually do the right thing -competently and consistently- and to follow the state law.
But in Hallandale Beach, you'd be wrong.
BrowardPalmBeach New Times
Public Records Hallandale Beach Hides Financial Contributions From Public Record
By Stefan Kamph,
Thursday, March 10, 2011 @ 11:21AM
Most people are proud of their charitable donations and don't mind publicizing them a bit.
But the people who run the city government of Hallandale Beach are not most people.
All of the donations that a city makes to charity are supposed to be available as public records, including who the checks went to, what accounts they came from, and the amounts of the contributions.
Read the rest of the post at:
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