Above, the Hallandale Jewish Center in Hallandale Beach, FL.If you can't rely on the city's well-paid professional staff in the Planning Dept., and their well-paid Director, Christy Dominguez, to actually know the applicable laws of the state we are living in -Florida, if you forgot- rely on them to actually double-check their work if necessary to make sure that their "facts," analysis and staff reports submitted to taxpayers and elected officials are both accurate and unbiased, why NOT simply fire the whole Dept.?
The future home of Peter Deutsch's Ben Gamla Hebrew Charter School?
I sure hope not or this single-family residential area in northeast HB is going to see their Quality-of-Life go down drastically starting in August as out-of-town parents use their neighborhood like a fast-food drive-thru.
March 7, 2011 photo by South Beach Hoosier.
Yes, FIRE the whole Dept. and contract out the work out to people who DON'T get publicly humiliated and 'schooled' like a small child -in from of dumbfounded city taxpayers- about the actual laws, rules and guidelines that are the focus of her Dept.'s report on the compatibility of developer's projects subject to approval by this city's elected government.
Is it really too much to hope that she and her staff actually know what the hell they are talking about?
To not be told matter-of-factly by an architect for Ben Gamla that the city's analysis is not just WRONG, but relies on information that has NOT been applicable for over 5-6 years?
I mean it's only their job, right?
What were Dominguez & Company completely wrong about?
Item #7 in their staff report placed on the city website last Thursday, that I mentioned here on Monday, saying that the proposed project was Incompatible with the Florida Dept. of Education's requirements regarding size of school recreation space/room for expansion:
If you forgot what that was about, see my post titled,
The facts -and city staff report- are in re application of Peter Deutsch's Ben Gamla Hebrew Charter School in Hallandale Beach
That information is what concerned residents and parents in this city city were hanging their hopes on, besides the inherent logic of all their other valid points about traffic, pollution and safety.
And now, at the Eleventh Hour, we learn at the meeting that it was all a mistake they SHOULD'VE already known about, and are told about it not from Dominguez herself or even her staff, but by BG's architect and their attorney, Alan D. Koslow.
We were blind-sided by city staffers!
Just imagine how much Koslow and Co. were laughing when they got the staff report from the city and saw that item at #7 and knew with certainty that the city was wrong on the law?
They must've laughed their asses off!
No wonder Alan Koslow concluded his remarks by saying what a great job the city's staff does.
Their incompetence makes his job easier!
Their demonstrated incompetence in a debacle of a public meeting Wednesday afternoon before the city's Planning & Zoning Advisory Board, above, and their longstanding continued inability to competently and reliably use the technology in the Commission Chambers -that Hallandale Beach taxpayers have ALREADY PAID FOR- to put the relevant information on the projection screen for the benefit of the citizen taxpayers in the room, as well as the ones watching on Cable TV, make me one taxpayer who has already seen quite enough incompetency the past seven years to last a lifetime, and willing to try something new.
Wrong Way? You bet! The perfect metaphor for so much of what goes on in this city under the current Cooper/Antonio regime at HB City Hall. Above is a shot of the only two Wrong Way signs on southbound N.E. 8th Avenue between Hallandale Beach Blvd. and Atlantic Shores Blvd., a distance of roughly a mile. Coincidentally, they are located right next to the Hallandale Jewish Center, and one of them is STILL obstructed by a tree, like a million other signs in this city.
It just gets better and better...
March 7, 2011 photo by South Beach Hoosier
What we have now is NOT working for taxpayers, esp. given the Planning Dept.'s longstanding practice of hiding information from the public and making them jump thru hoops, a la the Diplomat LAC, where public info came out 28 hours before a public vote of the P&Z.
But the lobbyists had it the previous week!
Which is just what I told the Broward County Planning Council and the County Commission three times last year when I spoke on the issue.
I've always suspected that the Ben Gamla Hebrew Charter School application would be approved today, since five of the seven members of the P&Z Advisory Board have actually acted more like cheerleaders for the project in the past than the serious deliberative members of the community -our community, NOT Tamarac's- with some actually going out of their way to publicly criticize HB residents exercising their rights -and being against it.
That's especially the case with P&Z members Eudyce Steinberg and Sheryl Natelson, who on Wednesday and in the past have all but accused HB citizens opposed to this very unpopular project of being -wait for it- anti-Semitic.
If you don't believe me, check the prior P&Z videos -it's all there.
In fact, one of the members voting for it, Jack Fendell, actually recused himself at a prior P&Z meeting on Ben Gamla, yet no mention was made of that fact, and he participated.
So what changed exactly?
And why did nobody from the city even ask if there were any conflicts of interests that needed to be publicly disclosed at the beginning of the meeting? It's common practice in the rest of country, but here, well, it's just different rules entirely, isn't it?
Perhaps it's all for the best, since part of changing this community for the better and enacting the desperately-needed reform and accountability that is obviously lacking now is pro-actively effectuating that change, perhaps via a recall of bitter, mean-spirited and disconnected Comm. Dotty Ross and equally disconnected and apathetic Comm. Anthony A. Sanders.
What better way to move that process forward than the public spectacle of the Cooper Rubber Stamp Crew -and Ross & Sanders in particular- actually having to debate the facts and realities of this unpopular project in public, not only amongst themselves, but with BG's attorney, Alan B. Koslow, standing there, ready to pounce and take advantage of their lack of clarity, common sense and knowledge of the issue.
Yes, they will no longer be able to hide behind their longstanding list of alibis, excuses and delusions for not paying close attention to matters they OUGHT TO KNOW better than my
concerned friends and I -but don't.
And unlike his behavior at the required Ben Gamla 'community meeting' of two hours last year that City Manager Mark Antonio insisted be held at the sweltering Hallandale Jewish Center, without the benefit of A/C or a single fan in the place, Sanders can't just up and leave after about 45 minutes.
Is it Sanders' well-known short-attention span or just his general dis-interest in actually doing what his job as an elected official requires? Or both?
Who can say, but Sanders & Ross definitely have to go!
And as if everything wasn't already a total mess, typically, Mark Antonio and Co. had the meeting end without being able to tell city residents when specifically that City Commission meeting on Ben Gamla will take place.
Yes, it was just the latest red ribbon on yet another perfectly awful day in Hallandale Beach's upside-down version of public policy, where the interests of the citizen taxpayer usually come up dead last.
Well, Mission Accomplished, no thanks to the HB Planning Dept. who didn't know what they were doing, and caused the last laugh to be had at the expense of this city's taxpayers and the N.E. neighborhood that now has to hope that, for once, the HB City Commission will actually do what it seldom ever does -the right thing.