Hallandale Beach Blog -A common sense public policy overview offering a critical perspective on the current events, politics, government, public policy, sports scene and pop culture of Europe, Sweden, the U.S. & South Florida. 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 South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Coral Gables planning firm Dover, Kohl & Partners is focus of mounting taxpayer anger in Arlington County (VA) -their charrettes are "charades"

Well-meaning but gullible Arlington County residents attending a charrette on Saturday in the
Columbia Pike neighborhood of Arlington County (VA), who don't understand that their role in this particular "planning" process: cameo appearances. The pro-development and patronizing Arlington County Board is going to ram high-intensity development down their throats whether they like it or not, regardless of how many suggestions they make on the docs and maps at this charrette or how impassioned and logical their comments. The narrative has already been written -they're just props! And in this case, it's been captured on video here by a front group that's paid for by Arlington County Government. i.e the taxpayers. IF Arlington residents in this neighborhood don't want the unhappy future of more people and traffic congestion that the County Board has in store for it, that's tough. That's how they roll.

Coral Gables-based planning firm Dover, Kohl & Partners is the focus of mounting taxpayer anger in Arlington County (VA), where beleaguered residents believe they are trying to
Link ruin their neighborhoods along the Columbia Pike Corridor with MORE intense development in the future, altering the fundamental nature of the neighborhoods and the reasons why some people move into them -and leaving them hefty living expenses tabs in the meantime.



Columbia Pike Form-Based Code: http://www.doverkohl.com/project.aspx?id=9&type=1

The savvy, well-informed and heavily-taxed citizens of Arlington County, including many of my friends still living up there, have already been calling the company-led charrettes "charades" for quite a while now, and when taxpayers are paying $5,000 a day in hotel costs for the visitors from
South Florida, as some opponents allege, it's REALLY galling.

Hallandale Beach Blog favorite Arlington Yupette and her blog's readers are all over the story and they are NOT mincing words about their disgust and anger, even as the Washington Post is -surprise- completely under-reporting the depth of that animus.

Monday's post is a perfect example, but there are ample examples:

Pike Corridor Post-Redevelopment 'Open Space' : Your Front Lawn

Hi, Yupette,

Talk about a planning charade, tonight's open space planning meeting at the Career Center was a hoot. The County's open space planning consultants talked parks and playgrounds, but the reality is that there won't be much open space left after in-fill yuppification for anything but Pike Corridor residents to hie to existing parks and recreation centers (including the future aquatic center, indoor soccer area, and boathouse) and use single family residential neighborhoods for their parks and recreation.
Read the rest of the post at:

According to reports, Arlington County Yuppie/Infill Czar and Commissioner Chris Zimmerman was present at some of these meetings in order to keep the high-paid consultants in line and not veer from County Board orthodoxy, which is Moscow-on-the-Potomac, circa 1974.


While it's true that a
collaborative community process yields better communities, what you have in Arlington County is a top-down planning process that allows unelected people to have far too much power and influence, and since those people are selected by elected officials to do their bidding, where's the checks-and-balances?

And more importantly, what's the point of participating if you are just a prop and the process is a charade?

The above is not just the favorite template of Arlington County but also the favored plan here of Hallandale Beach under the ruinous reign of
Joy Cooper/Mike Good/Mark Antonio & Company.

In Arlington County, because the county government don't miss a single trick -
and wants to try to crowd-out opposing points of view- they have even created a 'front' organization that is supported by taxpayer dollars called the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization -CPRO. They're the ones who made the video at the top of this post.

See this story at Greater Greater Washington blog about problems encountered by some residents in the affected area and how they heard about it from the county's top-heavy information distribution system:

I've told you all before in this space a little about about the over-size ego and relentless patronizing and condescending tone of Zimmerman, and what's happened to Arlington under his reign of ruin, where middle-class people have to flee.

In South Florida over the past year-and-a-half there have been all sorts of newspaper articles, TV newscast segments and blog posts, esp. by Big Labor-types, calling for liberals to create a group that would be the liberal alternative to the popular Tea Party movement that has fundamentally changed American politics.

But the problem they have is that when you gather lots of people who actually believe in LOTS of government spending -if not more than current- without lots of scrutiny and oversight, much less, a stacked deck of a public policy process, you quickly chase away anyone who knows how to run a successful small business because they know what the reality is of more rules and regulations -less jobs.
And what are you left with?

Lots of patronizing people who want to tell others how to live their lives.

Arlington County is full of these sorts of people, befitting one of the most liberal places in the entire country, but even there, liberal people with successful businesses of their own and who actually have to meet a payroll, have come to see see the reality that the Arlington County government's spending and chronic edifice-complex is beyond out-of-control as that term is generally understood in the U.S., and seems more Soviet-like than even I and others have pointed out from different political and writing perches over the past 15 years.

At some point, as no doubt some of you are already saying to yourself, you run out of people to tax to build your castles in the sky.
And who are tired of being told what to do by others.

For all their talk about diversity, how is shutting-down one of the few low-to-middle class housing sites in the county so that wealthy people can move in -and build and pay lots of taxes to the county- an actually strategy?
But there it is and was discussed by Yupette
in the recent past, as I've noted here

See also:

What happens when liberals who are forever patting themselves on the back with their boasts about their commitment to diversity, chase all the actual living and breathing diversity out of the county, only making it Richer and Whiter?

A lot of things, but in Arlington, heartfelt remorse is NOT one of them.

And seriously, when almost all of the county administrators involved in the planning and bureaucratization of normal social life in Arlington live elsewhere, how can there not be a real dis-connect between County Hall and the average Arlington taxpayer, who seems to be paying for everyone else's needs but their own?

Well, we will see the answer to those questions in Arlington County, because eventually, the people with the golden goose get tired of gold-plating everyone else's neighborhood but theirs.

Keep up the good work, Yupette!

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Hallandale Beach Blog is where I try to inject or superimpose a degree of accountability, transparency and insight onto Florida and local Broward County government and public policy issues, which I feel is sorely lacking in local media now. On this blog, locally, I concentrate my energy, enthusiasm, anger and laser-like attention on the coastal cities of Hallandale Beach and Hollywood.
If you lived in this part of South Florida, you'd ALREADY be stuck in stultifying traffic, paying higher-than-necessary taxes and continually musing about the chronic lack of accountability among not only elected govt. officials, but also of city, county and state employees as well. Collectively, with a few rare exceptions, they couldn't be farther from the sort of strong results-oriented, eager work-ethic mentality that local residents deserve and expect.
This is particularly true in the town I live in, the City of Hallandale Beach, just north of Aventura and south of Hollywood. There, the "Perfect Storm" of years of apathy, incompetency and cronyism are all too readily apparent.
Sadly for its residents, HB is where even easily-solved, quality-of-life problems are left to fester for YEARS on end, because of myopia, lack of common sense and ineffective supervisory management. It's a city with lots of potential because of its terrific location, yet its citizens have become numb to its outrages and screw-ups after years of the worst kind of mismanagement and lack of foresight. On a daily basis, they wake up and see the same old problems that have never being adequately resolved by the city in a logical and responsible fashion, merely kicked -once again- further down the road.
I used to ask myself, not always rhetorically, "Where are all the enterprising young reporters who want to show that through their own hard work and enterprise, what REAL investigative reporting can produce?" Hearing no response, I decided to start a blog that could do some of these things, taking the p.o.v. of a reasonable but skeptical person seeing the situation for the first time, and wanting questions answered in a honest and logical way that citizens have the right to expect.

Hallandale Beach Blog intends to be a catalyst for positive change. If there's one constant gripe in South Florida, regardless of your age, race, nationality or political persuasion, it's about the fundamental lack of PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY here among Florida's state, regional and local govt./agency officials. Hallandale Beach Blog aims to be a small step towards regaining some of that needed accountability, whether it's thru simple public scrutiny, or requires a degree of follow-up investigation and public exposure of incompetency, cronyism or simple negligence -South Florida's usual governing style.
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New this year: you!

New this year: you!
Close-up photo of the cute head-turning window display at the Apotek Hjärtat -Sweden's largest independent pharmacy chain- located at Ringvägen 113, near the Skanstull T-bana in Södermalm, Stockholm. Sign reads, "Årets nyhet: du! Ett helt nytt och obrukat år är här. Just nu känns det lite lättare att välja om, förändra vanor och bryta gamla mönster. Vi hjälper gärna till. Du vill, du kan, du törs!' (New this year: you! A brand new and unused year is here. Right now it feels a little easier to choose, change habits and break old patterns. We're happy to help. You want to, you can, you dare!) Sounds like good advice that I ought to be following, too! January 12, 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

Paradise Lost? South Florida

Paradise Lost? South Florida
TIME magazine of November 23, 1981: Paradise Lost? South Florida . Click photo to see original article.

A fish rots from the head down, and so does local government in Hallandale Beach, FL

A fish rots from the head down, and so does local government in Hallandale Beach, FL
City of Hallandale Beach Municipal Complex, 400 S. Federal Highway. The City of Hallandale Beach Municipal Complex: If it's true that a fish rots from the head down, so it does in local government in Broward County, FL. This monument sign on the west side of the intersection of U.S.-1 and S.E. 5th Street, across from Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino and the Village at Gulfstream Park retail complex, alerts you to your proximity to HB City Hall and the HB Police Department HQ. It's a place and culture whose very own words and actions have made clear to taxpayers of this city -regardless of age, race or income- that it holds itself apart from and above from the very citizens it's supposed to serve, often acting like they don't have to follow the same laws that govern everyone else in the state of Florida and the U.S., whether of logic, reason or contracts. (More to the point of this blog, the Florida Statutes on Sunshine Laws and Public Records.) City employees in Hallandale Beach routinely refuse to answer perfectly reasonable questions posed to them by taxpayers, and as I have found out myself and witnessed, are not above berating you for even having the nerve to ask! As it happens, it's also not a very safe area, despite who operates here, and over the past nine years, the public parking lots have often been pitch-black for 6-9 months at a time, including in front of the HB Police Dept. HQ. Then-Police Chief Thomas Magill even shrugged his shoulders at City Comm. meetings when told about this a few times. As if they couldn't make a worse first impression, at one point, even the spotlights shining on this sign didn't work at night for over FOUR YEARS, either. October 13, 2012 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Palm tree, Stars & Stripes

Palm tree, Stars & Stripes
Palm tree obstructing the sun at Hallandale Beach City Hall, May 28, 2012 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino and Village at GP retail complex, Hallandale Beach, FL

Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino and Village at GP retail complex, Hallandale Beach, FL
Entrance monument to Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino and The Village at Gulfstream Park retail complex on U.S.-1 & SE 3rd St. Hallandale Beach, FL. October 5, 2010 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

Hallandale Beach Water Tower, looking east from State Road A1A/South Ocean Drive; May 2009 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

Singer/songwriter Full of Keys (Anni Bernhard)

Singer/songwriter Full of Keys (Anni Bernhard)
Singer/songwriter Full of Keys (Anni Bernhard) wearing the teal-colored Miami Dolphins cap I gave her in January 2013 (in Stockholm) while recording her 2nd album, "The Grazing Grounds" at Sandkvie Studios in Visby, Gotland, Sweden. Also pictured here are sound engineer and co-producer Linus Larsson and musician/DJ/co-producer Mats Jönsson, April 12, 2013.Click the photo to see her videos, read my blog posts and Tweets about her and learn more about this dynamic and original talent with personality to spare!

North Miami Beach Senior High School, the Home of the Chargers

North Miami Beach Senior High School, the Home of the Chargers
Before I was a Hoosier, I was an NMB Charger, Class of 1979.

In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation

In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation
"In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation." -South Beach Hoosier, 2007.

Let's end the 28-year NCAA title drought!

Let's end the 28-year NCAA title drought!
IU All-American and U.S. Olympian Steve Alford on the cover of the 1987 Indiana University basketball media guide, months after IU won the NCAA basketball title.

The NCAA Championship Banners

The NCAA Championship Banners
Assembly Hall, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana. I was there in 1981 for NCAA Title #4 vs. North Carolina. Click on photo to go to the IU Basketball homepage.

Sebastian the Ibis, the U-M mascot

Sebastian the Ibis, the U-M mascot
Like longtime U-M fans everywhere, including me, Sebastian the Ibis, the U-M mascot, hasn't had very much to cheer about lately, given the general state of mediocrity and underwhelming performances coming from the Hurricanes. Isn't it about time for fans to finally see some tangible signs that the new AD is moving things in the right direction? Where are the signs? I'm NOT seeing them. The woeful U-M Women's program is largely composed of teams that are NOT even close to being competitive for NCAA titles like their ACC competition, and they don't even field Women's Lacrosse or Field Hockey teams. It's embarrassing! Click on Sebastian for retrospective photo gallery of The Orange Bowl


The welcoming party that greeted me at the luggage carousel at Arlanda Stockholm Airport in January of 2013 was... ABBA. As seen in my May 7, 2013 blog post. Click photo to see that post!

Congratulations Sweden - 200 years of peace! Solveig Rundquist (@RundquistS)


Hej #STHLM, jag saknar dig, hejdå. So wish I was there RIGHT NOW!

Using a map of Stockholm and my Samsung mobile's Latitude app to find out where some friends and contacts in Stockholm were before I called to let them know I'd arrived from Arlanda Airport and had checked into the B&B in Södermalm. If only it had been an OpenStreetMap! January 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved; Click the photo to see OpenStreetMap's amazing map of Stockholm and a whole world of useful maps you never even knew existed

Solrea - Sveriges bästa resesök

Solrea - Sveriges bästa resesök
The colder and snowier it got in Stockholm, the more this simple ad seemed like genius. Sometimes, you don't have to reinvent the advertising wheel. When you're a travel agency and it's cold and snowing, make your target audience think of summers and traveling to an inviting warm beach. Above, one of the many Sistaminuten.se display ads I saw on the side of pay phones throughout Stockholm. This one was located on Ringvägen, across the street from the Åhléns Dept. store (with the Hemköp grocery store in the basement that I frequented) west of busy Götgatan and the Skanstull T-bana, the southern commercial heart of trendy and fun Södermalm. January 11, 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved. I used this photo in my April 22, 2013 blog post titled, Tourism game-changer for South Florida travelers & Fort Lauderdale-area businesses -but only if they're smart and start planning now. Ruminations on the upcoming Norwegian.com flights b/w Ft. Lauderdale and Oslo, Stockholm & Copenhagen, and the need for Broward's hospitality industry to take full-advantage of the opportunity; @Oslo, @norway, @stockholm, @sweden, @copenhagen, @denmark. Click photo to see that post

More travel advertising in Stockholm

More travel advertising in Stockholm
Speaking of advertising, only two blocks from the wonderful 4trappor B&B I stayed at in Södermalm, Stockholm on my trip -and also located on Ringvägen- were two more display ads promoting travel. The one in the distance is for SAS, Scandinavian Airlines Systems, which I flew on to Stockholm, and the one in the foreground, on a public telephone booth, is the "Holiday is where the Heart is" ad campaign for VING. January 12, 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved. Click the photo to see their TV ad!

Risk för snöras, istappar

Risk för snöras, istappar
One of the many such warning signs that I saw on buildings and on sidewalk barricades while in Stockholm in mid-January 2013, alerting you to the possibility of falling snow and ice, often by men shoveling it off roofs. This one was spotted on a residential building in the Södermalm area of Stockholm, on Ringvägen, while I was walking over to the Åhléns Department store on Götgatan. It wasn't until I was walking back later to the B&B that I noticed the inflated Santa that some resident had intentionally placed outside of their window, so it looked like Santa was falling! January 13, 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Ringvägen, Stockholm, Sweden

Ringvägen, Stockholm, Sweden
Poster display on Ringvägen, Stockholm, Sweden. January 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved. The Affischplats plan in Stockholm, while not perfect, strikes me as a pretty good compromise in helping cultural and civic groups catch the public's eye in a way that's better than a free-for-all of groups plastering posters on the sides of buildings and utility boxes, and watching as the weather makes a mess of them. The tangible effort the city makes to get the public involved in a genuine and meaningful conversation about what is going on long-term for the city as a whole, or in a particular neighborhood, is very impressive, and made me wishful that the local government employees and planners where I live and write about regularly in my blog and in conversations with other concerned civic activists did even one-third of what Stockholm's planning employees seem to do as a starting-point.