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. Photo in upper-left is Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower on State Road A1A, September 2008; March 2018 photo below of North Beach, looking left-to-right, looking north, HYDE Condominium, Etaru Japanese Robatayaki restaurant, and Hollywood Beach in the distance, with umbrellas. All photos by me, © Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Public meetings start this week for Miami-Dade County FY 2011-12 Proposed Budget & Multi-Year Capital Plan; Aventura mtg. is Thursday the 4th

FY 2011-12 - Proposed Budget and Multi-Year Capital Plan

Proposed Budget and Multi-Year Capital Plan

Budget-in-Brief PDF (1.41 MB)

Miami-Dade County Budget homepage: http://www.miamidade.gov/budget/

I plan on being at the Thursday night meeting in Aventura at 7 p.m.
19200 West Country Club Drive.

Warning: There are no directional signs on or near U.S.-1, Aventura Mall or other main roads indicating where the Aventura Govt. Center is located, and trust me, asking directions in the area is a fruitless exercise.

The best way to get there is to turn EAST at U.S.-1 & N.E. 195th Street, hugging the south border of Aventura Mall, and as you approach W. Country Club Drive, make that right onto the road, then drive under the Lehman Causeway/NE 192 Street, or what everyone I know calls 'the Lehman Bridge.'
The ugly multi-story building on your right is the one you want.
See the map at bottom.

Be sure to have plenty of photo IDs with you and to allow enough time to be hassled just trying to get in.
The City of Aventura acts like that city building is The White House!

It's NOT, as I've been to The White House plenty of times, and the adjoining buildings, too, like OMB, and trust me, the people in D.C. handling security are much friendlier and professional.

*BEFORE you drive under the Lehman Causeway/NE 192 Street, MAKE SURE you stay in that right lane and are NOT forced by traffic into a turning lane.
If you are not careful and get frustrated with the traffic, you can easily be forced into a turning lane, which may cause you lots of problems, inc. possibly having to drive east parallel to the causeway. Once that happens, you can NOT make U-turns or make right hand turns to turn around due to the buildings.
You will have to drive for five-10 minutes depending upon traffic in order to get back to where you just were.
Just saying...

Saturday, July 30, 2011

More video mis-adventures of our new pal, Mischievous Little Swedish Pony, giving the officials at Falsterbo the slip and the crowds a LOT of laughs

hoppyryttarna's video: Shettisen ville inte bli fångade på Falsterbo Horse show 2011,

More video mis-adventures of our new pal, Mischievous Little Swedish Pony, giving the officials at Falsterbo 'the slip' and the crowds a LOT of well-deserved laughs.
Yes, Mischievous Little Swedish Pony may be #7 in your program but he's number-one in your hearts.

On Wednesday, July 27th, I first brought you the tale of the little black pony in Sweden that just didn't find running around in circles quite so amusing, so, thinking outside-the-box, he decided to ad lib and go 'rogue' -and change a pony race into a game of who can catch the pony.

In a post I titled, My Mischievous Little Swedish Pony: Yes, ponies are still cute & funny, esp. when adults are running after them; Patrik Kittel; Eva Skemm,
I explained what happened at the 2011 Falsterbo Horse Show earlier this month.

If you missed it the first time, here below is the video that actually drew my attention to this pony and sets-up the video up at the top of this post.
From the looks of things, the newest video seems to start more-or-less at turn number three in the large jumping area, where moments before, another rider-less pony, the grey one, had forced another rider and pony towards the wall.
Therefore, what the new video shows is what was not shown about the black pony when presitstommy kept their camera on the leader: amusing the large crowd.

presitstommy video: Falsterbo Horse Show 2011, ponnygaloppen!

Since Wednesday I've learned the perfectly reasonable explanation for why they stopped following the headstrong black pony just when it was getting interesting: it was actually
presitstommy's daughter who was the leader and who eventually won the race!

I knew there just had to be more video somewhere on YouTube of this impetuous little pony giving the crowd something to cheer and laugh about, even as he embarrassed one volunteer and track official after another who tried to catch him.
Seek and ye shall find... hoppryttarna to the rescue!

And as famed radio icon Paul Harvey said so many thousands of times, "Now you know the rest of the story."

More on the crazy scene at Falsterbo, including still photos, here:

hoppyryttarna's YouTube Channel is

presitstommy YouTube Channel is

Friday, July 29, 2011

Coming Sunday: While you were sleeping: Comm. Lewy's budget chicanery/Liberal Guilt just cost you another $200,000 -for what & for whom?

Coming here on Sunday night:
While you were sleeping: Hallandale Beach Commissioner Alexander Lewy's budget chicanery & Liberal Guilt early last Wednesday morning after 1 a.m. just cost you and other Hallandale Beach taxpayers another $200,000-plus.
For what and for whom?

Say hello to the 5-11 Miami Dolphins in Jeff Ireland & Tony Sparano's last year with the clueless, unappealing Dolphins

The worst is yet to come!
Above and below, just some of the dozen Chad Henne jerseys that were NOT flying off the shelves at the Aventura Target last year. October 9, 2010 photos by South Beach Hoosier.
Yes, "the Venezuelan Target," home of la bellessima!

The same store that presciently had the Ronnie Brown #23 jerseys on clearance months and months ago, even as the Dolphins were pretending that he would be coming back to the team this year.
Don't you hate it when retail outlets have a better grasp of the obvious with the team than the people who actually work for the team? The so-called experts.

As I've written here for years, and gotten abuse for saying in numerous Herald stories about the Dolphins, developer and Dolphins owner Steven Ross has no business owning the team, and is making the Dolphins a combination of the worst of the worst -the Bengals of the '90's and the Lions of just three years ago.

Ross may be the single-worst NFL owner around, which is really saying something given the miscues and screw-ups of Jacksonville and Carolina's owners.

Hey Mike Dee, how's that Club LIV at the stadium doing?

View more videos at: http://nbcmiami.com.

Club LIV Comes to Sun Life Stadium
First of its kind nightclub at a football game ready to debut
By Adam Kuperstein | Thursday, Sep 23, 2010 | Updated 7:45 AM EDT

See also:
LIV nightclub creators bring South Beach nightlife experience to Sun Life Stadium for Dolphins football season

What a f-ing embarrassment!!!

I've got a lot more to say about the dismal prospects for this once-proud team that has fallen into a black hole, but since today is the first day of training camp, the day that savvy Dolphin fans have been dreading since the lockout started, I'd have been remiss if I hadn't posted this Henne photo, which I've been saving for months just for today's post.
I'll likely have more this weekend, once Matt Moore has arrived from Carolina.
Yes, Matt Moore.

That was their back-up plan, after they refused to take a chance on Ryan Mallette or move up in May's NFL Draft, and then couldn't pull the trigger this week for someone else?
(Patriots snapped Mallette up!)

Folks, this year, like a bad move that keeps repeating, Dolphin fans are stuck on the S.S. Titanic and this time, we passengers know the iceberg is out there, but they keep steering right towards it, anyway.

For once, almost six months ago, I actually agreed with Armando Salguero.

Miami Herald
Too many reminders of Miami Dolphins’ futility
By Armando Salguero
Posted Sunday February 6, 2011
It’s becoming something of a depressing yearly rite that we look at the Super Bowl teams and think about what might have been for our Dolphins.
If only someone with a functioning brain would have made this or that decision correctly, stuck with this player or that coach, then maybe, we say, fate would have been written differently and that might be our team playing for the Lombardi Trophy on Sunday.

Remember back in the late 1990s when the Patriots went to Super Bowl XXXI with Keith Byars and Jeff Dellenbach? Remember the Packers that eventually won that game boasted Keith Jackson as their tight end?

Remember when the Dolphins discarded all three players?

Last year, Dolphins fans watched in disgust as Drew Brees – the quarterback the Dolphins could have had but passed on twice – helped New Orleans win it all.

This year, the local lament is about coaching talent that got away.

When the Steelers and Packers play this Super Bowl, Dolphins fans can take absolutely zero solace in the fact Mike Tomlin once interviewed for the Miami head coach job and was passed over for someone far less capable of doing the work.

In the first month of 2007, the Dolphins were searching for a coach to replace Nick Saban and identified Tomlin as a rising star worth a visit. They talked to Tomlin. Probed him. Considered him.

Then they passed on him.

A bad choice“Too hip-hop,” one Dolphins employee who had a say in that decision would say of Tomlin weeks later.

Miami went with Cam Cameron instead.

Tomlin interviewed with the Steelers days after his Miami interview. He hadn’t suddenly gotten wiser. He hadn’t magically become a better coach. He was just himself – prepared, pointed, optimistic, realistic.

Tomlin got the job succeeding Bill Cowher.

If the Steelers win on Sunday, that would deliver to Tomlin his second Super Bowl ring as Pittsburgh’s coach and third overall because he’s got one from Super Bowl XXXVII when he was the defensive backs coach for Tampa Bay.

“Every day I go to work, I don’t think about things I have to do, I think about the things I can do to make my men successful,” Tomlin said this week in North Texas. “So I have a servant’s mentality in terms of how I approach my job, and I get that from coach [Tony Dungy].”

A Tony Dungy disciple with a servant’s heart.

Too hip-hop, the Dolphins decided.

I’m not saying Tomlin would have come to Miami and overcome a roster that lacked talent and certainly didn’t compare to Pittsburgh’s. I’m not saying he would have won a Super Bowl already in Miami as he has in Pittsburgh.

I am saying the Dolphins looked in this guy’s eyes and didn’t see what the Rooneys saw when they interviewed Tomlin. They didn’t find out what the Rooney family found out.

That is the difference between being great and being good. Teams such as the Packers and Steelers look at players or coaches other teams have similarly studied and see something special the others miss.

I remember a phone conversation with Saban in 2005 in which he told me he was about to hire Dom Capers. “He’s one of the best defensive coaches out there and he has been for a long time,” Saban said.

Within a couple of years of Capers’ hiring, very few folks in South Florida would have believed that he was among the best at anything. As defensive coordinator of the 2007 Dolphins, he managed to author the worst run defense in the league and the Dolphins ranked 30th in points allowed.

Capers was fired. This year, under Capers’ direction, the Packers were second in fewest points allowed which was an improvement over last season when Capers had his unit ranked seventh in fewest points allowed.

Did Capers become a terrible coach in 2007 after having proved to Saban previously he was an outstanding coach? Did he, becoming suddenly idiotic in 2007, regain his senses the past two years in Green Bay?

Or is it that Capers never stopped being an outstanding coach, but was simply victimized in 2007 by too many injuries ravaging a roster lined with far too little talent?

Great teams often recognize talented people down to their roots. They get a conviction about people. Then they stick to those convictions when crisis hits – which, in the NFL, is every week.

“Panic doesn’t seem to work. Let’s put it that way,” Steelers president Art Rooney II said. “There are enough people that seem to have gone through that mode and our feeling is that you pick good people and you try to stick with them if you have good people. There are ups and downs in any sport, but if you have the right people in place, you’ll always have a chance to be successful and that’s what we do. ”

Do you hear that Tony Sparano doubters?

Is Miami’s current coach the best head coach in the NFL this year? No. His team couldn’t finish strong or win at home.

But did the guy who led the Dolphins to perhaps the most dramatic turnaround in NFL history – going from 1-15 to 11-5 in one year – suddenly becoming incapable of leading and coaching his team?

Formula for successIt speaks well of club owner Stephen Ross that he didn’t knee-jerk and replace Sparano with an unproven Jim Harbaugh last month. The cautious approach might not be rewarded with a title next season, but it gives the Dolphins a chance to have continuity.

And the Steelers, a club with only three coaches since 1969 and having never fired any of them, have proven that continuity can bring success.

The hope is Ross sees something in Sparano, knows something about Sparano that convinced him to keep Sparano even while some were calling for the coach’s head.

The Dolphins have too rarely made us think they know something no one else does. They made us feel that way in 1983 when they picked Dan Marino late in the first round.

They made us feel that way lately when they plucked Cameron Wake out of CFL obscurity and within two seasons saw him go to the Pro Bowl.

But for the couple of decades now, the Dolphins have mostly been among those folks that weren’t aware or didn’t know or missed on a guy by just this much.

That’s not an indictment on the team’s current administration. That’s an indictment on administrations going back to Jimmy Johnson.

The Dolphins missed on Randy Moss, Anquan Boldin, and Brees twice. This isn’t second-guessing or playing the result. All of those players were favored, expected, supposed to join the Dolphins if the brainiacs leading the franchise had been thinking straight.

So where does that leave us?

The hope is Miami folks currently in charge can avoid the curse that obviously befell their predecessors. The hope is the folks running the Dolphins now know something other teams do not.

Headline of the year thus far, re 'Smurfs' in TheWrap: "Cheesy Reboot Will Annoy & Disgust Audiences of All Ages. Obnoxious blue imps..."

A few months ago after hearing that a new feature film called Green With Envy was coming out that featured an actor whose TV show I watch every week, Jason Segal of CBS-TV's How I met Your Mother, I looked for any teasers or trailers of it at the usual places.
I eventually found one, above, and discovered the female lead was someone I really liked, too -the radiant Amy Adams.
So far, so good.
The first 51 seconds or so seemed okay, but then... Muppets.
What a train wreck!

And I'm here to tell ya, Smurfs are even worse!

Poor Neil Patrick Harris!

Smurfs, Bratz, Strawberry Shortcake and My Little Pony are just some of the toy world's diabolical offerings that have literally given me the creeps and made me shudder for as long as I can remember whenever I've walked thru a retail store like Target, Walmart, CVS, et al, and see something from their evil empire.
So banal, so uninspiring, so unambitiuous...

All I could think was that some poor kids were going to be stuck getting this junk when some confused older relative of theirs freaked-out as a birthday or Christmas approached and they realized they had nothing for seven-year old Britney, Brittany or Chloe, so rather than showing some originality, they panicked and simply let their fear take over and became one of the consumer lemmings who took the easy way out.

(When they were younger and not the ambitious college students they are now at Washington & Lee and UVA (University of Virginia), yours truly, in his doting uncle mode, bought his two oldest nieces stuff from the Smithsonian Museum shop on The Mall at the American Museum of History -my favorite!- or, The National Geographic Scociety store at their HQ on 17th Street, N.W., a few blocks north of The White House.)

Which is the predicate for understanding why, so far, the headline of the year, seven months in, comes from Sharon Waxman's The Wrap:
Alonso Duralde reviews 'Smurfs': "Cheesy Reboot Will Annoy & Disgust Audiences of All Ages. Obnoxious blue imps do for children’s entertainment what lead paint does for children’s toys."

I smiled when I saw that and knew immediately that I would have to share it with you here, so pleased was I to see anything like it.

'Smurfs': Cheesy Reboot Will Annoy & Disgust Audiences of All Ages
Published: July 28, 2011 @ 10:17 am
By Alonso Duralde

Call your Congressman and demand that Central Park be federally protected from Hollywood.

This cherished New York institution was already overrun by Jim Carrey and a gaggle of pooping seabirds in this summer’s “Mr. Popper’s Penguins,” and now it’s being invaded by obnoxious blue imps in “The Smurfs,” a film that does for children’s entertainment what lead paint does for children’s toys.
Read the rest of the post at:

See this gem involving the creator of The Simpsons, Matt Groening, whose books of cartoons I bought so many years ago at the Olsson's Books at Dupont Circle:

Fishbowl LA
eBay Gem: A Pre-Simpsons Matt Groening and His ‘Smurf House’
By Tina Dupuy on September 2, 2009 10:25 AM


Mediabistro's Fishbowl LA -Click the icon to see what's new inside Hollywood U.S.A. and the Left Coast.

After lunch today, I came across this in my inbox, my daily Snowmail email from London and Channel 4 News, with Carl Dinnen writing the news preview today:

Carl Dinnen here and I'm looking at Smurfs.

Smurfette, Papa Smurf and Clumsy Smurf to be precise.

Someone at the New York Stock Exchange thought it would be a swell idea to have them ring their opening bell today. But just four days and a few hours before the US federal government runs out of money due to a political squabble between the White House and Congress, putting the Smurfs in charge on Wall Street looks somehow appropriate. President Obama has been speaking this afternoon and Sarah Smith will have the latest from Washington while Siobhan Kennedy will be here to explain what happens to your mortgage (or pension or savings) if the US can't get its act together by Tuesday.

Obama 'running out of time' to solve US Debt crisis

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Give the devil her due: nobody in Florida demagogues & obfuscates like the dreaded DWS; Politico: "Wasserman Schultz says GOP seeks ‘dictatorship..."

Give the devil her due, nobody in Florida demagogues & obfuscates like the dreaded Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-20) -Politico: "Wasserman Schultz says GOP seeks ‘dictatorship..."

Debbie Wasserman Schultz says GOP seeks ‘dictatorship … spark panic'
By Mike Allen
July 27, 2011 5:52 PM EDT
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), chair of the Democratic National Committee, said Wednesday that House Republicans are trying to impose “dictatorship” through their tactics in the debt-ceiling negotiations. She said the GOP rhetoric could “spark panic and chaos,” which she called “potentially devastating” to the economy.
Read the rest of the post at:

Meanwhile, north of here in the Panhandle part of Florida I've never ventured into, Tallahassee Democrat Senior Political Writer Bill Cotterell weighs in on the recent contretemps between DWS and Allen West that I wisely avoided writing about since it was everywhere you looked, and you could only NOT know about it if you lived in... well, no, you'd know about it there, too.

Tallahassee Democrat
The art of the political insult
Today's lack elegance, but they get the job done
By Bill Cotterell
6:33 PM, Jul. 27, 2011

The above piece by the very insightful Bill Cotterell, is an exception to what I've often written here of the hagiography that goes on in the Florida press corps with regard to DWS, esp. at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and local Miami TV stations.

The female reporters in South Florida are especially reluctant to ask DWS questions that are either hard or original, just the same softballs, year-after-year.
It's monotonous with a capital "M."

But then that's why so many female reporters here are simply not taken seriously by well-informed people regardless of gender.
Simply put, too many of the reporters are personally shallow AND happily uninformed and really ought to be in much smaller media markets.

But like DWS -and most of the female sideline reporters at ESPN- they are gerrymandered into their current positions.

In some cases by virtue of this area's low-pay and need to have a certain demographic group represented on TV, regardless of how unappealing they are -dopey women who really do think stories on plastic surgery ARE imp0rtant, and ought to be on within the first ten minutes of a newscast- but nothing short of video of them shooting someone will get them off the air or off the newspaper beat.
The joke is on us, the readers and viewers who have to tolerate the towering mediocrity.

Here's a recent example of the sort of hagiography I meant, which actually compelled me to write in and comment because it sounded so much like a puff piece from her own paid govt. flack.

St. Petersburg Times
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz uses her resolve to fight cancer, lead DNC.
By Alex Leary, Times Staff Writer
In Print: Sunday, July 17, 2011

Back on the 16th I wrote:

Is there no end in sight to the number of articles that can be written about this woman and cancer? Are there so few compelling political or government stories in the fourth-largest state in the country that this sort of filler must continue to be churned out, over-and-over? Simply put, there is nothing here that hasn't been written a dozen times before -and better.
And I surmise THAT is something that both liberals and conservatives can agree on.
For instance, how about writing about the number of State House and Senate members that DON'T live at the addresses they claim they do, both before and after the election, and how the legislature just looks the other way, despite the fact that it's illegal?
There are three of them in just South Florida alone!
Just saying...
Alex, what happened to you? You used to show such promise.
Is this how it ends, with a banal whimper?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My Mischievous Little Swedish Pony: Yes, ponies are still cute & funny, esp. when adults are running after them; Patrik Kittel; Eva Skemm

2011 Falsterbo Horse Show, ponnygaloppen! (Pony race!) July 2011

My Mischievous Little Swedish Pony: Yes, ponies are still cute & funny, esp. when adults are running after them.
You say "canter," I say "Run, pony, run!"

Though it happened a few weeks ago at the 2011 Falsterbo Horse Show, south of Malmö,
the first time I saw this very funny video recorded by presitstommy was earlier today on Ilini-Elin Lindgren's blog at http://ilini.wordpress.com/2011/07/27/ponnyer-alltsa/

And very funny it is, as Elin explains what to look for in this unexpected turn of events with two uncooperative little ponies:
I've slightly edited this to make more sense.
Worth noting:
- Check out the gray/beige pony without a rider -threw him at first turn- that catches up to leader and tries to ram another horse and rider so that they can't continue, riding them into the wall on the third turn.
- A shettis came in with the rider on. All other tumbled to the ground. Good statistics or?
- Have heard rumors that it took about ten minutes and a bunch of officials to finally catch the little black pony that would not allow himself to be captured...

In an earlier post, back on Bastille Day, Världsranking och medaljhopp, i.e World rankings and medal hopes, in advance of next summer's Olympics in London, she pleads for the Swedish media to actually give some well-deserved pub to rider Patrik Kittel, their big hope for a medal in London, who is now ranked fourth in the world.

She includes a video of Patrik riding Watermill Scandica and above it has the most succinct sentence:
Just look at this ride when Patrik wins freestyle in Falsterbo, how perfect is his music?
She's 100% correct, and I could name just about every synth-pop song.
Check it out!

WDM Falsterbo 2011 - Patrik Kittel's winning ride in WDM Exquis Grand Prix Freestyle

The homepage for the Falsterbo Horse Show, which has a ton of other videos of the non-pony chasing variety, is at http://falsterbohorseshow.se/se/valkommen/hem/

And to end things on a happy note, I'll share with you one of my favorite videos of the year, one I often watch when I'm feeling frustrated and dejected and, for a few minutes at least, want to get Far from the Madding Crowds of South Florida's asphalt & gridlock, ugly condo towers, unfriendly people and the chronic social/political problems.

(After all, unlike when I lived in the Washington, D.C. area, I can't just up and fly to Iceland or Sweden or somewhere for a bit whenever I want.
I have responsibilities to others here.)

But far from the sweltering heat and oppressive humidity and nonsense of what passes for normal here, in a small village in The Faroe Islands, it's very simple: Eva♥Sólja.
And for a few short minutes, at least, those problems outside my front door cease to exist.
Thanks to Eva Skemm and her horse, Sólja.

The right horse for me! (Nickelback sings "Far Away")

There's simply nothing like a great horse...

Unforgettable: The radiant Poppy Montgomery is back on CBS-TV, Tuesday's at 10 p.m. after NCIS & NCIS:LA

CBS-TV video: Unforgettable - Fall 2011 Preview


Anyone who knows me pretty well knows that I'm just crazy for Poppy Montgomery, formerly of CBS-TV's Without A Trace, as I saw Murder in the Hamptons about four times, even though I knew what was going to happen to her.

"Unforgettable" premieres Tuesday, September 20th.

Classic Andy Griffith! Know-it-all city boy Bill Bixby, speeding his way to Miami, runs afoul of Andy's Mayberry-style justice; Sleepy Man Banjo Boys

The Andy Griffith Show (Season 2, Episode 15) - Bailey's Bad Boy. Originally aired on CBS-TV on January 15, 1962.
Even when you can see the moral of the story miles away -self-reliance- it's still goes down nice and smooth like homemade strawberry ice cream on Andy's front porch on a hot summer day.

And here's something that Andy would surely appreciate: Bluegrass playing boys from -wait for it- New Jersey. Meet the 'Sleepy Man Banjo Boys'

The Darlings Music Videos

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

ZERO: Number of times this year that Rep. Frederica Wilson (FL-17) has been written about in the BrowardPalmBeach NewTimes regarding her job in D.C.

So, did you see the BrowardPalmBeach NewTimes stories on what Reps. Alcee Hastings (FL-23) and Frederica Wilson (FL-17) are up to with congressional redistricting, with those State Senate meetings in Broward and Miami-Dade just a few weeks away?
Or, who they're using as consultants? (Is it Tony Crapp, Jr., the recent fomer City of Miami city manager?)
Or the articles on the same subject in the Miami Herald or South Florida Sun-Sentinel?
Actually, there hasn't been one.

Back on June 4th, in a post titled, Still waiting for South Florida news media to mention that Frederica Wilson was only FL Rep. to vote YES to increase debt limit?
I reminded some of you all over again what sort of short shrift anyone in DC not named Debbie Wasserman-Schultz gets in terms of media coverage in South Florida, even though most of hers is almost entirely too flattering -almost sycophantic- as many prior posts of mine over the years have pointed out.

So today, with that same federal debt limit still in the news and nobody down here other than yours truly even publicly mentioning Frederica Wilson's seeming disconnection to the country and her district and her very dubious achievement, could you tell me the number of times this year that she's been written about in the BrowardPalmBeach NewTimes regarding her job in DC?

The answer is that the Miami-based congresswoman -who, unfortunately, represents me here in my part of Hallandale Beach - has been mentioned in that regard in the South Florida alternative news weekly ZERO times.

Here's the scoreboard for the MiamiNewTimes

Number of times this year that Rep. Allen West (FL-22 ), who represents north Broward and south Palm Beach counties has been mentioned in the Miami NewTimes?
Do you even have to ask?

Those of you who think that the BrowardPalmBeach or Miami NewTimes are going to do anything of substance to fill-in the gigantic information gap caused by the self-evident retreat on local news coverage of the rapidly-declining Miami Herald and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, need to wake-up from your sleepwalking before you hurt yourself -or others.
Your false hope and naivete is going to costs you someday when you least expect it.

And have you seen some of the online pieces in the Broward NewTimes the past few months?
To call them paltry is to overstate the number of character spaces.

Oh, and you recall my blog post of last year in which I noted for the record that despite the generally poor-to-below average job done by the Herald and the Sun-Sentinel reporters, columnists and editors, they at least have their media email addresses in their pieces or on the company website, so they can be contacted diirectly -but don't count on replies, per Herald ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos- but the BrowardPalmBeach NewTimes management team doesn't.
They still don't.

And just as an aside, why are South Florida's overwhelmingly White and Cuban-American press corps so deathly afraid to ask Black elected officials, local, state and national, hard questions about budgets and govt. funding?
It's very, very patronizing.

Instead, almost every article about Wilson after she was elected was about her f-ing hats.

And since then, nothing about any of her votes to continue funding unsuccesful programs and policies.

As I've stated previously, I hope under the new redistricting plan drawn up under the Florida legislature, she can represent just Miami-Dade voters, so get familiar with her, Aventura!
She may soon be yours!

Public Records Request of July 22, 2011: Debra Brown; Zamar, Inc.; Josh Brown; Lampkin’s Creative Arts 4 All; Joseph A. "Joe" Gibbons

Chris Talmadge
City Clerk's Office
City of Hallandale Beach
400 S. Federal Highway
Hallandale Beach, FL 33009

July 22, 2011

Dear Mr. Talmadge:

I am writing you today to formally request the following public documents be made available for my inspection.

Any and all documents, including emails, letters, reports, contract, grant applications, loan applications, citations, RFPs, MOUs, to-and-from the City of Hallandale Beach and/or its CRA, its elected officials, managers, city employees, contractors or agents, and the following individuals and entities for the years 2008 to the present day, July 22, 2011:

1.) Debra Brown

2.) Zamar, Inc.

3.) Josh Brown

4.) The individuals and entity aka/dba Lampkin’s Creative Arts 4 All,
222 S. Dixie Highway, Hallandale Beach, FL 33009

5.) Joseph "Joe" Gibbons, in his capacity as a resident or taxpayer in the State of Florida.
Be sure to include ANY and ALL street addresses in the State of Florida used by Gibbons in any documents sent to him or received from him.

I request that if electronic copies exist, they be made available to me in that format.

Please be sure to detail any proscribed fees associated with this request.

I can be reached at the above email address if you have any further questions about this specific request.

Thank you in advance for your assistance in this matter.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Import woes! American teens now bypassing U.S. crooks and importing foolproof fake IDs from China! Dozens arrested in Chicago & 'burbs

Dozens Charged in Cook County Fake Driver’s License Bust: MyFoxCHICAGO.com

FoxChicago/WFLD-TV video: Dozens Charged in Cook Co. Fake ID Bust. July 22, 2011. Dozens of Chicago-area kids have been busted for buying fake IDs after an extensive investigation into counterfeit driver’s licenses being ordered from Chicago and paid for with money orders and shipped from China.

This video consists of two separate reports, the first with reporter Tisha Lewis doing a stand-up on the city's busy bar-heavy Near North Side, and the second with Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart appearing in studio downtown to speak on the seriousness and stupidity of the crimes and the degree of sophistication involved.

Related article at: http://www.myfoxchicago.com/dpp/news/crime/dozens-young-people-charged-fake-id-drivers-license-bust-cook-county-20110722

As for the "young people' the Sheriff is talking about, me, I'm putting my money on the clever kids and future leaders from Evanston High or New Trier!
Fake ID Rush Hour on the Near North Side!

View more

Risky Business Quotes and Sound Clips

"Princeton could use a guy like Joel."

This also answers the question of whatever happened to former WTVJ-TV/NBC6 reporter Tisha Lewis.
She got the last laugh on everyone down here, a few years after-the-fact, finally getting to a media market where people really do pay serious attention to local news, unlike down here.
Like the newspapers, for instance.

People who have moved to South Florida since roughly Hurricane Andrew have no earthly idea of the amount of space the Miami Herald once dedicated to covering local TV and radio trends, personalities, feuds & firings in their entertainment section in the 1970's and '80's, since I read every article.

(For more on that long ago media era, see my South Beach Hoosier post of July 14, 2008,
Speaking of Marlins stadium cost over-run provisions...

I don't even bother to look at that section of the Herald any more, as it goes right into the recycling pile. And when I do look there, just out of curiosity, it's unappealing in the extreme.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Unfortunate denouement in the matter of BUTLER v. CITY OF HALLANDALE BEACH also shows the South FL news media for what they are -weirdly incurious

Above, October 9, 2010 photo of Hallandale Beach City Hall by South Beach Hoosier

Below, the sad and unfortunate denouement to the local situation involving my friend and fellow HB civic activist Michael Butler, the beginning, middle and end of which you NEVER saw mentioned once on local Miami TV newscasts, or -surprise!- in the Miami Herald.

(But as some of you attentive readers out there have reminded me -though I saw it myself, too- the Herald did have the time, space and desire recently to mention something about a Romanian soccer player that you never heard of eating at some South Beach restaurant, since THAT'S considered news these days down at the Herald under the current regime.)

Yes, only the Sun-Sentinel's Michael Mayo and Brittany Wallman, and Bob Norman while at the New Times, back in 2009, have been the only print or TV reporters, editors or columnists to ever see the situation for what it really was and said anything publicly about this situation.

Broward Politics blog
Mayo: Why are taxpayers footing Mayor Joy Cooper's lawsuit bill?
By Brittany Wallman,
October 29, 2009 09:59 AM

Mayor Joy Cooper: "i Feel Like My Privacy Has Been Raped''
Posted by Brittany Wallman on October 27, 2009 04:28 PM

BrowardPalmBeach NewTimes
Judge Patti Henning Strikes Again
By Bob Norman
Tuesday, Octover 27 2009 at 3:21 PM

My friend and fellow HB civic activist Csaba Kulin emailed me this morning after getting news from me about this latest and final chapter in the case involving Michael, and shared a few thoughts with me that I'd like to share with you here and now, rather than in a separate post.

The key points Csaba mentioned that I'm excerpting here mirror many of the ones that some of you who have been following this situation closely have asked me the past two years, including the role of HB City Attorney David Jove, who as you recall from my June 28th post, is officially history a week from today, thanks goodness.
I was going to mention it to you that in the last moments of Jove's tenure he declared 3 victories for HB. One was over Michael. This was a monumental loss and expense for the City. They could have just denied his request and moved on.
If it was not city business, why did the City pay the Mayor's expenses?

That last question is a real bitch to answer isn't it, and is one that Mayo raised above, no?
And the answer is ????

By the way, for the record, last time I heard, Hallandale Beach taxpayers have been paying attorney Jamie Cole $185 an hour to pursue this suit on the city's behalf, even though in reality, it was at mayor Joy Cooper's behest.

Some of you readers in South Florida have told me in person or via email that Jamie Cole was a "great guy," and that if it hadn't been him, it would have been some other attorney who would've done the dirty laundry for Joy Cooper.

Jamie Cole may or may not be a good guy, I don't know, since I have never had any personal interaction with him to judge him fairly one way or the other.
Or, he could be one of a million parasitical hack attorneys in Broward and Miami-Dade.
Or, he could be a hack by day and avenging angel at night.
I really can't say.
And neither can you.

All I can do is judge him by what he actually does.

What I do know for a fact is that he agreed to do the bidding of Joy Cooper, seemed to have no moral qualms about suing a Florida citizen trying to get information that he was legally entitled to ask for under the Florida Constitution, so that is how I will see him and judge him in the future -as Joy Cooper's personal henchman.
If the glove fits...

If all goes as expected, on Friday -and possibly Monday as well- some of you out there in the blogospere who are regular recipients of emails from me will receive a bcc from me re a public records request to the City of Hallandale Beach re certain individuals and entities that have been recipients of taxpayer funds via City/CRA loans and grants in the recent past under what can only be described as very curious and even questionable circumstances.

How many times can you FAIL to meet the low standards and REQUIREMENTS the city itself has set and still have no problem getting tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars?

How can votes even be taken by the City Commission or even approved by the City Manager on applications that are NOT even complete?

For those of you who will not be receiving the email later, that bcc will morph into a blog post by Monday night, and you can see it then if you care to.

The following information is formatted slightly different than it appears on the Court's website due to indenting problems, i.e. paragraphs and indents wouldn't stay firmly in place here exactly as they appear on website. It got frustrating to keep editing and have the same problem occur over-and-over, no matter how many times I tried.
I've done my best to replicate the original but if in doubt, go to website!

July Term 2011



CITY OF HALLANDALE BEACH, a Florida Municipality,

No. 4D10-197
[July 20, 2011]


Michael Butler appeals from a final judgment in a declaratory action
filed b y Th e City of Hallandale Beach (th e City), which sought a
declaration that a list of recipients of a personal email sent by Hallandale
Beach Mayor, Joy Cooper, was not sent in connection with the discharge
of a n y municipal d u t y and, therefore, is not a public record under
Florida’s Public Records Law, Chapter 119, Florida Statutes (2009).

The email in question was sent b y Cooper from her personal email
account, using her personal computer, and was blind carbon copied to
friends and supporters. Th e email itself was very brief, and contained
three articles that Cooper wrote as a contributor to the South Florida
Sun Times (Times) as a n attachment. Cooper h a s been a weekly
columnist for the Times for more than four years. Th e three articles
included as an attachment to the email were: (1) a transcript of the 2009
State of the City Address; (2) a transcript of Part Two of the State of the
City Address; a n d (3) an article about tax questions raised at prior
commission meetings.

The trial court found that Cooper was under no obligation pursuant to
the statute or ordinance to notify her friends a n d supporters that a
column had been published, and further that the City played no role in
Cooper’s decision to send the email to friends. Therefore, Butler was not
entitled to the names and email addresses of the recipients of the email.
We agree and affirm.
- 2 -

Public access to records and meetings of public officials is established
b y Article I, section 24(a) of the Florida Constitution, which states,
“[e]very person has the right to inspect or copy any public record made or
received in connection with the official business of any . . . officer, or
employee of the state . . . except with respect to records exempted
pursuant to this section or specifically made confidential b y this
Constitution.” Section 24(c) provides that the state legislature, by a twothirds vote of each house of the legislature, h a s th e power to enact
exemptions to section 24(a)’s disclosure requirements. Art. I, § 24(c), Fla.

Section 119.011(12) defines a “public record” as:

[A]ll documents, papers, letters, maps, books, tapes,
photographs, films, s o u n d recordings, data processing
software, or other material, regardless of the physical form,
characteristics, or means of transmission, made or received
pursuant to law or ordinance or in connection with the
transaction of official business by an agency.

§ 119.011(12), Fla. Stat. (2009). And section 119.011(2) defines “agency”

[A]ny state, county, district, authority, or municipal officer,
department, division, board, bureau, commission, or other
separate unit of government created or established b y law
including, for the purposes of this chapter, the Commission
on Ethics, the Public Service Commission, and the Office of
Public Counsel, a n d any other public or private agency,
person, partnership, corporation, or business entity acting
on behalf of any public agency.

§ 119.011(2), Fla. Stat. (2009). Cooper qualifies as a n “agency” as set
forth in section 119.011(2), since the Mayor is a municipal officer acting
on behalf of the municipality and is thus subject to the directives of this

“The determination of what constitutes a public record is a question of
law entitled to de novo review.” State v. City of Clearwater, 863 So. 2d
149, 151 (Fla. 2003) (quoting Media Gen. Convergence, Inc. v. Chief Judge
of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit, 840 So. 2d 1008, 1013 (Fla. 2003)).

In City of Clearwater, the Florida Supreme Court analyzed the issue of
whether e-mails are considered public records. In that case, a reporter
- 3 -

requested that the city provide copies of all e-mails either sent from or
received by two city employees over the city’s computer network. Id. at
150. At issue was whether the e-mails, by virtue of the city’s possession
on their network, were public records. Id. at 151. The court concluded
that the definition of public records is limited to public information
related to records, and further defined the term “records” as those
materials that have b e e n prepared with the intent of perpetuating or
formalizing knowledge. Id. at 154 (quoting Shevin v. Byron, Harless,
Schaffer, Reid & Assocs., Inc., 379 So. 2d 633, 640 (Fla. 1980)). The
court emphasized that the mere placement of an e-mail on a government
network is not controlling in determining whether it is public record, but
rather, whether the e-mail is prepared in connection with the official
business of an agency and is “intended to perpetuate, communicate, or
formalize knowledge of some type.” Id. (quoting Shevin, 379 So. 2d at

The court in City of Clearwater also emphasized that a common sense
approach should b e used in determining whether a communication is
public record, and further emphasized that “[t]h e determining factor is
the nature of the record, not its physical location.” Id. Just as the
supreme court concluded that the mere fact that the email was a product
of the City’s computer network did not automatically make it a public
record, the City concedes that the mere fact that Cooper’s email was sent
from her private email on her own personal computer is not the
determining factor as to whether the email was a public record. Once
again, it is whether the email was prepared in connection with official
agency business a n d in t e n d e d to perpetuate, communicate, and
formalize knowledge of some kind. See id.

The City played no role in Cooper’s decision to write articles for the
Times. Th e City played n o role in identifying the topics about which
Cooper chose to write and exercised no control over the content of the
articles. The City played no role in Cooper’s decision to distribute or not
to distribute her Times articles, or the means by which she chose to do
so. Th e City played n o role in deciding to whom Cooper chose to
distribute the copies of her articles; Cooper herself decided to distribute
the articles to select personal friends a n d supporters at her own
discretion. The email that Cooper sent was not intended to perpetuate,
communicate, or formalize the City’s business; it was simply to provide a
copy of the articles to Cooper’s friends and supporters. The email was
not made pursuant to law or in connection with the transaction of official
business by the City, or Cooper in her capacity as Mayor.
- 4 -

As previously noted, Chapter 119 is a legislative clarification of Article
I, section 24(a) of the Florida Constitution, which provides that “[e]very
person h a s th e right to inspect or copy a n y public record made or
received in connection with the official business of a n y public body,
officer, or employee of the state, or persons acting on their behalf.” The
articles h a d been previously published where anyone could inspect or
c o p y them a n d th e email forwarding copies of the articles was not
prepared in connection with the official business of the Mayor or the

We, therefore, affirm the trial court’s determination that these articles,
the email, email addresses, and names of its recipients were not public
records under Chapter 119.

WARNER, J., and MONACO, TOBY S., Associate Judge, concur.
* * *
Appeal from the Circuit Court for the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit,
Broward County; Patti Englander Henning, Judge; L.T. Case No. 09-
22405 03.

Edward F. Holodak of Edward F. Holodak, P.A., a n d Louis C.
Arslanian, Hollywood, for appellant.

Andrea Flynn Mogensen of The Law Office of Andrea Flynn Mogensen,
P.A., Sarasota, for Amicus Curiae First Amendment Foundation, Inc., a
not-for-profit corporation.

Daniel L. Abbott a n d Jamie A. Cole of Weiss, Serota, Helfman,
Pastoriza, Cole & Boniske, P.L., Fort Lauderdale, for appellee.

Not final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing

#HollywoodFL based photographer/entrepreneur Esther Chuang

#HOLLYWOODFL based photographer and entrepreneur Esther Chuang with Hollywood Mayor-elect Josh Levy
Thumbs up! What a night! #HOLLYWOODFL based photographer and entrepreneur Esther Chuang with a very elated Hollywood Mayor-elect Josh Levy at his Victory Party, held at Leo Anato's Atelier3/AT3 on Harrison Street & S. 19th Avenue, Hollywood. AT3's great environment and the amazing variety of food prepared by chef Kevin Dreifuss, former owner/chef of now-closed ENDS MEAT restaurant, was SUPERB! November 8, 2016 Esther Chuang, Morro Dois Irmãos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2015
Above, perhaps my most-favorite photo ever of Esther, which is really saying something considering the THOUSANDS that I've actually seen of her, from all over the world. But despite the fact that you can't actually see it here, trust me, her amazing smile and inner and external beauty are there. This photo is an even more amazing achievement when you know the backstory of what it took for Esther to get to the top of the mountain, since it's NOT for the faint of heart. Next time you see her, ask her about that! Morro Dois Irmãos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on her birthday, July 10, 2015. That's the Christ The Redeemer statue way out in the horizon on the top of another mountain, to the left of her head. To the right is the world famous beach of Ipanema and to the left is the equally famous beach of Copacabana. �� In case you forgot what the Christ the Redeemer statue looks like, up close, here's yet another Brazilian beauty to connect-the-dots for you: Gisele Bündchen, aka @Gisele.

Abençoado por Deus e bonito por natureza!✨ ������

A post shared by Gisele Bündchen (@gisele) on

View of Rio De Janeiro from my room.

A post shared by Bebe Rexha (@beberexha) on