LAUDERDALE LAKESThis town is broke, but that didn't stop Commissioner Gloria Lewis from spending $1,440 in taxpayer funds in February for 140 T-shirts for fifth graders at Oriole Elementary School's spirit-boosting event coinciding with the FCAT exams.It was hardly an exception. Since January 2010, city records show, the mayor and the six city commissioners have used thousands of dollars from their city-funded expense accounts for charitable donations to which their names often are attached.Early this year, for example, Mayor Barrington Russell Sr. dipped into his expense account to buy a $75 ad featuring his photo in the program for Merrell United Methodist Church's Pre-Valentine's Day Banquet.The funds may serve a noble purpose. Few would deny they also may buy voter goodwill.From city to city, amounts vary. Davie has a Community Endowment Fund from which it will dole out $390,365 this year. Upscale Boca Raton's charitable outlay totals about $450,000 annually, and is part of the public budget-writing process. Hollywood allocated $191,500 in this year's budget to 17 community groups that assist children, the elderly, the disabled, battered women and the homeless. But next year's proposed budget recommends eliminating the grants. Hollywood, too, is in dire financial shapeThe charitable expenditures appear to be perfectly legal. But in an era of diminishing public resources, taxpayer-funded donations are open to question, as is every other government expense. Why does this charity benefit, and not another? Why this much?"I give to anything that benefits the kids. I give to the children,'' Lewis told the Sun Sentinel.In Lauderdale Lakes, officials are grappling with a $9 million deficit for this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. The city has cut jobs and salaries and unsuccessfully sought a county bailout.Since 2010, the mayor and six commissioners have spent more than $19,000 from accounts set up to pay their on-the-job expenses. A review of the receipts shows that about 75 percent of the outlays are not ordinary job-related out-of-pocket expenses, but donations –in the elected official's name -- to churches, clubs, schools and other organizations.In August after this financially strapped municipality had run out of money to pay the Broward Sheriff's Office for police and fire protection, Commissioner Patricia Hawkins-Williams used $700 from her expense account to pay for 200 T-shirts for a city youth football program. At the time, Hawkins-Williams said, she and other commissioners were unaware of the fiscal hardships the city was facing.Along with such out-of-pocket donations of public funds by individual commissioners, Lauderdale Lakes in recent years has allocated roughly $25,000 from its annual budget to about 10 community organizations, such as the Kiwanis Club and Meals on Wheels.Groups requesting such assistance are required to show how many residents they serve. In 2011, the city scaled back, reserving nearly all the funds for one group: the Area Agency on Aging, which helps the city's Alzheimer Care Center.The use of elected officials' expense accounts to aid charities differs from community to community, the Sun Sentinel found.In Hollywood, Delray Beach and Boca Raton, local leaders aren't provided with expense accounts.In Lauderhill, the city manager has proposed that the city not make its customary annual contribution in fiscal 2012 to the Area Agency on Aging or to Family Central, which provides day care and other services for low-income families. The city commission must make the final decision.Like in Lauderdale Lakes, however, Lauderhill's mayor and four commissioners do occasionally dip into their administrative expense accounts to purchase tickets to local fundraisers or to help aid groups that have modest requests. "We're basically micro-gifting," Mayor Richard Kaplan said.In Lauderdale Lakes, the mayor and commissioners have been provided with non-vouchered accounts that they can spend any way they like, without needing to provide receipts, usually to compensate for wear and tear on their personal cars. The mayor received $10,200 and the commissioners $9,600 annually. Those amounts were reduced by 10 percent this year because of the budget crisis.The mayor and commissioners also have vouchered expense accounts of up to $5,000 yearly, for which they must provide receipts to show how the money was spent. These accounts also were reduced 10 percent.The Sun Sentinel reviewed about a year's worth of these expense authorizations, and found most went to pay for donations to schools, clubs and churches for events or specific projects.Money spent by commissioners included $500 for an elementary school teachers award; two $50 half-page souvenir program ads for the inauguration of the new pastor at the First Baptist Church Piney Grove; $100 for the Caribbean Bar Association's scholarship and awards gala; $300 for a half-page ad and five tickets for a Caribbean American Democratic Club's awards luncheon; $300 to help buy "audio books, Kindles, and padded headsets" for Boyd Anderson High School, and $50 to a women's club for a senior citizens' prom.SOS Children's Village, a Coconut Creek facility for foster children, asked Russell, the mayor, by letter in August to earmark $1,000 for it in the city's annual budget.In November, Russell gave the group $1,000 from his expense account. He is on the facility's board of directors.In September, then-commissioner David Shomers donated $500 apiece to the Lauderdale Lakes Basketball Association, Lauderdale Lakes Sports Club, and Wheels of Excellence, a charity that repairs abandoned bicycles recovered by the Broward Sheriff's Department and gives them to needy children.State corporation records show Shomers and six others formed Wheels of Excellence about 15 years ago.Shomers, who lost a re-election bid in November, said he never sought or received publicity for his charitable gifts. "I can't think of any way it would have helped politically," he said.Susannah Bryan contributed to this report.Reader comments at:----------
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.
Monday, August 8, 2011
When cities use taxpayers' money to pick winners & losers; Follow-up to my Public Records Request of July 22, 2011 to the City of Hallandale Beach
#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 ENDS MEAT restaurant, was SUPERB! November 8, 2016
Last night at #election2016 #party in #hollywood #city. Congratulations #joshlevy #newmayor #hollywoodcity. Privileged to be with the #sunsentinel #sunsentinelnewspaper #photographer #makeamericagreatagain #neverforget #anighttoremember #life #liberty #pursuitofhappiness #blessed #yourphotographer #miamiphotography #photography #proudtobeamerican ����
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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. �� In case you forgot what the Christ the Redeemer statue looks like, up close, here's another Brazilian beauty to connect-the-dots for you: Gisele Bündchen, aka @Gisele.
Today is the day. Today is a celebration. Today is my day. Today, I hiked, I photographed, and I explored. Today I choose to love. Today I'm happy. Today I'm blessed. Today is my birthday. Today is a special day for you and me. #birthdaygirl #birthday #birthdaymonth #brazil #braziltrip #rio #theview #livingthelife #lifeisgood #morro #rio #praia #travel #miami #miamigirl #luckygirl #loveisintheair #justdoit #artist #photographer #photography #taiwan #beautiful #vacation #viajar #instagood #smile #dreambig #wishes #true
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My next boyfriend isn’t allowed in Brazil. The women are too hot. ��— Bebe Rexha (@BebeRexha) March 19, 2018
Beach day. pic.twitter.com/TGMXzzpDKI— Bebe Rexha (@BebeRexha) March 19, 2018
Brazilllll pic.twitter.com/sS45YnxrBo— Bebe Rexha (@BebeRexha) March 13, 2018
My #WhatsApp: I remember happy moments like that. And soon a day that I never ever thought could be reached, nor ever wanted to be reached, Day 101, will be over. Triple digits. To quote someone I'm forever quoting, "Wow." ☹️ And I'm not in #Sweden , either. ☹️☹️ pic.twitter.com/upD1rLQTaB— HallandaleBeachBlog (@hbbtruth) January 25, 2018
Bad news on the #Sweden front: How that very disturbing news re violent #crime in Sweden you probably didn't see/read about in the U.S. media yet, affects me... I'm NOT flying to ���� & #Iceland���� this week as I'd previously planned. ☹️�� Here's why: https://t.co/mcg8gidFmv— HallandaleBeachBlog (@hbbtruth) January 25, 2018
@instapundit In 2018, nothing's more precious than U.S. news media getting on thr high horse to lecture us abt personal relationships in workplace. Just don't think of Ben Bradlee @washingtonpost or Les Moonves @CBS, whose girlfriends worked for them there https://t.co/EErNGuIy1n— HallandaleBeachBlog (@hbbtruth) January 25, 2018
Seems like a good time to remind everyone that the guy spouting off about morality below slept with his candidate's wife while still working for the candidate. pic.twitter.com/aXy7Z6XKVx— RBe (@RBPundit) January 24, 2018
@EstherPerel @matthewhussey @LewisHowes @SexWithEmily 1 of most insightful pieces re #MeToo precisely bec it acknowledges that human behavior -even among well-educated ppl who shld know better- is so often inexplicable and full of hypocrisy and betrayal. https://t.co/UseNuI0vP8— HallandaleBeachBlog (@hbbtruth) January 21, 2018
@fredrikstrage @CallMeCilia @magnusswede @didigital_se @maralkalajian @SpotifyBusiness MT @cheriehu42 In many ways, #Sweden ���� is taking the lead on #tech & #diversity in the music industry. My latest @billboard >> https://t.co/Gevel7oX8X— HallandaleBeachBlog (@hbbtruth) January 19, 2018
"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase." - Martin Luther King, Sept. 1962. #MLK I was a young kid living in #Memphis with my family that April night in 1968 when we returned home from a trip to #McDonalds and like so many nights before, I raced to the TV set in the living room to beat my two younger sisters to be the one who turned on the TV. As my parents walked in and settled down on the family couch, to see what was on TV, literally, within one minute, came the Breaking News that Dr. King had been shot elsewhere in the city. And the news only got worse as the night went on as news soon confirmed that Dr. King had died as a result of the assassination attempt, and soon there was widespread looting and violence in Memphis, the very things he had adamantly opposed. Eventually came the news that the city was under curfew, and sometime before midnight, because my family lived in a new-ish apt. complex that was on the same road as the nearby Armory, my parents and I and many of our neighbors watched in silence from the sidewalk/curb as tanks driven by members of the mobilized National Guard drove towards downtown Memphis, because the city's powers-that-be had decided that this would show the people who was boss. As my mother tells the story, one of my neighbors remarked on the irony of U.S. Army tanks being used to try to stop violence by Americans who were upset about the murder of a great man who had won the #NobelPeacePrize. It was the first time I remember ever hearing this strange word: #irony.
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My first blog post of 2018: Changes to look for in me and at #HallandaleBeachBlog in the year to come -and some oblique clues about the upsetting past few months and why you haven't been seeing me quite so much lately around #SoFL. https://t.co/c67K6YM2ts pic.twitter.com/oLLpULXe3W— HallandaleBeachBlog (@hbbtruth) January 11, 2018
Like the gangs who've tagged @MyFDOT_SEFL signs on US-1 in southern #Broward for well over decade, esp. #HallandaleBeach? In Jan. of '14 = over 95% of all signs/FPL poles b/w NE 213th St. & HBB, inc. "Entering #Broward County" sign that's been laughingstock 4 years. @GlennaOn10 pic.twitter.com/zXfNpWtDrW— HallandaleBeachBlog (@hbbtruth) January 18, 2018
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2 0 1 7. I made new mistakes and old ones again. I learned things I didn't know and I things I had already learned the hard way but needed to repeat either way. I fell in love again and again, with the same man, and realized that is the way to do it. I stopped thinking life happened to me and started enjoying taking control of what tomorrow would entail. I wrote even when it hurt and I apologized even when they didn't. I almost gave up but woke up and stood up and spoke up and didn't budge and moved on and forgave myself for not always knowing what to do. I decided the most important thing is to be proud of who I become and to make sure she is someone to be proud of. All I truly have is the opportunity to be whoever I want to be, and knowing that is everything.
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The boyfriend of Mikaela -Malin and Jennifer's sister- wrote above: "Honey, you are my everything, my dream, my imagination, my reality, my future. Sounds like something that I would write to someone special -and have!
New to my #NewYearsResolutions: 1/ Eat Breakfast more often B4 leaving 4 work, and NOT via FastFood! 2/ Have B'fast in bed more often! 3/— HallandaleBeachBlog (@hbbtruth) January 1, 2018
Whenever possible, have #fashionblogger/Instagram models over 4 B'fast when latter occurs! The @micahgianneli Rule �� https://t.co/YCVJSE5NqR
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FYI: There are 10 photos below, including a rare one of yours truly!
When not possible to have #fashionblogger/@instagram models over for Breakfast -and deep discussions abt trends in #SocialMedia��- head over to Chocolada Bakery & Cafe, #HollywoodFL for Breakfast and get in some high-quality #peoplewatching AND writing done! On my way there NOW! pic.twitter.com/GZFzpnXUPe— HallandaleBeachBlog (@hbbtruth) January 1, 2018
Last night, ChristmasEve, on #TheBroadwalk, #HollywoodBeach FL, near Hollywood Beach #Marriott hotel. In b/w giving directions/dining advice to northern visitors who sized me up as a well-informed local whom they could trust after they walked up to where I was sitting - I have that trusting face thing down!- I ruminated on the many inexplicable things that have happened to me the past 3 months that have turned my life upside down, and the important decisions I will be making in the coming weeks as 2017 morphs into 2018.
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Unlike amazing #SergelsTorg in beautiful #STHLM, #Christmas holiday reindeers in sunny #SoFL, at least in #HallandaleBeach, are NOT life-size, much less, larger-than-life. Another thing that makes me miss #Sweden����. @CallMeCilia @magnusswede @LindaZachrison @LolaAkinmade pic.twitter.com/Iu5JWVcYIC— HallandaleBeachBlog (@hbbtruth) December 5, 2017