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 1, 2011

While you were sleeping: Comm. Alexander Lewy's budget chicanery & Liberal Guilt just cost you another $200,000-plus. For what and for whom, exactly?

Above, Hallandale Beach City Commission on dais at some of the mundane FY2011-12 budget hearing workshops I caught a few hours of at City Hall. Little did I know what would happen hours later... July 19, 2011 photo by South Beach Hoosier.

The subject header for this blog is the draft title I came up with eleven days ago, only a few hours after finding out about the dubious post-1 a.m. financial hijinks of Hallandale Beach Comm. Alexander Lewy that my friend and fellow HB civic activist Csaba Kulin caught on TV and first alerted me to in a short to-the-point post-2 a.m. email.

I'm going to fill you in on some of the details but I'd much prefer that you take advantage of Csaba's eye for detail and research below, and simply watch a bit of the city's recorded webcast for yourself -and take notes.

See for yourself what happens in this city when hardly any citizens are around after midnight to call them out publicly for their completely inappropriate and insulting behavior on the dais.

It strains credulity to believe that Lewy forgot the TV cameras were STILL on, or is it that he simply didn't care?
It's hardly a surprise that I suspect the latter.

Does he honestly think we can't figure out what he's doing and why he's doing it?

In my opinion, he could hardly be more obvious in his various attempts the past nine months to ingratiate himself, using our tax dollars to do it.
Even in a down economy, $200,000-plus is still real money!

Lewy did it at least in part because he knew Mayor Cooper would eagerly support any effort that showers taxpayer largess on northwest HB a year before she runs for re-election, with Comm. Keith London likely opposing her next November.

When was the last time the taxpayers of this city ever saw an objective, quantifiable measurement of the effectiveness of anything that was funded thru a taxpayer-funded grant or a loan?
Something you could read and touch, or, at least see on the city's website?

Without an accurate after-the-fact audit or analysis, how do we know whether what's being funded is actually effective, flawed, or simply a waste of taxpayer dollars?

But in seven-plus years of living here, I have yet to see even one, much less, the ones involving so-called 'job training' we've already been paying for involving Eagles Wings and Jessica Sanders, Comm. Sanders' wife, or strongly encouraged in the city's deals with Magna, Gulfstream Park and Forest City that may've also involved her.

What's the down-side of finding out, once-and-for-all, whether they actually had any positive effect at all, and IF they did, how many measurable jobs were placed that wouldn't have otherwise?
And if they don't do what they claim, adios!

Personally, I have never seen any such numbers either offered or demanded, yet an after-the-fact analysis should be a required part of every loan or grant, in order to see what common factors and characteristics help create a successful outcome.

Instead, we continue to fund bad ideas without objective data or bench marks, when there are legitimate small businesses in this town that could use a small push if they met certain criteria.

IF the city is going to spend $200,000, and I don't think they should, I'd much rather see $2,000 given in grants to 100 qualified HB shops/stores/restaurants that need the money to pay for overdue improvements or repairs to stay in business, rather than see it be given as a gift to Eagles Wings, an entity that does NOT exactly go out of its way to be transparent or publicly accountable with where its funding comes from or goes.

In fact, in the year 2011, despite all the money that the city's taxpayers have poured into it over the years -taxpayers like Y-O-U- plus all the free rent and use of your govt. facilities it has taken advantage of, would you believe that Eagles Wings still DOESN'T have a website of their own that explains what they actually do and who the people are behind it.

It's true.

One well-informed person I know has suggested to me that one of the principal reasons that residents of NW Hallandale Beach are SO thoroughly unhappy with Comm. Anthony Sanders' performance in office -and his wife Jessica- a theory I've heard expounded from dozens of people the past six months, is precisely because of these kinds of nonsensical deals where city funds are mysteriously allocated to the NW community, but, somehow, for reasons that they can never really quite explain, the funds don't filter down to the actual members of that community in a way that's productive or satisfactory for HB taxpayers.

Yes, just more of the chronic lack of accountability at HB City Hall that Csaba Kulin, Mike Butler, Judy & Bob Selz, Etty Sims, myself and many others here have been decrying for years, where public transparency is the VERY LAST THING the City of Hallandale Beach wants.

Later this week, thru a Public Records Request, I'm requesting the Draft Minutes from the city of that portion of the July 19th budget workshop involving Lewy's $200,000 early-morning surprise, even though I already know it will be on the vague side.

I will also ask for any docs relating to Eagles Wings, job training and Jessica Sanders since the election last November, a copy of Eagles Wings IRS Form 990, and a list of the professional qualifications of the employees of that entity, as well as any city report or professional audit measuring their effectiveness.

Whatever I receive will certainly make for very interesting reading, and once I have secured it and read it, I will post it to the blog.

Is it time for Broward's Inspector General to look at Hallandale Beach's funding of Eagles Wings, and where all the money is really going?

When I eventually left, with the workshops still going strong, I had no idea what was to come later.
July 19, 2011 photo by South Beach Hoosier.

From: Csaba Kulin
Date: Wed, Jul 20, 2011 at 1:46 AM
Subject: Last Night's Budget Meeting


I am sorry, but after playing golf in 85 degree heat, I got a bit tired and dozed off.
Around 1:06 AM I heard the loud voices of our Mayor. It was about Eagles Wings.

There were only 3 Commissioners on the dais, London and Sanders were in the back room.
During the following 9 minutes the Mayor and Lewy practically forced Ross to stay on the dais.
The Mayor ignored Ross's motion to adjourn, remember it was past 1 AM and needed "super majority" which she did not have.

Lewy made a motion to give Eagles Wings an additional, I think, $203,000.00 for job placement of people.
Then, instead of naming Eagles Wings, the motion was to give it to an "existing organization in HB already doing this kind of work". Ross was badgered until she gave in and voted for it.
As soon as the vote Ross walked off the dais, Keith London returned, the budget was passed, 2-1 I think and the meeting was adjourned.
You need to get the details tomorrow.
Maybe the HBCC meeting will start with that.
What a mess. I am sorry, but I am too tired to clean this e-mail up. It is almost 2 AM.


I responded to this news by sending the following email out later that morning to concerned residents, other area elected officials and certain members of the South Florida news media who actually pay attention to local government:

Date: Wed, Jul 20, 2011 at 3:16 AM
Subject: FYI: After 1 a.m. at the Hallandale Beach budget meeting, $203,000 of your tax dollars walk out the door...

In case you forgot where we live and how corrupt things really are here:
And when taxpayer dollars go to Eagles Wings, whose family is it really going to?

This is a classic example of how Joy Cooper tries to buy another term in office -with your tax dollars.

On top of what she did on Friday in demanding that the city commission give $50k
to someone that none of us have ever heard of and who the city staff thought only
deserved $10k, if that.
Someone the mayor actually INVITED to apply.

Lampkin’s Creative Arts 4 All
222 S. Dixie Highway, Hallandale Beach

I defy you to find any useful information on the Internet about the people
behind this group.

And on the Eagles Wing vote, give credit where credit is due and give the 'assist'
to career politician-in-training Alexander Lewy, proving that he is EXACTLY
who I said he was on my blog.

Csaba is 100% right.
Perhaps the case of this curious $203k appropriation will come up again Wednesday
night at 6 p.m.

Perhaps someone really will publicly take Alexander Lewy to task and ask him to
publicly explain to the city's taxpayers why he decided that giving EVEN MORE taxpayer dollars to this group that already gets plenty from us, after 1 a.m., without actually naming them, is consistent with any semblance of govt. transparency and accountability.

Last Saturday, July 23rd, while working on some other things, I received the following helpful information from Csaba

Date: Sat, Jul 23, 2011 at 10:30 AM
Subject: Web cast


I will make it easier for you to view the replay.
Click on the link, click on play and forward to the desired place on the tape.
At 8 hour 07 minutes starts the CRA, 8.34 Sanders starts his comments, 8.50 Cooper starts her spiel and ends at 9.14.



Yet again, thru his actions & deception, Alexander Lewy is proving that he is EXACTLY who we always thought he was, "a career politician in training" to quote myself from last year and 2008.

Residents of Hallandale Beach, especially African-American residents of HB, don't need a White Liberal, Guilt-ridden Lewy to patronizingly look after NW, they simply need and want MORE competent people on the HB City Comm. demanding accountability, efficiency and results -like everyone else in the city!
Regardless of skin color!

Judging by how things have played-out and what he has actually said and done since being elected to the HB City Commission in November, ousting William "Bill" Julian by coming in second to Keith London in a three-way race for two seats, the ego-driven chimera in Comm. Alexander Lewy's head is him as the hero who rides to the rescue.

As if we could forget everything that happened before the election, or, even what happened that very day.

You know, like Dr. Deborah Brown's completely inexplicable, inexcusable and juvenile behavior on Election Day?
Oh, you didn't hear about that?

Brown, sister of Josh Brown and a past recipient herself of HB City Hall largess -$25,000 that I know about, money that was NEVER voted upon by the HB City Commission, plus there may be more money I don't know anything about- showed her lack of class and scruples by actually having the temerity to publicly chastise two African-American teenagers who were working the arriving crowds in a parking lot outside of a polling station like other campaign's workers were.

Their 'crime' in Deborah Brown's eyes?

Well, given how things have been at HB City Hall with crony capitalism since Joy Cooper has been mayor, where some people in this community think they have a birthright to your taxpayer dollars, no matter how petty, preposterous or self-indulgent the reason, take a guess?

The answer is that these two kids were guilty of being Black kids wearing yellow Keith London campaign t-shirts in NW Hallandale Beach.
She asked them what they thought they were doing supporting London, and told them to take the shirts off.
Sort of makes you wonder who the hell this woman thinks she is, no?

If I am being far too subtle for some of you out there in the blogosphere to follow, as it happens, Deborah Brown and Comm. Anthony Sanders plus the two teenagers Brown sharply rebuked are African-American, Comm. Keith London is what is officially referred to in South Florida journalism circles as Non-Hispanic White.

(Like me, the winner of the 1979 North Miami Beach High School Black History Month Contest, where I got all the answers right. Not to brag or anything...
Won a few tickets and a limo ride to see Earth, Wind & Fire, but the concert at the Hollywood Sportatorium was canceled due to a riot in Miami.)

Debra Brown and her crony capitalism ilk are part of the problem in Hallandale Beach, NOT part of the solution, no matter how much officials at HB City Hall -or the faux newspaper Sun-Times that gets lots of taxpayer funds, too- kiss her ass.
People who are, themselves, part of the larger problem here involving lack of appropriate accountability and transparency in government with your tax dollars.

The stone cold reality of the behavior described above ought to dispel any fairy tale spun now or in the future by Alexander Lewy.
Lewy is like the bank insider who occasionally robs from the bank containing HB taxpayer's money, but then has the gall to act like he's Robin Hood.
It's already insulting enough, but then Lewy wants to act like we are none-the- wiser.

He fools us not a whit!


Earth Wind & Fire - That's the Way of the World (1981)

Earth Wind & Fire - Reasons (Live Version)

Not only great songs, great songs to sing to in a car with your friends at night on long cross-country drives, watching America roll past your window at 65 m.p.h.!
Like Bloomington, IN to Fort Lauderdale for Spring Break, back when Fort Lauderdale was actually worth visiting.

1 comment:

  1. The above is very sad, but true. I hope all of you can spare a half hour of your time to watch the “on demand” replay of Tuesday night’s Budget Workshop taking place about 1 A.M. in the morning. I wonder how many residents were in attendance or still watching after midnight. I wonder if the most controversial issues always come up late at night by design. I invite all of the readers to comment here and to the main participants in the drama.
    Csaba Kulin


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