50 weeks 'till Election Day 2012: On the current political dynamic in Hallandale Beach and a rationale for running for office: more middle-cla
ss jobs, the injection of common sense, foresight and enthusiasm at City Hall, and the eliminatio n of its apathy & myopia
Within the past two weeks, I received a very curious email from a well-known South Florida political consultant about their curiosity about what was going on here and who was running for office in Hallandale Beach next year.
That email to me, as well as the column below from the Howey Politics Indiana newsletter, caused me to wonder if I should finally state publicly what has been building up inside me for months as I observed what has -and hasn't- been going on around me here in this corner of Broward County -frustration.
They have, and combined, they've caused me to write this email, which will be the only large group email I send out this week before next Sunday night, unless something crazy happens around here.
Check that, unless something REALLY, REALLY CRAZY happens here, which is always possible. (Sometimes even I forget where we live.)
I'll still be posting material to the blog, though.
After reading it, I hope that email will prompt some of you to strongly do some soul-searching and speak to your family and friends in the next week or so and consider the possibility that YOU might very well need to actually do MORE for the community than you already are, whatever that is, to rid us once and for all of Cooper and her Rubberstamp Crew in all its pernicious manifestations -attitude, policy, stealthiness...- that is making a mockery of our city's Quality-of-Life improving markedly anytime soon with them in charge.
My thought: some of you may, in fact, need to actually run for office yourself.
Or, failing that, at least consistently start bringing friends and neighbors of yours to various civic-minded meetings around town that will be taking place here until the election -50 weeks from TODAY.
Apathy being what it is in this community, longstanding and entrenched, the only way that the long overdue institutional reform and public policy changes towards greater accountability and transparency can take firm hold here -including a real work ethic by city employees and commitment to giving friendly and professional service to taxpayers and business owners that will have real world consequences for those who fail to do so- is to enlarge the universe of people actually committed to voting for positive change next November.
To me, having seen what passes for public policy and campaigns here, our simply relying on persuasion next September and October is a recipe for failure and naive, and only shows a failure to fully appreciate human nature here and the high level of public skepticism.
In my opinion, this community can NOT stand more of the sort of disconnectedness to the larger community that we have already had to endure the past five years from Mayor Cooper and City Managers Good and Antonio, who have actively discouraged civic involvement and participation -unless you're a crony of City Hall.
The way to change that negative dynamic here is to work hard now to increase the number of people who become engaged and become actively committed to changing the status quo, so that by next November, that wave of change can't be stopped.
Result: a majority on the HB City Commission for common sense that can improve the Quality-of-Life here and make it better for residents and business owners alike.
Despite it being a city of under 40,000, the City of Hallandale Beach isn't currently in the rut it's in because there aren't enough people from a myriad of backgrounds, interests, and talents with good ideas to share and contribute, it's the way it is because under the current administration, good ideas aren't actively solicited and allowed to rise to the top on their own merits, because so many existing bad ideas and myopic thinking aren't seriously held up to scrutiny or penalized.
Unfortunately, the current City Manager and his staff are among the very worst offenders of all, as they continually refuse to admit their mistakes on a whole host of issues, and persist in driving the wrong way despite all the passing signs that they don't enjoy the support of the community: continued taxpayer-funding and subsidy of South Florida Sun-Times; the North Beach facility on State Road A1A & Hallandale Beach Blvd. taking over three times as long to be fixed as it took to be built and yet is STILL closed to the public it belongs to; the unpopular Golden Isles Overlay proposal that has zero support...
The result is that bright, thoughtful and enthusiastic people with something tangible to contribute feel like ostracized outsiders at HB City Hall, and after awhile, after enough encounters with the octopus bureaucracy of being shown their input is unwanted, people with something to contribute get frustrated and give-up.
The very people whom we need to engage and hear from!
Name another city in Broward or South Florida where there isn't a single attorney on the city's council or commission?
Or an owner of a successful ongoing business, who knows first-hand what dealing with that city's bureaucracy and Code Compliance is really like?
Yet in Hallandale Beach, we have neither!
After reading this column below, ask yourself a simple question: When was the last time you heard the mayor or commissioners sound the least bit convincing when talking about bringing middle-class jobs to Hallandale Beach, not part-time hospitality jobs?
Especially Commissioners Ross, Sanders & Lewy?
I mean if you walked up to one or more of these three completely out-of-the-blue and said, "Hard at work or hardly working?" we all know what the honest answer would be, don't we?
They and the mayor seem to think that job creation is the sole province of real estate developers and their land-use attorneys -when trying to convince the P&Z or City Commission to give them approval for variances or side deals- not elected officials like them or the HB Chamber of Commerce, the way those sorts of thing are done normally and successfully in other parts of the country, and we have results that match their apathy and lack of effort, don't we?.
Some of the following article may be lost on you because you don't know the locales and don't recognize the names being mentioned here like I do, from my time living in Indiana while at school and still trying my best to follow things from a distance, and so may miss the clever nuanced approach to connecting-the-dots, but this new column from the popular and much-read Howey Politics Indiana newsletter has a lot of things worth thinking about in Hallandale Beach.
Especially for those of you receiving this who are seriously interested in being part of the tangible positive change we need in this community, and replacing the myopic,
ethically-challenged, common sense-challenged status quo we are stuck with on the dais at City Hall now -the Rubber Stamp Crew.
I hope some of you will take the hint, and NOT just run for office exactly like candidates have done in the past. That model simply doesn't work anymore.
There are literally armies of VERY FRUSTRATED taxpayers out there who are looking for someone who'll seriously engage them in ideas, listen and show some intelligent moxie. The good news for you all is that there are also more ways of effectively reaching them thru technology than ever before.
But you have to start making the effort to be part of that wave of positive change NOW, NOT next Spring.
For myself, I wouldn't consider voting for someone who isn't already hard at work campaigning around town by the end of January, since genuine hard work and action, not mere words,
are what it's going to take to get things changed around here, starting with the paralyzing bad attitudes at City Hall and the scared-straight citizenry.
FYI: John Mellencamp, who is mentioned below, grew-up and lives about 20 minutes from Bloomington and IU in Seymour, which while I was going to school was home to one of THE worst sites of the EPA Superfund -and a one-time girlfriend.
(Two of my female housemates back then, owing to their ridiculously cute, Midwestern girl-next-door looks and appeal, were among the girls in one of his first videos for Columbia Records.)
Mellencamp has given millions to IU and is responsible for the "Bubble" that the IU varsity teams use to train under during inclement weather -that is, our normal weather for December thru March! It's named after him, of course, which is entirely appropriate.
Howey Politics Indiana
Brian Howey, Publisher
Gregg launches from his Sandborn roots
11/18/2011 9:28:00 AM
SANDBORN, Ind. - To be a governor requires a candidate to reveal his roots.
While recent Hoosier governors have come from the big cities of Indianapolis (Daniels), South Bend (Kernan), Lafayette (Branigin) and Evansville (Orr), there is that Mellencamp charm of coming from a small town – a Bremen (Bowen), a Vincennes (Welsh), a Seymour (Whitcomb), a Shirkieville (Bayh), and, of course, Corydon, where Frank O’Bannon worked a sentimental connection from the first state Capital to the current one.
Read the rest of the column at: http://howeypolitics.com/main.