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.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Doug Hewett named new Hollywood City Manager; Hardly Breaking News: New year of 2012 already showing that the old bad habits of Miami's local TV news operations won't die -apathy!

Looking west at Hollywood City Hall following the Hollywood City Commission meeting that led to the selection of Doug Hewett as the new City Manager. 
January 6, 2012 photo by South Beach Hoosier.


Continuing their policy of the new economic realism, wherein stories about celebrities, diets and/or plastic surgery for women, toys for affluent people and their over-indulged kids, and crime stories involving women in danger or peril -especially mothers!- are deemed more important than what happens in local government that actually affects everyone -in part because they have lots of South Florida advertisers who want the not-so-educated female demographic for whom that is 'must-see TV'- Miami's local TV news operations threw a collective wet blanket on the big news coming out of Hollywood City Hall late last Friday afternoon.

Hollywood, Florida's 12th-largest city, selected 40-year old Fayetteville, N.C. Assistant City Manager Doug Hewett to be their new City Manager on a 5-2 vote, following hours of presentations by the six final candidates on what their strategy/ideas might be in their first few weeks in the position if they were selected to get the city moving forward.

The hiring of a young, personable, savvy and very well-regarded public administrator, who over a few shorts days seemed to pick-up on the small nuances of what makes Hollywood and its neighborhoods and its civic activist community unique and very hands-on, after touring the city and talking with many of the city's most well-known involved residents and civic activists, is a move that represents the final piece of a puzzle that many Hollywood taxpayers and observers firmly hope will stabilize what had become a very rocky ship of state of late in 2011 after the dismissal of former City Manager Cameron Benson, with bitter cleavages emerging all over the city between political/neighborhood activists and Fire/Police union members and their enthusiastic/exasperating supporters.

As I've stated in this space previously, many of the latter are still visibly outraged over the results of the September public referendum that forced much-tougher financial terms on their members -roughly a 12% pay cut to prevent actual dismissals of Fire/ Rescue and Police- and as of this writing, there are at least two city commission candidates backed by the unions who've already filed their paperwork to put that lingering animus to work for them as they challenge incumbent commissioners  Heidi O'Sheehan from District 3 and Richard Blattner of District 4.

Owing to election changes necessitated by the successful passage of a charter issue by Hollywood voters, rather than having staggered elections this year, ALL six city commissioners and Mayor Peter Bober are up for re-election this November, with only Comm. Fran Russo publicly announcing that she will be not be seeking re-election in District 5, which consists of most of Hollywood west of the Florida Turnpike.


For a few observers in the Hollywood Commission chambers who were really paying attention to the larger public policy picture last Friday -like your humble blogger, for instancethe real news of the day lay more in who was completely missing from the Commission chambers rather than the selection of the certain someone who might soon be calling it home.

That is to say, noticeable by their collective absence.
Indeed, as Sherlock Holmes is forever reminding us, the absence of evidence is, in fact, evidence of a sort.

Showing that the old bad habits of last year that we have remarked upon so many times here on the blog -and in animated conversations and emails with so many of you readers- that have left so many tens of thousands of concerned South Florida residents quite literally appalled at what passes for news coverage at Miami's English and Spanish-speaking TV stations, were, in fact, NOT left behind in the dust-bin of history after all, even while more traditional subjects are shunted aside, Miami's CBS4, NBC6, WSVN-TV 7 & Local 10 News were all no-shows at Hollywood City Hall.
As were their Spanish-speaking colleagues at local TV news outlets at Channels 23, 41 and 51, despite the fact that there are lots of Spanish-speaking residents in Hollywood.

But yours truly videotaped the entire proceedings, as well as Thursday night's public get-together of the six final candidates at Hollywood's Arts & Culture Center on Harrison Street.

I plan on posting the comments that I videotaped last Thursday night by CM-designate Doug Hewett and his presentation of Friday afternoon on my blog and YouTube Channel within the next few days.
I'll need to do some editing first and break up his presentation into 3 or 4 segments, since his presentation was the longest, albeit, also the most interesting one to listen to.

Former McKinney, TX City Manager Frank Ragan received the second-most votes last Friday afternoon and was a very compelling candidate, with lots of tangible qualities and talents that surely would've helped Hollywood, based on his impressive resume and facility for talking about his accomplishments without any un-necessary boasting.
He particularly grabbed the full attention of Hollywood Commissioners Linda Sherwood and Richard Blattnerwho voted for him on the first ballot.


Yes, I wish he were already the City Manager in Hallandale Beach, where Mark Antonio will be leaving in June.



Above and below, Frank Ragan addresses the Hollywood City Commission and makes his formal presentation. On the dais, left-to-right, Commissioners Patricia Asseff, Beam Furr, Heidi O'Sheehan, Mayor Peter Bober, Commissioners Richard Blattner, Fran Russo and Linda SherwoodJanuary 6, 2012 photos by South Beach Hoosier.


Personally, I wish that Ragan was already in a responsible upper-management position in either Broward County or up in Tallahassee so he could positively effectuate economic development, trade and investment policies, since the record is clear that he has the ability to see opportunities that other smart people in those positions DON'T.

I can't recall the last time I heard someone who worked for Broward or in Tallahassee say something about those subjects that really impressed me in quite the ways that Ragan, a one-time Hoosier, did in his presentation Friday, a fact that seemed to be shared by Comm. O'Sheehan

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