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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Csaba Kulin on the reality of Hallandale Beach's population & demographics, and the anti-democratic Charter proposal for 'districting' that insults common sense and mathematics


Csaba Kulin on the reality of Hallandale Beach's population & demographics, and the anti-democratic Charter proposal for 'districting' that insults common sense and mathematics 

Below are two emails from my friend and fellow Hallandale Beach and Broward civic activist Csaba Kulin from the past month. They concern an upcoming Charter issue appearing on the ballot in Hallandale Beach that most well-informed people in this community paying attention quite rightly believe has the potential to make this city's elections even less-democratic and meaningful than they are now. 

And which could actually  decrease overall voter participation while also greatly helping incumbent city commissioners stay in power. 

WTF?

Now you must be asking yourself, who'd knowingly be in favor of doing all these things?
Yes, you already know the answer to that: Mayor Joy Cooper and her Rubber Stamp Crew of Commissioners Dotty Ross, Anthony A. Sanders and Alexander Lewy.

That it fails the logic and reason test is not surprising, given this crew's past track record,  penchant for mischief and circus antics, but what's surprising is that given the large number of ways that this city's resident taxpayers could actually get genuinely better and more meaningful representation for the entire city on the City Commission, such a ridiculously asinine proposal would be the one approved for the ballot by the Commission.
Surprise!

This while others were not even considered, despite how much more logical, positive and persuasive they are for getting increased citizen/voter participation at HB City Hall and come election time, which this year is November 6th.

Because there is so very much to say on this subject -which, as usual, has been completely ignored by the taxpayer-financed faux newspaper, South Florida Sun-Times- later tonight after the Oscars telecast day or tomorrow, I'll be posting something with my own thoughts on what Csaba has written.

If you didn't see my blog post on Wednesday on what measures Mayor Joy Cooper is considering in order to get her own way on this Charter matter -despite how self-serving that effort truly is- it's well worth reading and can be seen here:
News re Ben Gamla Charter; Csaba Kulin informs us how Mayor Joy Cooper seeks to divide the community again and make-up new rules for her own benefit

In that future post I'll also take the opportunity to shine some long overdue light and scrutiny on some particularly galling and condescending remarks made by Comm. Alexander Lewy in a recent email of his, an email that posits a parallel-yet-opposite universe.
Unfortunately, Lewy's condescending email completely ignores the sad and unfortunate reality of this universe, where perpetually-oblivious Comm. Anthony A. Sanders has been a DISASTER in office for all Hallandale Beach residents, a disaster that will mark four years come August.

Trust me, no matter how many times you read what Comm. Lewy says, it never ever makes sense.
And if you're someone who actually endeavors to pay attention to what happens in this ocean-side community in SE Broward County, and who actually knows the truth about what goes on here, Lewy's Twilight Zone-like remarks will only make your head hurt!

-----
January 31, 2012
RE: Districting in Hallandale Beach.
Honorable Mayor, Vice Mayor and Members of the City Commission,
During January 17, 2012 City Commission Meeting and several meetings of the Charter Review Committee (CRC) a considerable amount of time was spent on districting versus not districting and if districting, what kind of districting should it be. I believe you have at this time four options in front of you.
1.    The CRC recommendation of a seven member commission, mayor, three at large commissioners and three commissioners elected by districts.
2.    The Mayor suggested that the mayor should be elected at large and one commissioner elected from each of the four districts.
3.    Commissioner Lewy suggested that each chair be given a number and candidates compete for a particular seat number.
4.    Do nothing and stay with the current system.
I believe all versions have the intentions to increase minority representation while remaining fair to the rest of our citizens. The concerns I have is, very little proof, examples and evidence was presented by knowledgeable sources of the unintended consequences of any of the options. Do we increase or decrease minority representation? Do we disenfranchise any other part of the City?  
The CRC did ask the City for the 2010 Census data to be able to evaluate population distribution by Census Tracts. The City did not provide those numbers to the CRC so I had researched it myself. I have attached the data in a spreadsheet for anyone to analyze.  In case you do not have a spread sheet on your computer, I included the data at the bottom of my e-mail.
Please analyze the numbers, keeping in mind that each district must have approximately the same number of residents in it. How you could draw the districts you propose?
I have tried several different combinations of census tracts and I did not find a real good solution. Maybe you will be more successful than I was.
This is an extremely important decision you have to make. It is not something you can reverse on a “three to two vote”. Based on the lack of solid information and the unknown unintended consequences, I would go with the “devil I know versus the devil I do not know”. In other words, I would stay with the current system we had for a long, long time.
I hope this data will help in your deliberations.               
         
Sincerely,
Csaba Kulin

Tract
Block
Census
Total
GOLDEN ISLES AND THE BEACH
Group
Block
Residents

SE
Golden Isles
1001
3
1
2,531
6.82%
SE
A1A West side, South End
1001
4
2
2,045
5.51%
SE
A1A East Side
1001
5
2,900
7.81%
SE
A1A West Side, North End
1001
1
4
1,053
2.84%
SE
East of US 1 and South of Hallandale Beach Blvd
1003
3
2
1,017
2.74%
9,546
25.72%
NORTH EAST SECTION
NE
East of Parkview, West of Intercoastal
1001
1
1
2,374
6.40%
NE
East of Three Island Blvd, South of Moffet, West of Parkview
1001
2
2
2,117
5.70%
NE
East of Diplomat Parkway, West of Three Island Blvd
1001
1
4
1,287
3.47%
NE
East of NE 14th Ave, West of Diplomat Parkway, North of HB Blvd
1001
1
3
1,214
3.27%
NE
East of NE 8th Ave, South of Moffit, West of NE 14th, North of 3rd
1002
2
1
2,419
6.52%
NE
East of US 1, West of 8th Ave, South Moffit, North of 3rd Street
1002
2
2
791
2.13%
NE
East of US 1 and North of HB Blvd and West of NE 14th Ave
1002
2
2
1,776
4.79%
NE
North of HB Blvd, West of US 1, East of Dixie
1002
1
1
1,218
3.28%
13,196
35.56%
SOUTH WEST SECTION
SW
South of HB Blvd, West of Dixie, East of NW 6th Ave
1003
1
2,212
5.96%
SW
South of HB Blvd, West of US 1, East of NW 6th Ave
1003
2
1,091
2.94%
SW
South of HB Blnd, East of SW 10th Ave, West of SE 6th Ave
1003
3
1,579
4.25%
SW
West of US 1, East of Dixie, South of SW 10 Street
1003
4
1,171
3.16%
SW
East of US 95, West of  SW 10th Ave, South of HB Blvd
1005
2
2
2,785
7.50%
8,838
23.81%
NORTH WEST SECTION
NW
South of Penbrook, West of Dixie
1004
1
1,006
2.71%
NW
North of HB Blvd, West of Dixie, South of NW 10
1004
2
1,138
3.07%
NW
East of US 95, North of HB Blvd, West of NW 8th Ave
1004
3
2,099
5.66%
NW
South of Penbroke, East of NW 8th Ave,
1004
4
924
2.49%
5,167
13.92%
36,747
99.01%


-----

  

February 6, 2012
RE: Districting in Hallandale Beach.

Dear Friends and Residents of Hallandale Beach;

Every eight years the Hallandale Beach City Commission appoints a citizen-led Charter Review Commission (CRC) to examine the City Charter (their Constitution) and recommend changes to the Charter. The City Commission reviews the recommended changes and proposals they agree with are then placed on the ballot to be voted upon by citizens during a regularly-scheduled election or special referendum. The ones the City Commission does not agree with are ignored. 
Residents have the option of putting any Charter changes that are NOT approved by the City Commission on the ballot by what is now a very cumbersome petition process, one that seems designed to make it very difficult to go around the City Commission.

The CRC under former HB Commissioner Tony Musto’s excellent leadership, recommended five (5) specific issues to be placed on the ballot for consideration, as well as a number of recommendations to consider possibly placing on the ballot. All the recommendations are important, but one stands out in my opinion, as the most important change in the way our City is governed. 

That is the recommendation that we elect our City Commissioners by district. 
The impetus behind districting, according to its supporters, is to institutionalize a City Commission seat to the Northwest quadrant of our City. 
It's a noble idea, but the US Census Bureau’s 2010 data indicates that the NW area currently has only 5,167 residents, less than 14% of the city's total population.
Since the current system consists of four (4) City Commissioners elected “At-Large,” without increasing the number of City Commission seats, each seat would legally need to have 25% of the population within it.

In my opinion, the only way that the NW could have a distinct district of their own would be thru a Charter Question being placed on the ballot asking city voters to approve an increase in number from 4 to eight (8) City Commissioners, with the office of Mayor continuing to be voted upon by the entire city.

I have posted the 2010 Census figures at the bottom of this letter for your examination and to give you the evidence you need to have an informed opinion.   
In the interest of disclosure, these proposals would NOT affect the 2012 election and therefore my own candidacy, since if approved, it would not take effect until 2014.

The CRC recommended one method, Mayor Cooper yet another method of districting, but it looks as Comm. Alexander Lewy’s unsound method is moving forward. 
Comm. Lewy suggests that the City number each “seat” on the commission, 1, 2, 3 and 4. Every two years we would have seat 1 and 2, or 3 and 4 up for election. 
As I understand it, there would be no residency requirement to run for either “seat” and every registered voter may vote for a candidate for each seat.

As I see it, Comm. Lewy’s poorly-conceived idea has some major flaws in it. 
Currently, in each election cycle, the top two candidates are elected to a four year term by the number of votes cast for them. The third, fourth and fifth-place finishers go home to try harder at the next election.

In order to better illustrate the fundamental unfairness of what Comm. Lewy is proposing, let me give you a hypothetical situation. 
You have four candidates, two for seat “1” and two for seat “2”. 
Candidate “A” gets 4,000 votes and Candidate “B” gets 3,800 votes for seat “1”. 
Candidate “C” gets 2,500 votes and Candidate “D” gets 2,000 votes for seat “2”. 

Under Comm. Lewy's anti-democratic proposal, Candidate “A” wins with 4,000 votes, of course, yet somehow  Candidate “C” wins with 2,500 votes but Candidate “B” loses with 3,800 votes. 
In my opinion that's totally unfair to Candidate “B” and I think you can see why. 
As has always been the case with an election for two seats, the two top vote-getters should be the actual "winners" in an election in Hallandale Beach.

Comm. Lewy’s very bad idea would literally seek to “divide and conquer” the people of this city.
As always, the best way to make sure that any area of the city is well-represented is to have the highest number of quality candidates running, NOT changing the rules and allowing candidates the ability to to choose an area of the city to represent without them being legally required to live there to qualify.

I strongly believe that every City Commissioner, regardless of where they personally live, must represent, work for and be a strong advocate for the ENTIRE CITY, and not just one part of it to be elected or re-elected. Any candidate for the City Commissioner MUST be acceptable to all areas of the City or he/she will not be elected.

Districting is a major deviation from years of practice in our City. While no one claims that the current system is perfect, the evidence seems clear that there are far too many unknown consequences to the districting idea proposed by Comm. Lewy, and all of them are negative towards actually improving this city.

That is why, given the poor choices we have been given to vote on by the HB City Commission, I recommend that we “go with devil we know, versus the devil we don't know”, and leave well enough alone.
I will vote an emphatic NO on this proposal.

Sincerely,

Csaba Kulin 


           
  Tract
Residents/ Percentage  
                         
GOLDEN ISLES AND THE BEACH
SE
Golden Isles
1001-3-1
2,531
6.82%
SE
A1A West side, South End
1001-4-2
2,045
5.51%
SE
A1A East Side
1001-5
2,900
7.81%
SE
A1A West Side, North End
1001-1-4
1,053
2.84%
SE
East of US 1 and South of Hallandale Beach Blvd
1003-3-2
1,017
2.74%
9,546
25.72%
NORTH EAST SECTION
NE
East of Parkview, West of Intercoastal
1001-1-1
2,374
6.40%
NE
East of Three Island Blvd, South of Moffet, West of Parkview
1001-2-2
2,117
5.70%
NE
East of Diplomat Parkway, West of Three Island Blvd
1001-1-4
1,287
3.47%
NE
East of NE 14th Ave, West of Diplomat Parkway, North of HB Blvd
1001-1-3
1,214
3.27%
NE
East of NE 8th Ave, South of Moffit, West of NE 14th, North of 3rd
1002-2-1
2,419
6.52%
NE
East of US 1, West of 8th Ave, South Moffit, North of 3rd Street
1002-2-2
791
2.13%
NE
East of US 1 and North of HB Blvd and West of NE 14th Ave
1002-2-2
1,776
4.79%
NE
North of HB Blvd, West of US 1, East of Dixie
1002-1-1
1,218
3.28%
13,196
35.56%
SOUTH WEST SECTION
SW
South of HB Blvd, West of Dixie, East of NW 6th Ave
1003-1
2,212
5.96%
SW
South of HB Blvd, West of US 1, East of NW 6th Ave
1003-2
1,091
2.94%
SW
South of HB Blnd, East of SW 10th Ave, West of SE 6th Ave
1003-3
1,579
4.25%
SW
West of US 1, East of Dixie, South of SW 10 Street
1003-4
1,171
3.16%
SW
East of US 95, West of  SW 10th Ave, South of HB Blvd
1005-2-2
2,785
7.50%
8,838
23.81%
NORTH WEST SECTION
NW
South of Penbrook, West of Dixie
1004-1
1,006
2.71%
NW
North of HB Blvd, West of Dixie, South of NW 10
1004-2
1,138
3.07%
NW
East of US 95, North of HB Blvd, West of NW 8th Ave
1004-3
2,099
5.66%
NW
South of Penbroke, East of NW 8th Ave,
1004-4
924
2.49%
5,167
13.92%
36,747
99.01%

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