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.

Friday, March 23, 2012

In 98 more days/14 weeks from today, oblivious Hallandale Beach City Manager Mark Antonio goes buh-bye! And take your myopia with you, too!

Looking south from U.S.-1/Federal Highway towards Hallandale Beach City Hall and HB Police Dept. HQ. March 21, 2012 photo by South Beach Hoosier.  

Can you make out what those shiny adhesive letters at the bottom of the street light pole above spell out?
That is to say, the store-bought adhesive reflecting letters that were clearly placed there on purpose with attention to detail by people who wanted to make sure that everyone driving into or past the HB City Hall and HB Police Dept. HQ noticed their handiwork, esp. at night.
After all, they're perfectly positioned to catch headlights, just like others throughout the city.

Okay, well, here's a slightly closer look...


March 21, 2012 photo by South Beach Hoosier. 

Yes, it reads "HGS."
Do you remember them?
Or their opposition hereabouts, "est," "Doloe Greys," "AQ"...

Sure you do, if you're a regular reader of the blog or a HB resident or business owner, since they're the same folks that for years who have left their unmistakable tags on the vast majority of available traffic signs, traffic poles, mail boxes, parking lot signs and writable surface in Hallandale Beach, whether walls or sidewalks.
No, they don't discriminate on surfaces since they just want everyone to know who did it.

The tags, reflective letters and regular spray paint, are most noticeable, though, to both residents and visitors alike, when driving, biking or walking along U.S.-1/Federal Highway, as you leave or enter Aventura in Miami-Dade County, where it's Biscayne Blvd., and leave or come into Broward County and Hallandale Beach, with the Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino and the upscale Village at Gulfstream Park retail complex right there, the largest employers in the city.

Above, "HGS" on the bottom of the street light pole next to the U.S.-1/Federal Highway (southwest) entrance to Village at Gulfstream ParkThe graffiti has been there for well over three years, the same amount of time one of the two street lights on the pole has been COMPLETELY MISSING. This is yet another one of the many things that the geniuses at Gulfstream never quite catch onto that create a very bad first impression of the place. And for good reason! February 23, 2011 photo by South Beach Hoosier.
The persistence of the graffiti problem along the main streets of this city for YEARS paints not only a very bad impression of this city, it creates an even worse one for the people who are paid to manage this city and supposed to be able to TRY to resolve self-evident problems.

Those crews responsible for the graffiti are also over-represented all along Hallandale Beach Blvd., whether in the nooks and crannies of individual stores, like the doors of Little Caeser's Pizza, or parking lot signs, where they have long since taken over the Nick's parking lot off N. First Avenue, just north of HBB, a popular place for cops.
I've written about them and their unattractive handiwork here a few times, posting photos.

But as it concerns "HGS" today, I mean to reference the graffiti tags that are in front of Hallandale Beach City Hall and Police Dept. HQ right now.
Like right this second.
And just like yesterday.
And last week.
And last month.
And last year.
And... so on. 

Yes, last year, 2011.
I've never previously mentioned it here on the blog but in the Fall of 2011, during the Public Comments part of one particularly frustrating HB City Commission meeting, I walked to the microphone and quite enthusiastically scolded Hallandale Beach City Manager Mark Antonio for how truly oblivious he'd been -and ineffective- in resolving numerous self-evident Quality-of-Life problems that have plagued and frustrated HB residents, families and business owners for YEARS.
And I specifically mentioned the very ones that they and their neighbors have been forced to look at every day for YEARS -graffiti.

Old Dixie Highway & S.E. 9th Street, across the street from Bluesten Park, the largest city park, and four blocks from the Police Dept. HQ and City Hall. March 21, 2012 photo by South Beach Hoosier. 
Problems with rampant graffiti that Antonio (and his highly-paid assistants) either consciously ignored or pretended not to notice from their bunker on U.S.-1, since noticing would actually require some tangible action on his/their part and the city's, not to mention, the HB Police Dept., so famous for otherwise generally shrugging their shoulders when presented with a problem to solve, as has been noted here on the blog previously.

Well, as you might imagine, Antonio didn't take the public criticism of his unsatisfactory performance very well, esp. since I was somewhat detailed in describing the hard-to-miss tags at well-known locales all over town, a point that was reinforced by all the nodding heads in the audience as I spoke.

But I saved my big guns and sarcasm for the end, which is why I and so many other HB residents I know who were there, or who watched the proceedings online, were literally incredulous at hearing City Manager Antonio admit that he had never noticed all the graffiti along U.S.-1, from the Aventura-HB city line/County Line up to Hallandale Beach Blvd.and beyond, which has been omnipresent for YEARS.
Including the graffiti that was near, adjacent to and in front of Hallandale Beach City Hall and the HB Police Dept. HQ.

Like this other one on the sidewalk, DIRECTLY even with the public entrance to HB City Hall and the HB Police Dept.

March 21, 2012 photo by South Beach Hoosier.

And across the street from this scene and HB City Hall...

The Village at Gulfstream Park.  March 21, 2012 photo by South Beach Hoosier.  

You would've thought that I had super-vision or something, rather than 20/15 vision -until a few months ago- because the one thing I never expected was for Antonio to admit that he hadn't noticed it.
I expected the usual litany of excuses that we residents in HB have become accustomed to hearing to explain why we all just had to live with negative results, while other cities at least try to actually solve their problems, not just accept defeat.

Getting angrier than I have been at any South Florida public/civic meeting, before or since, I said something along the lines of that admission of his speaking volumes for how little attention he'd really been paying all these years as Assistant City Manager, given his responsibilities to actually do something positive, and reminded him and the audience of the fact that he had worked in that building ever since it opened.

Readers with a good memory will also recall that I also told his assistant, Jennifer Frastai, all about these sorts of problems four years ago, when I spent almost an entire hour with her and former Asst, CM Franklin Heilman in a conference room in the CM's office, explaining the source of longstanding citizen frustration in this city,.
I gave very detailed explanations and a reminded them that they could always look at this blog for contemporaneous photos to prove it, since the problems weren't exactly secrets.
The two of them did NOTHING with the information.

I concluded my remarks by saying that to me, Antonio, who wears glasses, was incredibly myopic, perhaps conveniently so, and needed to open his eyes for a change to see what was right in front of him.

Not just the graffiti, but all the other many messed-up things in this city, starting with how his own dysfunctional and uncivil bureaucracy and red tape dispenser continually angers citizens, playing favorites as I've mentioned previously, with special rules for special people.

And then I told everyone in the room that all the City Manager needed to do to see how accurate I was was to walk out the Chambers door and walk over to the nearby sidewalk and see what was right in front of City Hall, even as I spoke.

That, of course, was the proof positive of his longstanding myopia.

It's clear months later after saying that that Antonio had no genuine interest in ever opening his eyes and now, he's on 'cruise control,' more oblivious than ever, with him recently acting more like he's a sixth city commissioner trying to persuade a colleague of something, rather than an un-elected administrator who is supposed to work for the city commission and carry out their policies, not his own.
Why 'cruise control'?
Because he knows that after June 29th, this city is not his problem anymore.

March 21, 2012 photo by South Beach Hoosier. 
Minutes before taking the photographs above on Wednesday outside the current HB City Hall, I swung by the old HB City Hall on Dixie Highway, between S.W. 3rd & 4th Streets, and it too looked like it has for well over ten years: a filthy eyesore of a black hole to the nearby  middle-class neighborhood, and a completely wasted economic opportunity for the whole city, even though it's just feet from where an FEC commuter train station will be located in a few years that connects downtown Miami and Palm Beach County, which could really re-energize this city in multiple ways. 
How would you like to have to look at this every day from YOUR house?

Do you know another name for wasted opportunity in HB?
Yes, "another Joy Cooper and Mark Antonio success story!"

One almost down, one to go in November -Cooper.

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