Above, Hallandale Beach City Hall and HB Police Dept. HQ. March 19, 2012 photo by South Beach Hoosier
Above, the very helpful rendering created in 2010 by N.E. Hallandale Beach resident Don Boudria that I used in numerous emails and ran on my blog in the hectic days before the Broward County Commission had their final vote on the Diplomat LAC project and rejected it.
It gave everyone who really wanted to know the facts a reasonable sense of perspective on the effect in the immediate neighborhood of suddenly having numerous large condo towers alongside the Diplomat County Club of the size that the Diplomat's owners -Diplomat Properties LP- originally wanted.
(It obviously doesn't depict the many large condo towers over on the beach in both Hollywood and HB, as well as the parent Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa.)
This was created looking east towards the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway and Atlantic Ocean from what is roughly Atlantic Shores Blvd., the east-west street that also serves as the eastern entrance to the Mardi Gras Casino over on U.S.-1/Federal Highway/.
I should've thought of using Google Maps then, too, but I didn't.
That successful collaborative effort was proof positive that everyone working together towards one common sense goal has worked before in Hallandale Beach, and I was very happy to play my small part in it, both writing about the process and in speaking against it before the various govt. entities that had to decide its future after it passed the HB City Commission 3-2 at 2:47 a.m. days before Christmas 2009/
Some people who DIDN'T have a part in that success and who actually thought that original, completely incompatible Diplomat proposal was fine include HB Mayor Joy Cooper and Commissioners Dotty Ross and Anthony A. Sanders, the latter of whom whom I know for a fact consistently refused the neighborhood's invitation to walk around the area with homeowners who'd be directly effected so he could get a first-hand point-of-view.
That is, if you call NOT responding to emails asking him to come listen to Hb residents a refusal, and not a complete snub, as most NE residents took it.
Also supporting the Diplomat project then against the majority of informed Hallandale Beach citizens was Alexander Lewy, who was elected a City Commissioner about six months later.
The very good news for all of us in Hallandale Beach and environs is that the first three individuals -Cooper, Ross & Sanders- all have commission seats that expire in November, and Ross isn't running for re-election, while the other two are.
Obviously, thinking the way we do here at the blog -pro-reform, pro-accountability, pro-transparency- we plan on making sure that the two of them have to continuously publicly defend their actions and votes in 2009 on this particular proposal, and explain why that was yet another instance where they were on the wrong side of the majority of informed citizens in this community.
Did I say "yet again"?
For good reason, too!
A similar sort of collaborative effort will be necessary again in November, six months from now, if we're going to have any success in reclaiming this city from the Joy Cooper Rubber Stamp Crew and transforming it into the sort of normal, reasonable place where common sense and good ideas -along with constructive criticisms- are welcome at City Hall, not strangers, as has been the case there for far too long.
What Hallandale Beach residents actually want is NOT so very complicated: a well-run and pro-active city where elected officials and city employees are held accountable for what they do or don't, where decisions and votes at Hallandale Beach City Hall are made based on commonly-accepted facts and analysis -and agendas that are known to everyone in the community long before votes are taken, NOT just available to interested lobbyists and attorneys- and made in the best long-term interests of all of this city's residents and neighborhoods.
Don't kid yourself, though.
Six months will be here sooner than you think, so it's time to get organized and get working to make that change we so desperately need in Hallandale Beach a reality.