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North Beach, Hallandale Beach, FL
Earlier today I received an adroit comment regarding my post of last Friday titled, Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper's old threats & lawsuits re-emerge as Hollywood's Beach One Resort sues over its access to the beach, the latest shoe to drop in The Related Group's Beachwalk project that'd make HB's North Beach a de facto private beach for The Related Group's properties, NOT a public beach for HB residents
In just a few sentences, she managed to get to the heart of so many longstanding problems in this city: the unwillingness of elected officials and highly-paid city employees in charge to first acknowledge the problems and to solve them to the satisfaction of Hallandale Beach taxpayers residents, and business owners.
Instead, out of habit or personal preference, they either ignore, deny, or kick the can further down the road.
Or, as has often happened when I've publicly discussed these matters, found myself personally attacked for pointing out what everyone but them seems able to see right in front of our collective faces.
I went to this beach once and never again. I would rather drive to Hollywood boardwalk and spend money there and have my kids play in the sand and enjoy plenty of showers and clean beach.Maybe it's time to get up and sell and move from this town. All I see is our town being sold piece by piece to developers with absolutely no regard to the residents.Her comments are not unlike many I received over the recent years during the battle against Peter Deutsch's Ben Gamla Hebrew Charter School trying to force itself down the throats
of a single-family residential Northeast HB neighborhood, on N.E. 8th Avenue, with the promise of far more kids and traffic coming from outside of HB and southeast Broward than the neighborhood either wanted or could stand.
But associated with that issue was the related one that is the abject failure over the eight-plus years that I've lived here of Mayor Cooper and the City Commission and City Managers Good and Antonio to be serious and convene a citywide forum at the HB Cultural Center, say on a Saturday morning, run by a moderator and with experts present, where the city's educational problems and future could be FINALLY be discussed, calmly but honestly.
Frankly, it's as if everyone at HB City Hall was so afraid that the truth would be uttered by so many dozens and dozens of HB parents that it would actually hurt someone else's feelings, so instead, we simply had to just pretend, year-after-year, that the problem didn't really exist.
But it did and it still does.
Specifically, that would mean publicly airing a problem that I've written about here on the blog a few times but which nobody at HB City Hall wants to publicly acknowledge, but which as everyone who has lived here for any amount of time knows, is one of the main reasons that families move away from Hallandale Beach: the popular perception that the nearest public high school, Hallandale High School, is unsatisfactory and a poor educational choice.
So instead we have either White Flight to the more western suburbs of this county, or high school age kids attending private or charter schools located outside of this city.
That's NOT how you build a community -or keep one intact.
But year-after-year this problem has been allowed to exist below the radar.
And equally so, the awful conditions of this city's public beaches, which clearly ought to be a jewel and natural meeting place for the community, but which isn't.
Which, of course, explains why you are much more likely to run into someone you know from HB at Hollywood Beach, near Johnson Street on the Broadwalk, than you are at HB's own beaches.
People have and are voting with their feet -and their cars.
I'm now going to quote myself.
From my January 19, 2009 blog post titled, Welcome to Hallandale Beach: where old cigarettes and condoms party at the beach that HB Cops ignore!
As we all know from our travels, in many if not most American communities fortunate enough to have a beach, especially those dependent on tourism, the beach is an invaluable resource that's esteemed, treasured and given extra care and concern.
It's a place where city officials and elected officials constantly visit and hover around to keep track of not only its physical and aesthetic condition, but also to gauge the mood of resident and visitor beach-goers to see if there's any problems or concerns there they need to be aware of.
They are pro-active, NOT reactive and slothful and full of excuses as they are in Hallandale Beach.
That public sentiment is often an early indicator of the residents' collective feeling about the town itself, since when resident taxpayers feel that a place as high-profile as the beach is going downhill, and not being properly looked after, it's only natural that they suspect that other things in the city they can't see are falling apart, too.
It's only human nature, but it's something the City of Hallandale Beach has been in utter denial about for years, as one problem after another has been left to fester there.Yet when confronted with the reality, they've instead put their heads in the sand.The evidence is all around you.