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, June 15, 2012

Thinking out-loud about what we really saw at last week's meeting re The Related Group and their Beachwalk project in Hallandale Beach; What North Beach may really be like in future if city foolishly makes that a de facto 'Related' boutique beach; What are the ethics of HB CoC's involvement with these development deals?


Greenberg Traurig attorney Debbie Orshefsky at the lectern making the formal Power Point presentation to the Hallandale Beach City Commission last Wednesday night for her client, The Related Group, on behalf of their Beachwalk development project on the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, with their army of professional hired hands and lobbyists seated in the first thee rows. June 6, 2012 photo by South Beach Hoosier.

I really hadn't planned on adding any more today to what I has posted earlier this afternoon re the Beachwalk project from The Related Group, but... 
I chose to send out an email to the usual concerned folks in South Florida letting them know that since I first sent them that email early Thursday morning which was the template or First Draft of my blog post today, I'd added some factual odds and ends, so I sent them the link to the new-and-improved version here on the blog.

And then I thought of some other things I should've added in the first place, so...here's what I just sent out.
Reminder: I'm in favor of the hotel, but NOT the 84 condos there, and I'm strongly against any coupling of this deal with Related or any of their subsidiaries with the use of the public beach, North Beach.

Now excuse me, but I have to run because I have a pending date with an iced coffee in our fair city because it's still brutally hot, even with all the rain.
(It was only about 97 degrees yesterday outside my kitchen window.)

------
On the blog post I just posted online, I added a few more revealing photos and pithy facts since
my email of early Thursday morning.

I spent a few hours on Thursday afternoon in the conference room of the Planning Dept. at Hollywood City Hall looking thru banker boxes of the submitted documents, renderings, surveys and other odds and ends for Beach One Resort and The Apogee, mostly looking at parking info and easements. I'll probably be back there on Monday, too.

I hope to add some of the facts I unearthed to the public conversation early next week, because it's not just a question of access to the public beach -and what kind of beach and under whose de facto control?- but also how many -if any- public parking spaces will be available at next door Beach One Resort hotel or at The Apogee hotel/condo, since if there aren't enough, imagine the resulting chaos if the City of Hallandale Beach goes ahead and makes this colossal blunder by falling for the sweet nothings and siren song of Jorge Perez & Co.

After all, we all know from experience and to our own sorrow how easily duped the HB City Commission is.
How they are almost reflexively unable to ask the sorts of savvy questions that show originality and a degree of familiarity with the submitted documents that most of us would act if we were in their seats, and supposed to be looking at the BIG PICTURE for all of HB's citizens.
But listening to them, you'd think Related was guaranteeing the city $60 million a year for ta proposed restaurant, not $60,000.
That's embarrassing!

Good luck trying to find the respective shade studies that will show what the cumulative effect will be on North Beach after Noon when those two properties -plus The Beach Club- are finally built.

As I stated previously, their attorney, Debbie Orshefsky won't show that to you -even if she had itand while she was willing to show via a rendering what the beach would look like from the ocean when all the properties are present, she never showed an accurate one that was from the perspective of someone actually ON THE BEACH.
Ever been in the bottom of a canyon?

Inline image 1

And did you also notice how few people it showed present on the beach, even though we're
talking about the addition of hundreds and hundreds of hotel rooms and condos? 
I know that I did.

Inline image 1

Notice anything missing in this rendering from last Wednesday, the only one they presented
of the beach from a beach-goer's perspective?
Correct, they "forgot" to actually show the 41-story Beach One Resort property in it, since
it'd clearly be present in this particular shot above if it was done based on actual known facts.

Tell me, do you really think they forgot, or do you think they didn't want HB residents -and the
very incurious HB City Commissioners -to think about it, much less, the adjoining
20-story Apogee condo/hotel, also owned by The Related Group?

I want the beach to change, but for the better for all of us, who finally deserve to have a nice beach after so many years of truly embarrassing third-rate beach conditions and aesthetics, not for the MUCH WORSE, which will surely be its fate if The Related Group gets its hands on it and treats it like a boutique beach in order to market it to prospective buyers of their condos.

I trust that I will see many more of you present in person on Wednesday night than for last week's First Reading, considering it's such a critical moment in this city's future about such an invaluable resource -and there's no conflict with a Heat-Thunder ballgame, either!

Now I have something for all of you to think about over the weekend, given what we've seen for years here about who sits with whom at these meetings re development issues.
Or, more recently, last Wednesday night, when Hallandale Beach Chamber of Commerce president Carole Pumpian sat in the second row next to Related's PR person and Chamber Board member Suzanne Friedman, and was surrounded by the army of professional hired hands working for Related to get this bad idea passed.


Yes, as usual, Carole Pompian, dressed in pink above, WASN'T sitting with just regular Hallandale Beach citizens. 
Hmm-m... is Pumpian actually working for Related or one of its associated parties to get this passed? 
I can't say with any certainty since, unfortunately, the city's current list of lobbyists hasn't been updated since March 16th.

She certainly hasn't publicly declared that she's lobbying for them at the Commission meetings, but then again, look where she's sitting. 
Everyone else in those three rows is working to pass this very bad idea.

So here's my question: Under the City of Hallandale Beach's rules on lobbying and ethjics, are people receiving a benefit other than money from developers (or their team) who work or speak on behalf of an issue like Beachwalk before the City Commission required to publicly disclose that pertinent fact?

For instance, hypothetically(!), if The Related Group takes a few well-known HB Chamber of Commerce people with connections to the HB City Commission out to lunch or dinner to brainstorm over a strategy to persuade the HB City Commission to approve the plan, and then those same people from the CoC speak in favor of it -or, if Related writes a check out to the HB CoC to thank them after such a 'working meal"ethically, don't the parties who speak need to publicly disclose this arrangement to the Commission, even if they aren't required to register as lobbyists, per se?
Hmm-m...

Well, here's your answer according to the city itself.

Lobbying means communicating directly or indirectly, in person, by telephone, by letter, or by any other form of communication, on behalf of any other with any City Commissioner, any member of any decision-making body under the jurisdiction of the Commission/Board, or any City employee, where the lobbyist seeks to influence a decision to me made by the Commission or Board, a decision to be made any decision-making body under the jurisdiction of the Commission or Board, or a final procurement decision to be made by a City employee.

Lobbyist is defined as any individual who engages in lobbying, as defined above, regardless of whether he or she receives any compensation for such lobbying.

I added that red highlight above for your careful consideration.

I'll be asking for that updated lobbyist list from the HB City Clerk on Monday.

FYI: On Saturday I'll finally be posting "Part 2 of 2 re The Beachwalk project in Hallandale Beach -Initial comments & ruminations on Wednesday night's HB City Comm. meeting; calling out Carole Pumpian, crony capitalism mercenary"


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