Hallandale Beach Blog -A common sense public policy overview offering a critical perspective on the current events, politics, government, public policy, sports scene and pop culture of Europe, Sweden, the U.S. & South Florida. 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 South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

re Public civility -Since we can't count on a competitive, energized and attentive South Florida press corps to point these sorts of hypocrisies out like we once could, I'm happy to remind you of this simple fact: There's what Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper says, and then there's what she actually says and does, and all the evidence to date clearly shows that civility is NOT her middle name; @MayorCooper

ActsofSedition video: The April 4th, 2012 Hallandale Beach City Commission meeting promised HB residents and pet lovers the opportunity they'd been waiting for several years to speak on a subject they felt deeply about, but when so many people showed-up and wanted to have their voices finally heard, they got a first-hand lesson in how Mayor Joy Cooper does things -her way or the highway- as she decided that after just a handful of speakers, without asking the other commissioners, she had heard quite enough, and on this videotape is heard threatening to toss members of the public out. 

As you can see when Local 10's Ross Palombo asked the former president of the Florida League of Cities whether she regretted her own behavior and decorum at a public meeting, temperamental Mayor Cooper remained defiant -as always.

Meanwhile, days afterward, her November mayoral opponent, Comm. Keith London, as well as HB resident (and longtime opponent of puppy mills) and City Commission candidate Michele Lazarow tell Palombo about the perpetual spectacle that is HB City Hall under the wearisome reign of Cooper and her Rubber Stamp Crew. Uploaded April 11, 2012. http://youtu.be/UNEn1jgTvw4 

See my April 12, 2012 post about this at:

For newcomers to the blog, I remind you that this is the same Mayor Cooper who called me a "Nazi" to then-Comm. William "Bill" Julian prior to the start of the continuation of a  HB City Commission meeting up on the 2nd floor of City Hall -where there is no TV to record what transpires there- while they were picking out some food on a buffet spread, while I was simply sitting in a chair near the door waiting for things to start, the only citizen present in the entire room. Moments later, in further remarks to Julian, Cooper called Comm. Keith London "a Hitler.
Before he walked into the room and thus wasn't around to hear her say it.

This is who she is, a point that those of you who give campaign funds to her should well understand, since that puts you in the line of fire, too.

My bold emphasis below -


Return to public civility 'imperative,' mayor says
By Andrew Abramson, The Palm Beach Post
May 1, 2011

WEST PALM BEACH — At Lois Frankel's final City Commission meeting last month, the former mayor cut off the microphone while a resident blasted commission candidate Keith James, who was up for election in a runoff the following day.

Frankel and City Attorney Claudia McKenna pointed to the city's civility code, as they often did at heated meetings. It says that "all remarks shall be addressed to the commission as a body and not to any one member or to the audience."

The City Commission voted to reaffirm that rule Monday. And it's not alone in trying to re-instill civility in public meetings.

The Florida League of Cities is trying to get municipalities statewide to follow West Palm Beach's lead and adopt a civility code written by the league, which calls for respect from both the public and the commission.

"We as mayors actually felt it was imperative," said league President Joy Cooper, who is mayor of Hallandale Beach.

"Because of all the things that have gone viral on blogs, the incivility has worked its way down all the way to the grassroots, town hall and centers, recently with the shooting up north," she said, referring to a school board meeting that turned violent in the Panhandle.

But some believe civility codes go too far in restricting residents' rights.

William McCray, the resident who had his microphone shut off by Frankel on several occasions, is a Palm Beach County sheriff's deputy and former West Palm Beach police officer who won a racial discrimination suit against the city and often engaged in heated rhetoric with Frankel, often calling her racist.

"There is no such thing in the Constitution as a civility code," McCray said. "If you read the history from the inception, when they wrote the Declaration of Independence, they cursed each other out, screamed at each other, fought and challenged each other to duel. They were serious about being able to say what they wanted to say, and that's why we have America."

McCray said politicians should be able to take direct criticism.

"If your skin is not thick enough to handle the rhetoric, you should not be in elective office," he said.

James, an attorney who was elected District 4 commissioner despite McCray's criticism, said cities have a right to adopt civility codes.

"Residents of the city are obviously protected by the first amendment, but I think that the line should be drawn with personal attacks," James said.

However, James doesn't necessarily agree with restricting residents from addressing a specific commissioner or the mayor.

"If they have a beef with me and they do it in a matter in which is respectful and professional, and it seems to be related to the business of the city, sure," he said.

Commissioner Kimberly Mitchell also believes "people have a right to criticize us in the role of a city commissioner."

Cooper said the League of Cities never considered a restriction like the one in West Palm Beach's rule.

"If people want to speak their peace, they want to speak their peace," she said. "Just choose your words wisely and don't be accusatory."

Despite West Palm's decision to reaffirm its civility code as is, James said he doubts new Mayor Jeri Muoio and the commission will enforce it as strictly as Frankel .

"It's a new day in the city and I think the new mayor and the new commissioners coming on hopefully will breathe some fresh life and positive energy into the deliberation process," James said.

Different local governments handle the issue different ways.

Lake Worth passed a civility code last month that "bans name-calling, obscenity and shouting" and requires speakers to refrain from using "fighting words which might incite violence."

Palm Beach County already has a decorum code that says "any person making impertinent or slanderous remarks or who becomes boisterous when addressing the commission shall be barred by the presiding officer."

The county will go a step further Tuesday and vote to ban political campaigning during commission meetings. Residents will not be allowed to wear, display or distribute political campaign materials and will be barred from making political comments at the microphone, unless it's in response to a referendum question.

County Administrator Bob Weisman said a county attorney examined recent case law to make sure such a clause would be legal if adopted by the County Commission.

Carmine Priore, the mayor pro tem of Wellington and former League of Cities president, made an initial statewide civility push in 2008. Priore said it was as much about the behavior of commissioners as the public.

"What I saw and found was there were some cases where members within their own city were not carrying out what I would like to see as civil discussion," Priore said.

The same might be said about West Palm Beach, where Frankel and Mitchell for years were vocal enemies who would argue on the dais, occasionally leading to profane outbursts.

Priore thinks civility codes are more than symbolic, and he said he's seen a difference in Wellington since its rule was enacted.

"We've made great strides in that effort," Priore said. "You can truly have differing opinion without being uncivil."

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Hallandale Beach Blog is where I try to inject or superimpose a degree of accountability, transparency and insight onto Florida and local Broward County government and public policy issues, which I feel is sorely lacking in local media now. On this blog, locally, I concentrate my energy, enthusiasm, anger and laser-like attention on the coastal cities of Hallandale Beach and Hollywood.
If you lived in this part of South Florida, you'dALREADY be stuck in stultifying traffic, paying higher-than-necessary taxes and continually musing about the chronic lack of accountability among not only elected govt. officials, but also of city, county and state employees as well. Collectively, with a few rare exceptions, they couldn't be farther from the sort of strong results-oriented, eager work-ethic mentality that local residents deserve and expect.
This is particularly true in the town I live in, theCity of Hallandale Beach, just north of Aventura and south of Hollywood. There, the "Perfect Storm" of years of apathy, incompetency and cronyism are all too readily apparent.
Sadly for its residents, HB is where even easily-solved, quality-of-life problems are left to fester forYEARS on end, because of myopia, lack of common sense and ineffective supervisory management. It's a city with lots of potential because of its terrific location, yet its citizens have become numb to its outrages and screw-ups after years of the worst kind of mismanagement and lack of foresight. On a daily basis, they wake up and see the same old problems that have never being adequately resolved by the city in a logical and responsible fashion, merely kicked -once again- further down the road.
I used to ask myself, not always rhetorically, "Where are all the enterprising young reporters who want to show that through their own hard work and enterprise, what REAL investigative reporting can produce?" Hearing no response, I decided to start a blog that could do some of these things, taking the p.o.v. of a reasonable but skeptical person seeing the situation for the first time, and wanting questions answered in a honest and logical way that citizens have the right to expect.

Hallandale Beach Blog intends to be a catalyst for positive change. If there's one constant gripe in South Florida, regardless of your age, race, nationality or political persuasion, it's about the fundamental lack of PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY here among Florida's state, regional and local govt./agency officials.Hallandale Beach Blog aims to be a small step towards regaining some of that needed accountability, whether it's thru simple public scrutiny, or requires a degree of follow-up investigation and public exposure of incompetency, cronyism or simple negligence -South Florida's usual governing style.
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New this year: you!

New this year: you!
Close-up photo of the cute head-turning window display at the Apotek Hjärtat -Sweden's largest independent pharmacy chain- located at Ringvägen 113, near the Skanstull T-bana in Södermalm, Stockholm. Sign reads, "Årets nyhet: du! Ett helt nytt och obrukat år är här. Just nu känns det lite lättare att välja om, förändra vanor och bryta gamla mönster. Vi hjälper gärna till. Du vill, du kan, du törs!' (New this year: you! A brand new and unused year is here. Right now it feels a little easier to choose, change habits and break old patterns. We're happy to help. You want to, you can, you dare!) Sounds like good advice that I ought to be following, too! January 12, 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

Paradise Lost? South Florida

Paradise Lost? South Florida
TIME magazine of November 23, 1981: Paradise Lost? South Florida . Click photo to see original article.

A fish rots from the head down, and so does local government in Hallandale Beach, FL

A fish rots from the head down, and so does local government in Hallandale Beach, FL
City of Hallandale Beach Municipal Complex, 400 S. Federal Highway. The City of Hallandale Beach Municipal Complex: If it's true that a fish rots from the head down, so it does in local government in Broward County, FL. This monument sign on the west side of the intersection of U.S.-1 and S.E. 5th Street, across from Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino and the Village at Gulfstream Park retail complex, alerts you to your proximity to HB City Hall and the HB Police Department HQ. It's a place and culture whose very own words and actions have made clear to taxpayers of this city -regardless of age, race or income- that it holds itself apart from and above from the very citizens it's supposed to serve, often acting like they don't have to follow the same laws that govern everyone else in the state of Florida and the U.S., whether of logic, reason or contracts. (More to the point of this blog, the Florida Statutes on Sunshine Laws and Public Records.) City employees in Hallandale Beach routinely refuse to answer perfectly reasonable questions posed to them by taxpayers, and as I have found out myself and witnessed, are not above berating you for even having the nerve to ask! As it happens, it's also not a very safe area, despite who operates here, and over the past nine years, the public parking lots have often been pitch-black for 6-9 months at a time, including in front of the HB Police Dept. HQ. Then-Police Chief Thomas Magill even shrugged his shoulders at City Comm. meetings when told about this a few times. As if they couldn't make a worse first impression, at one point, even the spotlights shining on this sign didn't work at night for over FOUR YEARS, either. October 13, 2012 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Palm tree, Stars & Stripes

Palm tree, Stars & Stripes
Palm tree obstructing the sun at Hallandale Beach City Hall, May 28, 2012 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino and Village at GP retail complex, Hallandale Beach, FL

Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino and Village at GP retail complex, Hallandale Beach, FL
Entrance monument to Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino and The Village at Gulfstream Park retail complex on U.S.-1 & SE 3rd St. Hallandale Beach, FL. October 5, 2010 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

Hallandale Beach Water Tower, looking east from State Road A1A/South Ocean Drive; May 2009 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

Singer/songwriter Full of Keys (Anni Bernhard)

Singer/songwriter Full of Keys (Anni Bernhard)
Singer/songwriter Full of Keys (Anni Bernhard) wearing the teal-colored Miami Dolphins cap I gave her in January 2013 (in Stockholm) while recording her 2nd album, "The Grazing Grounds" at Sandkvie Studios in Visby, Gotland, Sweden. Also pictured here are sound engineer and co-producer Linus Larsson and musician/DJ/co-producer Mats Jönsson, April 12, 2013.Click the photo to see her videos, read my blog posts and Tweets about her and learn more about this dynamic and original talent with personality to spare!

North Miami Beach Senior High School, the Home of the Chargers

North Miami Beach Senior High School, the Home of the Chargers
Before I was a Hoosier, I was an NMB Charger, Class of 1979.

In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation

In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation
"In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation." -South Beach Hoosier, 2007.

Let's end the 28-year NCAA title drought!

Let's end the 28-year NCAA title drought!
IU All-American and U.S. Olympian Steve Alford on the cover of the 1987 Indiana University basketball media guide, months after IU won the NCAA basketball title.

The NCAA Championship Banners

The NCAA Championship Banners
Assembly Hall, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana. I was there in 1981 for NCAA Title #4 vs. North Carolina. Click on photo to go to the IU Basketball homepage.

Sebastian the Ibis, the U-M mascot

Sebastian the Ibis, the U-M mascot
Like longtime U-M fans everywhere, including me, Sebastian the Ibis, the U-M mascot, hasn't had very much to cheer about lately, given the general state of mediocrity and underwhelming performances coming from the Hurricanes. Isn't it about time for fans to finally see some tangible signs that the new AD is moving things in the right direction? Where are the signs? I'm NOT seeing them. The woeful U-M Women's program is largely composed of teams that are NOT even close to being competitive for NCAA titles like their ACC competition, and they don't even field Women's Lacrosse or Field Hockey teams. It's embarrassing! Click on Sebastian for retrospective photo gallery of The Orange Bowl


The welcoming party that greeted me at the luggage carousel at Arlanda Stockholm Airport in January of 2013 was... ABBA. As seen in my May 7, 2013 blog post. Click photo to see that post!

Congratulations Sweden - 200 years of peace! Solveig Rundquist (@RundquistS)


Hej #STHLM, jag saknar dig, hejdå. So wish I was there RIGHT NOW!

Using a map of Stockholm and my Samsung mobile's Latitude app to find out where some friends and contacts in Stockholm were before I called to let them know I'd arrived from Arlanda Airport and had checked into the B&B in Södermalm. If only it had been an OpenStreetMap! January 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved; Click the photo to see OpenStreetMap's amazing map of Stockholm and a whole world of useful maps you never even knew existed

Solrea - Sveriges bästa resesök

Solrea - Sveriges bästa resesök
The colder and snowier it got in Stockholm, the more this simple ad seemed like genius. Sometimes, you don't have to reinvent the advertising wheel. When you're a travel agency and it's cold and snowing, make your target audience think of summers and traveling to an inviting warm beach. Above, one of the many Sistaminuten.se display ads I saw on the side of pay phones throughout Stockholm. This one was located on Ringvägen, across the street from the Åhléns Dept. store (with the Hemköp grocery store in the basement that I frequented) west of busy Götgatan and the Skanstull T-bana, the southern commercial heart of trendy and fun Södermalm. January 11, 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved. I used this photo in my April 22, 2013 blog post titled, Tourism game-changer for South Florida travelers & Fort Lauderdale-area businesses -but only if they're smart and start planning now. Ruminations on the upcoming Norwegian.com flights b/w Ft. Lauderdale and Oslo, Stockholm & Copenhagen, and the need for Broward's hospitality industry to take full-advantage of the opportunity; @Oslo, @norway, @stockholm, @sweden, @copenhagen, @denmark. Click photo to see that post

More travel advertising in Stockholm

More travel advertising in Stockholm
Speaking of advertising, only two blocks from the wonderful 4trappor B&B I stayed at in Södermalm, Stockholm on my trip -and also located on Ringvägen- were two more display ads promoting travel. The one in the distance is for SAS, Scandinavian Airlines Systems, which I flew on to Stockholm, and the one in the foreground, on a public telephone booth, is the "Holiday is where the Heart is" ad campaign for VING. January 12, 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved. Click the photo to see their TV ad!

Risk för snöras, istappar

Risk för snöras, istappar
One of the many such warning signs that I saw on buildings and on sidewalk barricades while in Stockholm in mid-January 2013, alerting you to the possibility of falling snow and ice, often by men shoveling it off roofs. This one was spotted on a residential building in the Södermalm area of Stockholm, on Ringvägen, while I was walking over to the Åhléns Department store on Götgatan. It wasn't until I was walking back later to the B&B that I noticed the inflated Santa that some resident had intentionally placed outside of their window, so it looked like Santa was falling! January 13, 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Ringvägen, Stockholm, Sweden

Ringvägen, Stockholm, Sweden
Poster display on Ringvägen, Stockholm, Sweden. January 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved. The Affischplats plan in Stockholm, while not perfect, strikes me as a pretty good compromise in helping cultural and civic groups catch the public's eye in a way that's better than a free-for-all of groups plastering posters on the sides of buildings and utility boxes, and watching as the weather makes a mess of them. The tangible effort the city makes to get the public involved in a genuine and meaningful conversation about what is going on long-term for the city as a whole, or in a particular neighborhood, is very impressive, and made me wishful that the local government employees and planners where I live and write about regularly in my blog and in conversations with other concerned civic activists did even one-third of what Stockholm's planning employees seem to do as a starting-point.