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, Europe 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.

Monday, August 27, 2012

To prevent repeat performances of Hallandale Beach Comm. Alexander Lewy's egregious post-Midnight gambit last July to funnel over $200k to Comm. Anthony A. Sanders' Eagles Wings, the new process for funding community nonprofit groups in a suburban Beltway county is precisely what Hallandale Beach needs to emulate; Jeremy Borden in Wash. Post: Prince William changes how it will fund nonprofit groups


 

Above, Hallandale Beach City Commission on dais at some of the mundane FY2011-12 budget hearing workshops I caught a few hours of at City Hall. Little did I know what would happen hours later... July 19, 2011 photo by South Beach Hoosier.
© 2012 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

This morning while the outer bands of Tropical Storm Isaac were continuing to lash the area, I discovered a very interesting public policy story while reading the Washington Post online. 
It concerned what suburban Prince William County (VA) was doing to greatly increase the public transparency in their funding of local non-profit groups by raising the bar in some very important respects.

Given the frequency and seriousness of all of the longstanding complaints in this city about the unabashed crony capitalism with public dollars that's taken place here in Hallandale Beach the past ten years under Mayor Joy Cooper and her Rubber Stamp Crew, there's an awful lot in the article to not only ponder, but seriously consider importing whole to this part of Broward County, and perhaps other parts of South Florida as well, since it's not like blatant crony capitalism is limited to only this city.

While I lived in Washington, D.C. and Arlington County (VA) for 15 years from 1988-2003, other than a few friends at work who lived down there, roughly about a 35-minute drive south on I-95, and who took commuter buses to and from work, my only real frame of reference for the area was the Ikea store there in Woodbridge at the Potomac Mills Mall, which I probably went to about six times a year with friends, usually on Fall Saturday afternoons when the Hoosiers or Hurricanes weren't playing on TV, or Sundays if the Redskins or Dolphins had byes or Monday Night games.
Unlike densely-populated Arlington, you could really see the stars in the sky at night there.


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The Washington Post
Prince William changes how it will fund nonprofit groups
By Jeremy Borden, Published: August 26
Prince William County officials unveiled a process for funding community nonprofit groups and requiring stricter reporting standards.
Also, for the first time, budget officials streamed the session Thursday online.
Budget director Michelle Casciato outlined a process for funding nonprofit groups that observers said is more transparent and holds organizations more accountable. Casciato said budget officials have been working on the standards over the past two years.
Read the rest of the article at:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/prince-william-changes-how-it-will-fund-nonprofit-groups/2012/08/24/df261d1e-ed70-11e1-a80b-9f898562d010_story.html
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"The organizations’ activities must directly support the goals of county departments, Casciato said. If organizations re-apply for funding, they must submit a list of “performance measures” they achieved in the last fiscal year.
Casciato said groups that had historically been funded should not expect to get money from year to year."
Sounds like music to our ears, and if not quite music, well, at least a tune we like!

If implemented here in Hallandale Beach, under this sort of scenario, many of the very groups that we've all been complaining about loudly for years will finally face genuine accountability and develop a genuine fear of the axe, and have to prove that they have a plan for being self-supporting, including the Hallandale Beach Chamber of Commerce, which does NOT have such a plan now.
http://www.browardbulldog.org/2012/08/hallandale-beach-chamber-of-commerce-gets-%E2%80%9Csweetheart-deal-from-city-critics-say/

(And could someone please explain why, if the city really wanted to improve things for residents and taxpayers, there are now, demonstrably, LESS covered bus shelters in this city since the HBCoC took over, rather than more? 
Explain why after all these years, there's STILL no covered bus shelter directly in front of and across-the-street from the city's largest retailer, Walmart?
There are all sorts of reasonable questions in search of reasonable public answers from Patricia Genetti that she has NOT been interested in providing.) 

IF supposedly non-profit groups in this city can only exist because of our wallets and purses routinely being pried open against our wills by Mayor Cooper and the Rubber Stamp Crew
these groups better figure out a Plan B quick, because positive change is going to get here very soon after the January 15th Special Election, and I for one will NOT be throwing them a life preserver, and I suspect most of you won't be, either

Below are two specific groups who I believe will have a troubled future if genuine reform comes to HB City Hall.
I think you will be quite interested in what it says, and I use the city's own words to make the case against them. 

Eagles Wings, controlled by Comm. Anthony A. Sanders and his wife Jessica, just like the Hallandale Beach Chamber of Commerce, still has NOT demonstrated a plan for their own sustainability

Oh Eagles Wings, how high you fly away with city money despite not meeting the city's own requirements!

Yes, Eagles Wing Development Center, the very same group that Comm. Alexander Lewy wanted to give over $200,000 to in his post-midnight gambit of last July 19th, without ever referring to them by name in his original motion.
Instead, he declared that he wanted to give it to a group who had had demonstrated success.
So where's the independent third-party proof of that success?
It can't be found -there is no such proof.

Why did Lewy do it then, and why does he continue to refuse to offer any public explanation for his actions in the year since then?
Now there's a good question I'd like to see the South Florida news media ask him to answer to HB taxpayers' satisfaction.


My blog post of August 1, 2011 on Comm. Alexander Lewy's stealthy post-Midnight gambit proved to be one of my most popular posts of last year, owing to its very brazeness, While you were sleeping: Comm. Alexander Lewy's budget chicanery & Liberal Guilt just cost you another $200,000-plus. For what and for whom, exactly?

To quote from that post:
In fact, in the year 2011, despite all the money that the city's taxpayers have poured into it over the years -taxpayers like Y-O-U- plus all the free rent and use of your govt. facilities it has taken advantage of, would you believe that Eagles Wings still DOESN'T have a website of their own that explains what they actually do and who the people are behind it.

One well-informed person I know has suggested to me that one of the principal reasons that residents of NW Hallandale Beach are SO thoroughly unhappy with Comm. Anthony Sanders' performance in office -and his wife Jessica- a theory I've heard expounded from dozens of people the past six months, is precisely because of these kinds of nonsensical deals where city funds are mysteriously allocated to the N.W. community, but, somehow, for reasons that they can never really quite explain, the funds don't filter down to the actual members of that community in a way that's productive or satisfactory for HB taxpayers.

Yes, just more of the chronic lack of accountability at HB City Hall that Csaba Kulin, Mike Butler, Judy & Bob Selz, Etty Sims, myself and many others here have been decrying for years, where public transparency is the VERY LAST THING the City of Hallandale Beach wants.
The stone cold reality of the behavior described above ought to dispel any fairy tale spun now or in the future by Alexander Lewy.

Lewy is like the bank insider who occasionally robs from the bank containing HB taxpayer's money, but then has the gall to act like he's Robin Hood.

It's already insulting enough, but then Lewy wants to act like we are none-the-wiser.

He fools us not a whit!


© 2012 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

And just think, when I wrote the above last August, that was before I was fully-aware of the fact that Comm. Sanders and his wife and their cronies in Northwest Hallandale Beach had created yet another group that had Jessica Sanders in charge that comes to City Hall seeking a handout of public funds.

Just to confuse people with an existing civic group, they specifically called themselves the 
Palms Community Action Coalition, the group that is apparently so important that of all the non-profits in the city, Mayor Cooper and the majority of the City Commission said they must have an office at the city's Hepburn Center.

But when they say it ought to have an office, what they really mean is that Jessica Sanders should have an office.
Why?

So, can you tell me what they do they do, who its Board Members are, and what do they do exactly that's different than what the city or another non-profit is already doing?
They can't really say.

Check out their scatter-brained website, and specifically, their website says under their "About us" menu. It reveals nothing.

http://palmscommunityactioncoalition.org/about
About Us
If you have not already done so, please join our mailing list so that you are the first to now about upcoming events, new projects and all the ways that you and your family can benefit from our organization. Our Calendar will have the latest events so please be sure to check the calendar often, as well as your inbox.
The Palms Community Action Coalition is currently teamed with over 60 companies and organizations to help bring a change to our community that will help make each and everyday brighter. Feel free to visit them on our site or their individual sites for more information about what they can do for you.

But what do you find when you go to their calendar?
http://palmscommunityactioncoalition.org/calendar

Well, as of midnight August 28, 2012, it's chock full of info about what they were doing -supposedly- in June of 2011.

Don't believe me?
Look for yourself at the screen-grab I just did of their website's calendar page.
It speaks volumes!




It all seems so half-assed to me, what with all the vague terms and generalities about them and their activities throughout the website.
It also calls into serious question why they are getting ANY money from the city if they are so mismanaged under Jessica Sanders that they/she can't so much as keep an updated calendar of their own activities.
Kids in junior high school can do it for their after-school clubs, so why can't she?  

And tell me again why she needs to have an office on city property and the ability to use city personnel and city resources?
It's all very, very curious.

Eagle’s Wings Development Center requested $70,000 but received $35,000
Lampkin’s Creative Arts 4 All requested $58,300 but received $10,000

All information below is verbatim from city documents with cited URLs.
Warning, the city's URL loads slowly, so be patient!
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Eagle’s Wings Development Center 
416 N.W. 4th Avenue
Hallandale Beach, FL 33008 
(954) 457- 9292
ewdcburton@gmail.com

From CITY OF HALLANDALE BEACH FY 2012 COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP PROGRAMS GRANT REVIEW PACKAGE
Exhibit G-1
http://www.cohb.org/files/2011-07-1402/Item%205A/SUPP_DOCS/Documents/Doc7.pdf


NAME OF ORGANIZATION  Eaqles Wings 

GROUP  DATE-  24,2011 

TOTAL COMBINED SCORE  396/500  

RECOMMENDED FUNDING  $35,000 

GROUP COMMENTS 
T h e applicant submitted an application, however it lacked some of the required attachment documentation (i.e certificate of insurance, letters of support or MOU) and detail. The applicant requested funding for an employment program to train individuals to become Certified Nurses Assistants (CNA) as the priority area.
There was confusion regarding the increase of requested funds for a smaller number of people to be served versus the amount of funding given by the City previously. The new request is for $55,000 more dollars to serve 90% less people  The thought is this may be due to the new CNA program. The reviewers agreed there is a need for employment  in the identified area; however the application did not provide enough detail on the implementation strategies. It was difficult to determine what portion of personnel would be providing the training program (CNA). It was also unclear who would actually provide the services. The applicant did not identify vendor, agency, or entity that would provide training, and there were no letters of support except Weed and Seed for the project. The applicant Sustainability Plan only indicated the loss of funds from Weed and Seed, therefore if not funded the organization could no longer  provide support for their programs. The reviewers felt this organization had not demonstrated a plan for sustainability. The committee recommended, in review of the budget, that items related to training and support for clients should be funded; thereby reducing request to $35,000 to cover those costs.

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Lampkin’s Creative Arts 4 All 
222 S. Dixie Highway 
Hallandale Bch, FL 33009 
(954) 573-5137
lampca4all@yahoo.com

From CITY OF HALLANDALE BEACH FY 2012 COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP PROGRAMS GRANT REVIEW PACKAGE
Exhibit G-1
http://www.cohb.org/files/2011-07-1402/Item%205A/SUPP_DOCS/Documents/Doc7.pdf

NAME OF ORGANIZATION  Lampkins Creative Arts 4 All 

GROUP  DATE  May 24,201 1 

TOTAL COMBINED SCORE  293/500  

RECOMMENDED FUNDING  $ 10,000 

GROUP COMMENTS 
The applicant has been known for providing free music and cultural arts programs for other 
community groups in Hallandale Beach. The request is to expand services; however the 
committee's assessment is that this organization appears to be new and should acquire 
assistance with program development. 
The applicant did not provide background information or description of current services. The 
application was confusing because the program description and the implementation strategy did not coincide. It was difficult for reviewers to determine how the program would be implemented and survive. The applicant did not provide a clear referral or recruitment strategy. The applicant was very broad with scope of who would be served and reviewers felt that given a program of this nature, the organization needs to be more specific about the target population. The evaluation plan is vague and does not provide any type of plan to ensure the desired outcomes. It should be noted that this applicant was provided an opportunity to resubmit the application. 
The committee feels this is more recommend $10,000 in grant funding to be used for basic
operating costs (facility, consultant, equipment, supplies).

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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, Hollywood and Aventura.

If you lived in this part of South Florida, you'd ALREADY 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. But seldom if ever see...

This is particularly true in the Broward County city I live in, the City of Hallandale Beach, north of Aventura and south of Hollywood and right on the Atlantic Ocean. Here, the "Perfect Storm" of years of apathy, incompetency and cronyism are all too readily apparent. Sadly for its beleaguered residents, HB is where even easily-solved, quality-of-life problems are left to fester for YEARS on end, because of myopia, lack of common sense and ineffective supervisory management. It's a city with tremendous potential because of its terrific location and well-educated populace, yet its citizens have almost become numb to HB City Hall's frequent outrages and screw-ups, the result of YEARS of the worst kind of mismanagement and lack of foresight. On a daily basis, residents and Small Business owners 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 for others to solve in the future.

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 of my own that could try to do some of these things, taking the p.o.v. of a reasonable-but-skeptical person seeing the situation for the first time with fresh eyes, 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 in public policy and goivernment engagement. 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 of Florida's state, regional and local govt./agency officials, elected and otherwise. Hallandale Beach Blog aims to be a small step towards regaining some of that needed accountability, whether it's thru shining some well-needed public scrutiny on the issue or pol, or requires a higher degree of follow-up investigation and public exposure of the incompetency, cronyism or negligence -South Florida's usual governing style.
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Singer/songwriter Full of Keys (Anni Bernhard)

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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!

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Before I was a Hoosier, I was an NMB Charger, Class of 1979.

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