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.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Needlessly repeating history once again in Hallandale Beach to limit voter's choices; Comm. Anthony A. Sanders dares the South Florida news media to report on his adamant refusal to tell the truth to HB residents he's supposed to represent re the four-year old ethical scandal swirling around him. Except for Michael Mayo, Bill Gjebre & Glenna Milberg, the news media here has been rolling over like a lapdog, instead of playing the role of watchdog; @SandersHB, @MayorCooper, @AlexLewy



actsofsedition video:  Local10/WPLG-TV Miami: "City's pricey purchase." 
On July 26, 2012, Local10 reporter Glenna Milberg went to Hallandale Beach City Hall to learn more details about the curious case involving HB City Commissioner and Pastor Anthony A. Sanders and the rushed sale of his and his wife's property at 501 N.W. 1st Avenue, to the city in 2009 -when the city had ZERO written plans for what it would actually do with the property afterwards!- for about $89,000 more than it was actually worth. 
For well over three years now, since the purchase was finalized, Sanders has  consistently stonewalled Hallandale Beach taxpayers asking about the exact details of this deal, and he refused to speak with Milberg on the day of her appearance at City Hall, too. 

You'd think that if he were honest and done nothing wrong, he'd desperately want to defend himself publicly and give his side of the story, but he doesn't do that now -and he DIDN'T even before there was a Broward Inspector General
To the vast majority of well-informed HB residents and other interested parties, people who have been completely underwhelmed by his dismal puppet-like performance on the dais -including other elected officials in Broward County I have personally spoken to on the matter- the reason that Sanders won't talk to taxpayers about it is because it's exactly what it appears to be -a quid pro quo

The city purchased property it didn't need and overpaid for it, and Mayor Joy Cooper forced Sanders onto the City  Commission, and in exchange, he supports Cooper regardless of what the issue is, no matter how preposterous or lacking it is in common sense. Which makes him one of the three members of Cooper's current Rubber Stamp Crew.

Unfortunately, other than this Milberg segment in July, the occasional piece by South Florida Sun-Sentinel columnist Michael Mayo in 2010 and 2011, or the Broward Bulldog's William Gjebre this year, South Florida reporters have completely ignored this story and the larger issue of an elected official -and Pastor- who for well over four years has avoided responding truthfully to and interacting with HB taxpayers and business owners he is supposed to be accountable to.  

So why do the other reporters in South Florida refuse to report or prod on this matter? 

Well, with 58 days until Election Day and with no sign that this reporting apathy is going to change, some residents wonder what's going on in particular with the Miami Herald and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, both of whose Editorial Boards rather surprisingly endorsed Sanders in 2008 over much better-qualified candidates. 

Some HB residents genuinely wonder if the newspaper's beat reporters, Carli Teproff and Tonya Alanez, are under orders from editors or higher-ups on the food-chain to ignore the Sanders ethics story altogether, as well as his adamant refusal to speak publicly with residents, in order to keep the mediocre and perpetually under-prepared Sanders in office. 


While it may sound crazy to those of you living outside of this city, how else do you reasonably explain the complete failure of the Miami Herald and the South Sun-Sentinel to print ANYTHING about Sanders that's written by their own people, NOT the Broward Bulldog? That is, other than sheer apathy and unprofessionalism?
What is that OTHER reasonable alibi that explains their abject failure to report the news that people here want to read more details about? 
For instance, to state the most obvious question, will Broward State's Attorney Mike Satz bring charges against Comm. Anthony A. Sanders and his wife Jessica or anyone else at HB City Hall before Early Voting begins here for the November 6th election? 
We'd like to know BEFORE the election!  
http://youtu.be/XlOgkrL9CWI


What follows is an excerpt of an email that I wrote and sent out this past Tuesday to various people up-and-down the management chain at the Miami Herald and South Florida Sun-Sentinel, plus other selected print/TV reporters and columnists in the area.

It was also sent as well to about 150-175 residents, business owners, civic leaders and other very interested parties with a keen interest interest in seeing this part of Broward County grow and become all it can be, which will necessarily mean it becoming unshackled from the likes of autocratic and thin-skinned Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper and her very negative and alienating sphere of influence.

People really do avoid moving here or locating a business here simply because of the bureaucratic fiefdom and crony capitalism culture that she has created here, one that is totally unhealthy and destructive long-term to everyone not named Cooper.

Owing to the fact that at least some of the people who received it on Tuesday do NOT often hear from me or necessarily know that "What's past is prologue" here in Hallandale Beach times TEN, it necessarily repeats some pretty basic things about this city that most of you more-regular readers of the blog already know and could probably recite back to me were we ever to meet.

I apologize for that but I can't assume that our common knowledge is their particular common knowledge and frame of reference, so I kept it pretty simple in some cases by bringing up come connections to things going on now as best I could.

Again, keep in mind that this was sent out the day before the HB City Commission meeting Wednesday night that attracted so many people, and where everything came fast-and-furious as some new information was introduced into the equation that I didn't know when first writing
this.

Not that this new information in any way excuses the South Florida news media's glaring failure over the past five years to accurately and fairly report local news as it actually is, and NOT as some would have it or like it to be.
Say, the way the two local Editorial Boards would prefer that you NOT know certain information, especially before an important election.
-----

First, a history lesson, since it's clear that at least some of you need it:

Four years ago last week, Pastor Anthony A. Sanders was forced down the throats of Hallandale Beach citizens by Mayor Joy Cooper ignoring the city's own rules and made an interim City Commissioner; he was elected 9 weeks later. 
Today marks 9 weeks exactly until Election Day, leaving only 62 days before a majority of citizens here vote in person. 

Four years ago, Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper forced Anthony A. Sanders down the throats of Hallandale Beach residents by filling a HB City Commission vacancy that wasn't even legally vacant, and wouldn't be for another three weeks, days AFTER the second City Commission meeting of the month, where there would have been plenty of time for public comments re the city's extant policies for filling vacancies. 

Cooper she did so by blatantly violating the city's own rules and protocols -used just the year before for Keith London to replace Joe Gibbons on the Commission after his election to the State House- in large part because she knew that then-City Attorney David Jove was a veritable bump on a log, someone who wouldn't do anything to jeopardize his outrageous pension by reminding the mayor that what she was doing was patently illegal under the city's own rules.

Cooper didn't care that the whole thing was a sham from beginning-to-end since she was in on it. Cooper already knew that then-City Manager Mike Good actually wrote then-Commissioner Francine Schiller's letter of resignation, not Schiller, at her condo, or that it, supposedly, ALL happened after Friday at 5 p.m., so that way they wouldn't have to legally place anything about it on the printed agenda for the following Wednesday night's City Commission agenda.

(Not that the the agenda was on the city's website then, though, since that didn't happen until the following Monday.)

There was nothing accidental or coincidental about when and where Schiller resigned.
Cooper didn't leave anything to chance, and made a point of NOT allowing basic fairness, democracy or following the rules to get in the way of her getting her way, her number-one priority.

It was a complete contrivance from beginning to end, and again, Joy Cooper didn't care then or afterwards about the spirit or the letter of the law, she only cared about getting what SHE wanted -another pliable puppet on the Commission.

Fairness? Please!
That's why she NEVER allowed any member of the public to speak before she ramrodded Sanders into the position, despite how obvious and egregious her actions were, or how many HB citizens in the Chambers wanted to speak about what she was so obviously trying to do.

Why do I bring this up? 
Because history is repeating itself, possibly starting tomorrow.
Mayor Cooper and two of her Rubber Stamps, Commissioners Lewy and Sanders are working together on passing a proposal coming up before the Commission on Wednesday whereby they enshrine their own personal bitterness and political pettiness into the city charter.

More on that in a moment, as you see what links these stories...

Back to Sanders... 
For 39 months, since May of 2009, when his property was bought by the city for more than it was truly worth by any reasonable appraisal standard, despite the the City NOT having a single written plan for what they would do with it afterwards, 39 months since all of that $235,000 was placed into his bank account within 48 hours, practically light-speed in this city, Anthony A. Sanders has adamantly refused to speak to the citizens of this community about this matter, regardless of how much controversy has swirled around him and his wife Jessica.

Sanders honestly believes that he is above having to explain himself to the very public he is supposed to represent, and is intent on saying nothing before Election Day.

Sanders thinks this in part because he knows, like I do, what the grand total actually has been in news coverage re his refusal to talk to the public face-to-face -NOTHING.

That's the grand total of the Miami Herald, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Channel 4 News, Channel 6 News, Channel 7 News and Channel 10 News -NOTHING.
No articles, no columns, no editorials -no nothing.

Sanders laughs at and ignores his own constituents and he also laughs at and ignores the  South Florida news media, whose lack of effort has been duly noted by everyone in this community.

So it this how the last 62 days of the campaign are going to go down, with the South Florida news media implicitly appeasing Comm. Anthony A. Sanders and his wife, Jessica, by refusing to say anything about it and make no effort at all?

I recently asked the woman who knows, Cathie Schanz, the head of the city's Parks & Rec. Dept., whether her dept. had officially received any formal request from Comm. Sanders or his wife reserving a room at any of the city-owned facilities to have a public meeting to finally discuss this.

You can see the answer below for yourself:

(I've removed the actual email addresses here as well as info about me.)
From: Hallandale Beach Blog
Sent: Tuesday, August 21, 2012 3:14 PM
To: Parksrecreation
Cc: 
Hallandale Beach Blog
Subject: re Comm. Anthony A. Sanders and possibly renting space at city-owned facilities

August 21, 2012

Dear Ms. Schanz: 
Since you're in a position to know as Director the city's Parks & Recreation Dept, can you please tell me whether as of today, if Hallandale Beach Comm. Anthony A. Sanders has reserved either a room or the auditorium at the HB Cultural Center, or any other room in any other city-owned facility -like the closed-to-the-public North Beach Building- for any non-campaign public purpose in the next eleven weeks? 
I ask because a few weeks ago, I'd heard that after his doggedly refusing for three years to speak in person to the community about what he really knew, Comm. Sanders was finally going to talk to HB residents, taxpayers and business owners about what had transpired, what with the city rushing to purchase his property without any semblance of a written plan in place, for more money than the property was worth, even to the point of the city getting the entire sale amount into his bank account within 48 hours, a quickness and efficiency that I and other concerned HB residents found quite...well, astonishing. 
Especially since taxpayers have never seen the city apply similar speed and energy applied with respect to any other project (or purchase) in this city the past eight-plus years I've livedhere, even when it was probably actually needed. Obviously, if Comm. Sanders is scheduled to speak on this matter, I'd like to know and to be able to tell others about it as well, so any information you can provide me about this matter would be most appreciated.
-----
From: Schanz, Cathie 
Date: Tue, Aug 21, 2012 at 4:10 PM
Subject: RE: re Comm. Anthony A. Sanders and possibly renting space at city-owned facilities
To: 
Hallandale Beach Blog 

Vice Mayor Sanders does not have any non-campaign public purpose rentals in the next eleven weeks.

Cathie Schanz, CPRE
Hallandale Beach Parks and Recreation Director

-----
And so here we are 9 weeks before an election, and the very individual that was endorsed by both newspapers in 2008 has not had a single thing written in either newspaper about his deliberate refusal to speak to the public about this matter for over three years, the single biggest scandal in the city, because of what it represents about the way things have been done in this city under this mayor?

Why are the Herald and Sun-Sentinel consciously avoiding mentioning this or anything else about Sanders' embarrassing track record of ethics and crony capitalism? Why?

Why the dogged refusal to report on Sanders unwillingness to face the music with citizens as both paper's Editorial Boards would no doubt be publicly saying if this were happening in a larger city, esp. in Miami, Hialeah, Coral Gables, Hollywood or Ft. Lauderdale?

The media does itself no favors by consciously avoiding unpleasant news about someone it once foolishly painted a rosy picture of, a promise that has gone completely bust, and one of the logical consequences of this is that you will have marked yourself as entities NOT to be trusted in this community.

If you keep avoiding it for another nine weeks, as many people here think you will, there'll be logical consequences, and one is that anyone in this city who pays close attention to what happens here will have nothing to do with either one of the reporters assigned to this city.
Why should they (we) indulge you, after you've continually refused to simply report
news that is considered "news" by the very people who actually live here?

Once you've been publicly labeled persona non grata and someone not to be trusted
due to your calculated avoidance of news stories, there's no going back.
Just saying...

Having previously gotten rid of someone once before who was legally-elected and replaced them illegally, Schiller by Sanders, now, Cooper, Lewy and Sanders together are attempting to repeat history by trying to game the electoral system.

I recently wrote some friends in the area...

In case you've forgotten or never knew, earlier this spring, Comm. Lewy tried -unsuccessfully- to actually force an unscheduled mid-August election upon all of us here in Hallandale Beach, due to his own personal and political interests, seemingly unconcerned with the fact that so many residents of this city would be out-of-town for the summer then, just as was the case in June with the vote on the Beachwalk development project on the Intracoastal, where so many of the people most-directly affected by that proposal were NOT in a position to speak to their interests.

So what's Lewy's goal? 
Simple, to take away Comm. Keith S. London's ability to run for his own HB City Commission seat on January 15th, in the unlikely event he loses the Mayoral election in November.
That other people are also affected, seven possible candidates and this city's citizenry's ability to vote for candidates of their choice, ought to make angry anyone who values democratic principles for who THEY want.

Absent a public referendum that affirmatively ratifies that and makes it legal, Comm. Lewy, Mayor Cooper and Comm. Sanders have no legal authority under the city's charter or the state's constitution to attempt to shorten the term of office of a duly-elected public official in this state, absent provable misconduct resulting in expulsion- something that most well-informed people we know around here already know, or which several State offices in Tallahassee would've told them if they'd simply asked.

But like bullies and political outliers everywhere, rules aren't for this crew, so they didn't ask, mostly because it didn't really matter what the answer would be -they already knew what they'd be doing, regardless of the law.

Question: Is there any city in South Florida that currently requires a sitting elected official running for another elective office to be forced from his present office many months before an election, rather than the date of the election, as Lewy, Cooper and Sanders propose.
In a word - NO.
But that's what these three already tried and failed at.

There's certainly not one in Ft. Lauderdale or Pembroke Pines, since in both communities, ones that easily dwarf Hallandale Beach in size, population and prestige, sitting commissioners there have (or will) resigned to run for another elective office with their resignation date being that upcoming Election Day, NOT some earlier date chosen arbitrarily by their colleagues with the sole intent of scoring political points and consolidating their power, as is so obviously the case here with Lewy, Cooper and Sanders.

If you don't already know the names of those candidates in Pembroke Pines and Ft. Lauderdale, who ran for their own seats again, perhaps you'll recognize them when I say them now: Anglelo Castillo and Charlotte Rodstrom.

It's entirely possible that many citizens and elected officials in those cities didn't like what Comm. Castillo did in 2010, or even what Comm. Rodstrom will be doing in a few months, to re-capture a seat she was already elected to and resigned from.
In fact, it's probably likely.

But you don't see their colleagues in those cities attempting to change their city's charter out of spite, did you, as if that was really the appropriate response, rather than letting the public decide who they  wanted and who they didn't want? 

Nope, changing a city's charter, it's constitution, completely out of personal pique and political spite is what the small minds of our own small city think of first over at HB City Hall, and typically, they have the audacity to think they can actually get away with it without anyone noticing it or suffering any personal or career consequences for their naked anti-democratic efforts.
We beg to differ.
    
Democracy is messy, but isn't that part of what makes it compelling?
Cooper, Lewy and Sanders may succeed Wednesday night at the First Reading by being too-clever-by-half, but ultimately, they ought to be careful what they wish for, since there are hundreds and hundreds of people like me who will be only be too happy to give these three the "credit" they want for limiting voter's choices -right before Election Day.
Nine weeks from today...

----------

My July 17, 2012 blog post was a particularly good overview of some of the issues I spoke about regarding the longstanding ethical cloud that Comm. Sanders has been under, so you may want to refer back to it: 
re Hallandale Beach Comm. Anthony A. Sanders' stealthy "meetings." From the same man who's stonewalling the Broward Inspector General, who NEVER returns your phone calls or email, and who WON'T visit your neighborhood to meet with you or your neighbors; #HallandaleBeach, @SandersHB, @MayorCooper, @AlexLewy

I followed that up with this one on July 28, 2012: 
Video: Local10's Glenna Milberg examines an ethical & financial problem in Hallandale Beach that I've been writing about for over 3 years re Comm. Anthony A. Sanders, who KEEPS stonewalling the public; Keith London: "Broward Inspector General closing in on Hallandale Beach, Mayor Cooper and Vice Mayor Sanders"

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