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.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Where's the tangible proof you're succeeding in eliminating corruption at Hallandale Beach City Hall, Mr. Scott? My email to Broward Inspector General John. W. Scott and his staff: "Hallandale Beach is still a mess and STILL corrupt. The rules & laws that are largely followed elsewhere are NOT followed here, no matter how self-evident"; Are we on our own as far as prosecuting public corruption goes? It sure seems that way

October 24, 2012 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2012 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Below is my email of last Thursday to Broward Inspector General John W. Scott.

It's an email that I have been thinking seriously about writing and sending for weeks, after talking to friends and other very-concerned residents of Hallandale Beach who are very frustrated that they do NOT see any evidence of his investigation on HB City Hall having any effect on the words and behavior coming out of City Hall.
Nobody-but-nobody has been punished, indicted or prosecuted in the year that the Broward IG's office has been up-and-running.

If you are wondering why I felt compelled to send it to him, perhaps this quick reminder will jog your memory a bit.
I didn't include it in the letter because he already knows all of it from previous letters.

Here are just some of the things that I know for a stone-cold fact:
a.) After having witnessed all the rampant corruption and entrenched anti-democratic, anti-taxpayer practices that I have at Hallandale Beach City Hall over the past nine years under Mayor Joy Cooper, she shows absolutely no signs of changing her spots; 

b.) After being physically prevented by City of Hallandale Beach employees from attending a PUBLIC meeting at City Hall regarding bidding on a city project -at the direction of former City Manager Mark A. Antonio and his staff, who were upstairs at the meeting, a meeting with no citizens present, that was mysteriously postponed as soon as I got close to the room with the help of Commissioner Keith London 15-20 minutes later, which led to the meeting ending abruptly and Antonio storming-off towards his office and yelling at Comm. London, and, perhaps, me. No explanation given for why the meeting ended just as soon as I got ready to come into the room; 

c.) After being threatened with arrest for photographing and videotaping a PUBLIC meeting of the city's Planning & Zoning Advisory Board at the city's Cultural Center -while Mike Good was City Manager- from 50-75 feet away from the proceedings, and one of only two citizens present in the near-completely empty room, a PUBLIC meeting that was ALREADY being broadcast LIVE at the time, and two Dept. heads present (Richard Cannone and Christy Dominguez) just sat in their chairs and said and did NOTHING to stop the illegal threats against me and the state's Sunshine Laws by two members of the Advisory Board; 

d.) After witnessing dozens of times over several years an elected city official (William "Bill" Julian) continually breaking their oath of office to uphold and obey the laws and Constitution of the State of Florida, by directly using their position of office to accrue a benefit for which he was not otherwise legally entitled to -illegally parking his vehicle in the officially-designated Handicapped Parking and Handicapped Access Parking spaces at the city's North Beach when there was only ONE of each present on the the city's surface parking lot, while Julian ate and drank with his friends for hours.
http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/2010/10/stone-cold-fact-bill-julian-serial.html

Over the many years that Bill Julian consciously chose to break both the spirit and letter of the law, to say nothing of breaking his oath as an elected official to uphold it, hundreds of HB employees saw his behavior and conduct, including lots of Hallandale Beach Police officers. But what happened? 
Nothing.

There are so many more examples, but then I've already written about them here, too, haven't I?

I won't be contacting Mr. Scott again because I've already seen dogs chase their tail before, and I do not plan on replicating that behavior myself.
As for myopic and sleepwalking Broward State's Attorney Mike Satz and his staff... more on them soon, I promise.

------
October 25, 2012

Dear Mr. Scott:

Just wanted to let you know that despite whatever it is that you and your staff of agents are doing, it's NOT working.
Things in Hallandale Beach are still as crooked and corrupt as ever.

Elected officials and their pals here still fully expect to get away with breaking the law -city, state, federal- and having nothing meaningful happen to them.
Now there's the real measure of the Broward State Attorney's office.

To cite but one obvious example I have previously shared with you, 
http://www.hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-city-of-hallandale-beachs-rules-are.html in the rest of the United States, it's illegal for political campaign signs urging someone's election or defeat to appear on non-profit or religious/church property for reasons that are fairly obvious to any intelligent person.
It can lead to IRS investigations and that can even lead to changes in the offending party's institutional non-profit status.
But not in Hallandale Beach.

Here, people who have actually sworn an oath to uphold the law, and who know what's right and wrong, consciously do what they like, the wrong thing, because they dare anyone to catch them or do anything about it if they are caught.
They are forever playing the percentages, Mr. Scott, because they don't believe that you and your agents can do anything to stop them from doing whatever they like, laws or no laws.
See those photos from October 3rd on my link above?

I went by there yesterday afternoon at 3:53 p.m. -below- absolutely nothing had changed. 


© 2012 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

And dozens and dozens of city Code Compliance vehicles go past this location every week.

I hate to be the one to tell you, but since nobody else will, Mr. Scott, everyone I know here who is well-informed wonders what you and your staff are actually doing, because we certainly AREN'T seeing any positive results or any change of ethical culture at City Hall with you and your agents on the scene -somewherenor are we seeing any actual arrests or indictments after all the suspicious and egregious things that have happened here over the years.

I really hoped for the best for your Office, otherwise I'd have never gone to all those early morning Broward Ethics Comm. meetings in downtown Ft. Lauderdale more than two years ago, where I was often THE only citizen present in the audience, but I have to tell you, honestly, the high grade that you gave yourself and your office in the Sun-Sentinel recently, seems inflated from where the put-upon citizen taxpayers of Hallandale Beach sit.
Nothing has changed here.

Perhaps A.G. Bondi's office needs to think outside-the-box to deal with the pervasive corruption problems here, and hold court at the city's Cultural Center for a week, say, after the November 6th election, and let citizens who know something come by and tell soon-to-be-shocked state investigators what they know in private, because quite frankly, it does NOT seem like your office is doing everything that it can and should be doing.

I really hoped for the best, I really did, but I'm seeing something much less than satisfactory right now, Mr. Scott, and simply put, this town can NOT wait for you or Mr. Satz's sleepwalking crew at SAO to finally wake-up and see what's right in front of US.

People talk to me just about everyday -serious, hard-working people- about moving away from Hallandale Beach because they are so dismayed and disgusted with how pervasively corrupt and incompetently-run City Hall is, with all of the many things that happen on the sly, the down low and with a wink of an eye.
And they are moving out, too.

To cite but one recent example I shared with you on Tuesday, known friends of elected officials trying to use city property for campaigning purposes, even though it's already illegal under city ordinances.
They create the ruse of "voter education" taking place at a city facility as a pretext for their elected official friends to then come by later to campaign there.

In that case, it was originally supposed to be Comm. Anthony A. Sanders and former Comm. Bill Julian who were supposed to swing by Foster Park Wednesday night, two candidates, who, along with Mayor Joy Cooper, had their campaign yard signs illegally and prominently erected on city property for many WEEKS -in multiple locationsuntil I publicly complained about it 
As you already know.

In case after case, these three individuals know the rules and laws, Mr. Scott - and they consciously choose to break them week-after-week.

Unfortunately, the HB Police Dept. is hardly in a position to be an oasis of ethics or sanity from this corrupt culture, given that this city, under Mayor Cooper, actually pushed to have a street named for a recent former Police Chief, Thomas Magill.
A Police Chief who illegally used enormous city resources and funds in his efforts to try to frame and prosecute two completely innocent people.
Both of whom happened to be HB Police officers.

That Police Chief, Thomas Magill, was never punished by the city or Mr. Satz's Broward State Attorney's Office. 
Really.

Magill acted like nothing happened, even as the city's taxpayers had to pay hundreds of thousand of dollars to settle lawsuit claims and attorney's fees because of Magill's egregious (criminal) conduct, after two separate Broward juries unanimously ruled against him.

Both juries came to a unanimous decision in under 15 minutes, Mr. Scott.
What does that tell you?


© 2012 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.
Above, from yesterday afternoon: one of the many un-manned HBPD patrol cars that are used as scarecrows around town, as if criminals don't already know they're un-manned from their recon. In this particular case, this un-manned Police car is near an un-manned Security Guard gate.
Twice blessed!


Not surprisingly, despite the large amount of tax dollars and city resources involved, Mayor Cooper and the City Commission have never publicly admitted what really happened while they were in charge in an oversight capacity, or disclosed the total amount of taxpayer dollars used to support Magill's defense and paid out to two innocent people because of his truly abominable conduct.
Conduct for which he was never punished.

That's where I live, Mr. Scott.
Welcome to my world.

Pop culture marriage made in heaven -Star Wars sagas & Indiana Jones adventures move to Mouse House: Sharon Waxman shares the first takes on Disney's surprising $4 Billion purchase of Lucsafilms via her WaxWord blog at TheWrap; listen to the Bob Iger and Jay Rasulo conference call explaining the deal; @Disney, @starwars



TheDisneyPost YouTube Channel: Disney to Acquire Lucasfilm. Uploaded October 30, 2012. http://youtu.be/QIkqX5fG_tA
See more at https://thewaltdisneycompany.com/blog/disney-acquire-lucasfilm

This afternoon while I was writing some emails and drafts of some future blog posts that you'll soon be seeing here, I received the Breaking News about Disney's purchase of Lucsafilms via an email from Sharon Waxman's TheWrap, our daily entertainment must-read. 

A few minutes later I listened to the entire conference call and heard analysts try to alternately pry and parry some good intel out of Jay Rasulo, Disney's CFO, that he didn't want to share, particularly as it involves valuation.

Much of the video above spoken by Disney CEO Robert Iger, better known to some of you as the husband of TV news personality Willow Bay, was later heard in the conference call that I listened to in its entirety. 

You can listen to the entire conference call here: 
http://edge.media-server.com/m/p/c2nj5j33/lan/en%20%20

In particular, they didn't want to talk in much detail about what the story is with Fox's distribution contract for prior Star Wars films and Paramount's deal for the Indiana Jones films.

As you listen, while you probably have already heard the big news that a new Star Wars film is slated for release in 2015, Episode 7, make sure you don't sleep on the news that Disney wants to bring Star Wars and its huge cast of characters and narratives to TV in some new fashion, geared towards kids, and to amusement parks.

TheWrap
WaxWord blog
Will the Force Be With Disney’s $4B 'Star Wars' Gamble?
By Sharon Waxman
Published: October 30, 2012 @ 7:58 pm
In buying Lucasfilm for a stunning $4.05 billion on Tuesday, Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger has made yet another bold gamble for the future of his media company, betting on a beloved but dusty franchise in need of a radical reimagining for a new generation. 
Read the rest of the post at:
http://www.thewrap.com/movies/column-post/will-force-be-disney-s-4b-star-wars-gamble-62876



starwars YouTube Channel: George Lucas and Kathleen Kennedy discuss the future of Star Wars movies at Disney. Uploaded October 30, 2012. http://youtu.be/YyqlTi7lkhY

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Deadline for requesting Absentee Ballot from Broward County Supervisor of Election's office is Wednesday at 5 p.m. -unless you want to drive to Lauderhill and pick it up!


Within the past hour, I sent the following information as part of a larger email about another subject altogether, to a LOT of people around Broward County.
I'm posting it now instead of that larger email on the chance that it might do some voters and candidates some good, because thus far, I have heard nobody mention it anywhere.
Some deadlines really are deadlines!
-----

Because I've been receiving so many emails from local, county and state candidates everyday, as well as ones from the various constitutional ballot issues, this morning I decided to contact someone I know at the Broward Supervisor of Elections to get the official line about what they were telling voters calling in to their "request" line, about what  the deadline was, since the emails and mailers I receive never mention the deadline. 

Yes, you'd think it would be obvious.
As Election Day gets closer, the window for the public to request absentee ballots and have them received in time to mail back or drop-off at polling stations gets smaller and smaller.
Yet the person I know at SOE told me that some people actually think that they can call on Friday morning and still get an absentee ballot in time, which is crazy, but par for the course.

I was told that they are telling the public that absentee ballot requests must be made by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, otherwise, voters have to drive up to their Lauderhill facility to get one in-person.

Obviously, if people are already trying to avoid going somewhere in their own city to begin with, you'd think that the prospect of having to drive to Lauderhill to get a ballot would dissuade people from waiting and cause them to vote Early if they were really concerned about long lines on Election Day, but then you almost never lose by underestimating the apathy level of the majority of South Florida residents...

I was told that they are telling the public that requests must be made by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, otherwise, voters have to drive up to their Lauderhill facility to get one in-person

Broward County Absentee Ballot Requests - (954) 357-7055

REMINDER: Voted absentee ballots MUST be received by the SOE's office no later than 7 p.m. on Election Day. 
They can NOT be accepted at polling locations!

If you requested an absentee ballot and later decide to VOTE AT THE POLLS, take your absentee ballot with you to be cancelled at your polling place.


Oh, no, this type of thing could never ever happen in Hallandale Beach!
Poll workers call 911 on Volusia County candidate's mom
Caller tells authorities woman was starting 'a riot'

Their lack of Journalism ethics is hiding in plain sight: In their head-scratching endorsement of do-nothing Hallandale Beach Comm. Anthony A. Sanders over civic activist Csaba Kulin, the Tribune Co's Sun-Sentinel said he has "experience." Yes, but it's of the completely ineffective and unethical variety we don't want more of!; Vote Kulin!; @SandersHB


Jefferson Starship - "Jane" 
One of the defining songs of not only my Freshman year at IU in 1979, but that era in rock. http://youtu.be/0PwG69620WA

Like a cat and a mouse (cat and a mouse) 
From door to door and house to house 
Don't you pretend you don't know what I'm talkin' about

Their lack of Journalism ethics is hiding in plain sight: In their head-scratching endorsement of do-nothing Hallandale Beach Comm. Anthony A. Sanders over civic activist Csaba Kulin, the Tribune Co's Sun-Sentinel said he has "experience." Yes, but it's of the completely ineffective and unethical variety we don't want more of!; Vote Kulin!; @SandersHB
That's why Sanders is, so far, the Broward Inspector General's poster boy!
Sanders is all the things you aren't supposed to be if you're a public official.

The Tribune Company's South Florida Sun-Sentinel has a big problem -it's own internal liberal bias and world view of how the world ought to be if they could only re-write it, as opposed to the way the world and the people in it actually are and really behave.

The newspaper, literally, can't help itself, like a well-to-do and very good-looking teenage girl I knew in North Miami Beach in the 1970's, the younger sister of a friend at North Miami Beach High School, always claimed
Yes, Little Sister was a habitual shoplifter.

Thought she came from a nice family and certainly knew the difference between right-and-wrong, like the same self-serving nonsense the Sun-Sentinel spouts about it trying its best to practice journalistic principles, when push came to shove, despite the fact that she could well afford to buy the stuff, Little Sister habitually shoplifted for kicks and cheap thrills to kill both the ennui and what she said was pressure to conform and live-up to her older sister, my friend, who was very smart, friendly and good-looking, but sans the ethically-convenient angst.

Similarly, like her, the Sun-Sentinel acts like they could put a stop to their political bias and very curious and increasingly-obvious editing choices whenever it wanted to.
But the Sun-Sentinel, like Little Sister, doesn't really want to.
It's fun to act like the rules don't apply to you.
It's sort of like the Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper and her Rubber Stamp Crew on the city commission the past nine years, no?

It's part of how it sees itself in the world at large.
Almost as if not letting bias slip in when it's convenient would be to deny its basic nature, almost a self-betrayal, so it keeps doing what it's been doing and acting like nobody like me notices.
So the Sun-Sentinel, like my friend's Little Sister, keeps kidding itself that it really doesn't have a problem.

But the truth is that regardless of the times that you live in, ethical hedging all the time, whether by an individual or a family or company, eventually takes it toll, and it has certainly taken its toll on the Sun-Sentinel's readers as the paper continues to become ever more irrelevant to any discussion of what's going on in the larger community with every passing month.
That's especially the case for the discerning news reader who, whatever their politics, wants their facts straight-up, without any shaking or misdirection, so they can draw their own conclusions.

Today, after sitting on some facts for a few days, I'm ready to reveal my own version of what radio broadcaster  Paul Harvey famously called "the rest of the story" on his hugely popular radio newscasts for decades that were full of Middle America folksiness and manners.
And, I'll show you how that directly affects Hallandale Beach.

And here, "the rest of the story" are the facts and context that you do not routinely get from the Sun-Sentinel if their management team and Editorial Board have anything to do with it.
And more recently, in the Sun-Sentinel's perplexing endorsement of do-nothing, know-nothing incumbent Anthony A. Sanders
Stand by for news!


CBS News Charles Osgood's 2009 appreciation for radio broadcaster Paul Harvey, following his death at age 90. http://youtu.be/S5_OIoMBjSk

A week before the Sun-Sentinel's vetting meeting at their HQ in downtown Ft. Lauderdale to decide its endorsement selections in this city, I told my friend and Hallandale Beach City Commission candidate Csaba Kulin to be sure to bring a small tape-recorder with him.

I specifically told him not to call them in advance of the meeting and ask if he could, just bring to it and put it on the conference table when he sat down with the other five Commission candidates and the three reps from the Sun-Sentinel.
After all, the latter had recording equipment available to them.

Now for Csaba's purposes, it certainly wasn't to use for purposes of a campaign commercial, since that would be impractical for him because of the costs, but rather for the more practical purpose of him having a contemporaneous recording of all the ridiculous and flat-out lies that would likely be coming from incumbent Anthony A. Sanders and former Comm. William "Bill" Julian as they sought to rationalize and defend their indefensible voting records and unethical behavior to the Sun-Sentinel three reps, who did NOT even know some basic facts
they should've known days before.

I had told Csaba in advance that I was about 100% certain that regardless of what Comm. Sanders said or did in their meeting room, the Sun-Sentinelwhich like the Miami Herald, endorsed Sanders in 2008 despite his lack of qualifications and inability to speak intelligently or in detail on important facts of public policy in Hallandale Beach compared to other candidates, would again get the paper's recommendation.
Even if Sanders didn't show-up, since he is not the most reliable of people.

When Csaba asked why I thought that, and wouldn't they, you know, make their decisions based on what they already knew about the candidates and heard from them in that room, I told him that there was a LOT MORE here than meets the eye in the matter of endorsements. 
That is, it was an opportunity for the Sun-Sentinel to once again show its Editorial Board's liberal political philosophy, including its most pernicious one of treating people not as individuals, but rather as chess pieces on a chess board, to be moved and manipulated.

That's why they call it "identity politics."

In short, I told him that there were political statements to be made and that one of them would likely be that we'd eventually see the handiwork of Sun-Sentinel Editorial writer and Board member Doug Lyons, a fervent believer in diversity on government bodies, regardless of whether the individual is unqualified or unethical, which is one of the things you don't consider when you're treating people like chess pieces.

(It's the same reason that Lyons never makes any reference to Florida state Rep. Joe Gibbons representing Broward County in the legislature even though he is NOT a full-time resident here, preferring to live in Jacksonville with his wife and kids. 
But isn't that unethical and illegal?
Yes, but that doesn't matter as long as it's Gibbons, because Gibbons supports the Sun-Sentinel's world-view, so he gets a pass from everyone.)

Yes, unqualified or unethical people will get the nod from Lyons and the Editorial Board even if that amounts to keeping a town like ours in turmoil even longer than is necessary.
And in the Editorial Board's selection of Sanders, have they not accomplished all three? 

He's still unqualified after four years in office, he's STILL an unethical Pastor, and he promises to keep this town in turmoil as long as he and his wife work their handiwork with the city's budget, continuing to act like they are above having to answer questions from the public, which is why he has refused to debate this year.
Sanders is afraid of what people will say because he knows that he has NOT been at all what he claimed to be and he knows they will call him out. So he hides.

Before the vetting meeting officially started, Csaba asked if he could record what was said so that he's have a true account of it.
The Sun-Sentinel said NO, and when Csaba asked if the candidates were being recorded, videotaped or having their comments streamed online, they replied NO.

But the truth of the matter is that a very reliable person has confided to me that back in August, the newspaper's Editorial Board actually streamed their comments LIVE, and among those listening in were some representatives of their opponents and other interested parties.
Someone, I can't say who just now, happened to listen in and actually wrote down what was asked and said and commented on what was being said in that Ft. Lauderdale building from many miles away, even before the candidates left the building.
How do you suppose that happened?

After the meeting, while everyone was getting up from their seats, the folks from the Sun-Sentinel told them that they had been recorded.
But if I got the story right, they didn't mention anything about having streamed it.
But wouldn't that be illegal?
Again, consider where it happened. 
THAT seems to be how the Sun-Sentinel rolls these days.

Nowhere in their endorsement of last Tuesday do they mention that Comm. Sanders and former Comm. Julian were strong supporters of the very egregiously anti-democratic move that columnist Michael Mayo -who was present that day as one of the three S-S reps, but who says that he is not part of the Editorial Board- decried in his column and blog soon after the interviews.
That is, that Hallandale Beach is having an election in one week that will elect three people to the City Commission, but that the city's voters can only vote for two.


Mayo on the Side blog

More Hallandale weirdness: 2 votes for 3 seats
By Michael Mayo
October 16, 2012 11:05 AM

Excerpt from Sun-Sentinel editorial of October 23:
Anthony Sanders and Michele Lazarow for Hallandale Beach City Commission 
The race to fill two at-large two seats on Hallandale Beach City Commission is a little bit deceptive as it's the top three vote getters who will actually serve on the next commission thanks to the need to replace Commissioner Keith London who resigned to run for mayor. 
Still, voters "technically" have only two seats to fill, and the Sun Sentinel Editorial Board recommends voters re-elect Anthony A. Sanders and elect Michele Lazarow. The two bring a mix of energy and experience and both are in the best position to help the city's western neighborhoods. 
Sanders, a 52-year-old pastor, is the commission's lone black member. A four-year veteran on the dais, He's has been a staunch advocate for the city's predominantly black west side neighborhoods, and although his tenure has been marred by questionable business dealings with the city, Sanders' experience and knowledge of the city's needs give him the edge. 
Lazarow, 45, has her own history that qualifies her for the commission. She is a longtime resident of the city and a former owner of a popular women's boutique. Her business experience and past dealings with the city should help her as a new commissioner incorporate more city business-friendly procedures, especially small businesses struggling in the city's west side. 
The other candidates are Gerald E. Dean, 58, a small business owner; Ann Pearl Henigson, 66, a former secretary; William "Bill" Julian, 59, a licensed thoroughbred racing steward and former city commissioner; and Csaba G. Kulin, 73, a retired director of technology with the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. 
Also completely missing in the endorsement or the Mayo blog post is any reference at all that they would have continued in their ignorance had not Csaba brought it up during the meeting. Somehow, they were completely in the dark about one of the most vexing issues in the city that they supposedly were making educated comments about.
Guess they weren't quite so educated after all, huh?

And all this happened despite the fact that I had personally sent Mayo and Lyons several bcc's about this when it actually happened weeks ago and how it came about due to the desire of Comm. Alexander Lewy to change the complexion of the election halfway thru in order to thwart Keith London.

So instead of endorsing Csaba Kulin, the person most-responsible for bringing forth factual information -the city's own documents- that makes public how three former Hallandale Beach City Managers have pulled the wool over the City Commission and taxpayers for years to the tune of MILLIONS of dollars that they will receive in pension payments over the coming years, and did NOT earn all of it, the Sun-Sentinel, the news outlet that DIDN'T even know what was going on here, has endorsed Anthony A. Sanders.

Sure, the man with "experience" who is also the HB city commissioner who is the least-prepared member to discuss anything that is going on in the city, and the one who for well over three years has, literally, been in fear of being alone in a room with smart and well-informed HB taxpayers and answer their sharp questions about his behavior and votes.

No, like the Cooper Rubber Stamp that he is, the poorly-informed puppet that he is, in order for Sanders to appear in public, there must always be city employees close at hand to run interference and even feed him answers.

As far as Hallandale Beach's voters are concerned, the truth and the transparency -and mea culpas- that they regularly preach to others in their editorials and columns are STILL missing in action at The Tribune Co.'s South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Don't hold your breath that they will ever come... the Sun-Sentinel doesn't think they have a problem.

Monday, October 29, 2012

re South Florida Sun-Sentinel:When are Broward County residents FINALLY going to get the "whole truth" from the Tribune Company's South Florida Sun-Sentinel and some public explanation for their continued reluctance to report it and useful context in Broward County news? Their problems with facts & bias are getting worse by the month; Joy Cooper's red-light camera friends and supporters; Sun-Sentinel's pro-Debbie Wasserman-Schultz bias is a continuing insult to readers; @MayorCooper

I sent the following email on Friday to some of the known members of what for lack of a better word I'm calling the "Central Editorial and Management Brain" of The Tribune Company's South Florida Sun-Sentinel, though it is, admittedly, somewhat incomplete since the Sun-Sentinel does not currently list it's own top management executives and Dept. heads on its own website. Oh, well.
You work with what you have.

You can well imagine why they choose to keep readers in the dark about who is responsible for the final product, much less, their contact information.
No, you're right.
They're not so big on transparency when it comes to themselves as when they rail against others.

I should think that at this point, regular readers of the blog hardly need me repeat here and now why it was sent, as the email is pretty self-explanatory -and long overdue.
And the fun is just beginning...

I've deleted the email addresses below.
-----

Subject: When are Broward readers going to get the entire truth from you? re South Florida Sun-Sentinel's continued reluctance to report the truth and useful context in Broward County
To: Dana Banker, Rosemary Goudreau, Gary Stein, Douglas Lyons
Cc: Michael Mayo, Brittany Wallman, Brittany, 
And to the following management executives from the Miami Herald: Aminda Marques, Rick Hirsch

October 26, 2012

Dear Messrs Banker, Goudreau, Stein & Lyons:

I'll be honest.
I'm writing today to get you to admit the truth, because the truth has been sadly absent or elusive from far too many stories, columns and editorials over the past year in the Sun-Sentinel, and curiosity has been M.I.A.
Frankly, the truth seems to have become a much lower priority for Sun-Sentinel the past few months in its news accounts of local government and politics.

Since I still have a lot of errands to run this afternoon, I'll mention just two here out of the many that I'm already personally aware of.

#! 1 - Before the Sun-Sentinel printed Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper's Op-Ed on July 22, 2012, supporting both the idea of and the expansion of red-light cameras throughout South Florida, 
did anyone from your Editorial Board or senior management think to ask her whether or not she had received or expected to receive campaign contributions from any company associated with that particular issue?

I ask because shortly after you provided Cooper with that giant platform to sing the praises of something that has NOT worked in this city -despite her aggressive manhandling efforts to cram it down the collective throats of Hallandale Beach residents, something proven by a report issued by the city weeks ago that  showed there actually was an increase in accidents 
Mayor Cooper received several thousands of dollars from Arizona-based ATSAmerican Traffic Solutions, the very company that installed their equipment here in Hallandale Beach.

Was Cooper ever asked whether or not ATS had ever paid for any meal or given her any gift while she was the elected President of the Florida League of Cities, or whether they gave the League any money before or while she was President and had the cameras installed in Hallandale Beach, when they were desperately scouring the state looking for pliable Florida pols to initiate it in their communities as a money-maker for them and the city, even while
arguing that it would decrease accidents?

If not, why not?
Why has your newspaper refused to mention these easily-verified facts in the three months since that her words appeared in-print and online?

2. For months, your newspaper has refused to make mention of a negative story involving Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz that has appeared in newspapers large and small throughout the United States.

The story concerned the-then new e-book written by the POLITICO's Glenn Thrush on the 2012 presidential campaign. 
The short version of the story is that among employees at Obama HQ in Chicago, DWS was by far their least-favorite Obama surrogate.
Not earth-shattering news, of course, but still news, especially for your newspaper given where it is distributed.
In fact, it's actually much more newsy than most of the pieces you run on DWS, of which there are too many in my opinion, as opposed to the almost complete lack of anything mentioning Frederica Wilson, who for another 11 days represents me and tens of thousands of your readers.

(You were certainly late to catching onto the fact that she had among the ten worst attendance records in the entire U.S. Congress in 2011, even before her surgery. 
And what bills has Wilson sponsored in two years that have moved anywhere?
None.)

It's quite noticeable that your newspaper, the local newspaper for her purposes, has, on too many occasions, gone out of its way to avoid printing it, mentioning the Thrush e-book or even alluding to it in articles, columns, essays, blogs or Letters to the Editor.
I know because I have actively looked for any signs of it -to no avail- even after checking your archives.
I checked hoping I was wrong and just missed it -nope, I was correct.
You never mentioned it.

It's almost like there's an invisible shield around the newspaper, or more accurately, a choke-collar around editors' collective throats, that interferes from treating this particular elected official like any other.

But an arm's-length relationship with her seems to be something that your newspaper seems incapable of achieving because it acts like it wants so very much more.

Frankly, that sort of continual submissiveness in a newspaper does nothing for its current and longstanding reputation among readers of not just being a lapdog for all things DWS, but practically being a member of her Inner Circle, a Golden Lapdog or whatever she calls people or groups she plays for fools.

Yes, there are many, many intelligent and well-informed people in South Florida who believe that she has you right where she wants you -on a short-leash.
The central problem is that you think it's out of affection, while she no doubt sees it as neutralizing the one newspaper that is most likely to print her foibles and problems and have them broadcast far beyond her congressional district.

(Though you may not think so, or like the comparison, among people who ARE paying attention in HB and Hollywood with respect to your coverage of DWS, your newspaper is viewed no differently than the taxpayer-subsidized faux newspaper in HB, the South Florida Sun-Times, in its fawning coverage of Mayor Joy Cooper, who, along with her husband, previously threatened to run the owners out of business many years ago after they printed something that was just slightly critical of her.)

(I didn't have that article handy when I sent Friday's email but have since found it.
It was a guest column that appeared on December 4, 2003, written by then-Hallandale Beach City Commissioner Anthony "Tony" Musto, and it was titled, appropriately enough, "Is there really a magic act going on in Hallandale Beach?"
In it's next-to-last paragraph re the state's Sunshine Laws and the city's very strange and un-democratic reading of it under Mayor Joy Cooper and the City Commission, which included Bill Julian, it concludes with this line that rings as true today as it did almost nine years ago. 
"The mayor, however, has fostered a closed-door mentality that minimizes the dissemination of information and citizen involvement.)

Frankly, in my opinion, the remaining shreds of your journalistic objectivity disintegrate completely when people in a responsible position at your newspaper decide to allow Anthony Man to engage in his over-the-top coverage of DWS's every single movement at various times throughout the year, even while he neglects to mention the time of day to give readers any sense of perspective.
It's so unseemly, not to mention, so uninformative and boosterish, that I've had to throw the paper in the garbage bin rather than in the recycling bin to prevent the stink from it fouling up my kitchen.

I have written on this subject many times and the truth is that the Miami Herald is no better on this subject, having never mentioned the DWS/Thrush story either.
But then it's common knowledge among Broward residents who pay attention that their management and editorial team don't really consider Broward County to be a real place, full of living, breathing people/consumers/voters, just a place marked terra incognita on their maps, a fact that is proven when they go 6-7 months without anything anyone or anything re Broward County govt., politics, personalities or current events, much less, public policy, even appearing in their predictable four-page Sunday Op-Ed section.
The very same section where they can't go two weeks without mentioning Cuba or Haiti on their four pages, but something on where a good chunk of their readership lives, NADA.

Their consistently terrible coverage of local news and govt. in Broward County and unwillingness to have a Broward-centric columnist is their problem to solve, but it's no excuse for your newspaper and its its employees consistently ignoring what is in plain sight, even while it's now become par for the course for both of you.

But you at least have the advantage of geography, so what's your excuse for always being so slow on the uptick and always late to the news? 
Or not even present?
Or consciously NOT printing news that's not favorable to powerful or influential people with whom you deign to stay on good terms with?

It's all very curious and does not at all encourage either respect or future support. 

DBS, Nine-year resident of Hallandale Beach

Cityline on A1A and the beach

Cityline on A1A and the beach
Where Hollywood meets Hallandale Beach on State Road A1A, Hyde Beach Resort & Residences meets the iconic beach ball-colored Water Tower

Hallandale Beach City Hall

Hallandale Beach City Hall
May 30, 2017 photo by SouthBeachHoosier
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Me in the Summer of 2016

Me in the Summer of 2016
Above, me in June, pre-recent haircut, near acres and acres of orange groves off Scenic U.S. #17 in Frostproof, FL, while visiting hot/humid Central Florida, which I'm convinced is where heat/humidity goes in the Summer to get away from it all... The oppressive heat & humidity there is literally everywhere you go. :-(

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.

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.