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.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Csaba Kulin gets the Miami Herald's whitewash treatment: McClatchy's Co.'s Herald practices the opposite of giving credit where credit is due, editing out the name of the one person in South Florida most-responsible for finding out why and how 3 former Hallandale Beach City Managers will soon be multi-millionaires with taxpayer dollars; a story that Miami Herald reporters, editors and management have completely ignored for years!

Where did all the taxpayer money go? Good question! Csaba Kulin knows some of the answers. Imagine if we had City Commissioners here like him and Michele Lazarow who'd actually take their oversight  responsibilities for taxpayers seriously, and ask probing questions instead of just sitting on the dais and playing the role of rubber stamps for the mayor. Hmmm... October 24, 2012 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2012 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.
Csaba Kulin gets the Miami Herald's whitewash treatment: McClatchy's Co.'s Herald practices the opposite of giving credit where credit is due, editing out the name of the one person in South Florida most-responsible for finding out why and how 3 former Hallandale Beach City Managers will soon be multi-millionaires with taxpayer dollars; a story that Miami Herald reporters, editors and management have completely ignored for years!

It's a damn shame that the Miami Herald's editors have once again shown their infamous tin ear for Broward County news, their terra incognita,.

In this case, by editing-out the name from their version of this past week's latest embarrassing story about Hallandale Beach in the Broward Bulldog, written by Bill Gjebre, of the one person in South Florida most-responsible for finding out why and how 3 former Hallandale Beach City Managers and other highly-paid officials will soon be multi-millionaires with taxpayer dollars.

In doing so, they do a serious dis-service to someone whose diligent unpaid hard work for two years first turned-up evidence of financial self-service by Hallandale Beach's three most-recent City Managers, ripping-off Hallandale Beach taxpayers while producing sub-standard results that we can all see around us in this small ocean-side city, HB civic activist and City Commission candidate, Csaba Kulin.


Pension plan pays off big for ex-Hallandale Beach city managers  
Hallandale Beach’s former top managers collect fat pensions from a retirement plan they pushed a decade ago
(FYI: The above story will disappear from Herald website in a few days, unlike Broward Bulldog's website.)

Seriously, folks, whom exactly did you think gave the reams and reams of information with copious notes to the Bulldog's Bill Gjebre in the first place, to get him fully-acquainted with all the pertinent facts and figures, Joy Cooper, the notoriously thin-skinned and ethically-challenged longtime autocrat of a mayor, under whose "leadership" the city's budget has nearly doubled the past 6-8 years, with hardly anything tangible for put-upon citizen taxpayers to point to except a Wastewater Treatment facility? 
Hardly!

And it's certainly not former HB City Manager R.J. Intindola, one of the central parties under-the microscope in the article.

As I've mentioned here previously, Intindola is the smug and poison pen online blogger who lives in Georgia, far from what's actually going on here, but who acts like he's a real player in what happens here. 
He not only isn't, of course, but his name now provokes laughs in people who know that he's been spinning a spiffy PR story about himself for many, many years that is now finally getting the genuine scrutiny it deserved many years ago, and best of all, using the city's own documents.
As we say in France, touché monsieur!

Hallandale’s ex-top managers collect fat pensions from retirement plan they pushed a decade ago
By William Gjebre, BrowardBulldog.org
October 22, 2012 at 6:23 AM

Some of you regular readers of the blog may recall this story from five months ago, in my blog post of May 19th:
Csaba Kulin exposes the multi-million dollar bill to be borne by Hallandale Beach taxpayers for having a disconnected City Commission that was -and is- NOT interested in paying close attention to detail or in asking tough questions. That's how and why former City Managers Intindola and Good have made out like bank robbers

Which was followed-up by a large email and subsequent blog post here on Tuesday:

Thanks to Csaba Kulin's many months of diligently digging thru city records to find the truth -only some of which city had- we now know what the real cost to Hallandale Beach taxpayers has been for having an inattentive City Commission for so many years: Millions and millions of dollars for Intindola, Good & Antonio's pensions!



And here's the real kicker -Csaba Kulin already has the proof of the city's embarrassing "smoking gun" that kicks this story up several notches from what's written here. 
The sort that, IF Broward County had a solid and dependable local prosecutor, leads to real investigations, real grand juries and real legal consequences.

A fact that the Miami Herald seems determined to find out about -after-the-fact.
And I happen to know it, too, thanks to months of listening to Csaba connect-the-dots.

Not that the Herald's beat reporter for Hallandale Beach, Carli Teproff, ever thought to look into any of this, even though I've sent her some of the information that positively connects-the-dots, months ago, just as I sent it to the Sun-Sentinel's Tonya Alanez.
Nope, they just couldn't be bothered.

And neither could anyone else in South Florida's deservedly-maligned press corps -except Bill Gjebre of the online Broward Bulldog.

Why?
You'd have to ask Teproff and Alanez for that answer, but I have my own suspicions.
No, seriously, why don't you ask them why they weren't interested in a news story involving a city they covered that involved millions of dollars?

If I was their editor, you can be damn sure I'd be asking, but then I wouldn't work for either news paper, now would I?
Nope.
One, the Sun-Sentinel, with a pay-wall that is suffocating the newspaper and making it even more irrelevant, and the other, the Herald that plans on erecting one soon that will only hasten its likely demise. 
Not that their reflexive geographical myopia helps them any! 

(But lure existing and new customers and eyeballs to pay for what new and original content? Ah, there's the rub! What do they have to offer people dis-satisfied with the current product, more of what they dislike?)

Csaba has done what the smartest prosecutors presenting a case before a jury do -letting people hang themselves with their own words.

In this case, Csaba not only has used their own words to help paint a story, but has also used the documents these folks created, the city's own documents, to show what has been going on for years below-the-surface of Mayor Joy Cooper's economic facade on S. Federal Highway.

A city which, if you didn't already know, has a rapidly declining Reserve fund because of its continual use to balance the city's books on everyday expenses, as well as Cooper's craven crony capitalism, an economic theory that treats the city's CRA funds like an ATM for her friends and supporters.

Especially for her loyal supporters in Northwest Hallandale Beach, where do-nothing Comm. Anthony A. Sanders happily plays the role of bank teller with citizen's tax dollars or CRA funds that are supposed to end blight.
Except Sanders acts like it's his money, not ours, and he wants to be thanked for it at the ballot box in ten days. 
No, I won't be thanking you for squandering money and refusing to face HB concerned citizens in person for over three years.
Sanders & Co. needs to get the heave-ho but quick come Election Day...

Csaba penned some words on Thursday that I have included below that spell it out pretty well for all to see and chew-on, especially the very bitter supporters of Cooper, as well as longtime Commissioners Bill Julian, Dotty Ross and Sanders.

This claque of aggressively loud-mouthed and high-strung supporters, whom, as you might imagine, don't much want to let the real facts and bad judgment of their heroes interfere with their preferred alternative-version of reality, where Cooper, Julian, Ross and Sanders are just super, just like the state of the city, and it's people like myself, Csaba, Mike Butler, Keith London and others interested in reform and transparency who are keeping the city down.

Yes, the Cooper Rubber Stamp Crew's collection of sycophants, oddballs and ne'er do-wells, with their grand sense of entitlement, who, in order to prove their worth to their heroes, almost routinely engage in the most juvenile and almost laughable stunts imaginable, of which stealing others' campaign signs is but, I suppose, the most basic of initiations.
For a few of them who are just barely tethered to reality, though, that also includes making phony phone calls to the Police Dept. in order to try to embarrass and frame people they hate.
(I'll get to that in a few days.)

That so many elected officials who have so very much to be publicly held accountable for, as well as their flunkies, drive around town and act above the law, would be laughable if it weren't so damn objectionable and obvious.
I described it here in detail as recently as Wednesday, and I suggest you go back to that post if you don't get the full picture of what things are like.

And now, finally, here's Csaba Kulin with the latest news on this pension matter: 

I have researched Management Pension Plan for two years. I have all the documents made available to me by the city. I did not find anywhere the City Commission-approved the prior year of service before the pension plan actually started.
The plan started in 2001 and R J Intindola should be receiving 13 months plus 4 years of time purchased. That is a bit over 5 years, not almost 25 years. R J Intindola should receive his 401K retirement, which is a lot less generous, prior to 2001 years of service.
I have been looking for two years for the authorization to give credit for “back service” years.
I was not able to find it for one reason. There is none.
The City Commission approved the plan but NOT the “prior service years”. I have no proof YET but I suspect it was approved, without City Commission’s OK, by the then City Manager R J Intindola. As far as know, R J Intindola was the first beneficiary of his decision.
This is not the end of the story. Will Hallandale Beach try to “claw back” and stop paying out ill-gotten pension payments? Will the Broward Inspector General look at the issue? Will the Hallandale Beach City Commission just say “let us forget about the past and concentrate on the mistakes we will make in the future” or we are going to get to the bottom of this. I will tell you after November 6, 2012
Here is the “smoking gun” from the current City Manager.
Hello Mr. Kulin,
I apologize for the delayed response but I wanted to be 100% sure that this information as correct. The city does not have an item that speaks directly to the credit of back time. I have attached for you all the documentation associated with formal actions adopting the management pension plan for your review.
Renee C. Crichton
City Manager
City of Hallandale Beach
-----

So I ask you, in a City Manager-style form of government like Hallandale Beach has had, who do you suppose made that crucial and expensive decision years ago regarding back time?
Teaser Alert -it wasn't the cute blonde beach lifeguard from Ft. Wayne.
Think much, much higher on the food chain.


Yes, just more reasons to vote for Keith London for mayor and Csaba Kulin and Michele Lazarow for city commission instead of the faces of unethical behavior and inadequate oversight and financial accountability, who desperately want to be on the dais a month from now -Cooper, Sanders and Julian.

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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

ABBA

ABBA
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)

#Södermalm

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.