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.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Video: Channel 10 investigative reporter Bob Norman on the ethical dealings of Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper and The Related Group's $20k worth of campaign gratitude after her YES vote for their Beachwalk project while the most-affected HB residents were still gone for the summer; @Mayor Cooper, @SandersHB

Above, looking east at Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper's large 2" X 8" campaign sign at the corner of Hallandale Beach Blvd. & S.E. 26th Avenue, at the foot of the west side of the State Road 858 Bridge over the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. October 19, 2012 photos by South Beach Hoosier. © 2012 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.
It's the sort of prime advertising location in the city that comes to you when you've been nothing but Bosom Buddies with The Related Group and their merry band of secondary players for years-and-years, like Greenberg Traurig attorney Debbie Orshefsky and Richard Cannone, a Planning Administrator and registered lobbyist for Calvin Giordano & Associates, and not incidentally, the city's former Director of Development Services, whom concerned and observant residents long thought consistently worked harder for big  developers and their minion pals trying to get a deal at HB City Hall than he ever did in representing the best long-term interests of Hallandale Beach residents and taxpayers.
I know because I was one of those concerned and observant residents, which led me to write this about him on November 9, 2010 Addition by subtraction: Richard Cannone leaving City of Hallandale Beach for PA; let's hope his replacement is more forthcoming, honest than he was   http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/2010/11/addition-by-subtraction-richard-cannone.html
All of these players in the development game have been lavish in their praise for Mayor Cooper after her very hard push in mid-summer for the approval of The Related Group's 31-story project on the water, despite its unanimous rejection by the city's Planning & Zoning Board.
Mayor Cooper was especially eager to vote on this and get it done before most of the HB  residents most directly affected by the project could return here in late August. How much praise?
Over $20,000 worth of praise. 


WPLG-TV, Miami
Bob Norman's Blog
Should it be illegal?
By Bob Norman
Published On: Oct 18 2012 10:20:21 AM EDT  
Updated On: Oct 18 2012 11:07:10 AM EDT




As we have seen with specificity here on the blog the past two weeks, when you are Joy Cooper and you have lots of generous developer friends, plus their friends, you can afford to buy nice campaign re-election signs with $20,000, even if Team Cooper carelessly erects many of them in places that are illegal under the city's own rules, rules she knows well, having both voted for them and lived with them for the past ten years.
But what are simple rules to you when your real estate development pals are so damn generous with their campaign checks?
And let's not forget strip mall developer R.K. Centers of Sunny Isles, who not only writes incumbents like Joy Cooper big checks, but also allows her large campaign signs to be placed on their prominent properties along Hallandale Beach Blvd. For instance, near the city's one and only Publix
R.K. Centers also fully supports Comm. Anthony A. Sanders and former Comm. William "Bill" Julian, whose signs appear in front of the Publix property, with Julian also on the opposite side of the street near two separate entrance to Winn-Dixie and to Panera's, Boston Market and Starbucks.
Together, these two unethical characters are three bricks shy of a load, but the fact that they're not bright or attentive very much appeals to R.K. because it makes it easier for them to get what they want around here, like the very large sign for Five Guys that on Wednesday they sought a variance for at their property at the Sage Bagel Plaza.
The proposed sign  is far too large according to the city's own rules, and was rejected by the city's Planning & Zoning Board. You tell me, what do you think is going to happen in the end when Cooper and Sanders vote on it for a second and final time in a few weeks?
Yes, real estate developers just love Joy Cooper, and it's easy to see why. 
She's the mayor who just can't say NO. 
And neither are Cooper's Rubber Stamps: Sanders and Julian.


Above and below: An open door policy for developers is Mayor Joy Cooper's credo. "Always has been, always will be." At least for another two weeks! (The gate was already open -looks broken to me.)

Looking east towards the Intracoastal and The Related Group's three giant condo towers on State Road A1A/South Ocean Drive, The Beach Club, and to the north by a few hundred feet in Hollywood, Related's The Apogee , still under construction, where the construction crane is pictured. Here's what that is supposed to look like when finished: http://www.apogeebeachcondos.com/






Above, looking northeast from the site of the Beachwalk project towards the State Road 858/HBB bridge, with hotels and condos in Hollywood on State Road A1A in the distance.

All October 19, 2012 photos above by South Beach Hoosier. © 2012 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.


Greenberg Traurig attorney Debbie Orshefsky at the lectern making the formal Power Point presentation to the Hallandale Beach City Commission for her client, The Related Group, on behalf of their Beachwalk development project on the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, with their army of professional hired hands and lobbyists seated in the first thee rows. So why was HB Chamber of Commerce (and Lady-in-Pink) President Carole Pumpian sitting there if she wasn't being paid? Hmm-m... June 6, 2012 photo by South Beach HoosierAll Rights Reserved.
Back on July 29, 2012, I wrote about the quid pro quo, pay-to-play culture that exists in Broward County and which is more self-evident here more than most other cities, in a blog post I titled, Approval for The Related Group's Beachwalk project in Hallandale Beach pays off quickly for Hallandale Beach Comm. Anthony A. Sanders. Follow the money? Okay, here it is: $2,500 on page 4 of Sanders' most-recently filed Treasurer's Report is from individuals & entities supporting Beachwalk's approval, including, predictably, Greenberg Traurig; #HallandaleBeach, @SandersHB, @MayorCooper http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/2012/07/approval-for-related-groups-beachwalk.

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For Sale

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.
Some older elements and building blocks formerly seen at Hallandale Beach Blog, such as photos, graphics and videos have been moved into cold storage. Visit them again or see what you've missed at: http://hallandale-beach-blog.blogspot.com/
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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.