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.

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.

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? 

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. 

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.

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Hallandale Beach Blog is where I try to inject or superimpose a degree of accountability, transparency and insight onto Florida and local Broward County government and public policy issues, which I feel is sorely lacking in local media now. On this blog, locally, I concentrate my energy, enthusiasm, anger and laser-like attention on the coastal cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood and Aventura.

If you lived in this part of South Florida, you'd ALREADY be stuck in stultifying traffic, paying higher-than-necessary taxes and continually musing about the chronic lack of accountability among not only elected govt. officials, but also of city, county and state employees as well. Collectively, with a few rare exceptions, they couldn't be farther from the sort of strong results-oriented, eager work-ethic mentality that local residents deserve and expect. But seldom if ever see...

This is particularly true in the Broward County city I live in, the City of Hallandale Beach, north of Aventura and south of Hollywood and right on the Atlantic Ocean. Here, the "Perfect Storm" of years of apathy, incompetency and cronyism are all too readily apparent. Sadly for its beleaguered residents, HB is where even easily-solved, quality-of-life problems are left to fester for YEARS on end, because of myopia, lack of common sense and ineffective supervisory management. It's a city with tremendous potential because of its terrific location and well-educated populace, yet its citizens have almost become numb to HB City Hall's frequent outrages and screw-ups, the result of YEARS of the worst kind of mismanagement and lack of foresight. On a daily basis, residents and Small Business owners wake up and see the same old problems that have never being adequately resolved by the city in a logical and responsible fashion, merely kicked -once again- further down the road for others to solve in the future.

I used to ask myself, not always rhetorically, "Where are all the enterprising young reporters who want to show that through their own hard work and enterprise, what REAL investigative reporting can produce?" Hearing no response, I decided to start a blog of my own that could try to do some of these things, taking the p.o.v. of a reasonable-but-skeptical person seeing the situation for the first time with fresh eyes, and wanting questions answered in a honest and logical way that citizens have the right to expect.

Hallandale Beach Blog intends to be a catalyst for positive change in public policy and goivernment engagement. If there's one constant gripe in South Florida, regardless of your age, race, nationality or political persuasion, it's about the fundamental lack of PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY of Florida's state, regional and local govt./agency officials, elected and otherwise. Hallandale Beach Blog aims to be a small step towards regaining some of that needed accountability, whether it's thru shining some well-needed public scrutiny on the issue or pol, or requires a higher degree of follow-up investigation and public exposure of the incompetency, cronyism or negligence -South Florida's usual governing style.

Paradise Lost? South Florida

Paradise Lost? South Florida
TIME magazine of November 23, 1981: Paradise Lost? South Florida . Click photo to see original article.
Unless otherwise indicated, all ORIGINAL photos appearing here were taken by myself. © 2014 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved. The use or modification of original photos or original images appearing on this blog WITHOUT the written permission of the author is expressly prohibited. DO NOT modify or alter any original photo/image on this blog and use it in any other media, whether for commercial advertising, marketing purposes, political campaign advertising, or on any Social Media platform or digital media forum. Do NOT modify or alter the photos or use them in a confusing way that suggests sponsorship or endorsement, or in a way that seeks to confuse Hallandale Beach Blog with another blog. This includes but is not limited to sites such as Dipity, Facebook, flickr, MySpace, Pinterest, Posterous, Topsy, Twitter, YouTube or VIMEO. Original photos and images also can NOT be used as avatars or icons on website forums.

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.


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!


Hej #STHLM, jag saknar dig, hejdå. So wish I was there RIGHT NOW!

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!

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 29-year NCAA title drought!

Let's end the 29-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

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.

Congratulations Sweden - 200 years of peace! Solveig Rundquist (@RundquistS)

Ringvägen, Stockholm, Sweden

Ringvägen, Stockholm, Sweden
Poster display seen on Ringvägen, in Södermalm, Stockholm, Sweden. January 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved. Here's snapshot of the poster featuring the ubiquitous St. Erik, whose crowned head is the City of Stockholm's coat of arms. 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.

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

Which European country has the most attractive citizens?

As seen in my July 31st, 2013 blog post titled, "Which European country has the most attractive citizens?" Sweden won in a landslide with almost four times as many votes as second-place France, with Spain third and Norway fourth. Yes, seeing is believing!; Norwegian.com's non-stop flights from Fort Lauderdale to Oslo start in 4 months! :) http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/2013/07/boredpandacom-poll-of-europeans-asked.html