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.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Contradictions! If Hallandale Beach's budget can nearly double in 6-8 years under Joy Cooper, with little tangible to show for it for taxpayers, why can't taxpayers at least have city employees who earn their salaries thru diligence, performance and attention to detail -instead of none of those? Like having a safe, well-lit area for Early Voters outside the city's Cultural Center for the first day of an event that's been known for SEVERAL MONTHS?; @MayorCooper

Butler1Mike YouTube Channel video: Hallandale Beach Mayor Cooper contradicts herself, saying that she didn't vote for the city's overly-generous pension plan in 2001 that lasted for many years, but then defends the pension plan that the city had that has (or will) make multi-millionaires out of several employees, including three former City Managers, as entirely appropriate for a city so small. Yes, here as she has so many times over the nine years that she has been mayor, Joy Cooper shows herself to be one enormous ball of contradictions, which is why there is never an intersection of logic and reason and genuine taxpayer accountability in her city. Just her doing whatever she wanted, saying whatever she wanted, and flying by the seat of your pants! Uploaded October 31, 2012. http://youtu.be/xhlnEezjZGU


No Broward city let's you down more consistently and more predictably when it comes to attention to detail than...

For those of you who were there last Saturday morning at 6:45 a.m. like me, how awesome was it to see all the hustle-and-bustle and nervous energy of so many voters, candidates and their friends milling around the Hallandale Beach Cultural Center, the only site in the city for Early Voting, and just as about any of us could've predicted, about half of the city's parking lot lights and safety lights around the Center were NOT working.
When it was near pitch-black.

Just like last week, last month and last year.
Just like 2008's Early Voting!
Like it always is!

All October 27, 2012 photos below by South Beach Hoosier. © 2012 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

The light above in the foreground is from my camera's flash, otherwise none of the signs would be legible to you.

Again, without my flash, you'd see no shadowy figure crossing at the designated place. You know, without lights that actually work, those security cameras aren't nearly as effective.
Looks like the lights on the access route from S.E. 3rd Street were out, of course!
Not that the police or the police chief who drive on it constantly ever notice and do something about it. 

Yes, you'd never know by the appearance of so very much neglected maintenance that the city's Police Dept. HQ was just steps away, given how very lax the city has been for so many years about basic safety and common sense and liability issues.
"Liability," what's that?

If you're like me, how funny was it to see the myriad candidates and their devoted friends and family members handing-out their campaign palm cards to voters lined-up on a median strip in the parking lot, south of the Cultural Center -and outside of the "no campaigning zone"- waiting patiently for a Broward Supervisor of Elections official to come out and have the first few people come inside to exercise their right to vote, and yet the folks at the end of the line could NOT even read the palm cards they were handed because they were so far from a working light and it was so very dark?
Yes, good times, indeed!

What could be better than lots of senior citizens parking and walking around in poorly-lit parking lots early in the morning? What could possibly go wrong? 

So, do you see all the dozens of Early Voters lined-up at 6:57 a.m.?

Who needs city Dept. heads and employees who actually show a little foresight once in a while, and who earn their salary thru hard work and attention to detail, when you can, instead, have SO MANY of the sort that we seem to have been blessed with here in Hallandale Beach?

Government employees who have a larger sense of entitlement -and a seeming chip-on-their-shoulders- than would seem normal based on the constant sub-par look of the city, both aesthetically and maintenance-wise.
City employees who, for whatever reason, perhaps tradition, think that their performance is NOT Job One, but rather an abstract idea that they never have to actually reach, just pretend to aspire to at Dept. meetings.

After all, if we've learned anything in nine years of living here, it's that there are absolutely no consequences to employees' continued poor performance or chronic bad attitude or perpetual surliness to taxpayers, the real bosses, of course.

(I sometimes wonder what it's like in the cities where all those City of HB employees live, since so few Dept. heads and regular employees actually live here, otherwise perhaps they'd take more pride in their job. Clearly, not, though.)

Yes, the fact that it's been known for several months now that this location would be the City of Hallandale Beach's ONLY site for Early Voting made it entirely predictable that on the first day, many voters would think they'd beat the rush by showing-up to vote first thing at 7 a.m.
And for those of you reading this far from these shores, yes, even here in sunny South Florida, at this time of the year, it's very dark at 6:45 in the morning.

Of course, most of these voters, unlike most of us who regularly attend civic meetings or City Commission meetings at or around Hallandale Beach City Hall, and thus, who already know how bad things are safety-wise around City Hall and Bluesten Park two blocks away when the sun is NOT out, could't have planned for how very poorly prepared the city was.

I guess it was a good thing, after all, that there were no surprise guests from the Romney-Ryan team showing-up as some had been saying via the grapevine and some emails I received the night before, since even with the TV camera lights, with so many city lights out, it would've been hard to do anything that would've looked good on TV, either LIVE or recorded for airing later in the day.

Yes, I'd gone there early that morning after getting no sleep overnight to lend some encouragement to some friends who are running for office as pro-reform candidates -Keith London for mayor, and Csaba Kulin, Michele Lazarow and Gerald Dean for City Commission- observe a bit and and snap some photos and video of the activities.

But instead, even while doing those things, I walked into what was yet another discouraging reminder of how poorly-run this city has been under Mayor Cooper the past nine years, and how consistently poor performance has no consequences for employees, no matter who they are or how much money they make.

Changing that pernicious culture of entitlement, bad attitudes and sleepwalking performance at HB City Hall, of making sure that Hallandale Beach taxpayers REALLY DO receive a dollar's worth of work and services for a dollar's worth of taxes, and, finally having real consequences for city employees who are NOT performing up to the public's expectations, no matter who they are, is why I'm voting the way I am on Tuesday.

If you live here and really care about what sort of future this city will have, of what kind of quality of life you and your family can enjoy, I strongly suggest you do the same.
Vote London, Kulin, Lazarow & Dean, YES for City Charter Question #5, and NO to all the other HB Charter questions.

It's now five days and counting 'till the day you can finally reclaim your city back from the very people who have taken you and your neighbors for granted, have constantly tried to squelch your rights whenever they could, and who have made an art of wasting your tax dollars in ways that would be laughable if they weren't so painful and expensive.

There are four candidates in this city who have stood-up when it counted -including right now.
You already know their names - I just said them

Not perfect people, of course, but people much like yourself who genuinely care about this city's future, and who fervently believe that this city's residents deserve -at a minimum- to be properly respected once again by a Mayor and City Commission that doesn't continually embarrass them thru their repeated poor judgment and ethical lapses.
Imagine that?

Actually represented by a Mayor and City Commission with some genuine integrity, and represented by people who are properly-prepared for public meetings, and who aren't afraid of the hard work and heavy-lifting that will surely be required to get this city out of its current slide into irrelevancy.

You've said for years that you wanted honest and hard-working people in charge at City Hall who would fight for real reform and financial accountability, and finally clean-up this city's poor image.
Well, now it's up to you to actually show-up and vote for it and the candidates who will make it a reality.

What sort of city do you want to wake-up to next Wednesday morning?

THAT'S the question you as a voter have to answer positively when you get the chance.


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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'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.
This is particularly true in the town I live in, the City 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 for YEARS 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.
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.
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/

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


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)


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.