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.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Hallandale Beach's Midnight Vigilante is no Paul Revere! Caught in the act: Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper's son's Midnight Ride of campaign sign-stealing -on Election Day!; Anything goes now in HB -even political intimidation- as Broward IG & Broward SAO sleepwalk while laws & ethics are repeatedly laughed at by pols in power; @MayorCooper, #FDLE, @myfloridalegal, @fbi.gov

Above, the poster boy for public corruption in south Broward County -the most corrupt county in Florida: the City of Hallandale Beach Municipal Complex. October 3, 2012 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2012 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.
Hallandale Beach's Midnight Vigilante is no Paul Revere! Caught in the act: Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper's son's Midnight Ride of campaign sign-stealing -on Election Day!; Anything goes now in HB -even political intimidation- as Broward IG & Broward SAO sleepwalk while laws & ethics are repeatedly laughed at by pols in power; @MayorCooper, #FDLE, @myfloridalegal, @fbi.gov

"Good always prevails," Cooper said. "Didn't your mom tell you that?" 
-from Cooper re-elected in Hallandale Beach
http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2012-11-06/news/fl-election-day-hallandale-beach-20121106_1_commission-term-new-fire-station-commissioner-dorothy-ross



Hmm-m... I suppose it all depends on whom your mother is, doesn't it?
What sort of ethical role model SHE is. 
Is she conscientious and does she instill a proper, grounded sense of perspective, or does she teach by example that you can always get away with what you want because of who she is, and if that doesn't work, you can just ignore the rules that everyone else in society has to follow?

Is your mother the sort of person who, when she's the mayor of a small town, a propos of nothing in particular, when she thinks she can't be overheard, tells a City Commissioner that she thinks that one of their town's citizens, someone sitting in a chair patiently waiting for a Commission meeting to start -and the only citizen in the room- is a "Nazi"?
Does she follow that up by saying that she thinks that one of the other city commissioners, who isn't present yet, "is a Hitler"? 

Yes, I guess it really all depends upon whom your mother is.

But then after all these years and all the unethical incidents we've collectively witnessed, we pretty much know what sort of role model Joy Cooper is, and it's certainly not one for "good."

For years, whether we wanted to hear them or not, nearly everyone who pays close attention to civic affairs in Hallandale Beach heard the same familiar fact-filled stories, with lots of specificsabout the dysfunctional Cooper family and their myriad anti-social behavior problems: excessive drinking, physical altercations, and most alarmingly, FREQUENT and excessive phone calls to the 911 service asking for a police response.

We heard how seemingly all members of the family -including the mayorhad developed a well-practiced yet despicable habit of using her position as an elected official in this town as, alternately, either leverage or a crutch, whenever they had run-ins with various members of the law enforcement community in South Florida.
Of which there have been so many, to say nothing about possible incidents where the other party reluctantly decided NOT to call the police on them after all.

Not surprisingly, they were said to be especially fond of the old standby, "Don't you know who I am/my mother is/my wife is?" line when confronted by Police Officers, as if being mayor of this small city somehow entitled her and them to some sort of special treatment or consideration by the police of any city.
It's precisely the sort of thing that is not only illegal, but specifically prohibited behavior by elected officials in the State of Florida.

Correct, because it's someone using their office to gain a benefit not legally available to other Florida citizens.

The problem, of course, is that we all know from personal experience in living in Hallandale Beach that this sort of thing happens here fairly routinely, because we've seen for ourselves that there are, in fact, some people in this community who can, quite literally, do whatever they want to do, no matter that it's illegal under state, county or city law, and they never have to face the public and legal consequences. 
In some cases, they practically dare authorities to say anything or do anything to stop them.

Lest you forget, I've written about unethical behavior by well-known people in this community breaking the law in quite a number of ways a few times in just the past two weeks on my blog, and lots of people have been reading all about it.
In fact, 2,700 people read this one post of October 15th:

Ethics? Not for us! Follow-up to my post re Hallandale Beach's unethical "business as usual" attitude, with "special rules for special people" if they are named Joy Cooper, Bill Julian and Anthony A. Sanders; What ethics? What rules? @MayorCooper, @SandersHB

http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/2012/10/ethics-not-for-us-follow-up-to-my-post.html

No doubt many Hallandale Beach residents were nodding in silent agreement as they read it because they've frequently observed public signs of this sense of entitlement, too, and now feel somewhat relieved at least that they're not alone in having seen the same despicable behavior, too. Misery lives company, and here, it's the whole town that is being made miserable by Joy Cooper and her actions, words and attitude towards regular citizens, with some of us receiving extra dollops of her attitude.

Perhaps the most-famous recent incident of Cooper family members being treated differently involves Mayor Cooper herself, after she crashed her moving car into another moving vehicle, which as it happened, turned out to be a City of Hallandale Beach emergency response vehicle -responding to an actual emergency call.

There were plenty of witnesses to that incident, of course, including members of the the public who witnessed it, and the city employees in the vehicle that Mayor Cooper actually hit.
But how did that all turn out exactly?

Yes, good luck trying to find out what exactly were the legal and financial consequences to Mayor Cooper for that careless and reckless behavior of hers.
Hmm-m...

More frequently, there are all the fact-filed stories that have been borne out by history about various members of the Cooper family being caught speeding by police, esp. the Aventura Police, and running that familiar line of theirs on the police officers, as if they'd never heard that sort of self-important excuse before.
Yes, whatever else you can say about them, the Cooper family's grandiose sense of entitlement and perks, and their lack of hubris, never seems to wane.

(Not unlike Andre Pierre, North Miami's mayor. In May of 2011, he was caught speeding by Aventura Police on his way to meet, of all people, Mayor Cooper. He said all sorts of incriminating things and ALL of his remarks were recorded by a camera inside the squad car, one that the officers on the scene can't turn-off, and which prints out a ticket to prevent anything illegal from transpiring, with all the info fed directly to Aventura Police HQ for monitoring. WTVJ-TV/Channel 6 showed the video on-air and it was amazing -and appalling. But pretty reflective of the both the low-caliber and high self-importance that many South Florida pols possess, including in our very own city.
http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/North-Miami-Mayor-accused-of-abuse-of-power-for-implying-threats-to-cops-121368674.html )

So, all that said, now on to the story of Hallandale Beach's Midnight Vigilante... and his true identity


On Tuesday night, while over at the Upper Deck restaurant with some friends, watching election results across the nation rolling on their bank of TVs, I received the following photos from a reliable source.
The source said that earlier that morning, at approximately 12:05 a.m., just under seven hours before the polls opened for voting, he spotted an individual removing political campaign signs over near the intersection of Hallandale Beach Blvd. and Ansin Blvd., roughly the area between the IHOP and the Burger King.

An individual who clearly has a real problem with the concept of Freedom of Speech.
He doesn't seem to like it, and he most certainly wants to eliminate public displays of free speech he disagrees with as best he can, at least in Hallandale Beach.

This reliable source told me that after witnessing this activity take place, he drove his vehicle up close to this other person's vehicle so that he could get its license plate number and later report what he'd seen to the proper law enforcement authorities.

Well, within moments of doing this, the person removing the signs came over to my source in his car and, if you can believe this, asked my source what HE was doing, as if his own behavior was perfectly normal -someone with campaign signs after Midnight near one of the city's three most-heavily-traveled and highest visibility roads.


Even for Hallandale Beach, that's highly suspicious behavior, especially when the person with political signs after Midnight is NOT placing political yard signs in the ground and exercising their right of free speech, but rather removing them and eliminating someone else's right to free speech.
Removing political signs that are NOT theirs to take.

So, you're no doubt asking who was that un-masked man?
The creepy guy engaging in odd, to say nothing of blatantly anti-democratic and unethical conduct?


The creepy guy who thought that he was so brave -after Midnight- removing other citizen's signs where they expressed their freedom of speech, but who when my reliable source grabbed his camera to snap a shot of the license plate to have him later identified by Police, ran like a coward back to his car and placed his hands over his license plate?
The creep who then jumped inside his car and hit the gas to get out of the area?

Who was it?
Well, many of you reading this won't be too surprised to discover that the creep engaging in this  anti-social, anti-democratic behavior not only has quite a track record,
http://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com/pulp/2011/05/hallandale_beach_matt_cooper_spit_on_your_kids.php
but is also none other than Mayor Joy Cooper's adult son, Matt.

Talk about apples not falling far from the tree...

Yes, the son who was discovered to have had almost as many Driver's Licenses and ID's as Jason Bourne.

Except that rather than merely pretending that he's a fictional spy in a Robert Ludlum novel, the evidence suggests that perhaps Matt Cooper has been busy playing the role of Midnight Vigilante, driving around Hallandale Beach under the cover of night and removing campaign signs of people who disagree politically with his mother's reckless and wasteful policies that both insult common sense and punish taxpayer's wallets.
Yes, it's not too creepy, is it?

One can safely surmise that it was Matt Cooper's last Midnight Run of such creepy and anti-democratic behavior, if only because of the political calendar.
But it does publicly raise the question of whether or not Matt Cooper is perhaps the answer or one of the answers to another simple question that's been puzzling residents of this city for weeks.

That question is who or what group of people were responsible for taking/ruining so many campaign signs of candidates opposed to Joy Cooper, Bill Julian and Anthony A. Sanders?

Signs which, oh, mysteriously, went missing in this small city, esp. during Early Voting, often within hours of them going up in the evening in places where they were legally allowed to be.

I mean such anti-social behavior doesn't just come out of nowhere, does it? So I doubt that the night before Election day was Matt Cooper's first night of criminal mischief in Hallandale Beach.

That sort of illicit behavior might best explain how it came to be that the large 2' X 8' campaign sign belonging to my friend, Csaba Kulin, a well-known Cooper critic and City Commission candidate, was... well, mysteriously pushed-over or knocked-down alongside the Nick's restaurant parking lot off N.E. First Avenue and Hallandale Beach Blvd., AFTER surviving completely intact that strong windy two-day storm we had in the area associated with Hurricane Sandy.
But suddenly, during normal weather, down it went?
Really?

Funny how Csaba's well-braced sign could just fall away and yet the same-size campaign sign for Mayor Cooper, just a few feet away, and both erected by the very same reputable company, was not an inch out of place. 
Not an inch.

So, Csaba's sign is fine at 6 p.m. when I drive by it one night on my way to Hollywood, but the next morning, with normal weather, it's leaning like the Tower of Pisa -times ten.
Yes, that's not too curious.

If we lived in a more "normal" American city, and could actually take proper law enforcement,  equal treatment of citizens, and genuine prosecution for granted, or lived in an area of the U.S. where the local State's Attorney and their staff actually made it their business to actively investigate and prosecute public corruption and the elected officials and govt. employees who engage in unethical and illicit behavior, regardless of who they are, we'd all have a lot less problems to deal with in this city, and doubtless be carrying around a whole lot less angst.
Imagine that!

A city in an area where the area's professional law enforcement and prosecutors properly understand their obligation to residents to investigate all bona fide complaints.

Like the one that Comm. Anthony A. Sanders and his pals engaged in blatant political intimidation of African-American citizens in NW Hallandale Beach by placing Sanders campaign signs in the FRONT YARDS of residents -without their permission.

The reality here is that many African-American residents in NW who removed the unwanted Sanders campaign signs from their property, quickly found a new Sanders sign back up the next morning to replace it, in a not-so-subtle hint by Sanders & Company to area residents that they better 'get with the program.'

Is THAT the "experience" that the South Florida Sun-Sentinel's Editorial Board meant in their wrong-headed endorsement of this do-nothing man who actively avoids his own constituents?

The whole thing with the Sanders signs was both obvious and egregious, so what happened to Sanders?
Nothing.

In that hypothetical and more normal version of Hallandale Beach, after an investigation and interviews with the people who were directly affected and involved, and more than sufficient evidence to prove charges in state court -as there is- someone from the Broward SAO would've contacted the Miami offices of the FBI and the Dept. of Justice and had their agents and lawyers come up for a nice visit, and decide whether or not this reasonably constituted a Civil Rights violation under federal law, as I strongly suspect it does.


Instead, we got less-than-nothing, we got complete indifference from the people directly responsible for enforcing laws.

The reason for this is because we don't actually live in a city where citizen's rights are fully-respected and where laws and rules are equally enforced or even prevail.

Instead, we live in a city where law enforcement and prosecutors sleepwalk and go out of their way to ignore the mountain of facts and evidence.

To live in Hallandale Beach in the year 2012 is to inhabit a city where the sort of basic assumptions about civic life and who protects the public go right out the window, especially when it comes to the actions and behavior of the city's elected officials, their families and friends, plus city employees.


Yes, it's not unlike a small isolated town in Mexico or a village up in the mountains of Colombia, run by narco-trafficking clans.
The people in charge do what they want, and want everyone else in town to tow the line and just pretend that they don't see what's going on right in front of them -or report it to authorities.

But what authorities?

Friends, sorry to remind you, but since Mike Satz's SAO evinced no interest whatsoever in doing their jobs here in the months before Tuesday's elections, when there was a mountain of evidence, facts and strange behavior aplenty to connect-the-dots -and God forbid that Satz's office would've had all the evidence they needed then to indict and begin proceedings against an African-American elected official like Sanders, while Satz himself was running for office countywide!- there's no reason to expect that they will now, suddenly, become both more curious and more professional now that Satz's own election is over.

It's my considered opinion that given all we've seen thus far from the Broward SAO to root out public corruption and its pernicious culture here, and especially what we haven't, seen -action- Hallandale Beach citizens should consider themselves on their own right now, a situation made worse by the fact that the vast majority of the South Florida news media could NOT be any less interested in our collective plight.

Yes, it's just another reminder of where we live in Florida and what happens when the city's leaders don't respect the laws that the rest of us are obliged to follow and respect, and their friends and cronies -and family members- do the same as well..

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August 2016 update about above: As I could have predicted, once again, the fake candidate failed to file the appropriate paperwork and fee with the City of Hollywood, and so his name will NOT appear on ballot.
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.
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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.

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!

#Södermalm

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

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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