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, December 12, 2012

Forty-years ago, Miami Dolphins football in December had genuine significance and gave South Florida a real sense of identity, excitement and togetherness that it had never before enjoyed. I know -I was there. But now...

TIME Magazine, December 11, 1972

Building For The Super Bowl - Miami Coach Don Shula
Forty-years ago, Miami Dolphins football in December had genuine significance and gave South Florida a real sense of identity, excitement and togetherness that it had never before enjoyed. 
I know -I was there.
But now...

Some, including many who should know better, foolishly say that South Florida has become "a basketball town."
That's NOT true, of course, since real basketball towns support both professional AND college basketball with equal affection.
I ought to know, because I've lived in two of them: Chicago and Washington, D.C.
Miami is nothing like them.

Still, given the anemic showing the Dolphins have made on the field the past 15 years, and the equally amateurish, dog-chasing-its-tail sense of ineptitude and stupidity shown by the two most-recent ownership groups off-the-field, it's not easy to rebut those foolish claims with a straight face, especially when the Miami Heat have won two NBA championships in the past 6 years.

What's happened is that the Dolphins have slowly bled the heart and evaporated the soul out of many of their most loyal fans and sent them into hiding underground.
They watch the games on TV, but going to see them in-person, with the current crew in charge, is too painful.

When you know what real professionals look like and act like, because you've seen them with your own eyes, and in fact, have grown up with them, it's very hard to accept second-rate and lackluster effort.
Accept such a consistent lack of fundamentals in basic aspects of the game, or the lack of knowledge of the rules, or lack of personal accountability on the field.
And then to be asked to applaud that?
I know I can't, and I'm far from alone.

nitroradio99 YouTube Channel: Highlights of Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins. December 20, 1970. Uploaded April 27, 2011. http://youtu.be/3wtp94Ffg3w
This 1970 game was the first Dolphins game I ever attended in-person at the Orange Bowl, with my Dad. I was nine-years old, the Dolphins but five.

Jean0987654321YouTube Channel: Intro of 1973 AFC Championship: Oakland Raiders at Miami Dolphins, December 30, 1973. Uploaded May 26, 2012.

monteroed YouTube Channel. Uploaded October 27, 2010

sluggotv YouTube Channel: Chicago Bears at Miami Dolphins. December 2, 1985. Uploaded May 22, 2011. http://youtu.be/_m0SzNtY9WI

The day of this game I was wearing the same trademark aqua-colored Dolphins cap I'd worn all week around Evanston in predicting that Don Shula was not going to allow the undefeated Bears to come into the Orange Bowl and emerge unscathed.
It was weird how confident I was, but having seen all the '72 Perfect Season home games in- person, perhaps it was the the fight-or-flight kicking in!
And my intuition has always been my strongest trait.

I watched the Dolphins-Bears game from the Norris Student Union at Northwestern University in Evanston, where I had moved that summer, and planted myself at a table underneath one of the large TVs they had on the side of the columns. 

I'd often watch the network evening newscasts there and grab a bite to eat while waiting to meet my friend, ace lifeguard, boater, guitarist and very talented singer Susan Smentek, who worked in the art gallery there, and whom I even watched sing a few times in their bar.
Susan was also my creative arts/film friend muse with whom I finally saw "Back to the Future" with when it premiered back then! 

Susan was the sort of wonderfully kind and well-grounded friend you always hope you have on your side when you need to sort your head out and make some difficult choices.
For me, at that time, Susan was the friend and confidant whose opinion I cared about so much that I'd rather have disappointed my own parents and sisters than her, because she's the one who actually listened intensely, and the one person who helped me and cheered me up more than anyone else did the two years I lived in the Chicago area.

Frankly, much as I'd like to write otherwise, those two years along the shores of Lake Michigan were not the happiest of times for me, as I had to deal with a lot more personal anguish and professional disappointment in a short period of time than I'd ever had on my plate at one time before, despite what I thought at the time had been more than enough planning and preparation on my part before heading up to Chicago.
I leaned on Susan a lot, and though I tried not to over-do it, I know that sometimes it was too much, so those times when I knew I'd really disappointed her, I was really racked by intense pangs of guilt. 

I deeply regret that I fell out of touch with Susan not long after after she visited the Washington, D.C. area around 1994 while touring in support of her CD, Siren Song, and I got a chance to see perform yet again, that magnetic voice of hers as strong and impressive as ever.
Which made Siren Song such a perfect name for her!

And how's this for irony, she now lives in Elmhurst, the very town that I was originally slated to live in when I first moved-up there in 1985.
But if I had, I'd never have met Susan, which proves the wisdom of the saying, "Friends Are God’s Way of Taking Care of Us"
Dziękuję, Susan!

That table at Norris where I watched the Dolphins beat the Bears was the same exact table where seven weeks later, I watched the Space Shuttle Challenger launch and subsequent explosion as it happened, which not that many people there were watching a mere five minutes beforehand.
Yet within 15 minutes, seemed to have half of the Northwestern campus there, much of it consumed in tears and sobs, the rest in varying looks of astonishment and bewilderment.

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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.
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.