A common sense public policy overview from David in South Florida, offering a critical perspective on the current events, politics, govt./public policy, sports and pop culture of the U.S., #SoFL and Europe, esp. the #UK, #Sweden and #France, via my life in #Texas, #Memphis, #Miami, #IU, #Chicago, #WashingtonDC & #SoFL. In particular, #Broward & #MiamiDade County, and the cities of #HallandaleBeach, #HollywoodFL & #Aventura. Trust me when I tell you, this part of Florida is NOT the Land of Lincoln.

Photo in upper-left is Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower on State Road A1A, September 2008; March 2018 photo below of HB's North Beach and southern Hollywood Beach, looking left-to-right, looking north, HYDE Condominium, Etaru Japanese Robatayaki restaurant, and Hollywood Beach in the distance, with umbrellas. All photos by me, © Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.
"You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life." - Winston Churchill

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Good news for Hallandale Beach taxpayers! Rare victory for common sense and financial accountability at City Hall courtesy of Comm. Michele Lazarow

Above, 501 N.W. 1st Avenue, Hallandale Beach, which includes the office of Zamar, Inc. Of course, even without the $50,000 in CRA funds they thought they were going to get Monday night, I suspect they can swing the $10 they pay a year in rent to taxpayers for use of the former Sanders property. May 22, 2012 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2012 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved
Good news for Hallandale Beach taxpayers!
There was a rare victory for common sense and financial accountability at City Hall last night, at the CRA Board of Directors meeing, courtesy of Comm. Michele Lazarow, just elected in November.

Lazarow made a motion to table the voting on agenda item 9A and have the HB City Commission vote on it again on January 14th, after the CRA Advisory Board meets one more time at a time and place TBA, which I'll share with you here once it's announced so you can attend.


Only the four original groups that made the cut will be re-examined for accuracy and compliance with city rules.

Also, at 7:11 p.m., CRA Executive Director Dr. Alvin Jackson, Jr. announced that Zamar, Inc would NOT be eligible for funding this year on account of their failure to qualify as a 501(c)(3),
as I've been writing and discussing for well over a year.
That means that $50,000 is, theoretically, on the table, to be added to the totals previously approved, or placed back into that line item until next year.  

The final vote was 5-0!

Afterwards, Comm. Anthony A. Sanders, as has often been the case the past four years on those rare times when he hasn't gotten his way, seemed to grumble and complain on the dais about the actual function and purpose of the CRA right now.

But what he really meant was the fairness of it all, just not in the way that most of the world understands the concept of "fairness."
He preferred the way things were done before when fairness to taxpayers' long term best interest played second-fiddle to his base political interests, he just didn't say this out loud, but not to worrry.
We all knew that was what really got him upset -he didn't get his way

Sanders lamented (i.e. bitched) about the fact that some people in this city -you may know them as taxpayers and small business owners- took the initiative and were able to do their own research and write persuasive emails to Comm. Lazarow and others in the community to raise reasonable questions about the true facts surrounding some of the assertions on applications of groups who've gotten CRA funds with little real oversight in the past, and who seem to have gotten used to telling less than the whole truth on their applications.
Yes, it turns out that taxpayers don't like being played for fools, not that Sanders would acknowledge this.

Lazarow was able to use common sense and persuasion about being entitled to vote based on real facts and numbers that made sense to prevent a fait accompli, and was able to make the case that more scrutiny needed to attach to the information included in the myriad applications.

In the timing is everything department, her comments came just hours after the news swept the area that earlier Monday the Broward IG has forwarded info to the Broward State's Attorney Office re Dr. Deborah Brown's Zamar Inc. re allegations of misappropriation of Hallandale Beach CRA funds.

Of course, Comm. Sanders phrased it differently, in a sour and petty way, and in the process, threw my friend and civic activist Judy Selz under the bus by name, because earlier in the evening, she reminded the entire room what taxpayers had been promised in the way of transparency, accuracy and standards with respect to CRA grants by former City manager Mark A. Antonio.

Comm. Sanders didn't seem to like the reminder that many members of this community's pro-reform elements, of which I am a part, have NOT FORGOTTEN that this process was supposed to be much more honest than it has been, but the truth is that some of his closest political pals operate on the margin in this community and do NOT tell the truth and operate on the margins of what is acceptable -and we all know it
That even includes many members of the South Florida press corps.
It's certainly no secret.

Trust me, those remarks of his won't be soon forgotten, even though it's par for the course for him, a person who was deathly afraid of showing his face  before voters in most parts of this community, as he proved during this past election, when he refused to participate in any meaningful debate.

Poor Comm. Sanders has no idea what that upcoming CRA Advisory Board meeting might be like if some of us in this city choose to drop some very pertinent facts on the table at that public meeting that don't square with the contrived version of reality some of these groups are trying to foist upon us.
Where they "serve" the community in ways that are hard to measure or in some cases, try to solve problems that most of us don't think we actually have.

(Honestly, this city and the CRA district in particular have so many problems, why the need to make them up?)

Also, in what was news to me, Comm. Sanders announced that his wife, Jessica, no longer has the role she did at the Palms Community Action Coalition.

Yes, the group with the useless website that is on an 18-month time delay.
Don't know whether she gets to keep her city office and resources at the Hepburn Center!

There's still a segment of the local population that believes there's still a fairly good chance that Mayor Cooper will try to make someone else the scapegoat for the many years of chronic mismanagement at the HB CRA that happened under the two previous City Managers while Mayor Cooper and her Rubber Stamp Crew adamantly refused to perform their proper oversight function.
They did nothing to stop what was happening, instead, only encouraged more of it as long as their own political supporters reaped the benefits.

Ask yourself this question: Why is it that in a city this size, it's the same 8-10 people who consistently got their hands on CRA funds when there is so little to show for that money afterwards?

Previously I'd written...

Subject: FYI re Hallandale Beach CRA's annual shell game of ranking groups, per Monday night's CRA meeting at 6 pm. Talk about history repeating itself...

6 pm Agenda at:

Philanthropic oversight group Guidestar's page on Zamar states that their exempt status was 
automatically revoked by the IRS in 2010 for failure to file a Form 990, 990-EZ, 990-N, or 990-PF for 3 consecutive years, so why does the city still treat Zamar like it's tax exempt?

Here's the IRS doc report re Zamar and the Automatic Revocation of Exemption Information:

On fourth page of document, Document 11 - Exhibit 11 - Zamar School of Performing Arts Application, uses a copy of the 2003 IRS form that is no longer valid about the organization.
And nobody at the CRA said anything about this????

Where does Dr. Deborah Brown get off thinking that she can fool taxpayers by including invalid docs from the IRS to try to scrounge up $50,000 from the city, yet again? Or by using docs from the Florida Dept. of State that appear to be seven years old and not current?

Where exactly is their current, properly filled-out 990 Form?

Why is that such a big mystery if they have nothing to hide?

There seems to be no end in sight for this woman getting tens of thousands of
dollars from Hallandale Beach taxpayers every year despite consistently being
less than honest or transparent with them.

And why, despite all the money involved is all this CRA loan information copied and managed
in such a consistently self-evident half-assed fashion that it can NOT be searched for on the
city's website?

Yes, it's hard to shake the impression that some of the staff at Hallandale Beach City hall want taxpayers, their real bosses, to be in the dark and NOT be able to simply look at easy
to understand information so they can connect-the-dots and draw their own conclusions.

How can there be not one but two city employees at the CRA making over $100,000 a year involved in this sorry spectacle of an effort, and yet this is what they present to HB taxpayers with a straight face, as if we should be grateful?
It's still unclear to me what Liza Torress really does and why her salary went up $40k to $100K this past Spring. 

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