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.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Crass self-serving political hypocrisy in Hallandale Beach and California is right in front of your nose -open your eyes: Cooper, Sanders & Lewy in HB, Villaraigosa & Yaroslavsky in Calif.; Must-read LA Times article on angry Calif. pols upset with voters for not wanting to increase their own taxes -per failed Measure J transit tax- so pols want to change rules to make it easier to raise taxes in the future; @MayorCooper, @SandersHB, @AlexLewy

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Crass self-serving political hypocrisy in Hallandale Beach and California is right in front of your nose -open your eyes: Cooper, Sanders & Lewy in HB, Villaraigosa & Yaroslavsky in Calif.; Must-read LA Times article on angry Calif. pols upset with voters for not wanting to increase their own taxes -per failed Measure J transit tax- so pols want to change rules to make it easier to raise taxes in the future; @MayorCooper, @SandersHB, @AlexLewy
I know, I know.
When you read a news article that mentions that condescending lawmakers are bitching and belly-aching out loud, and are publicly admitting that they're so angry at voters who didn't do what they wanted them to do that they're willing to change the rules or push for a reduction of the threshold needed for passage of a proposition or state Amendment, when it's actually THEIR very own past behavior, actions or inaction that have resulted in the standard being what it is, it sounds exactly like someone trying to change the rules at halftime, doesn't it?

In fact, it sounds exactly like the sort of angry and vindictive idea that would come out of the small minds of Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper and Commissioners Anthony A. Sanders and Alexander Lewy in order to get their way, doesn't it?
And it does for a reason.

They actually DID try to change the rules last summer a few months before last November's City Commission election, in order to try to get the results they wanted by eliminating the prospective pool of candidates for that Special Election.

In their particular case, Cooper, Sanders and Lewy tried to change the rules for Hallandale Beach voters last summer to try to prevent Comm. Keith S. London from being able to legally run for the Special Election on January 14th that the Broward Supervisor of Elections had scheduled, in case he lost the mayoral election in November that he had to resign to run for, which he did and which he lost to Mayor Cooper.

They wanted to force candidates for that January 14th Special Election to publicly file before the November election, not in December, using the facile claim that it was necessary to move it up in order to give the prospective candidates enough time to meet with HB voters.

Yes, this was pathetic rationale this group of geniuses came up with despite the fact that Comm. Sanders has for years refused to meet with neighborhood groups after he was first elected. Has refused to even return emails or phone calls from residents of this city who DON'T live in Northwest HB, where he lives.

The very same Anthony A. Sanders who refused to participate in anything even remotely resembling an old-fashioned public candidate debate or forum where he had to defend himself from questions proffered by either the public, the news media or his opponents.
The irony of Sanders doing this was not lost on anyone who pays attention to what happens in this city.

Yes, revealing the true shallow depth of his own hypocrisy, this issue is the very same one that caused Comm. Lewy to verbally browbeat Hallandale Beach residents and malign people's character when they spoke publicly in opposition to what the Cooper Rubber Stamp Crew was trying to do in so naked a fashion.

The very same Lewy the Liar who said that "it's not all about Keith London," even though everyone present knew that THAT was exactly what it was about.

What made it truly pathetic and even more contemptuous, to say nothing of politically self-serving, is that it is the very same thing that has repeatedly happened in lots of other South Florida cities over the past ten years when pols have run for another higher office, including with Pembroke Pines City Commissioner Angelo Castillo and in Ft. Lauderdale with Charlotte Rodstrom, as I wrote here on the blog at the time.

The Herald and Sun-Sentinel's sleepwalking beat reporters for HB were too clueless and ignorant to pick up on that fact and never publicly asked Lewy about that, though they clearly should have.

Those two reporters, Carli Teproff and Tonya Alanez, as well as the four local English-language TV stations, i.e the people who are supposed to ask these sorts of questions, completely failed to ask Lewy the very question that would've exposed his own personal animus towards Keith London and the pro-reform, pro-transparency Clean Government . element in this city that Lewy has continually opposed for many years, since even before his 2010 election:
Why are you NOW proposing this legislation when the city commissions in both Pembroke Pines and in Ft. Lauderdale, cities many times larger and more important in the general scheme of things than Hallandale Beach, have never felt the need to meddle in -and actually try to limit- the choice of prospective candidates for a city election? Why now?

Comm. Angelo Castillo was re-elected in early 2010, resigned to run for the District 8 Broward County Commission seat, and then after losing in the August Democratic primary to eventual winner Barbara Sharief, ran for the special election for his old City Commission seat and was elected.

Comm. Charlotte Rodstrom resigned to run for County Commission in last August's primary and was defeated by Tim Ryan in the Democratic primary in the race to succeed her husband John on the County Commission. This month, she lost the Special Election  to Dean Trantalis for the seat she resigned from last year that she was just re-elected to early last year.

(I mentioned both of these obvious examples to people in the audience at the City Commission meeting where this came up, and other examples were cited to me that I was unaware of.)

But as usual, Lewy never said anything about this political reality that is all around us in Broward County and South Florida and that is common knowledge. 
He had to pretend that he was doing something positive for HB residents when the reality is that he was merely trying to get his way.
That's what it's always about with Alexander Lewy.

Not actually providing genuine oversight and financial scrutiny over questionable policies and loans involving tax and CRA dollars, to make sure that they are not wasted and squandered, and not resolving longstanding problems within the city's chaotic and undisciplined workforce, but in Lewy getting his way.

Similarly, the quotes you see in the Los Angeles Times article below from this morning are exactly why despite all the glowing Beltway hype about the mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, he is not really a viable national candidate in the future.
He, too, is much more interested in getting his own way, despite what the voters think, than accepting that a political defeat might just mean that he is actually wrong about something, as per this:.

Los Angeles Times
LA NOW blog
Measure J, L.A. County transportation tax extension, fails
November 7, 2012 |  8:00 am

The take away, to quote Times reader Tom Allen: "It's high time that transportation spending proposals are proposed as very short term and with specific projects in mind instead of blank checks..."

Villaraigosa is not just the Left Coast face of corporate spin with a Hispanic surname, but someone that disappointed a sizable portion of his very own past supporters and actually accomplished little of note while in office, often because he squandered opportunities to the right thing almost always as a result of his own over-weaning ambition and ego. 
(Yes, very Lewy-like.)

It's also Villaraigosa's great misfortune in California right now to also be the face of a certain kind of patronizing, know-it-all Democratic politician who always wants to tell other Americans how to live their life.
And if HE finds it necessary to get his way, to tax them over-and-over in the process. 

His glibness and desire to be liked can't hide those central facts because that's his actual record.
His own comments about taxes in today's article just serve to remind us of that reality he can't escape

Antonio Villaraigosa is, in fact, one of the main reasons that SO many well-educated voters in LA County said NO on Measure J, the ostensible subject of the LA Times article I spotted early this morning a few minutes after it it was first posted online.

It certainly wasn't any accident that J failed to get the numbers he wanted it to get in affluent areas of LA County, as that was something that I expected on Election Day, since I already knew it here, thousands of miles away, based simply on the number of friends living in those affluent areas who told me that NO was the prevailing sentiment among their own pro-transit family members: that it was a bad plan.
Just because it was a transit plan, didn't mean it was a good transit plan.
Why lengthen by ANOTHER thirty years a thirty-year half-cent tax that was barely approved four years ago in 2008? Especially when you have no idea how well the money already committed will actually be spent?
Really, approving that tax until 2069 and essentially making it permanent is your plan? 

But you couldn't really expect the LA Times to say that in print, then or now, now could you?
Especially since they endorsed it and have a lot riding on Villaraigosa's political future. 

The newspaper desperately needs for California to have a viable candidate for national office in the near-future, and if it isn't Villaraigosa, they're really left with no winning cards to play, esp. as far as the Hispanic Voter gaining clout angle that they have aggressively been pushing and the identity politics they've been propagating for years.

Without him they'd have to admit that California is now currently so Democratic Blue, the reality is that it will likely play no role in the foreseeable presidential campaigns, except for fundraising purposes, and that is NOT something they want.

Though it may be hard for most well-informed people in South Florida to believe, at this point, the LA Times has even more riding on Villaraigosa than the Miami Herald has riding on their up-and-down love/hate relationship with Senator Marco Rubio.

Los Angeles Times
Minority of L.A. County voters quashed transit tax extension
Measure J fell just 0.6% shy of the required two-thirds approval as support fell in upscale enclaves. Some politicians are pushing to cut the requirement.
By Ari Bloomekatz and Ben Poston, Los Angeles Times
March 31, 2013, 5:00 a.m.

A minority of voters living in a daisy chain of small, suburban and relatively upscale enclaves around the county's outer rim were largely responsible for last fall's razor thin defeat of a $90-billion transit tax that received lopsided ballot box support, a Times analysis shows.
The review comes as several of Los Angeles' senior politicians have joined state lawmakers to push for a reduction of the threshold for passage of such measures, arguing that the current two-thirds requirement is undemocratic and hinders the region's growth.

Read the rest of the article at:

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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'dALREADY 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, theCity 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 forYEARS 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.