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.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

re Red-Light Cameras: Greedy FL cities, Tallahassee-based lobbyists, FL League of Cities and Lake Worth Sen. Jeff Clemens lead effort to gut proper yellow-light timing, gut Motorist's Rights, and gut effort to lower Red-Light Camera fines; Naturally, Sen. Gwen Margolis is not part of the reform and increased safety effort but rather the team intent on keeping dollars flowing into cities at all costs


WJHG-TV/Panama City, FL video: Red Light Camera Changes Shot Down
Posted: Thu 5:24 PM, Mar 21, 2013A A  
Updated: Thu 9:26 PM, Mar 21, 2013Back to News
http://www.wjhg.com/news/headlines/Red-Light-Camera-Changes-Shot-Down-199438831.html

The following blog post combines certain portions of an email I sent out early Friday morning after spotting various versions of stories 
on my blog's Google Reader about how Florida state Sen. Joe Abruzzo's SB 1342 proposal fared in the Senate Transportation Committee Thursday morning in Tallahassee.

It also incorporates information from earlier news stories I'd kept under wraps on attempts in various states to set minimum lengths of time for yellow traffic lights to display before a red light appears, per the continuing controversy in Chicago previously mentioned here on the blog on November 24, 2012, one of my most-popular posts:

More Red-Light Camera shenanigans: National Journal's Mike Magner has warning for U.S. drivers about unscrupulous cities' amber-colored money trap: Yellow means Green & $$$ - "Dreaded Yellow Light May Be Trap for Traffic Violations" -on purpose. And Rahm Emanuel's Chicago, with Redflex Traffic Systems Inc., is the most brazen of all

http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/2012/11/more-red-light-camera-shenanigans.html

Just to reiterate, the FHWA's "Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices," i.e. Federal regs require that a yellow light be at least 3-6 seconds in length. 
http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/

Despite lots of lip service, Florida cities, especially those located in South Florida, like Hallandale Beach where I live, do NOT want longer yellow/amber times on their traffic signals because this would necessarily result in giving motorists more time to continue thru the intersection or to come to a complete stop, which would mean less speeding and red-light running ticket fees for their hurting bottom line. 
Plain and simple, the cities have become addicts for those fines and will do anything to keep getting their fix, and that's nowhere more true than in Hallandale Beach. Especially cities that take their marching orders from the taxpayer-subsidized Florida League of Cities, which Mayor Cooper was recently the head of. 

---


Tampa Bay Times Buzz politics blog 
Red light camera fines survive in Senate
By  Michael Van Sickler, Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau
March 21, 2013 1:05pm
 Red light runners would have paid less for getting violations and had more time to pay them under SB 1342 by Sen. Joe Abruzzo, D-Wellington, but the lobbying muscle of the agencies and governments that produce revenue from the fines overturned it.
If approved, the bill would have reduced fines from $158 to $100 and given violators 90 days to respond rather than the current 30 days.
Read the rest of the post at: http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/the-buzz-florida-politics/red-light-camera-fines-survive-in-senate/2110424

Given her past track record and ardently pro-government/anti-citizen sensibility, it's no surprise that Northeast Miami-Dade's very own Sen. Gwen Margolis supported the unhelpful Clemens amendment to keep cities rolling in the dough and not create a longer yellow light to actually do something about safety.

As has been mentioned here on the blog more than a few times, Margolis once famously suggested that it might be necessary to make the William Lehman Causeway/Bridge in Aventura -a bridge connecting the beach area of Sunny Isles to the mainland (and hospitals) that was needed decades before it was finally builta pay/toll bridge.

For many years, Margolis has been doing the bidding of the City of Aventura -the city just south of Hallandale Beach- on behalf of their red-light camera operation, which unlike Hallandale Beach's money-grab, at least has the benefit of having large signs that mention that it's the handiwork of Aventura, so there's no confusion on who'd doing it.

Here are the two scenarios that the folks at American Traffic Solutions, the Arizona-based vendor who's been fervently pushing them across South Florida, and even tried to co-opt Broward County into sharing their physical resources so they could piggyback at still more locations, along with their army of lobbyists and cronies at the Florida League of Cities are most afraid of:

a,) passage of the bill for complete repeal, CS/HB 4087
http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2011/4087/Analyses/ma8BkhAmaAbhZG7qzRPSDC6p4Z8=%7C7/Public/Bills/4000-4099/4087/Analysis/h4087a.EAC.PDF
or, b.) the Florida Supreme Court ruling them illegal:
Sunshine State News
Florida Supreme Court to Hear Red Light Camera Cases, Could Refund Millions of Dollars
By Eric Giunta, November 14, 2012 3:55 AM
http://www.sunshinestatenews.com/story/florida-supreme-court-hear-red-light-camera-cases-could-refund-millions-dollars


Miami NewTimes
Freedom fighter Richard Masone takes on red-light cameras in South Florida 
By Gus Garcia-Roberts, June 24 2010
http://www.miaminewtimes.com/2010-06-24/news/red-light-cameras-are-now-legal-in-south-florida/

After watching the videos and the articles above, some of you might want to consider contacting the city attorney and police chief in your own city and ask what the minimum yellow light-change interval time is and when it was last verified.
And while you are at it, ask what the city's official standard is for legal right turns on red.




Red light camera in Hallandale Beach has some seeing red

Uploaded July 8, 2010. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0wl8xGKzfTU

That goes double for taxpayers and residents here in Hallandale Beach, with two red-light cameras, at Hallandale Beach Blvd. & U.S.-1 and the one near Hallandale Beach Blvd. & N.W. 9th Court, and whether they have been adjusted properly since initial installation to meet the standard cited in this bill.

Given that the city and HBPD would NOT publicly release their own statistics about tickets for speeding and red-light running in this city at the locations where the devices were eventually placed -which should have been where the highest incidents were, right?- prior to the adoption of tehm, you have very good reason to cast more than a little doubt on what you'd hear.
But contact them anyway and see what they say and let me know at hallandalebeachblog-at-gmail-dot-com

I ask this because everyone who has been paying attention here knows that it took FDOT well over a year AFTER a HB-controlled red-light camera was installed on west-bound Hallandale Beach Blvd. & N.W. 9th Court, near the IHOP, to actually place legible warning signs where they could be seen by drivers, instead of being hidden behind trees -on a block lacking any street lights- per my many complaints.

Here's the bill that was proposed but then gutted by Sen. Jeff Clemens

http://www.flsenate.gov/PublishedContent/Committees/2012-2014/TR/MeetingRecords/MeetingPacket_2152_2.pdf

The action described in the articles/posts above can be seen at the hearing's video  

http://www.flsenate.gov/media/videoplayer.cfm?EventID=2443575804_2013031257
starting at the 85:47 mark thru 109:49

Thinking about this causes me to wonder why HBPD STILL insists on placing police officers conducting old-fashioned speed-traps on relatively little-traveled W. Dixie Highway and First Avenue and NOT where the speeding cars in this town actually are -on Federal Highway?

IF public safety is really the number-one concern, why does it seem that most of the actual speeders ever caught, usually in front of Gulfstream ParkRace Track & Casino's S.E. 3rd Street entrance, are caught almost always by Aventura Police, not HBPD?

Hmm-m...

In a related news, DO try this at home: 

Go to http://www.crimemapping.com/map/fl/hollywood

Then place your cursor on the + part of the zoom-in/zoom-out function on the right until its as close as possible.
Now place the cursor on the - sign and click it five times.
Focus the map so that Aventura is not shown.
And there in front of you will be the evidence of what constitutes the most-common link of most crime in HB and Hollywood: Federal Highway/U.S.-1.
Okay, so book 'em and read 'em their Miranda Rights...

By the way, not that this will surprise you, but almost five months later, nobody from either upper management or on the Editorial Board of at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel ever responded to my direct questions last year about why they asked HB Mayor Joy Cooper, the former head of the Florida League of Cities, to write an essay re Red-Light Cameras for their Op-Ed section, given her 2012 campaign contributions from American Traffic Solutions.


That email was posted here as

When are Broward County residents FINALLY going to get the "whole truth" from the Tribune Company's South Florida Sun-Sentinel and some public explanation for their continued reluctance to report it and useful context in Broward County news? Their problems with facts & bias are getting worse by the month; Joy Cooper's red-light camera friends and supporters; Sun-Sentinel's pro-Debbie Wasserman-Schultz bias is a continuing insult to readers; @MayorCooper


http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/2012/10/when-are-broward-county-residents.html

My own guess is that a large part of the Sun-Sentinel's refusal to respond to me and address those reasonable concerns stems from the fact that they were embarrassed to have me publicly point out that they were NOT smart enough to ask Mayor Cooper 
 BEFORE they agreed to publish her red-light propaganda, whether or not she'd already received or anticipated receiving any campaign contributions from ATS, or whether the Florida League of Cities has received any money from them.

The news paper didn't mention those obvious questions or ethical concerns in or near what she wrote, even though they are the very sort of obvious questions that should've been asked, with answers shared with readers.
Bit they didn't do that.

For more on the topic of Red-Light Cameras in Hallandale Beach, and photo examples of where the warning signs were placed -out-of-sight- see:
http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/search/label/American%20Traffic%20Solutions




Red Light Ticket Capital YouTube Channelhttp://www.youtube.com/user/MrBFagel

Section 316 of the Florida Statutes, the State Uniform Traffic Control Law:

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Hallandale Beach Blog

Hallandale Beach Blog
Hallandale Beach Blog/South Beach Hoosier's crimson-colored Indiana University cap. If you see someone at a South Florida govt. meeting or public policy discussion wearing this IU cap, scribbling notes furiously -and likely shaking his head in disbelief- don't be afraid to come over and say hello or pitch a prospective story idea. Photo by South Beach Hoosier. Move your mouse over the cap and you are sent to the IU Athletic Dept.'s YouTube Channel to see the latest on the Hoosiers.

Paradise Lost? South Florida

Paradise Lost? South Florida
TIME magazine of November 23, 1981: Paradise Lost? South Florida . Click photo to see original article.
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/
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.

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.

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New this year: you!

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Close-up photo of the cute head-turning window display I snapped in 2013 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

Congratulations Sweden - 200 years of peace! Solveig Rundquist (@RundquistS)

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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

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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!

Which European country has the most attractive citizens?

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