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 and Europe, especially the UK 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

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


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. 

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
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

Miami NewTimes
Freedom fighter Richard Masone takes on red-light cameras in South Florida 
By Gus Garcia-Roberts, June 24 2010

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


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

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?


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


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:

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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#HOLLYWOODFL based photographer and entrepreneur Esther Chuang with Hollywood Mayor-elect Josh Levy

Thumbs up! What a night! #HOLLYWOODFL based photographer and entrepreneur Esther Chuang with a very elated Hollywood Mayor-elect Josh Levy at his Victory Party, held at Leo Anato's Atelier3/AT3 on Harrison Street & S. 19th Avenue, Hollywood. AT3's great environment and the amazing variety of food prepared by chef Kevin Dreifuss, former owner/chef of ENDS MEAT restaurant, was SUPERB! November 8, 2016

Esther Chuang, Morro Dois Irmãos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2015

Above, perhaps my most-favorite photo ever of Esther, which is really saying something considering the THOUSANDS that I've actually seen of her, from all over the world. But despite the fact that you can't actually see it here, trust me, her amazing smile and inner and external beauty are there. This photo is an even more amazing achievement when you know the backstory of what it took for Esther to get to the top of the mountain, since it's NOT for the faint of heart. Next time you see her, ask her about that! Morro Dois Irmãos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on her birthday, July 10, 2015. That's the Christ The Redeemer statue way out in the horizon on the top of another mountain, to the left of her head. �� In case you forgot what the Christ the Redeemer statue looks like, up close, here's another Brazilian beauty to connect-the-dots for you: Gisele Bündchen, aka @Gisele.

Abençoado por Deus e bonito por natureza!✨ ������

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View of Rio De Janeiro from my room.

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"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase." - Martin Luther King, Sept. 1962. #MLK I was a young kid living in #Memphis with my family that April night in 1968 when we returned home from a trip to #McDonalds and like so many nights before, I raced to the TV set in the living room to beat my two younger sisters to be the one who turned on the TV. As my parents walked in and settled down on the family couch, to see what was on TV, literally, within one minute, came the Breaking News that Dr. King had been shot elsewhere in the city. And the news only got worse as the night went on as news soon confirmed that Dr. King had died as a result of the assassination attempt, and soon there was widespread looting and violence in Memphis, the very things he had adamantly opposed. Eventually came the news that the city was under curfew, and sometime before midnight, because my family lived in a new-ish apt. complex that was on the same road as the nearby Armory, my parents and I and many of our neighbors watched in silence from the sidewalk/curb as tanks driven by members of the mobilized National Guard drove towards downtown Memphis, because the city's powers-that-be had decided that this would show the people who was boss. As my mother tells the story, one of my neighbors remarked on the irony of U.S. Army tanks being used to try to stop violence by Americans who were upset about the murder of a great man who had won the #NobelPeacePrize. It was the first time I remember ever hearing this strange word: #irony.

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When you leave but bring the spare key because it is yours to keep.

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2 0 1 7. I made new mistakes and old ones again. I learned things I didn't know and I things I had already learned the hard way but needed to repeat either way. I fell in love again and again, with the same man, and realized that is the way to do it. I stopped thinking life happened to me and started enjoying taking control of what tomorrow would entail. I wrote even when it hurt and I apologized even when they didn't. I almost gave up but woke up and stood up and spoke up and didn't budge and moved on and forgave myself for not always knowing what to do. I decided the most important thing is to be proud of who I become and to make sure she is someone to be proud of. All I truly have is the opportunity to be whoever I want to be, and knowing that is everything.

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I'm not the only poet in this relationship ❥

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The boyfriend of Mikaela -Malin and Jennifer's sister- wrote above: "Honey, you are my everything, my dream, my imagination, my reality, my future. Sounds like something that I would write to someone special -and have!
FYI: There are 10 photos below, including a rare one of yours truly!