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.
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.

Elect Chuck Kulin For Hallandale Beach City Commission, Seat 1

Elect Chuck Kulin For Hallandale Beach City Commission, Seat 1
Political advertisement paid for and approved by Chuck Kulin, non-partisan for Hallandale Beach Commissioner, Seat 1

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

To Hallandale Beach's frustrated and beleaguered taxpayers who've reached their limit after SO MANY YEARS of unsatisfactory performance by city's DPW -esp. re proper maintenance/appearance of public beach and city parks- outsourcing some DPW tasks ought to be on the table for active consideration. So why is City Manager Renee Miller not even going to consider the idea during the next year given DPW's dismal track record?


JUST AS TRUE NOW AS IT WAS WHEN IT WAS WRITTEN IN JUNE 2012! "So this is where our tax dollars go to die?" My friend and fellow civic activist Csaba Kulin, wondering when we're FINALLY going to get the clean and inviting public beach that Hallandale Beach residents believe we're entitled to but have never received under Mayor Cooper and her Rubber Stamp Crew. Instead, we get rusty, bacteria-filled pipes in the middle of the beach and garbage cans on the beach -without lids- at the windiest place in the entire city. And a public building across the street from the beach that the public can't use for free, but which city employees can -for their holiday parties. Go to http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/2012/06/latest-info-photos-re-related-groups.html 
2012 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved 

To beleaguered Hallandale Beach taxpayers, residents and small business owners who've reached their limit after SO MANY YEARS of unsatisfactory performance by city's DPW -esp. proper maintenance of public beach and city parks, which look awful- out-sourcing some DPW tasks looks better and better. So why is City Manager Renee Miller not even going to consider the idea during the next year when DPW's dismal track record is so clear?

My post today consists of a copy of an email I sent on Friday afternoon, March 1st, to the City of Hallandale Beach's Dept. of Public Works' interim director, Earl King, a longtime employee at DPW.

It was occasioned by some questions he asked me following my very critical comments and pointed questions re DPW's performance to City Manager Renee Miller during Thursday night's Quadrant meeting in NW Hallandale Beach, held at the Foster Park facility that opened a few months ago, which did NOT have enough parking for the number of people who showed up, low as that was. 
While having the meeting there was a nice idea in the abstract, it was clearly less so in reality, especially since the rest of the facility was open and full of people.

(Why are the city's Quadrant meetings never held on Saturday mornings at 10 a.m., when the largest number of HB citizens can actually attend, instead of weeknights? 
And given the low turnout of citizens these things usually get, why are they not televised and streamed online, when the city already has both the technology and ability to do so?
Even to allow phone-in and email questions to be asked and answered?
It's the year 2013, not 1913, and isn't the goal of these meetings in the first place to be "outreach" and education?
Sort of makes you wonder, doesn't it?)

I should note for the record here that Thursday night's meeting, the second of the year, was held in a room that was full of more city employees than citizens, and the only members of the five-person City Commission who were in attendance were Commissioners Michele Lazarow and Anthony A. Sanders
Due to an upset stomach, I didn't attend the first meeting, for Southeast HB, the part of town that I live in, so I don't know who exactly from the HB City Commission attended.

During the Q&A portion of the program, after HB City Manager Renee Miller's opening presentation on the upcoming city budget, I made a series of pointed remarks and asked some equally pointed questions regarding the performance of DPW, especially as it regards the maintenance of the two things that taxpayers in a small city like this feel they should be able to take for granted: the city's small number of public parks and even more importantly, what ought to be the city's Crown Jewel, but isn't, the city's public beach.


Above, a photo I took on Sunday March 3rd at the city's North Beach: the useless 10-foot steel pole that's full of bacteria, rust and holes, the one that has been there for YEARS, was STILL THERE, taunting us. And so were the piles of cigarette butts that haven't been cleaned up since... And the garbage cans without lids.
Because I was filming the entire meeting on my FLIP Mino HD camera, mounted on my tripod, from one side of the room and next to a wall, frankly, I'm embarrassed to say that my voice wavered a little bit more than I'd have liked, since I didn't want to overpower the camera mic just a few inches away, so it was NOT exactly a star-turn by me by any stretch of the imagination.

Still, I do think my questions and justified anger came through to everyone in the room who was actually paying attention, which clearly is not always the case among the assembled city employees, largely Dept. heads.

For those of you who are relatively new to the blog and who do NOT already know, the subject of DPW's performance and what many very upset residents like feel is the need to actually out--source some of their duties, with an equal reduction in their budget, has been the subject-du-jour for not only dozens of previous posts here since this blog was started, but also a subject that has been much discussed at various formal and informal meetings I've attended over the past six years here in the city.

After all, why do we want to keep doing the same exact thing with the same exact people that is clearly NOT WORKING to residents' satisfaction?

For those of you who do NOT already know, it's important that you understand that unlike is the case in many if not most other Florida cities with a public beach, here, it's the responsibility of DPW, not the city's Parks & Recreation Dept., for the maintenance and appearance of the public beach.
Here, the only thing that the city's Parks & Recreation dept. is specifically responsible for are the Chickee Huts and the children's playground equipment located at South Beach.
That's it.

Everything else on the beach from the city's border with Hollywood to the north down to the South Beach border with the La Mer condominium, is DPW's responsibility, including the area occupied by the city's North Beach building off of State Road A1A, underneath the city's iconic beach ball-colored Water Tower.

That building is currently being rented by the city to real estate developers, The Related Group, for use as their customer "model" for their Beachwalk development project on the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway two blocks to the west.

Regular readers of the blog will recall that as a particularly bad deal for city taxpayers that was approved by the HB City Commission last August, where I and many other HB civic activists were against anything other than it becoming the quality hotel we were promised it'd be, which everyone in the city agreed we needed, including me, but NOT with residential units as part of the deal.

And a bad deal because it also gave The Related Group practical if not legal control of the North Beach area, which Mayor Cooper, the City Commission and the two previous City Managers have all allowed to deteriorate for many years to the point that many Hallandale Beach residents will NOT take visiting friends or family members to the city's public beach because of how depressing it is, because of how bad it looks and is maintained.

Now though, as has been the case since the North Beach property was given to the city years ago for FREE -by Related no less, after being the "model" for the next-door trio of towers known as The Beachclub- the taxpayers and residents of this community DON'T have access to one of their own buildings, a two-story building with views of the ocean.

A building that every other city in South Florida would love to have in their city but steps from the ocean and made a point of pride in their community in no time at all.

But here in Hallandale Beach, that building has been mired in public controversy from the start both because of how long it took the city to make repairs after it was given title to the property
-over THREE YEARS- and because of Mayor Cooper and the trio of City managers who do NOT want the public to be able to use their own facility, and have NEVER allowed a single public meeting to take place where its future could be openly discussed.

I think that's it for the preface!

The subject header was: Mr. King: Per your question to me last night... and my response that the answer was "dozens and dozens" of examples of HB DPW's sheer myopia, incompetence and laziness for years

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March 1, 2013

Per your question to me last night... and my response that the answer was "dozens and dozens" of examples of HB DPW's sheer myopia, incompetence and laziness:

Again, you might want to have that conversation with Assistant City Manager Jennifer Frastai and have her try to explain to you just why it is that despite my giving her multiple emails and phone numbers to contact me, she NEVER followed-up with me or did anything at all about the dozens of problem I cited in minute detail for her and then-Assistant City Manager Franklin Heilman over the course of one hour when the three of us were in the conference room outside the City Manager's office -over four years ago.
Well over 90% of all those matters are STILL problems.

Given my experience, not surprisingly, I have zero faith and trust in anything Frastai or Nydia Rafols says or does, and know better than to waste my time speaking with them
With them, anything I say goes in one ear, out the other.
And others in this community have learned from my experiences, and know better than to trust them to do the right thing.
And the problems remain for HB residents to look at and deal with -everyday.

Given the significant commitment of public funds to construct and maintain city facilities, it's important that the city establish written policies and procedures documenting processes
for evaluating facilities construction methods and maintenance techniques to determine the most cost effective and efficient method or technique. 
Or something...

But the failure to do so or actually have those standards mean anything tangible, as well as the city's failure to actually hold employees accountable for their performance to ensure that a dollar's worth of service of effort is given for every tax dollar spent, is why Hallandale Beach taxpayers, residents and business owners for years have had to sit back and watch the following unfold, chosen from dozens of similar examples that could be cited with facts and photos.
We think the city government's number-one priority should be to give efficient, competent and reliable service to taxpayers, NOT be an employment agency

-An excerpt from my blog, which in some way or fashion has been there since I started it-


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.
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For the proof of what I told you last night about this same sign, Mr King, as Example # 1, look at the photos in the email at the bottom. 
It speaks volumes for the city's dreadful performance at handling even simple tasks.

It's for just some of these reasons that many of Hallandale Beach's best-informed and most-articulate residents and business owners believe that some -though not necessarily all- of DPW's services should be privatized, especially the maintenance of city parks, the city beach and the medians on the three main streets -A1A, U.S.-1, and Hallandale Beach Blvd.
It's why I asked my question to City Manager Miller at last night's NW Quadrant meeting about her level of interest on a scale of one-to-ten about outsourcing some duties, and am very disappointed that she replied that in the coming year, she would NOT use it at all, despite what so many believe is DPW's longstanding pitiful performance, which is like a thumb to the eye of every taxpayer.

What are HB taxpayers to think of her unwillingness to make positive and necessary changes that meet with the approval of the very people who live and work here?

And now, the recent news that taxpayers may possibly be paying up to FOUR TIMES more for maintenance of median strips, but with no corresponding cuts in city employee ranks,
despite city employees' poor performance?
There's no inherent logic in that decision, but then logic and reason seldom have ever intersect in this community the nine years I have lived here.

You see, Mr. King, some of us here still recall that after Hurricane Wilma, lots of DPW employees were dispatched to re-plant flowers on the median strip on U.S.-1 in front of HB City Hall, even while there were still real problems here that were of a much-higher priority, including around City Hall itself, where, to cite but one dumb but very frustrating example, the city's own wooden Stop signs lay on the ground for MANY WEEKS, and lots of city parking lot lights were out, as if somehow public safety was a low priority, even while it was staring right at them.

And yet what was taken care of first? 
Re-planting flowers in front of City Hall and installing holiday lights!

I've got news for you, Mr. King.
More than a few members of the local news media know all about that in the same way they already know most of the things I could write and cite here, which have previously appeared on my blog about the city bureaucracy's longstanding unsatisfactory and dysfunctional performance.

I can tell you with certainty that a reporter was all set to put HB thru the ringer when they were looking for a city in Broward County to profile that was doing a poor job of performing post-Wilma cleanup.
I know that because they contacted me to tell me as much.
I'm the person who gave the reporter the tour of the city and gave them photos highlighting the very curious choices the city had made with how to use resources and personnel while many people, including myself, were without electricity for WEEKS.
Though to be fair, after seeing what they saw with their own eyes, my photos hardly did the Keystone Kops performance of the city justice.

(And honestly, Mr. King, the city's so-called sandbagging operation is the very picture of comedy. No bags pre-filled when the weather is good so they can be stored in a dry and secure place? Piles of sand dumped alongside inside a secure fence or a two-lane road with no lighting at all? And without a tarp being secured to the sand when not in use so it doesn't get washed away during storms? And you STILL use orange safety cones as funnels for the sand bags instead of something that's smarter and more efficient? 
Where to even begin there...)

Besides, why exactly should HB taxpayers care if some city employees lose their job due to their own inadequate performance, or if the City Manager's office wanted to send a message to everyone within the bureaucracy that continued unsatisfactory performance will no longer be accepted and winked at, when, according to the way things have been at City Hall for many, many years, those same HB taxpayers are NOT supposed to care about the fact that the vast majority of the city's management structure and Dept. heads DON'T  even live here themselves, and thus, DON'T have to put up with the same unsatisfactory, frustrating and mediocre service that taxpayers do?
Why the incongruity in thinking?

Guess what, Mr. King?
While it's not one of my top priorities, per se, there are lots of very smart and fed-up taxpayers in this city who believe there's growing support for insisting that all management- level positions require those individuals to move to the city limits of HB within a certain defined period -or no job.
Or, as a compromise, pay people who don't live here less, and the converse.

After all, you can't keep saying that it doesn't matter where the management team lives, but then say, as some do, that it's really important that every city employee keep their job -for life.
Yes, jobs for life!

That sense of entitlement and the mentality attitude that it breeds is a large part -though not the only reason- why the City of Hallandale Beach is in the funk it's been for years, even as residents and small business owners have had to tighten their belts and make do with less.

As I told you last night, Mr. King, in this new year, I'm no longer going to be the cordial person who always goes thru proper channels all the time.
The well-informed and cordial person with photographic proof to collaborate his points who waits patiently for well-paid city employees like Jennifer Frastai to never call or write and follow-up on things that are important from either a safety, aesthetic or financial standpoint.
Those days are over.

Doing that has only resulted in someone like you not even knowing why Hallandale Beach's most-concerned and best-informed taxpayers and residents are so angry at the dismal performance of city management and city employees.

We want positive results and quality performance and are not opposed to paying a reasonable amount in salaries for THAT.
But creating and continuing to feed an already well-fed bureaucracy who takes advantage of HB taxpayers by consistently giving sup-par performances, and paying more than seems reasonable given the output, well, that's another story entirely.
And it's another reason why the Weston Model looks better and better every day for HB taxpayers, because it pays strictly based on actual performance -and with no bureaucracy.

How Weston, Florida, a City of 65,000, Gets By on 9 Employees
POSTED BY RYAN HOLEYWELL 
MAY 14, 2012
http://www.governing.com/blogs/view/How-.html

Since I gave you the URL last night for the blog after you asked, I suggest that after checking that out that you enter the name "Hallandale Beach Blog" into Google's "Images" category in the upper-left column.
Then click on the photos and then click the accompanying posts that used them.
Then you'll see as I stated to you last night, the high percentage of those very same problems in this city cited years ago which are STILL being ignored and avoided.
Ignored by City Hall, Mr. King, but definitely NOT ignored by the city's taxpayers.

And before closing I want you to fully understand something.
There are a LOT more people than you think who know how badly things have been run in this city for years.
Not just HB residents and small business owners and condo presidents, but many people next door in Aventura and Hollywood, and TV/print reporters, columnists and editors, to say nothing of elected officials and mangers in other cities, as well as people of some importance at the County HQ on Andrews Avenue and even a few in Tallahassee.
That's not bragging, just a statement of fact.

They're the very same people who'll be getting a copy of this email soon, and the very people who are the reason that my blog, such as it is, a one-man operation, is read, even on bad days, by anywhere from 1100-2300 people a day, and sometimes, like around the holidays, many multiples of that.
I can substantiate what I say and what I write about with facts and photographic proof that doesn't lie.
It's not just my opinion.

The hard-working and conscientious city employees, ones I've talked to and commiserated with over the past nine years, continue to have to suffer the slings and arrows meant for the others, and who feel both trapped and VERY frustrated, because they know that most of the public's criticism of HB city employees is 100% valid.
They see it everyday themselves.

Frankly, given your position as interim head of DPW, Mr. King, I'm surprised that you don't see that as clearly as I do, and wouldn't want to make sure that every employee under your command knows that performance and quality is what counts most with Hallandale Beach's beleaguered taxpayers.
That you don't seem to is a matter of real concern.

*Here, in my email to King, I had the photo and caption of Csaba Kulin at the beach that's at the top of this blog post.

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This is my email from three days ago.


Above, the Hallandale Beach City Hall monument sign on U.S.-1 and S.E. 5th Street, across from Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino and the Village at Gulfstream Park retail complex, as seen this week. The one that, thanks to the longstanding unsatisfactory performance of the city's DPW, has lights that haven't worked properly at night since before new-ish City Manager Rene Miller first showed-up last June.(And which you can only see at night, below, when you walk up to it with your camera and use a flash!) That's a form of vision, too -myopia.


In Ft. Lauderdale, the city, with its active corps of high-minded citizen's input, and lots of big problems on the plate to solve, plans for its future to the extent they can, with the resources they have.
Meanwhile in the City of Hallandale Beach, its taxpayers, residents and small business owners are treated like outliers, and are NOT allowed to speak at HB's Visioning meeting.

I guess, possibly due to Mayor Joy Cooper's fear that constructive criticism and suggestions by concerned people who care enough to actually show-up and participate, unlike 99.99% of city, might interrupt the powerful intellectual firepower being displayed by the HB City Comm. at a public meeting that was, sadly, NOT recorded for either posterity or later viewing by the city's citizens.

Which, of course, is wholly consistent, since the "public meeting" was also NOT mentioned on the city's own website, either.
Talk about a circle of negative reinforcement!

Yes, like a cartoon character, the city's elected officials and administration continue to chase their tails and believe they're really making progress, when instead, all they're accomplishing is continuing to depress the morale of their own citizens.
In the process, continuing to ruin this city with their longstanding myopia that fails to see opportunities right in front of them in equal measure to their inability to see the longstanding problems that exist mostly due to their own laissez-faire oversight and management practices.

Myopia is a form of vision, too, just not the particular one you want when tens of millions of tax dollars and your own family's future Quality-of-Life is concerned.
And so it goes in Hallandale Beach...

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Broward Bulldog
Fort Lauderdale draws up vision for the future
By Ann Henson Feltgen, BrowardBulldog.org 
FEBRUARY 19, 2013 AT 6:23 AM
Within the next few months, if city commissioners approve, Fort Lauderdale residents will have the option of receiving and paying their bills for city services online. The savings in postage and personnel will be used to purchase shade trees for residents who use the online pay system, or be placed elsewhere around the city.
Read the rest of the article at:
http://www.browardbulldog.org/2013/02/fort-lauderdale-draws-up-vision-for-the-future/

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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 shaking his head in disbelief- don't be afraid to come over and say hello or pitch prospective story ideas. Photo by South Beach Hoosier. Move your mouse over the cap and be sent to the IU Athletic Dept.'s YouTube Channel.

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.
____________________________________________
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'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.
This is particularly true in the town I live in, the City 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 for YEARS 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.
"And David put his hand in the bag and took out a stone and slung it. And it struck the Philistine on the head and he fell to the ground. Amen."- Preacher Purl encouraging the underdog Hickory High basketball team before the state title game against heavily-favored South Bend Central in 1986's Hoosiers
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091217/
Audio of pregame speech:
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Paradise Lost? South Florida

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

Ordinary people can make a difference in fight against corruption in Broward County

The next time you hear someone in Broward County, like one of the usual "experts" or pundits or maybe a self-interested lobbyist like Joy Cooper's supercilious pal Judy Stern repeat the Conventional Wisdom that nobody really cares about ethical behavior, transparency and accountability in Broward cities, except a handful of people, just keep this in mind.
As of March 6, 2014 at 12:30 p.m., in the 84 weeks since I first wrote my October 15th 2012 post titled, "Ethics? Not for us! Follow-up to my post re Hallandale Beach's unethical "business as usual" attitude, with "special rules for special people" if they are named Joy Cooper, Bill Julian and Anthony A. Sanders; What ethics? What rules? @MayorCooper, @SandersHB" it's been viewed 183,914 times. That's MORE than TWO THOUSAND page views a week! Imagine that!
That total doesn't even include the number of people who saw it the day it was first posted, when it was the default post of the blog. That's a lot of people who now know a lot more facts about the truth regarding the corruption and incompetency that have been commonplace in Hallandale Beach all these years while Broward State's Attorney Mike Satz and his staff did NOTHING. Just saying...
The South Florida I Grew Up In
Excerpted from Joan Didion's Miami, 1987, Simon & Schuster:
In the continuing opera still called, even by Cubans who have now lived the largest part of their lives in this country, el exilo, the exile, meetings at private homes in Miami Beach are seen to have consequences. The actions of individuals are seen to affect events directly. Revolutions and counter-revolutions are framed in the private sector, and the state security apparatus exists exclusively to be enlisted by one or another private player. That this particular political style, indigenous to the Caribbean and to Central America, has now been naturalized in the United States is one reason why, on the flat coastal swamps of South Florida, where the palmettos once blew over the detritus of a dozen failed booms and the hotels were boarded up six months a year, there has evolved since the early New Year's morning in 1959 when Fulgencio Batista flew for the last time out of Havana a settlement of considerable interest, not exactly an American city as American cities have until recently been understood but a tropical capital: long on rumor, short on memory, overbuilt on the chimera of runaway money and referring not to New York or Boston or Los Angeles or Atlanta but to Caracas and Mexico, to Havana and to Bogota and to Paris and Madrid. Of American cities Miami has since 1959 connected only to Washington, which is the peculiarity of both places, and increasingly the warp...

"The general wildness, the eternal labyrinths of waters and marshes, interlocked and apparently neverending; the whole surrounded by interminable swamps... Here I am then in the Floridas, thought I," John James Audobon wrote to the editor of The Monthly American Journal of Geology and Natural Science during the course of an 1831 foray in the territory then still called the Floridas. The place came first, and to touch down there is to begin to understand why at least six administrations now have found South Florida so fecund a colony. I never passed through security for a flight to Miami without experiencing a certain weightlessness, the heightened wariness of having left the developed world for a more fluid atmosphere, one in which the native distrust of extreme possibilities that tended to ground the temperate United States in an obeisance to democratic institutions seemed rooted, if at all, only shallowly. At the gate for such flights the preferred language was already Spanish. Delays were explained by weather in Panama. The very names of the scheduled destinations suggested a world in which many evangelical inclinations had historically been accommodated, many yearnings toward empire indulged...

In this mood Miami seemed not a city at all but a tale, a romance of the tropics, a kind of waking dream in which any possibility could and would be accommodated...

Nice from a distance, not so nice once you're there and see the years of City Hall's neglect

Nice from a distance, not so nice once you're there and see the years of City Hall's neglect
The public beach that is "North Beach" in Hallandale Beach, FL. June 19, 2012 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

So this is where our tax dollars go to die?

"So this is where our tax dollars go to die? My friend and fellow civic activist Csaba Kulin, perhaps wondering when we're FINALLY going to get the clean and inviting public beach that Hallandale Beach residents believe we're entitled to but have never received under Mayor Cooper and her Rubber Stamp Crew.
Instead, we get rusty pipes in the middle of the beach and garbage cans on the beach -without lids- at the windiest place in the entire city. And a public building across the street from the beach that the public can't use for free but which city employees can -for their holiday parties." Click photo to see many more photos of the site and the original post, or http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/2012/06/latest-info-photos-re-related-groups.html; 2012 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

Just as true now as it was when it was written in June 2012!

The View from the Hallandale Beach/Hollywood city line

The View from the Hallandale Beach/Hollywood city line
Looking south towards The Beach Club and the Hallandale Beach Water Tower on A1A from the beach, near the Hollywood cityline, May 2, 2009 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

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.

"Why do they need that in the Broward County charter?"

"Laws and Constitutions go for nothing where the general sentiment is corrupt."
-New York Times, September 22, 1851

"Why do they need that in the Broward County charter?"
-Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper at April 2, 2008 HB City Commission meeting, in discussing possible inclusion of Broward County Charter Review Commission's proposal for Ethics Commission to deal with Broward County Commission, on November 2008 ballot.
Six YEARS after the county's voters had overwhelmingly passed an amendment to the County charter requiring its adoption, the Broward County Commission had yet to live up to its legal responsibility. That's why!

Looking east on State Road 858/Hallandale Beach Blvd.

Looking east  on State Road 858/Hallandale Beach Blvd.
Looking east on State Road 858/Hallandale Beach Blvd., over the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway bridge, toward the iconic Hallandale Beach Water Tower and the three condo towers comprising The Beach Club. September 8, 2008 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

Hallandale Beach Water Tower on A1A/South Ocean Drive

Hallandale Beach Water Tower on A1A/South Ocean Drive
Hallandale Beach Water Tower on A1A/South Ocean Drive. Located below the Hallandale Beach Water Tower on A1A/South Ocean Drive, on the south side (right) is the "Community Center" that HB City Hall, thru their gross incompetency, has made impossible for HB citizen taxpayers to use now for 41 MONTHS as of January 2011. (And where's the American flag on the Fourth of July weekend? Missing in action as it had been for months!) July 3, 2009 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2012 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

Looking towards southern Hollywood Beach

Looking towards southern Hollywood Beach
Trump Hollywood, Diplomat Residences, Westin Diplomat, Crowne Resort. Looking NE towards Hollywood on State Road A1A from the 2500 block of East Hallandale Beach Blvd./State Road 858 just before crossing the Intracoastal Bridge: (l-r) Trump Hollywood, Diplomat Residences, the Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa, the Crowne Plaza Hollywood Beach. March 25, 2009 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

The Related Group's The Beach Club, consisting of three condo towers

The Related Group's The Beach Club, consisting of three condo towers
The Beach Club. Looking SE at The Beach Club from the Hollywood side of State Road A1A. May 12, 2008 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2012 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

City of Hollywood City Hall, 2600 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, FL

City of Hollywood City Hall, 2600 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, FL
City of Hollywood City Hall. An early morning shot of the east side of Hollywood City Hall the morning of the Johnson Street Redevelopment RFP Evaluation Committee meeting, where presentations were heard; October 14, 2009 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved. For more info on what's going on with this important project, see http://www.hollywoodfl.org/html/JohnsonStBeachRFP.htm

Corruption Isn't Unique to South Florida, It's the Level of the Stupidity That Is

Corruption Isn't Unique to South Florida, It's the Level of the Stupidity That Is
"[Chicago Mayor] William Hale Thompson was defeated Tuesday after a campaign which he alone made disgraceful. The election was an ejection, a dirty job, but Chicago has washed itself and put on clean clothes. Thompson recognized the [Chicago] Tribune as his chief enemy. The Tribune was glad to earn that opinion. It certainly tried to do so. It has taken the fight to him on every occasion during the long and depraved course of his administration. It is unpleasant business to eject a skunk, but someone has to do it. For Chicago, Thompson has meant filth, corruption, obscenity, idiocy and bankruptcy. He has given the city an international reputation for moronic buffoonery, barbaric crime, triumphant hoodlumism, unchecked graft and a dejected citizenship. He nearly ruined the property and completely destroyed the pride of the city. He made Chicago a byword for the collapse of American civilization. In his attempt to continue this he excelled himself as a liar and defamer of character. He’s out. He is not only out, but dishonored. He is deserted by his friends. He is permanently marked by the evidences of his character and conduct. His health is impaired by his ways of life and he leaves office and goes from the city the most discredited man who ever held place in it."

-Excerpts from April 1931 Chicago Tribune editorial following Republican "Big Bill" Thompson's loss to his Democratic rival Anton Cermak. A friend of organized crime during the Al Capone era, Thompson was the last Republican elected mayor of Chicago. But less than two years later, Mayor Cermak was shot while shaking hands with President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt at Miami's Bayfront Park. He died from gunshot wounds to his lungs three weeks later.

See
http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/3686.html

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

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

Want to hear some REAL music talent? Of course you do!

Want to hear some REAL music talent? Of course you do!
Click on this photo of Anni to go to the FoK YouTube Channel
Full of Keys (Anni Bernhard) photographed in Rome, 2012, by Alessandro Leone. Click on the photo of Anni to go to her YouTube Channel and see videos from her first album, "Traces of a Human," and the first single of her upcoming 2nd album, "The Grazing Grounds." http://fullofkeys.com/ https://www.facebook.com/fullofkeys https://twitter.com/FullOfKeys More videos and photos of Full of Keys are at: http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/p/full-of-keys.html

Andreas Jismark, Anni Bernhard and Mats Jönsson

Andreas Jismark, Anni Bernhard and Mats Jönsson
Photo of Andreas Jismark, Anni Bernhard and Mats Jönsson, Södermalm, Stockholm, Sweden. January 11, 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier. (c) 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved. The Dolphins caps and goodies are in the yellow bag :)

A dynamic and original talent with personality to spare!

Photo above is from my June 2nd, 2013 post titled, "Our 'Full of Keys' drought is finally over! Full of Keys (a.k.a. the amazing Anni Bernhard) will be playing a showcase in New York City at Cake Shop on June 10th as part of the week-long New Music Seminar. Her new album was recorded recently in Gotland, will be mastered in NYC, aiming for a September release -with lots of very big and exciting plans coming soon! @FullOfKeys, @AndreasJismark, #AnniBernhard, #MatsJönsson, #GrazingGrounds, #NMS2013, #NYMF, #CakeShop" http://www.hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/2013/06/our-full-of-keys-drought-is-finally.html
Click the photo to read that post, watch her videos and learn more about this dynamic and original talent with personality to spare!

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 my post on Anni last summer.

Full Of Keys - Silent Agreement, from the new #GrazingGrounds album

FullofkeysOFFICIAL YouTube Channel: Full Of Keys - Silent Agreement. Uploaded January 9, 2014 http://youtu.be/7yHULYTxEt4 From the second album by Full of Keys (Anni Bernhardt) #grazinggrounds http://www.youtube.com/user/FullofkeysOFFICIAL

Full Of Keys - Cover My Eyes (Stills Video)

Full Of Keys - Cover My Eyes (Stills Video) via Andreas Jismark YouTube Channel. Uploaded February 23, 2014. The 2nd track released from #grazinggrounds album. Full Of Keys 2014. http://youtu.be/aha-pf_QrXo

"Heart" from @fullofkeys #GrazingGrounds

Cecilia Nilsson - A new super-talent from Gävle, Sweden

Cecilia Nilsson - A new super-talent from Gävle, Sweden

Veronica Maggio - Sergels Torg (Lyric Video)

UniversalMusicSweden YouTube Channel video: Veronica Maggio - Sergels Torg (Lyric Video). Uploaded August 21, 2013. http://youtu.be/kSdqLlyqZX8 As seen on my September 25, 2013 blog post titled, "Irresistible Veronica Maggio delivers two new infectious songs for us to linger over and become addicted to, just when we needed her talent and moxie the most- 'Sergels Torg' and 'Dallas'; Veronica and Stockholm NEVER disappoint!; Jag älskar Sergels Torg!; @veronicamaggio, #stockholm, #sweden, #sergelstorg
http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/2013/09/irresistible-veronica-maggio-delivers.html

Veronica Maggio

Miriam Bryant @MiriamBryant

Let's end the 27-year NCAA title drought!

Let's end the 27-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.

Breaking Away" opened in movie theaters 35 years ago today

IU's NCAA Basketball Championship banners

Our five NCAA Basketball Championship banners are on the north side of the court; I was there for 1981's.

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.

Here's the first banner of the Crean Era

Indiana University Athletics

Perhaps you'll enjoy this view more!

We Are IU (Official Version) 2013