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 2, 2013

'Visioning' and Public Participation: Comparing and contrasting Ft. Lauderdale and Hallandale Beach's approach to planning for the future -one is open to constructive criticism & suggestions from its populace, and the other is stealthy and closed-minded. Guess which one I live in?; @MayorCooper

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 photographed on February 20, 2013 and continuing this  week. The sign 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. Eight months ago
And which you can only see at night, below, when you walk up to it with your camera and use a flash!
Speaking of visioning, that's a form of vision, too -myopia.

This is a slightly-expanded version of an email of mine from four days ago about how things were really going here in Hallandale Beach two months into the new year -and eight months into the regime of the new City Manager, Renee Miller.

It was prompted by a number of conversations I've had with weary HB residents and exasperated business owners, and informed people on the outside looking in with concern.

Everyone has the same basic question about the new City Manager - "Where are all those positive changes in attitude and organizational culture we were promised at HB City Hall last year?"

In Ft. Lauderdale, Broward County's largest city, its active corps of high-minded citizen's input, with lots of big problems on the plate to solve, plans for its future to the extent they can, with the resources they have, and that includes the public.

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 which ran all day on a weekday and was NOT televised or recorded.

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

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.

That’s one proposed outcome of a new plan, called Vision Plan 2035, offering residents’ views of what the city should become.
Read the rest of the article at:

So what happens when you tell the South Florida news media what is going on here, and specifically, about the public being barred from asking questions at the City Commission's annual day-long Visioning meeting the past few years as they discussed -usually  with a taxpayer-paid consultant getting a $5-10k for a few hours- what THEY would like he city should be like in the future.
Without the public being  able to comment at all on the sort of predictable brain-dead ideas and  expensive schemes involving crony capitalism and taxpayer dollars that they love?

Well, here in South Florida, when the news media is told about such things -and more, as I have dozens and dozens of times- typically, the reaction of the news media is to just just shrug their shoulders and ignore the story altogether. :-(

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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, 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.
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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.