Hallandale Beach Blog -A common sense public policy overview offering a critical perspective on the current events, politics, government, public policy, sports scene and pop culture of Europe, Sweden, the U.S. & South Florida. In particular, Broward & Miami-Dade County, and the cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood & Aventura.
Trust me when I tell you, this part of Florida is NOT the Land of Lincoln. Pictured in upper-left is Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower on State Road A1A; September 2008 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Wither Florida's Sunshine Laws? Part II: Investigating the continuing dysfunction, lack of appropriate disclosure of public information and the generally imperious anti-citizen attitude at Hallandale Beach City Hall under Mayor Joy Cooper; Yet MORE on the City of Hallandale Beach's failure to comply with legally-required public disclosure/lobbying laws, as well as the accuracy and timeliness of public records on HB's own website; Lobbying records that are supposed to be timely and accurate are TWO MONTHS old, making any pretense of genuine lobbying disclosure a joke; @MayorCooper


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Wither Florida's Sunshine Laws? Part II: Investigating the continuing dysfunction, lack of appropriate disclosure of public information and the generally imperious anti-citizen attitude at Hallandale Beach City Hall under Mayor Joy Cooper; Yet MORE on the City of Hallandale Beach's failure to comply with legally-required public disclosure/lobbying laws, as well as the accuracy and timeliness of public records on HB's own website; Lobbying records that are supposed to be timely and accurate are TWO MONTHS old, making any pretense of genuine lobbying disclosure a joke; @MayorCooper
Just to prove my point again about how those in government closest to the people, with a track record of consistently FAILING to pay attention to details on smaller matters -that is, if you consider the city actually obeying it's own ordinances and State laws a minor matter- shouldn't be trusted to make important multi-million dollar decisions based on the public's best long-term interests, I present my email of Monday to Hallandale Beach Commissioner Michele Lazarow, whom I voted for in November and who's going to be in office for the next four years.

I also sent cc's to HB City Attorney V. Lynn Whitfield, HB City Manager Renee C.Miller, HB IT Dept. head Ted Lamott, HB CRA Director Liza Torres, HB CRA Steven W. Zelkowitz and HB City Clerk Sheena James, with bcc's to concerned and angry people all over HB and Broward County, as well as some people with authority up in the state capital of Tallahassee with names you might recognize.


Think of this blog post today as the natural follow-up to my post of a month ago, March 19th, titled, Part I: Investigating the continuing dysfunction, lack of appropriate disclosure of public information and the generally imperious anti-citizen attitude at Hallandale Beach City Hall under Mayor Joy Cooper; Matters that anyone could see if they just looked -I looked and here's what I found in late February 2013
http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/2013/03/part-i-investigating-continuing.html

If you never saw that, and clearly many of you didn't, you might want to minimize today's post for a few minutes and open that one up and read it first so that this will make more sense.
Think of that as the first chorus and this the second chorus. 
That's what I would do if I were you.

As of tomorrow, the City of Hallandale Beach's Lobbying/Visitors list will be NINE WEEKS old.
That's nine weeks that lobbyists, contractors and vendors have spoken in-person with the city's five elected officials and many city bureaucrats WITHOUT the citizens of this community being in a position to actually know who they are, who they met with, what subjects were discussed and when did it happen.
All questions we are entitled by law to know the answer to -and don't.

As always, all email addresses below have been deleted to prevent spam.
------

April 15, 2013

Dear Comm. Lazarow:

So, here here I am again.

Six weeks after my last fact-filled complaint to Hallandale Beach City Hall -directed to the same management officials whose names now appear on the cc line of my email today, and now also including CRA Attorney Zelkowitz- below, I find myself with the same grave concerns as then about their serious lack of commitment to HB's residents, taxpayers and small business owners when it comes to the integrity of the public policy process in this city, and their continuing failure of duty with respect to the state's Sunshine Laws.

Not just a law, but a Right that citizens of this state have enshrined in the State Constitution.

Today I remain just as dumb-founded as in February about why the City of Hallandale Beach and their employees continue having such big problem complying with State and city laws regarding required public disclosure of public information, and the accuracy and timeliness of those records.

Since I know that you are a very strong advocate for both MORE transparency and increased public accountability regarding public policy and spending decisions here, perhaps you could see your way to mentioning some of the following matters, and ask some tough questions about them at tonight's CRA Board meeting during Director Communications.

As of Friday, the city's official Visitors/Lobbyist log continued to NOT be properly maintained, so it is now over eight (8) weeks behind in being up-to-date and accurate, which is NOT within the 72 hours that the city proclaims on its own website, below:


Elected Official Requirements

Section 3(c), to further promote full and complete transparency, Elected Officials must disclose any and all lobbying activity that knowingly occurs between themselves and individual lobbyits or their rprincipals or employers outside their governments offices/premises.  This shall include communicating by any form of telephonic or electronic media.


  1. The disclosure shall include the lobbyist's name; the name of the entity by which the lobbyist is employed; the name of the person or entity for whom or which he or she is lobbying; the date, time and location of the meeting; and the specific purpose and subject matter of the meeting. 
  2. The disclosure shall be made within ten (10) business days of the lobbying activity, but must, in any event, be made prior to any vote on a matter that was the subject of the lobbying activity.
  3. The dislclosue shall be filed for public inspection. 

That link and the city's untrue claims are here:
CLICK TO SEARCH LOBBYIST/VISITOR CONTACT LOGS
 (visitors logs are updated every 72 hours)

Somehow, despite being over three times as large in population and size, the City of Hollywood seems to be able to actually update their list within 72 hours, often even the next day, so that there is no vote that takes place without everyone knowing who was trying to influence who.

That is NOT at all the case in this city.

Why is that Visitors list NOT made a permanent web page that is continually updated instead of a file that must be downloaded each time you want to access it?

Why is the Visitors list presented upside-down, with most recent visits at the bottom instead of where they should be -at the top?

The practical effect of all of this, to cite but one obvious example, is that any and all visits after February 13th by attorney/lobbyist Alan Koslow or anyone else on behalf of Jerome Hollo and Florida East Coast Realty regarding their request to have $450,000 in fines they owe Hallandale Beach taxpayers waived, are completely unknown to the citizens of this community. 

And were unknown to them even when that vote took place on March 20th.

That is NOT disclosure and that is NOT government in the Sunshine by any stretch of the imagination.

The purpose of the list is to properly inform the public about the activities of the city's elected officials and management and any individuals attempting to influence public policy, BEFORE something happens, NOT to conceal that information, and yet the facts are what they are, aren't they?

Not eight days behind, though that would be bad enough, but EIGHT WEEKS behind.

So even as you vote again tonight on a matter of great interest to Mr. Hollo, the public is still in the dark and still DOESN'T know who may've contacted you or your Board/Commission colleagues or members of the city's staff about this matter.
What kind of way is that to run a city?

Why is the city's Lobbyist list formatted without subject headers, thus, one name can be repeated three times on the same line, signifying what exactly?

What is the purpose of Hallandale Beach taxpayers paying for IT improvements that "will increase the City's Internet capacity by 600%
if the city's management and line employees consistently can NOT or WILL NOT follow it's own rules, State laws and fulfill the community's basic expectations?

Until the city's Visitor list is made 100% accurate, say by 10 a.m. the day of a publicly-scheduled meeting, I strongly suggest that you make a motion to have every single person speaking for or representing a company with business before the HB City Commission, HB CRA Board or the HB Planning & Zoning Advisory Board, be required to publicly disclose just whom they have spoken with in person or contacted via email or telephone, BEFORE they can give any public testimony, present evidence, drawings, plans or renderings, or, speak with respect to the subject at hand.

Until the public of this community can actually have faith that the city government is committed to fulfilling both the spirit and letter of the law with respect to the state's Sunshine Laws, as well as being in compliance with the city's own laws, this action I'm suggesting seems like the very least we should all be able to expect.

-------
Under this email I had a copy of my email to the City of Hallandale Beach about their past recent failure

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Whitfield, Lynn 
Date: Thu, Feb 28, 2013 at 2:29 PM
Subject: Re: Follow-up to your email response of yesterday re my email re City of HB's failure with respect to required public disclosure records and public notices
To: "DBS" 
Cc: "Miller C., Renee"  "Scott, John W.", "Donnelly, Timothy" , Attorney General Pam Bondi  Information Technology, "Torres, Liza" "Lazarow, Michele";


Mr. Smith;
I agree that there is no need for us to go back and forth; but since your e-mail appears to address some CRA matters; I would just remind you that the CRA is a different entity from the city and is responsible for advertising it's own meetings and has It's own website and attorney. As for your question about who is responsible for the other matters, that would be better answered by CM office since they would be employees of her office and not the City Atty's.

Sent from my iPhone

On Feb 28, 2013, at 2:11 PM, "DBS" wrote:

> Follow-up to your email response of yesterday, at bottom
>
> February 28, 2013
>
> Dear Ms. Whitfield:
>
> I am in receipt of your email response to my email of yesterday, February
> 27, 2013.
>
> While I certainly appreciate your quick response, unfortunately, your email
> neglected to mention just who those parties are at Hallandale Beach City
> Hall that have been irresponsible and/or negligent in ensuring that citizens
> of this city have full-access to public information that is legally required to
> be both recorded accurately and publicly posted.
>
> While Mark A. Antonio was the City Manager of Hallandale Beach the last
> time any public information seemed to be current on those two separate
> databases as they appeared on the city's website, March 16, 2012, it's
> also true that he did not leave the city's employment until late June, more
> than three months later, so he clearly bears a large share of the responsibility
> himself.
>
> That is, if the buck truly stopped at his desk, as he publicly claimed so often
> that it did, evidence to the contrary notwithstanding.
>
> I look forward to hearing publicly at the March 6th HB City Commission meeting
> just what precisely the city plans on doing now to make sure that the required
> public disclosure information is accurately updated and publicly displayed,
> and what sort of remediation steps it has in mind to ensure that this sort
> of egregious double-failure of the public does NOT happen again.
>
> Hallandale Beach taxpayers, residents and small business owners should
> NOT be forced to accept a lesser-standard than other Florida communities
> merely because of lack of effort, resolve or integrity by individual city employees.
> There needs to be a genuine dollar's worth of effort and service expended
> for every tax dollar received in a paycheck.
>
> Frankly, many more HB citizens than you think do NOT see the sort of earnest
> and conscientious attitude displayed by city employees as they drive around
> town.
> The sort they reasonably believe they're entitled to in a city where the city's
> budget has nearly doubled in the past eight years, with little tangible to show
> for it.
>
> Ms. Whitfield, I can assure you that after personally witnessing and/or
> experiencing first-hand other episodes like this over the past few years
> involving public access to public meetings and or to information -and of
> being physically prevented for 15-20 minutes by city employees from
> attending a publicly-noticed meeting on the 2nd floor of City Hall
> dealing with the city's bidding process, and once I was able to
> get up there, the meeting was mysteriously postponed once I,
> the only citizen present, arrived; City Manager Antonio refused
> to say why it was postponed once I arrived and rushed to get away
> and into his office- the days of HB residents being forced to meekly
> accept unsatisfactory job performances by city employees as normal,
> is over.
>
> That is especially the case with city employees who have a responsibility
> for ensuring that legally-required public information is properly disclosed
> as accurately and quickly as possible.
>
> Personally, I think it would be entirely appropriate for the city to say on the
> city's website just who the parties are that are accountable for what is written
> on the website, perhaps with initials at the bottom, so that there is no confusion,
> since the people who are actually responsible for things in this city are not
> always the ones held accountable.
> That needs to change right now.
>
> I draw your attention to the attached photo that I took at 3:22 p.m. on January
> 3rd of a posted public notice on the City Hall bulletin board re the city's annual
> Quadrant meetings.
> I originally took it as a reminder so that I'd know the dates and could write
> them down once I got back home, as I did another posted notice.
>
> For my purposes today, though, Ms. Whitfield, I believe this photo also amply
> demonstrates quite clearly that I was, in fact, exactly where I wrote I was
> yesterday, when I looked at the city's bulletin board for any notice about the
> HB CRA Advisory Board meeting starting a few minutes later, which I attended,
> being one of the three citizens present.
>
> There was no notice posted there, just as there was nothing on the
> city's website.
>
> If there had been, there would be no logical reason for me saying so publicly
> at the meeting once I arrived upstairs, nor in my email to you yesterday,
> since it could be so easily disproved.
>
> As it happens, on the afternoon of January 3rd, I was actually with someone
> who saw the same thing I did -or rather didn't see- who was also attending
> the meeting, and they were surprised to see nothing posted, too.
>
> I mention this because this morning I've received an email from City Clerk
> Sheena James claiming that there was, in fact, a public notice and a listing
> on the city's website re that CRA Advisory Board meeting.
> Ms. James is incorrect.
>
> In fact, I specifically called the City Clerk's office that morning when I saw
> that there was still no mention of the meeting on the city website's calendar,
> as this excerpt from a January 3rd email I sent out at 11 a.m. to many HB
> residents and other interested parties makes rather clear.
>
> Again, if the info had been on the website, why would I call?
> Answer: I wouldn't.
>
> Thursday 11:00 a.m.
>
> Per the continuing Hallandale Beach CRA scandal that led to its Director
> being fired three weeks ago, within the hour I've found out after calling the
> HB City Clerk's office that the required CRA Advisory Board mtg is TODAY
> in Room 257 at 3:30 p.m.!
> No, not next week as you'd expect in a normal city.
> I only found out because I called them!
>
> Three weeks since today's meeting was mandated by HB City Comm. vote in
> mid-December, via a common sense motion to defer final vote on dispersal of
> funds until January 14th by Comm. Michele Lazarow, to verify accuracy and
> legality of documents, info re today's meeting was STILL NOT posted on the
> city's website as of 10 a.m. today.
> Really.
>
> Stupid me, I naturally assumed the city would hold it in a non-holiday week
> -like next week, when more people are actually here.
>
> Again, Ms. Whitfield, the facts are exactly as I described them yesterday.
> As far as I'm concerned, there's no need for any more emails back and forth
> about this matter, since the concerned citizens of this community will wait
> to hear what is said and done next week at the City Commission meeting.
>
> DBS, Nine-year Hallandale Beach resident
>
> -----
>
> On Wed, Feb 27, 2013 at 3:32 PM, Whitfield, Lynn wrote:
> Good Afternoon Mr. Smith
> Thank you for your e-mail.  In that the City Attorney’s office neither monitors the website or the lobbyist registration log, your inquiry has been forwarded to the appropriate departments for handling.   As you saw, this office has undertaken an ethics training program not only for the Planning and Zoning Board but for all appointed boards and committees of the City.  This office will continue to work to ensure that ethics training is provided to all City Boards and Committees under the Florida Statutes and the Broward County Ethics Code.
> Again thank you for bringing  this issue to the City’s attention.
>
> V. Lynn Whitfield
> City Attorney
>
> From: DBS
> Sent: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 2:58 PM
> To: Whitfield, Lynn
> Cc: Miller C., Renee; Information Technology; James, Sheena; Lazarow, Michele; Scott, John W.; Donnelly, Timothy; Attorney General Pam Bondi
Subject: Since you were talking about ethics, lobbying and conflicts of interest today at the HB Planning & Zoning Advisory Board, how do YOU explain this situation in Hallandale Beach?
>
> February 27, 2013
>
> Dear Ms. Whitfield:
>
> Since in your role as HB City Attorney you were talking this afternoon about
> ethics, lobbying and conflicts of interest at the HB Planning & Zoning Advisory
> Board, how do YOU explain this current completely unacceptable situation in
> Hallandale Beach?
>
> The city's "Current List of Registered Lobbyists" is almost 50 weeks old,
> and has not been updated since March 16th of LAST YEAR, which is to say,
> many months prior to the very controversial Beachwalk tower development
> project was voted upon and approved by the City Commission in August.
>
> That's over four months of residents NOT being in an accurate position to
> WHO was actually considered a lobbyist playing their trade at City Hall on
> that specific project -or any other lobbying effort the past 11 months.
http://www.cohb.org/files/Lobbyist%20Registration%20List_CURRENT_3_16_12.pdf
>
> Tell me, does roughly 50-week old information sound like the City of Hallandale
> Beach and its elected leaders and staff is following the letter and spirit of
> the law to you, Ms. Whitfield?
> It doesn't to me and many people I know and respect in this city.
>
> All of that is made worse by the fact that the Lobbyist/Visitor contact list
> on the city's website
http://www.cohb.org/index.aspx?NID=835 that is supposed to give
> Hallandale Beach citizens a reasonable degree of transparency regarding
> whom is visiting whom at City Hall, does NOT currently work.
> How many months exactly has the information not
> been there as legally required?
>
>
> Elected Official Requirements
>
> Section 3(c), to further promote full and complete transparency, Elected Officials must disclose any and all lobbying activity that knowingly occurs between themselves and individual lobbyits or their rprincipals or employers outside their governments offices/premises.  This shall include communicating by any form of telephonic or electronic media.
>
> 1.     The disclosure shall include the lobbyist's name; the name of the entity by which the lobbyist is employed; the name of the person or entity for whom or which he or she is lobbying; the date, time and location of the meeting; and the specific purpose and subject matter of the meeting.
> 2.     The disclosure shall be made within ten (10) business days of the lobbying activity, but must, in any event, be made prior to
> any vote on a matter that was the subject of the lobbying activity.
> 3.     The dislclosue shall be filed for public inspection.
>
>
> Instead, when you go to http://www.cohb.org/DocumentCenter/View/2253
> you get:
>
> We're sorry, but there is not a web page matching your entry.
>
>
> Click here to go to the home page
>
> It is possible that you typed the address incorrectly, or that the page no longer exists.
>
>
> How many MONTHS has this been the case?
> I can tell you with certainty that it has been at least several months, but it
> could even be MUCH longer further back than that.
>
> Ms. Whitfield, does that sound anything at all like a city that is actively trying
> to do what is both legally required and what is in the best interests of its
> citizens to you? It doesn't to me.
> Not by a long shot.
>
> The three key transparency tools that the public counts on to be able to
> have any degree of trust in the city, ones that are mandated by law and
> public policy, and yet all three are effectively broken in this city where
> citizens have constantly taken it on the chin in the past when trying to
> simply get what they are legally entitled to: access to relevant
> public information in a timely fashion.
>
> It looks to me like you and others at City Hall have a LOT more work ahead
> of you if your words are to have any meaning, and the law is to actually
> be followed here.
>
> By the way, why does the City of Hallandale Beach run a political advocacy
> advertisement for the Florida League of Cities on its webcast?
> I saw one before this afternoon's P&Z meeting began.
>
> There was very little that was "educational" about that anti-Florida legislature
> ad and I wonder what possible justification there is for its inclusion on what is,
> in fact, a taxpayer-owned resource.

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Hallandale Beach Blog is where I try to inject or superimpose a degree of accountability, transparency and insight onto Florida and local Broward County government and public policy issues, which I feel is sorely lacking in local media now. On this blog, locally, I concentrate my energy, enthusiasm, anger and laser-like attention on the coastal cities of Hallandale Beach and Hollywood.
If you lived in this part of South Florida, you'dALREADY be stuck in stultifying traffic, paying higher-than-necessary taxes and continually musing about the chronic lack of accountability among not only elected govt. officials, but also of city, county and state employees as well. Collectively, with a few rare exceptions, they couldn't be farther from the sort of strong results-oriented, eager work-ethic mentality that local residents deserve and expect.
This is particularly true in the town I live in, theCity of Hallandale Beach, just north of Aventura and south of Hollywood. There, the "Perfect Storm" of years of apathy, incompetency and cronyism are all too readily apparent.
Sadly for its residents, HB is where even easily-solved, quality-of-life problems are left to fester forYEARS on end, because of myopia, lack of common sense and ineffective supervisory management. It's a city with lots of potential because of its terrific location, yet its citizens have become numb to its outrages and screw-ups after years of the worst kind of mismanagement and lack of foresight. On a daily basis, they wake up and see the same old problems that have never being adequately resolved by the city in a logical and responsible fashion, merely kicked -once again- further down the road.
I used to ask myself, not always rhetorically, "Where are all the enterprising young reporters who want to show that through their own hard work and enterprise, what REAL investigative reporting can produce?" Hearing no response, I decided to start a blog that could do some of these things, taking the p.o.v. of a reasonable but skeptical person seeing the situation for the first time, and wanting questions answered in a honest and logical way that citizens have the right to expect.

Hallandale Beach Blog intends to be a catalyst for positive change. If there's one constant gripe in South Florida, regardless of your age, race, nationality or political persuasion, it's about the fundamental lack of PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY here among Florida's state, regional and local govt./agency officials.Hallandale Beach Blog aims to be a small step towards regaining some of that needed accountability, whether it's thru simple public scrutiny, or requires a degree of follow-up investigation and public exposure of incompetency, cronyism or simple negligence -South Florida's usual governing style.
Unless otherwise indicated, all ORIGINAL photos appearing here were taken by myself. © 2014 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved. The use or modification of original photos or original images appearing on this blog WITHOUT the written permission of the author is expressly prohibited. DO NOT modify or alter any original photo/image on this blog and use it in any other media, whether for commercial advertising, marketing purposes, political campaign advertising, or on any Social Media platform or digital media forum. Do NOT modify or alter the photos or use them in a confusing way that suggests sponsorship or endorsement, or in a way that seeks to confuse Hallandale Beach Blog with another blog. This includes but is not limited to sites such as Dipity, Facebook, flickr, MySpace, Pinterest, Posterous, Topsy, Twitter, YouTube or VIMEO. Original photos and images also can NOT be used as avatars or icons on website forums.
Some older elements and building blocks formerly seen at Hallandale Beach Blog, such as photos, graphics and videos have been moved into cold storage. Visit them again or see what you've missed at: http://hallandale-beach-blog.blogspot.com/

New this year: you!

New this year: you!
Close-up photo of the cute head-turning window display at the Apotek Hjärtat -Sweden's largest independent pharmacy chain- located at Ringvägen 113, near the Skanstull T-bana in Södermalm, Stockholm. Sign reads, "Årets nyhet: du! Ett helt nytt och obrukat år är här. Just nu känns det lite lättare att välja om, förändra vanor och bryta gamla mönster. Vi hjälper gärna till. Du vill, du kan, du törs!' (New this year: you! A brand new and unused year is here. Right now it feels a little easier to choose, change habits and break old patterns. We're happy to help. You want to, you can, you dare!) Sounds like good advice that I ought to be following, too! January 12, 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

Paradise Lost? South Florida

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

A fish rots from the head down, and so does local government in Hallandale Beach, FL

A fish rots from the head down, and so does local government in Hallandale Beach, FL
City of Hallandale Beach Municipal Complex, 400 S. Federal Highway. The City of Hallandale Beach Municipal Complex: If it's true that a fish rots from the head down, so it does in local government in Broward County, FL. This monument sign on the west side of the intersection of U.S.-1 and S.E. 5th Street, across from Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino and the Village at Gulfstream Park retail complex, alerts you to your proximity to HB City Hall and the HB Police Department HQ. It's a place and culture whose very own words and actions have made clear to taxpayers of this city -regardless of age, race or income- that it holds itself apart from and above from the very citizens it's supposed to serve, often acting like they don't have to follow the same laws that govern everyone else in the state of Florida and the U.S., whether of logic, reason or contracts. (More to the point of this blog, the Florida Statutes on Sunshine Laws and Public Records.) City employees in Hallandale Beach routinely refuse to answer perfectly reasonable questions posed to them by taxpayers, and as I have found out myself and witnessed, are not above berating you for even having the nerve to ask! As it happens, it's also not a very safe area, despite who operates here, and over the past nine years, the public parking lots have often been pitch-black for 6-9 months at a time, including in front of the HB Police Dept. HQ. Then-Police Chief Thomas Magill even shrugged his shoulders at City Comm. meetings when told about this a few times. As if they couldn't make a worse first impression, at one point, even the spotlights shining on this sign didn't work at night for over FOUR YEARS, either. October 13, 2012 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Palm tree, Stars & Stripes

Palm tree, Stars & Stripes
Palm tree obstructing the sun at Hallandale Beach City Hall, May 28, 2012 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino and Village at GP retail complex, Hallandale Beach, FL

Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino and Village at GP retail complex, Hallandale Beach, FL
Entrance monument to Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino and The Village at Gulfstream Park retail complex on U.S.-1 & SE 3rd St. Hallandale Beach, FL. October 5, 2010 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

Hallandale Beach Water Tower, looking east from State Road A1A/South Ocean Drive; May 2009 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

Singer/songwriter Full of Keys (Anni Bernhard)

Singer/songwriter Full of Keys (Anni Bernhard)
Singer/songwriter Full of Keys (Anni Bernhard) wearing the teal-colored Miami Dolphins cap I gave her in January 2013 (in Stockholm) while recording her 2nd album, "The Grazing Grounds" at Sandkvie Studios in Visby, Gotland, Sweden. Also pictured here are sound engineer and co-producer Linus Larsson and musician/DJ/co-producer Mats Jönsson, April 12, 2013.Click the photo to see her videos, read my blog posts and Tweets about her and learn more about this dynamic and original talent with personality to spare!

North Miami Beach Senior High School, the Home of the Chargers

North Miami Beach Senior High School, the Home of the Chargers
Before I was a Hoosier, I was an NMB Charger, Class of 1979.

In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation

In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation
"In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation." -South Beach Hoosier, 2007.

Let's end the 28-year NCAA title drought!

Let's end the 28-year NCAA title drought!
IU All-American and U.S. Olympian Steve Alford on the cover of the 1987 Indiana University basketball media guide, months after IU won the NCAA basketball title.

The NCAA Championship Banners

The NCAA Championship Banners
Assembly Hall, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana. I was there in 1981 for NCAA Title #4 vs. North Carolina. Click on photo to go to the IU Basketball homepage.

Sebastian the Ibis, the U-M mascot

Sebastian the Ibis, the U-M mascot
Like longtime U-M fans everywhere, including me, Sebastian the Ibis, the U-M mascot, hasn't had very much to cheer about lately, given the general state of mediocrity and underwhelming performances coming from the Hurricanes. Isn't it about time for fans to finally see some tangible signs that the new AD is moving things in the right direction? Where are the signs? I'm NOT seeing them. The woeful U-M Women's program is largely composed of teams that are NOT even close to being competitive for NCAA titles like their ACC competition, and they don't even field Women's Lacrosse or Field Hockey teams. It's embarrassing! Click on Sebastian for retrospective photo gallery of The Orange Bowl

ABBA

ABBA
The welcoming party that greeted me at the luggage carousel at Arlanda Stockholm Airport in January of 2013 was... ABBA. As seen in my May 7, 2013 blog post. Click photo to see that post!

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

#Södermalm

Hej #STHLM, jag saknar dig, hejdå. So wish I was there RIGHT NOW!

Using a map of Stockholm and my Samsung mobile's Latitude app to find out where some friends and contacts in Stockholm were before I called to let them know I'd arrived from Arlanda Airport and had checked into the B&B in Södermalm. If only it had been an OpenStreetMap! January 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved; Click the photo to see OpenStreetMap's amazing map of Stockholm and a whole world of useful maps you never even knew existed

Solrea - Sveriges bästa resesök

Solrea - Sveriges bästa resesök
The colder and snowier it got in Stockholm, the more this simple ad seemed like genius. Sometimes, you don't have to reinvent the advertising wheel. When you're a travel agency and it's cold and snowing, make your target audience think of summers and traveling to an inviting warm beach. Above, one of the many Sistaminuten.se display ads I saw on the side of pay phones throughout Stockholm. This one was located on Ringvägen, across the street from the Åhléns Dept. store (with the Hemköp grocery store in the basement that I frequented) west of busy Götgatan and the Skanstull T-bana, the southern commercial heart of trendy and fun Södermalm. January 11, 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved. I used this photo in my April 22, 2013 blog post titled, Tourism game-changer for South Florida travelers & Fort Lauderdale-area businesses -but only if they're smart and start planning now. Ruminations on the upcoming Norwegian.com flights b/w Ft. Lauderdale and Oslo, Stockholm & Copenhagen, and the need for Broward's hospitality industry to take full-advantage of the opportunity; @Oslo, @norway, @stockholm, @sweden, @copenhagen, @denmark. Click photo to see that post

More travel advertising in Stockholm

More travel advertising in Stockholm
Speaking of advertising, only two blocks from the wonderful 4trappor B&B I stayed at in Södermalm, Stockholm on my trip -and also located on Ringvägen- were two more display ads promoting travel. The one in the distance is for SAS, Scandinavian Airlines Systems, which I flew on to Stockholm, and the one in the foreground, on a public telephone booth, is the "Holiday is where the Heart is" ad campaign for VING. January 12, 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved. Click the photo to see their TV ad!

Risk för snöras, istappar

Risk för snöras, istappar
One of the many such warning signs that I saw on buildings and on sidewalk barricades while in Stockholm in mid-January 2013, alerting you to the possibility of falling snow and ice, often by men shoveling it off roofs. This one was spotted on a residential building in the Södermalm area of Stockholm, on Ringvägen, while I was walking over to the Åhléns Department store on Götgatan. It wasn't until I was walking back later to the B&B that I noticed the inflated Santa that some resident had intentionally placed outside of their window, so it looked like Santa was falling! January 13, 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Ringvägen, Stockholm, Sweden

Ringvägen, Stockholm, Sweden
Poster display on Ringvägen, Stockholm, Sweden. January 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved. The Affischplats plan in Stockholm, while not perfect, strikes me as a pretty good compromise in helping cultural and civic groups catch the public's eye in a way that's better than a free-for-all of groups plastering posters on the sides of buildings and utility boxes, and watching as the weather makes a mess of them. The tangible effort the city makes to get the public involved in a genuine and meaningful conversation about what is going on long-term for the city as a whole, or in a particular neighborhood, is very impressive, and made me wishful that the local government employees and planners where I live and write about regularly in my blog and in conversations with other concerned civic activists did even one-third of what Stockholm's planning employees seem to do as a starting-point.