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.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Election Day tomorrow will give Los Angeles voters either their first woman or first elected Jewish mayor, in Wendy Gruel or Eric Garcetti. Garcetti has the LA Times endorsement, a 7-point lead and counts seriously attacking traffic as one of three most-important tasks at hand; Is there someone like Hallandale Beach's Dr. Deborah Brown in Los Angeles, someone who will walk up to volunteer campaign workers of someone she doesn't support and tell them and anyone around them that their candidate is "the devil"? Like she did in HB last year. If you know, let me know!

KCAL news video: Latest USC Price/LA Times poll shows Eric Garcetti with seven point lead over Wendy Gruel in LA Mayoral race, with 11 percent of voters still undecided.

As Election Day in the U.S.'s second-largest city looms tomorrow, and Los Angeles voters getting either its first woman or first elected Jewish mayor, Eric Garcetti and Wendy Gruel have spent the last days of their hard-fought campaign battling for Black voters and for the favor of fickle Undecideds, who like being fussed over, but who find it hard to commit.
Just like Hollywood's central casting.

It all makes me wonder if any of the middle-class Los Angeles neighborhoods where my SoCal friends live have someone like Hallandale Beach's Dr. Deborah Brown living amongst them.

Someone with strong connection to the City Hall teat and powers-that-be, in her case, to mayor Joy Cooper, and who has no qualms about showing up at polling sites and boldly walking up to volunteer election workers of candidates she doesn't support, and just a few inches from these campaign workers faces, loudly proclaim that their preferred candidate is "the devil.

You know, like she did repeatedly in Hallandale Beach last year at the city's Ingalls Park precincts on the city's SW side, to volunteer supporters of HB mayoral candidate Keith London?

Yes, that would be the same Dr. Brown I've written about here on the blog before with the curious -and which some in the community would say borders on fictitious- loan and grant applications that give the appearance that her group was/is a non-profit when the IRS says differently.
The very same Dr. Brown whom the Office of the Broward Inspector General wrote about in their damning final report a few short weeks ago.
Allegations she used money her group was given by the city for purposes for which it was NOT intended, like, well, let's just say unethical conduct and let you read it yourself.

But then again, having received money for years from City Hall, including many large grants just under $25,000 from former HB City Manager Mike Good, she already knew from experience that city officials would never check on what she did with CRA funds, that since as the IG report says, they DIDN'T
Yes, no double-checking information or accountability from the city before the vote and zero after the money is dispensed.

Excerpt from March 6, 2013 Broward Bulldog
The final report will recommend to the county that it look over its legal options “to prevent the ongoing abuse of the CRA process and recover those funds that may have been misspent,” the preliminary report says.
In Hallandale, there was an apparent lack of regular monitoring by the CRA of who got its funds and how that money was spent.
In one case, the report says, a nonprofit grant recipient spent nearly $5,000 in funds to make a payment on her time-share at the Westgate Resort in Orlando, make payroll payments to herself and her brother and on other things.
“We found probable cause to believe that Dr. Deborah Brown, the founder and director of the Palms Center for the Arts (PCA), engaged in criminal misconduct in the handling of a $5,000 award the PCA received from the CRA,” the report says.
Brown could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.
The matter has been referred to the sheriff’s office and the Broward State Attorney for prosecution.

The reason I ask is because I've been closely following the back-and-forth of the Garcetti-Gruel campaigns the past few weeks via videos on various LA TV station websites and the LA Times and... well, there's a lot that needs fixing in LA no matter who actually wins, because many voters have just about reached their limit on govt. waste and inefficiency and cronyism.  

I ask because I had breakfast on Sunday morning yesterday with a friend of mine who, like me, had supported Hb City Commissioner Keith London against longtime incumbent mayor Joy Cooper.
But unlike me, he's a longtime HB resident, so someone with even more perspective than my nine years of living here and seeing the chaos and dysfunction up-close.

While I was flitting about with materials and messages from one election site throughout Hallandale Beach to another on Election Day for Keith, and my friend Csaba Kulin and Michele Lazarow, who were running for the City Commission, my Sunday morning tablemate was working the crowds of HB residents arriving to vote at Ingalls Park in southwest HB, just one block south of Hallandale Beach Blvd.

(Yes, as some of you long-time readers of the blog may recall, that also the place where the City of Hallandale Beach used to have its recycling site. The one that had no directional signs on nearby streets, much less, on main drag HBB, letting people know exactly where it was. Now the city foolishly has no central recycling site for residents to use even while much of the city lives in places where recycling something other than newspapers simply doesn't take place, due to the city's apathy, like smaller condos and apts. As usual, the city seems clueless what to do to capture that market, despite how obvious it is. For starters, you make it as easy as possible.)

If any of my friends in LA know who Dr. Brown's counterpart in LA might be, or even have seen media reports about the activities of such a doppelgänger, please drop me a line and share the 411.

View more videos at: http://nbclosangeles.com.
Garcetti: "Enthusiasm" High Day Before Election. NBC4 new video: reporter  Toni Guinyard speaks with mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti on NBC4's "Today in LA" May 20, 2013.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Los Angeles Times
Greuel, Garcetti court black voters on final weekend
By James Rainey and Seema Mehta 
May 19, 2013 8:09 p.m.

Polls show Garcetti ahead but Greuel favored among African Americans. The winner will be either the first woman or the first elected Jewish leader in the mayor's office.

The LA Times endorsement of Eric Garcetti from February 17th, for the primary, was leagues ahead of the sort of thing you ever read in South Florida newspapers, both in terms of length and in gravitas.

Titled, Eric Garcetti for mayor He's the candidate with the most potential to rise to the occasion and lead Los Angeles out of its current malaise and into a more sustainable and confident future," it concluded with this:
Voters at first embraced Villaraigosa because they saw in him the power to inspire. Garcetti has that too, but in a different, quieter fashion, and he backs it up with experience in City Hall, a share of troublesome mistakes and 12 years of achievement. If he avoids a tendency to be glib when he should motivate, and if he avoids the tendency to allow his finesse to give way to a desire to be all things to all people, he could be just what Los Angeles needs. At this time, out of this field, he's the best choice for mayor.
Now that's how you write and end a persuasive editorial!

KCAL/CBS LA News video, Profile of LA mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti
February 28, 2013 8:16 AM

The above profile includes the following nugget:
But perhaps Garcetti’s most ambitious goal is to tackle the city’s notorious traffic problems.
“We have to reduce our traffic in Los Angeles. And I want to see five different rail finished or well underway by the time I leave office,” he said. “It’s the only way we will be able to get enough people out of cars to be able to really make a dent in the traffic that is choking our lives.”
Tuesday night you might want to be watching here to see LIVE election results

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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'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.
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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.

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

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.