Hallandale Beach Blog - A common sense public policy overview offering a critical perspective on the current events, politics, govt., public policy, sports scene and pop culture of the U.S., South Florida and Europe, especially the UK and Sweden.
In particular, Broward & Miami-Dade County, and the cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood & Aventura. Trust me when I tell you, this part of Florida is NOT the Land of Lincoln. Photo in upper-left is Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower on State Road A1A, September 2008; March 2018 photo below of North Beach, looking left-to-right, looking north, HYDE Condominium, Etaru Japanese Robatayaki restaurant, and Hollywood Beach in the distance, with umbrellas. All photos by me, © Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Proving that at least one Florida newspaper takes its public role seriously in 2013, the Lakeland Ledger takes no prisoners in its scathing editorial on the City of Winter Haven and City Manager Deric Feacher for abusing Florida's Government-in-the-Sunshine Laws -and his own citizens. Unfortunately, that sort of consistent moral backbone doesn't exist in South Florida at the two floundering newspapers, South Florida Sun-Sentinel and Miami Herald. They're content largely to just phone it in -and it shows! That's part of the reason they have the circulation problems they do

"Nancy Drew - Reporter"  - 1938 (Original Trailer). The apple of her father's eye! Leading River Heights attorney Carson Drew's teen sleuth daughter, Nancy, (Bonita Granville) is fast on the case and she won't stop until the mystery is solved and the story is told! Nancy would have been all over the Hallandale Beach CRA scandal here and taken no prisoners as she zeroed-in on all the questionable grant and loan recipients, shadowing them to see what they were really doing with the city money they were given, and seen whether any of the so-called projects they received the money for ever actually were accomplished. Unlike HB City Hall's high-paid minions, who didn't care what happened to the city's money and did no follow-up at all as the Broward Inspector General's final report makes clear.
Our Nancy -along with Ned Nickerson- would've had lots of fun playing tricks and mind games on HB Comm. Anthony A. Sanders and Comm. Alexander Lewy until they finally stopped their foolish and tiresome -to say nothing of transparent!- efforts to funnel CRA money into Northwest HB with no real tangible plan other than to keep their political pals there happy, with typical lip service when pressed to explain their antics. Yes, our Nancy, being an intelligent and solid reporter, would've dug deep into the public records and might've even asked publicly in a column at the River Heights Tribune: "How come Comm. Lewy received an award from a prominent Broward County Jewish group whom just a few scant months before, he had voted to give one of their leaders a sweetheart CRA deal to, despite it actually being evident that it was to HB taxpayers great disadvantage? Very curious."
Yes, Nancy would've already had that particular story published by now, unlike the Miami Herald and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, whose own reporters have yet to ever mention a single word about it in-print.  
After reading this fantastic Lakeland Ledger editorial below, which appeared in-print last weekend, ask yourself a good question.

How many times, conservatively, over the past nine years, should we have -and could we have- seen such an editorial about the City of Hallandale Beach's consistently anti-democratic, conduct during what are labeled as "public meetings" in Hallandale Beach under Mayor Joy Cooper, and past City Managers Mike Good and Mark A. Antonio and current City Manager Renee C. Miller?

Dozens and dozens of times, including the city's all-day "Visioning" meeting held in February, where HB citizens who showed-up were NOT allowed to make any comments, ask any questions, or even allowed to point out actual mistakes in claims made by the city's elected officials and employees that were not backed-up by the facts or reality -or both?

Or as I wrote here on March 2nd:
'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

But given these dozens of opportunities to shed some light on the untoward  behavior taking place right where everyone could see what they were doing -and by they, of course, I mean Mayor Joy Cooper and her Rubber Stamp Crew, plus the City Manager at the time- how many times did the Miami Herald or South Florida Sun-Sentinel rise to the occasion and do the appropriate thing by saying what happened in-print?

Fairly recently, the Miami Herald went the better part of an entire year without sending a reporter to HB City Hall a single time to cover the public's business.

When did these two newspapers give even one example of the many dozens that we've all experienced at HB City Hall the past ten years, where Mayor Cooper and her Rubber Stamp Crew treated those of us in the audience with contempt, as the enemy, and just continued apace with their anti-taxpayer, anti-Sunshine Law behavior?
Not once.

The Herald in particular, as you recall, not only went out of its way to NOT report on some issues that I repeatedly gave their reporters and editors -and top management- on a silver tray, they even seemed unwilling to give due credit to someone who deserved it -my friend, Csaba Kulin- for uncovering devastating financial information re the city's pension plan for top management that even today, HB City Hall can't explain with a straight face and STILL CAN'T  provide documents on:

Csaba Kulin gets the Miami Herald's whitewash treatment: McClatchy's Co.'s Herald practices the opposite of giving credit where credit is due, editing out the name of the one person in South Florida most-responsible for finding out why and how 3 former Hallandale Beach City Managers will soon be multi-millionaires with taxpayer dollars; a story that Miami Herald reporters, editors and management have completely ignored for years!

The facts speak for themselves.

Some newspapers get it and some don't.

Here's one that does:

Lakeland Ledger
Landings Settlement Talks: City of Secrecy
Published: Sunday, April 28, 2013 at 12:01 a.m.
Last Monday, the Winter Haven City Commission, and residents attending the board's meeting, hoped to hear a solution to one of the city's most divisive issues of recent years, The Landings.City Manager Deric Feacher gave a report, the details of which he had kept secret, and the commission discussed Feacher's findings — for a total of 1 hour, 8 minutes.
The comment time allotted to residents in the audience to talk about the report: zero.
Not only has the city government made a mess of a project meant to improve its best tract of land, which overlooks Lake Lulu and holds great memories for many in Winter Haven, it has allowed the also revered statewide process of government in the sunshine to collapse within City Hall.
Read the rest of the editorial at:
*Make sure you read all three pages

So it's clear that it's not just those of us in Hallandale Beach who've been paying salaries for City Managers and their high-paid help who've actively work against the best interests of taxpayers, residents and small business-owners, trying their best to prevent them from participating in participatory democracy and NOT making public information available ASAP
even while lobbyists and contractors have it.

But because it HAS been going on here for years, it often feels much worse because the facts are pretty clear that, for whatever reasons, most of the South Florida news media -with the exception of a handful of people whom I won't name here- clearly DON'T want to report the truth about what's really been going on here for years, with far too many reporters and columnists content to either just look the other way or engage in one-dimensional stenography.

And that's just when reporters can be convinced to actually show-up,
But actually paying attention, though?
That's an extra burden, so getting them to put two and two together and getting four, or actually doing some shoe-leather reporting and and following-up on longstanding problems in a meaningful way?
No, they don't that that and they don't promise to connect the dots or even come to any solid conclusions.

The incidents cited in the Broward Inspector General's Office on the City of Hallandale Beach didn't just happen a few minutes ago, they were ongoing for YEARS.
But what did the local papers report on?

It's like every time reporters show-up at 400. S. Federal Highway, they ignore all the pieces of the puzzle that are already in evidence on the table, and already connected, and instead, are surprised and unsure of what to make of the pieces on the table, like they have no idea what it all is.

It's so infuriating and the thing that always gets me is that so many of the reporters who do occasionally show-up have no serious idea of how loathed they are by the people in town who really are well-informed. No idea at all.
But justifiably loathed they are.
THAT is how oblivious they are.

As I've stated here previously, if I had the power, with the exception of those un-named reporters I alluded to before, I'd replace almost every print and TV reporter in South Florida with recent journalism grads of Ernie Pyle at IU or Medill at Northwestern and Cal-Berkeley, and a few other places if I could, because they still have their natural curiosity and are not jaded,  cowed or resigned the way so many of the current crop are, many of whom haven't been rotated to another beat in many years and seem to me to have grown a little too fond of writing about their favorite pols and excusing things that fresher eyes would fully investigate instead of passing up on. 
(Sorry, no Columbia J-School or University of Florida J-School grads, please.)

The current crew are no Nancy Drews, that's for sure, since she always put the pieces of the puzzle together and solved the mystery, no matter how obtuse.

Though it's been needed for many years, the Miami Herald and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel have resisted writing full-barreled editorials like the oen in the Ledger I've brought to your attention today.
Ones that zero-in on completely un-acceptable behavior by elected municipal officials and city employees and open them up to long -verdue public scrutiny.

The Herald and Sun-Sentinel just take a pass on that sort of thing and continue snoozing.  


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#HollywoodFL based photographer/entrepreneur Esther Chuang

#HOLLYWOODFL based photographer and entrepreneur Esther Chuang with Hollywood Mayor-elect Josh Levy
Thumbs up! What a night! #HOLLYWOODFL based photographer and entrepreneur Esther Chuang with a very elated Hollywood Mayor-elect Josh Levy at his Victory Party, held at Leo Anato's Atelier3/AT3 on Harrison Street & S. 19th Avenue, Hollywood. AT3's great environment and the amazing variety of food prepared by chef Kevin Dreifuss, former owner/chef of now-closed ENDS MEAT restaurant, was SUPERB! November 8, 2016 Esther Chuang, Morro Dois Irmãos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2015
Above, perhaps my most-favorite photo ever of Esther, which is really saying something considering the THOUSANDS that I've actually seen of her, from all over the world. But despite the fact that you can't actually see it here, trust me, her amazing smile and inner and external beauty are there. This photo is an even more amazing achievement when you know the backstory of what it took for Esther to get to the top of the mountain, since it's NOT for the faint of heart. Next time you see her, ask her about that! Morro Dois Irmãos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on her birthday, July 10, 2015. That's the Christ The Redeemer statue atop Mount Corcovado way out in the horizon on the top of another mountain, to the left of her head. To the right is the world famous beach of Ipanema and to the left is the equally famous beach of Copacabana. In case you forgot what the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio looks like, up close, plus the Amazon area of Brazil that Esther grew up near in Manaus, here's another Brazilian beauty to connect-the-dots for you: Gisele Bündchen, aka @Gisele.

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

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A floresta Amazônica tem um papel fundamental no equilíbrio do clima na Terra e, portanto, na vida de cada um de nós. Nos últimos anos a proteção diminuiu e o desmatamento aumentou drasticamente. E o que já era ruim, pode ficar ainda pior. Se as medidas que o governo vem tomando não forem vetadas, nosso futuro estará ameaçado. Diga NÃO à diminuição da proteção da Floresta do Jamanxim! Diga NÃO à exploração de minério no coração da floresta! #TodosPelaAmazônia #342Amazonia #TodosPelaAmazonia Assine a petição: link na bio. ������✨���� The Amazon Rainforest plays a key role in balancing the climate on the Earth and therefore in each of our lives. In recent years, protection has decreased and deforestation has increased sharply. And what was already bad can get even worse. If the measures that the government has been taking are not vetoed, our future will be threatened. Say NO to the reduction of the Jamanxim Forest´s protection! Say NO to ore mining in the heart of the Forest! #togetherfortheAmazon

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