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.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Csaba Kulin's spot-on email about the Hallandale Beach CRA scandal to HB Comm. Anthony A. Sanders re Sanders' refusal to vote (twice!) to do the right thing for HB taxpayers and small business owners, and instead, vote to help Mayor Joy Cooper and Comm. Alexander Lewy in their desperate attempt to avoid a full public accounting for where ALL the millions of CRA dollars really went

Above, civic activist Csaba Kulin on his balcony, shortly before we recorded some videos that you will soon start seeing here on the blog. The binders on the table are full of City of Hallandale Beach documents and research information csaba has spent many months putting together regarding the city's VERY, VERY CURIOUS pension plan that pays (will pay) a select group of former and current top employees, including the past three City Managers -R.J. Intindola, Mike Good & Mark A. Antonio- for their past service at a MUCH-HIGHER rate than what they actually earned it at. That very crucial and very expensive decision will cost HB taxpayers millions of dollars MORE than it should, and yet even today, years after-the-fact, the City of Hallandale Beach STILL can't or won't say publicly who made the decision and produce the documentation. No, Csaba and I haven't forgotten about that pension scandal one bit. March 22, 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2014 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

My friend and fellow Hallandale Beach and Broward County civic activist Csaba Kulin wrote a short and spot-on email last week that I wanted to share with you today that's a continuation of the pro-reform thoughts of this community in blog posts I've written recently about the Hallandale Beach CRA scandal.

A scandal that will not be brushed away like HB Mayor Joy Cooper desperately wants, so she doesn't have to be personally accountable to the public for what has happened here for years with her in charge all the while.
Mayor Cooper is in heavy-duty 'spin' mode, and I haven't even told you yet anout her new PR gambit, which will be the subject of a future post here.

Csaba's email was sent to Hallandale Beach Comm. Anthony A. Sanders re Sanders' abject refusal to vote (twice!) to do the right thing for HB taxpayers and small business owners, and finally get them some long-overdue accountability on the HB CRA that has wasted millions of dollars, most of it in NW HB, including voting AGAINST an audit of the HB CRA by the Florida Joint Legislative Auditing Committee, JLAC.

But instead of doing the right thing, Sanders twice voted the wrong way and actually had the gall to preen up on the dais and mock residents at last wednesday night's CRA Board meeting for more of them not speaking that night.

Typical cynical and Sanders attitude showing not only his stupidity, but his continuing lack of respect for the citizens of this community that he's supposed to work for, NOT that Sanders has ever shown a strong work ethic in the past or even worked very hard at being properly prepared for meetings, since he often appears confused about what's happening -and it's no act, no matter how much he tries to make it seem like he's just lying in wait, being impatient

No, it's nothing of the sort, it's just sheer laziness and a lack of resolve and backbone to do the sort of responsible job anyone in his position is expected to do -provide oversight and hold people accountable
It's NOT exactly Breaking News that Comm. Anthony A. Sanders doesn't want to do either one of these, he just wants to go around town being a commissioner, like it's a ceremonial position or something.

It's typical of Sanders lack of attention to detail that the simple fact is that HB citizens were NOT allowed to speak after they'd heard the staff or CRA Directors talk about the two matters on the CRA Board agenda or even what they wanted to do, only BEFORE anything was ever said or publicly presented.

So in this respect, Sanders' disrespectful remarks to the public at large as well as the ones in the room sitting before him was entirely in keeping with the bad reputation he's earned over six years for NOT being smart, prepared or attentive to detail at meetings, but rather oblivious and inarticulate, and that's putting it mildly.

NOT that the South Florida news media ever publicly mentions this self-evident fact about Sanders when they show up -if they show up.

Yes, after witnessing the stunts Sanders pulled at last week's CRA meeting, you seriously wonder how in the world he ever fooled so many people into voting for him when you see how truly clueless he is, and unwilling to accept personal responsibility for his own actions and words.

So clueless, that when actually presented with a golden opportunity for two easy lay-ups, Sanders balks and plays defense for Mayor Cooper and Comm. Alexander Lewy, neither of whom want a full public accounting for where all those HB CRA dollars went while they -and Sanders- were the majority of the City Commission, and playing Santa Claus.

-----


Commissioner Sanders,
I am very disappointed in the outcome of Wednesday night’s HB/HBCRA Board of Directors meeting. There were two very reasonable, common sense changes to the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee (JLAC) response and both failed due to the lack of your support. Comm. Julian and Lazarow not only talked the talk, they walked the walk. They needed your support to succeed but they did not get it.     
The first one was to request JLAC to perform a complete audit of the HBCRA and return any money improperly spent to the CRA Trust Fund.
It is in the best interest of every resident of the CRA district. You would want every penny put back into the CRA Trust Fund which was improperly spent by anyone. How can you NOT support that?
Knocking on doors last fall, when I asked, hundreds of residents could not name any significant results of the 70 million spent by the CRA in the last 15 years. Apparently you do NOT want to know and you do NOT want anyone else in the CRA district to know where all the money went. Can you explain to why?
The second item you did NOT support was to ask the Florida Attorney General for an opinion as to the proper type of expenditures a CRA can make using CRA funds according to Chapter 163 of the Florida Statutes.
The question is, do you want the CRA to function as a Community Redevelopment Agency or something the Mayor or City Manager decides to function as? You do not support the motion to reduce the City Manager’s spending authority of 25 or 50 thousand dollars. Detailed financial reports are not on the City’s web site. We do not know most of the details what is going on at City Hall. We find out most details by chance.
Do want the CRA to function as the Mayor’s “cookie jar”? If she likes you, if you go along with her, you get a few cookies. If she does not like you, you get nothing with a dose of abuse. The anger and the poisonous venom coming from her voice over the phone last night is telling of her and her management style. Maybe you did not want to face that music?     
If I was in your shoes, I listen to what the Florida Attorney General has to say, not only the “hired guns” of the Mayor. Remember, AG’s opinion is free and carries a lot of weight.
I do not have to tell you that the battle for better government does not stop here. There are just too many good people working very hard to make the long needed changes in Hallandale Beach. I am sorry to see that you do not seem to one of them.
I do not want to sound overly harsh or accusatory toward you but you must understand the frustration I feel about the way our city’s leadership is treating us and handling our affairs.
Sincerely,
Csaba Kulin 

No comments:

Post a Comment

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.