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

Saturday, 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 

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August 2016 update about above: As I could have predicted, once again, the fake candidate failed to file the appropriate paperwork and fee with the City of Hollywood, and so his name will NOT appear on ballot.
Hallandale Beach Blog is where I try to inject or superimpose a degree of accountability, transparency and insight onto Florida and local Broward County government and public policy issues, which I feel is sorely lacking in local media now. On this blog, locally, I concentrate my energy, enthusiasm, anger and laser-like attention on the coastal cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood and Aventura.

If you lived in this part of South Florida, you'd ALREADY be stuck in stultifying traffic, paying higher-than-necessary taxes and continually musing about the chronic lack of accountability among not only elected govt. officials, but also of city, county and state employees as well. Collectively, with a few rare exceptions, they couldn't be farther from the sort of strong results-oriented, eager work-ethic mentality that local residents deserve and expect. But seldom if ever see...

This is particularly true in the Broward County city I live in, the City of Hallandale Beach, north of Aventura and south of Hollywood and right on the Atlantic Ocean. Here, the "Perfect Storm" of years of apathy, incompetency and cronyism are all too readily apparent. Sadly for its beleaguered residents, HB is where even easily-solved, quality-of-life problems are left to fester for YEARS on end, because of myopia, lack of common sense and ineffective supervisory management. It's a city with tremendous potential because of its terrific location and well-educated populace, yet its citizens have almost become numb to HB City Hall's frequent outrages and screw-ups, the result of YEARS of the worst kind of mismanagement and lack of foresight. On a daily basis, residents and Small Business owners wake up and see the same old problems that have never being adequately resolved by the city in a logical and responsible fashion, merely kicked -once again- further down the road for others to solve in the future.

I used to ask myself, not always rhetorically, "Where are all the enterprising young reporters who want to show that through their own hard work and enterprise, what REAL investigative reporting can produce?" Hearing no response, I decided to start a blog of my own that could try to do some of these things, taking the p.o.v. of a reasonable-but-skeptical person seeing the situation for the first time with fresh eyes, and wanting questions answered in a honest and logical way that citizens have the right to expect.

Hallandale Beach Blog intends to be a catalyst for positive change in public policy and goivernment engagement. If there's one constant gripe in South Florida, regardless of your age, race, nationality or political persuasion, it's about the fundamental lack of PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY of Florida's state, regional and local govt./agency officials, elected and otherwise. Hallandale Beach Blog aims to be a small step towards regaining some of that needed accountability, whether it's thru shining some well-needed public scrutiny on the issue or pol, or requires a higher degree of follow-up investigation and public exposure of the incompetency, cronyism or negligence -South Florida's usual governing style.
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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.

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!

#Södermalm

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

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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

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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!

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As seen in my July 31st, 2013 blog post titled, "Which European country has the most attractive citizens?" Sweden won in a landslide with almost four times as many votes as second-place France, with Spain third and Norway fourth. Yes, seeing is believing!; Norwegian.com's non-stop flights from Fort Lauderdale to Oslo start in 4 months! :) http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/2013/07/boredpandacom-poll-of-europeans-asked.html