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, September 6, 2013

Crime and (No) Punishment in Hallandale Beach: Observations on Rachel Mendleson's spot-on Toronto Star article on January's double-homicide of a Toronto-area couple in the Three Islands neighborhood of Hallandale Beach, which remains unsolved 8 months later. I still believe the Hallandale Beach Police Dept. has done a very poor job of engaging in outreach and making it as easy as possible for the community to access relevant info about the case that could prove helpful, just as HBPD and HB Crime Watch completely botched public outreach in 2010 following the disappearance of HB resident Lynda Robin Meier, who has never been found. Just like others at HB City Hall, HBPD continues to never learn from experience

Below, excerpts from my email of Thursday afternoon to certain concerned residents of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood and people in South Florida and Tallahassee with an interest in public affairs in Southeast Broward County, plus selected news reporters who know a story when it is staring at them from a silver platter I've handed them.

Canada's largest daily newspaper, the Toronto Star, has an update today, below, on January's double-homicide of Toronto-area snowbirds in the Three Islands neighborhood of Hallandale Beach.

Toronto Star
Unsolved Hallandale Beach Florida murders leave family ‘broken’: Exclusive
Toronto snowbirds Rochelle Wise and Donny Pichosky died eight months ago; their son is issuing a plea for help in solving the case.
By Rachel Mendleson, News reporter
Published on Thu Sep 05 2013
At first glance, it was almost as though nothing had changed.
It was late March, more than three months after his mother and her husband were killed in their Hallandale Beach condo, and Jamie Wise was in Florida for Passover.
The investigators had finished collecting evidence. They told him he could visit the scene.
Read the rest of the article at:

Some of you recall receiving emails from me in Stockholm a few days after it happened when I first read about it online on my trip, asking what-if-anything was known and whether there was actually a rapid public information outreach campaign taking place in the general area, or, was it the usual HBPD routine of chasing-its-tail, as was the case with the Lynda Meier 
disappearance in 2010, which got me so angry because HBPD and HB Crime Watch -then led by Alexander Lewy before he was elected a City Commissioner months later-
didn't even do the bare minimum you'd expect in such a case, or routinely seen done in a TV drama or film.
Things we have a reasonable right to expect.

Just 2 of the 4 blog posts on that case 

Yes, that jaw-dropping 2010 fiasco where the HB Police Dept. NEVER put up ANY flyers
at ANY of the dozens of parks, restaurants, retail stores, parks that residents visit daily, in the days immediately after Meier's disappearance, where a possible witness may've been found.
Not one.

They NEVER even so much as put one up at next door City Hall, but sure as hell, there was a 
taped missing poster for someone's pet at the time, right next to the front door of the Police Dept.. 
But not for Lynda Meier.

Yes, I still have THAT incriminating photo of the missing pet flyer at City Hall, just 
like I still have the photos of all the dozens and dozens of storefront windows that had nothing in them about this missing HB resident, even though store/restaurant owners and managers that I personally spoke to in-person all over the city unanimously said they'd have put one up IF the HB Police Dept. or HB Crime Watch had merely asked them to.
But they NEVER asked!

And where exactly was the HB Crime Watch crew under Alexander Lewy, who 
never said anything the least bit critical about what Thomas Magill was doing or saying -or not doing- all those years when he was police chief, and alive?
Sitting on their ass!

They sure the hell weren't passing out flyers at the busy intersections or stores 
or restaurants we know from the released video of her car driving west on U.S.-1, like would be done in other cities across the country in the first 72 hours, when time is of the essence in looking for her and any prospective witnesses.

As some of you know from my past emails -and by my standards- a very short blog  post in February,
for months I've publicly criticized the HB Police Dept.'s communication efforts to the public of info/photo of this "person of interest" at Venetian Park that was NOT immediately visible (and available) on the city's website, as would be common in most cities.

The HBPD, the HB Police Chief and the HB City Manager won't say why it was made so intentionally difficult for the public to even find that photo -and still is, eight months later- on the very, very remote chance they even saw something or knew something, given that the video shows such a small area that was perhaps barely visible to anyone walking thru the parking lot in front.

So, knowing how very tenuous and short people's memories are for even important
things, much less, fleeting things that they did NOT connect to the murders, why did
it take 4 months before flyers with relevant info were ever seen on bulletin boards around
town at popular places, like at Panera Bread, one of few places in town with a bulletin board?

And why were there no visible displayed flyers in the neighborhood in the weeks and months
afterwards even while you could, with some looking, still find flyers for lost pets?
Not even near the so-called security gate to Golden Islands on Atlantic Shores Blvd.
I NEVER saw a single one -and I was actively looking for them, as many of you know  
from past conversations.

Is it any wonder that as is being reported here, HBPD has NOT had a new lead or tip in a month when their initial public outreach efforts were so feeble?
This is the same crew that would NOT allow a HB City Commissioner to attend a meeting of
the complex's residents.
A City Commissioner who only lives a few blocks away and far closer to the scene of the horrible crime than anyone else on the City Commission.

Why did so many WEEKS pass between that initial meeting, mentioned by every local TV
station and newspaper, and when that photo was actually made public thru a press conference and actually placed on the city's second-rate website, albeit, NOT right where you could see it, but rather requiring you to jump thru 3-5 more hoops and links to see it. 
IF you knew what you were doing!

Precisely the wrong way to do something that would actually
help HBPD resolve the case by pointing them in the right direction.

Selected excerpt below is from my email to the woman outside of HB who
was in charge of reviewing HBPD's documents re accreditation, which many
of you have seen before in prior emails.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, Jun 6, 2013 at 7:00 PM

Follow-up re Hallandale beach Police Dept. accreditation

...On May 13th,  I went over to Panera Bread, a place that I usually go about twice a week, but which I hadn't been to for over a week due to my busy schedule.

The public bulletin board in that restaurant used to be full all-the-time, but for whatever reasons, starting just before the election thru the last week, has attracted few flyers or public notices.
Since that place is very popular, and that bulletin even more so, it was very noticeable to my friends and I, but who can say why it was suddenly so bereft of info?

Anyway, after got my coffee and bagel and the coffee was too hot to drink, as usual, I placed them down at a table near a friend and walked back to see if there was anything on the bulletin board, and what do you suppose I found?

Yes, almost FOUR MONTHS after it would've mattered and might've actually done some positive, two HBPD flyers re the twin murders from January suddenly appeared out-of-the-blue.

Since I'm a familiar face there, I asked some employees there how long the flyers had been up and it was just as I described -they were put up sometime within the previous few days, when I hadn't come by.

But the two victims were killed on January 9th, so why did it take almost FOUR MONTHS for HBPD to place the flyers in a place that is one of the single most-popular places in town, and located within a mile of the
murder site at Venetian Park?
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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.
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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


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)


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.