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.

Friday, September 13, 2013

In Broward County, CRA numbers just don't add up - Broward Bulldog has latest news re Broward County Inspector General's office opening a broad line of inquiry into misuse of property tax dollars by CRAs, including Hallandale Beach's, "with millions at stake"; #audit, #stonecoldfacts, @MayorCooper

Above and below, northbound U.S.-1/Federal Highway as City of Aventura and Miami-Dade County becomes City of Hallandale Beach and Broward County, alongside Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino and Village at Gulfstream Park retail complex. August 28, 2013 photos by South Beach Hoosier. © 2012 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.
In Broward County, CRA numbers just don't add up - Broward Bulldog has latest news re Broward County Inspector General's office opening a broad line of inquiry into misuse of property tax dollars by CRAs, including Hallandale Beach's, "with millions at stake"; #audit, #stonecoldfacts, @MayorCooper
Sent out this email this morning to all Friends of the Blog and "all the ships at sea" in Hallandale Beach, Broward County, and in Tallahassee, Florida Governor Rick Scott and FL CFO Jeff Atwater, certain select Florida state Senators and members of the Florida Joint Legislative Auditing Committee...



CRA numbers that just don't add up -FYI re Broward Bulldog: Broward opens broad inquiry into misuse of property tax dollars by CRAs; millions at stake

Yes, it seems like only yesterday that I'd been up half the night penning one in a series of emails to Governor Scott about what's been going on for YEARS at Hallandale Beach City Hall with the CRA Board and its very highly-paid, tone-deaf staffers repeatedly taking advantage of this city's taxpayers and small business owners to further crony capitalism and pure political patronage as best they could, using the cover of fighting social ills like "blight," the word that you never ever hear uttered at HB City Hall.

Yes, the very same characters at HB City Hall who have an annual Visioning meeting to discuss their individual and collective thoughts and strategies towards the spending of taxes and CRA funds, not that facts matter a great deal.

They call it a public meeting, but they prefer a public that is seen and not heard, since in this city, the public can't ask questions or ask for clarification or even make suggestions at it, forcing citizens to just sit and observe for hours on end while reality takes a long holiday.
http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/2013/03/visioning-and-public-participation.html

But in this case I'm thinking of, my email to Gov. Scott wasn't from yesterday, it was March, six months ago:
http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/2013/03/my-open-letter-to-florida-governor-rick.html

The next time you hear someone in Broward County, like one of the usual "experts" or pundits or maybe a self-interested lobbyist like Mayor Joy Cooper's supercilious pal, Broward lobbyist Judy Stern repeat the Conventional Wisdom in this county that nobody really cares about ethical behavior, transparency and accountability in Broward cities, except a handful of people, just keep this in mind.

As of Friday September 13th at 2:55 a.m., in the 48 weeks since I first wrote my October 15th 2012 post titled, "Ethics? Not for us! Follow-up to my post re Hallandale Beach's unethical "business as usual" attitude, with "special rules for special people" if they are named Joy Cooper, Bill Julian and  Anthony A. Sanders; What ethics? What rules? @MayorCooper, @SandersHBit's been seen 51,134 times at  
http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/2012/10/ethics-not-for-us-follow-up-to-my-post.html

Yes, that's more than a thousand page views a week and more than the total population of this city, even during "the season."
Imagine that! 

That total doesn't even include the number of people who saw it the day it was first posted, when it was the default post of the blog. 
That's a lot of people who now know a lot more facts about the truth regarding the corruption, unethical conduct and plain old incompetency that have been commonplace in Hallandale Beach all these years while Broward State's Attorney Mike Satz and his staff did NOTHING to help us.
Just saying...

And now on to today's featured attraction...
-----


Broward Bulldog
Broward opens broad inquiry into misuse of property tax dollars by CRAs; millions at stake
By William Gjebre and Dan Christensen, BrowardBulldog.org
September 12, 2013 AT 6:29 AM

---------- Forwarded message ----------

Date: Tue, Sep 10, 2013 at 1:33 AM
Subject: FYI re Latest news re prospective audit of Hallandale Beach CRA by JLAC
Cc: "Scott, John W." <InspectorGeneral@broward.org>

Well, after making a phone call this afternoon to JLAC's office up in
Tallahassee,
I received the response below.

Now we at least have some documentation proving who this community's real friends in Tallahassee are -and aren't- these days, and who's just been feeding us lip service about rallying to the cause of giving Hallandale Beach citizens their long overdue accounting of where the HB CRA millions were really going for years, while nobody at HB City Hall was performing
anything close to the level of genuine oversight and scrutiny that was demanded -or which HB taxpayers, residents and business owners had a reasonable right to expect.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: JLAC <jlac@leg.state.fl.us>
Date: Mon, Sep 9, 2013 at 4:04 PM
Subject: RE: re prospective audit of Hallandale Beach CRA by JLAC
Mr. Smith:

To date, the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee has not received a request for an audit of the Hallandale Beach CRA from any member of the Legislature.

I apologize for the slow response. After your call today, Debbie mentioned your email on August 19th, but neither of us recalls seeing it before.

Kathy

Kathy DuBose, Coordinator
Joint Legislative Auditing Committee 
___ 
Sent: Monday, August 19, 2013 12:34 PM
To: JLAC

Subject: re prospective audit of Hallandale Beach CRA by JLAC

Monday August 19th, 2013
12:30 p.m.
To Whom It May Concern:
As of this morning, has the Florida Joint Legislative Auditing Commission received any correspondence from the following state legislators formally requesting that JLAC perform an audit of the Hallandale Beach CRA: Sen. Eleanor Sobel, Rep. Joe Gibbons and Rep. Shevrin Jones?
Living here, and being very involved in the effort to get your Committee to do one so that
citizens of this community can finally get the financial answers that we have long been
denied, I can tell you that there are no media reports of any of the three of them doing so,
thus far, so I just want to get confirmation of that fact.
Thank you for your assistance! 

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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, 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.
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/

Paradise Lost? South Florida

Paradise Lost? South Florida
TIME magazine of November 23, 1981: Paradise Lost? South Florida . Click photo to see original article.
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.

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.

#Södermalm

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

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!

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.

Congratulations Sweden - 200 years of peace! Solveig Rundquist (@RundquistS)


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

Which European country has the most attractive citizens?

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