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.
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 amd many other residents feel has been sorely lacking in local media for many years. On this blog, locally, I concentrate my energy, enthusiasm, anger and laser-like attention on the coastal cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood and Aventura, but we keep our eyes and ears open about other places, too, thanks to many well-informed "sources."

If you lived in this part of South Florida, you'd ALREADY be stuck in stultifying traffic gridlock, 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, local government and its bureaucrats couldn't be farther from the sort of results-oriented, strong work-ethic mentality that local residents deserve and expect. Yet 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, right on the Atlantic Ocean. Here, the "Perfect Storm" of years of apathy, incompetency, indifference and cronyism under Mayor Joy Cooper are all too readily apparent. Sadly for its beleaguered residents, Hallandale Beach is where even easily-solved, quality-of-life problems are left to fester for YEARS on end, because of City Hall's myopia, lack of common sense and ineffective supervisory management. It's a city with tremendous potential because of its terrific location and its well-educated populace, the majority of whom long for it to be the kind of quality city it ought to be now, but clearly isn't. Its citizens have become almost numb to HB City Hall's frequent ethics and performance outrages and screw-ups as a result of YEARS of the worst kind of mismanagement and lack of basic foresight and oversight. On a daily basis, residents and Small Business owners of this city 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.

Before I started this blog in 2007, I used to ask myself, and NOT always rhetorically, "Where are all the enterprising young reporters in South Florida who want to show that through their own hard work and enterprise, what REAL investigative reporting can produce?" Hearing no response, I decided to finally 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 demand.

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.

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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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.
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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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Close-up photo of the cute head-turning window display I snapped in 2013 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

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

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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!

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