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 and Europe, especially the UK 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.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Chaz Stevens' latest blog post is a reality gut-check for the State of Florida re their lax enforcement of rules and laws re municipal CRAs, including where he lives in the Grand Duchy of Deerfield Beach, where bureaucratic self-enrichment is a tradition, not a rumor

Welcome to the Hallandale Beach CRA! The familiar, graffiti-filled view greeting visitors looking south on U.S.-1/Federal Highway near the very dumpy-looking eastern entrance to the Mardi Gras Casino and Dog Track -the former Hollywood Dog Track- just two blocks south of the Hollywood cityline on Pembroke Road. Sure, why care about how shabby things have looked for years on one of the three main roads in the city when the CRA Board isn't going to spend any CRA funds there, but only in NW Hallandale Beach -where 13% of the city lives- despite the fact that the CRA also includes residents in NE, SE and SW, covering a majority of the city, including the area where HB City Hall is located. Yes, that's how the CRA here rolls. October 2, 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Chaz Stevens' latest blog post is a reality gut-check for the State of Florida re their lax enforcement of rules and laws re municipal CRAs, including where he lives in the Grand Duchy of Deerfield Beach, where bureaucratic self-enrichment is a tradition, not a rumor

And in Hallandale Beach, where pointed criticism of spending tens of millions of CRA dollars with little to show for it years later is something that City Hall and the mayor who's been in charge just shrugs off, the reality that they'll waste millions more just to score and secure political points IS staring everyone in the face. 
But who's doing anything about it? 

On Sunday Chaz painted just the latest portrait he's done over the years of Broward County CRAs in action, in this case, from his vantage point on the far north side of the county, thus proving that the City of Hallandale Beach CRA in southern Broward, under duplicitous Mayor Joy Cooper, doesn't have the market to itself on dubious nonprofit logrolling, crony capitalism and bureaucratic self-enrichment.

(Though to be sure, Cooper's fervent efforts and those of her Rubber Stamp Crew to funnel what could be millions of scarce CRA dollars onto small parcels of land located on a one-way street that DOESN'T generate much traffic -and that her own neighbors would NEVER visit no matter what is actually built there- instead of being smart and faithful to the law's original intent and actually spending those funds in a way that'd actually eliminate blight, and bring new jobs to the CRA at prime spots on main streets with lots of traffic like U.S.-1 and Hallandale Beach Blvd., does bear much more public scrutiny from the local citizenry and press corps than it's gotten up to this point, requiring as it does some actual legwork and showing-up once in a while.)

And, of course, as we learn everyday, it's not just in Broward that CRAs and the elected officials who run them are ignoring the spirit and letter of the law of the original CRA enabling legislation in Tallahassee intended to eliminate blight, because there's everything -and then some- that's been going on for years in New Smyrna Beach, too, which we last chronicled here on May 1st:

Local FL news coverage that is making a positive difference: In another FL city beset with egregious examples of CRA ethical shenanigans and rampant crony capitalism, Volusia County publisher Henry Frederick takes his responsibility to the community seriously, and asks hard questions about public ethics, government accountability and journalistic credibility. His fact-based straightforward questions are blunt when necessary: Is the Daytona Beach News-Journal protecting New Smyrna Beach Mayor Adam Barringer? And if so, why?; @NSBNEWSnet

So, with all that as helpful predicate and palate cleanser for our main course, here's Chaz's piece from Sunday, complete with a great photo of the scene-of-the-crime:

MAOS blog
By Chaz Stevens 10/06/2013 

So the Deerfield Beach CRA is buying property for an over-inflated price, property with no actual CRA purpose, and then leasing it back to the City? Why?
Because they have the gall to try and seemingly nobody with any real power in this state has the will and resolve to try to stop them.
So why would they stop on their own? 
They won't until someone or something stops THEM.

Anyone in the future writing the history of the endemic anti-taxpayer sentiment and municipal public corruption in South Florida of the past 30 years will have more than enough material to choose from and will necessarily have to have several chapters on an era where cities and CRAs acted like they were a combination of robber barons, 1920's Florida land speculators and Robert Moses.

But even that wasn't enough for some city's CRAs, so they proceeded to not only walk up to the line of what is permissible or justified, but then brazenly jumped that line and openly dared anyone in the state to do anything about it, including anyone in Tallahassee.
They facilitated this process by hiring only CRA attorneys who would tell them exactly what they wanted to hear, at hundreds of dollars an hour.
And some people speculate that even includes CRA attorneys trying to figure out how the CRAs could avoid having to comply with Public Records Requests under Florida's Sunshine Laws and having to disclose (embarrassing) public records, and even blaming third-parties like AT&T for the failure to comply.
Yes, CRAs acting exactly like well-connected members of an organized crime group and CRA attorneys acting like old-style mobster lawyers.

And yes, you're right, again, that sort of mentality sounds more than a little bit like exactly what has been going on for many, many years in Hallandale Beach.
And remind me again, this effort of the CRA in Deerfield Beach Chaz describes eliminates blight how, exactly?

To quote the newly-revised editions of Shakespeare: "Rotten...Denmark...CRA...Broward County...Florida..."

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#HOLLYWOODFL based photographer and entrepreneur Esther Chuang with Hollywood Mayor-elect Josh Levy

Thumbs up! What a night! #HOLLYWOODFL based photographer and entrepreneur Esther Chuang with a very elated Hollywood Mayor-elect Josh Levy at his Victory Party, held at Leo Anato's Atelier3/AT3 on Harrison Street & S. 19th Avenue, Hollywood. AT3's great environment and the amazing variety of food prepared by chef Kevin Dreifuss, former owner/chef of ENDS MEAT restaurant, was SUPERB! November 8, 2016

Esther Chuang, Morro Dois Irmãos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2015

Above, perhaps my most-favorite photo ever of Esther, which is really saying something considering the THOUSANDS that I've actually seen of her, from all over the world. But despite the fact that you can't actually see it here, trust me, her amazing smile and inner and external beauty are there. This photo is an even more amazing achievement when you know the backstory of what it took for Esther to get to the top of the mountain, since it's NOT for the faint of heart. Next time you see her, ask her about that! Morro Dois Irmãos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on her birthday, July 10, 2015. That's the Christ The Redeemer statue way out in the horizon on the top of another mountain, to the left of her head. �� In case you forgot what the Christ the Redeemer statue looks like, up close, here's another Brazilian beauty to connect-the-dots for you: Gisele Bündchen, aka @Gisele.

Abençoado por Deus e bonito por natureza!✨ ������

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View of Rio De Janeiro from my room.

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"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase." - Martin Luther King, Sept. 1962. #MLK I was a young kid living in #Memphis with my family that April night in 1968 when we returned home from a trip to #McDonalds and like so many nights before, I raced to the TV set in the living room to beat my two younger sisters to be the one who turned on the TV. As my parents walked in and settled down on the family couch, to see what was on TV, literally, within one minute, came the Breaking News that Dr. King had been shot elsewhere in the city. And the news only got worse as the night went on as news soon confirmed that Dr. King had died as a result of the assassination attempt, and soon there was widespread looting and violence in Memphis, the very things he had adamantly opposed. Eventually came the news that the city was under curfew, and sometime before midnight, because my family lived in a new-ish apt. complex that was on the same road as the nearby Armory, my parents and I and many of our neighbors watched in silence from the sidewalk/curb as tanks driven by members of the mobilized National Guard drove towards downtown Memphis, because the city's powers-that-be had decided that this would show the people who was boss. As my mother tells the story, one of my neighbors remarked on the irony of U.S. Army tanks being used to try to stop violence by Americans who were upset about the murder of a great man who had won the #NobelPeacePrize. It was the first time I remember ever hearing this strange word: #irony.

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When you leave but bring the spare key because it is yours to keep.

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2 0 1 7. I made new mistakes and old ones again. I learned things I didn't know and I things I had already learned the hard way but needed to repeat either way. I fell in love again and again, with the same man, and realized that is the way to do it. I stopped thinking life happened to me and started enjoying taking control of what tomorrow would entail. I wrote even when it hurt and I apologized even when they didn't. I almost gave up but woke up and stood up and spoke up and didn't budge and moved on and forgave myself for not always knowing what to do. I decided the most important thing is to be proud of who I become and to make sure she is someone to be proud of. All I truly have is the opportunity to be whoever I want to be, and knowing that is everything.

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I'm not the only poet in this relationship ❥

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The boyfriend of Mikaela -Malin and Jennifer's sister- wrote above: "Honey, you are my everything, my dream, my imagination, my reality, my future. Sounds like something that I would write to someone special -and have!
FYI: There are 10 photos below, including a rare one of yours truly!