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.

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
THE $3.4M ECC BUILDING IS LEASED 10 YEARS FOR $1.00
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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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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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.