Above, my photo of Hallandale Beach City Hall Complex, August 7, 2011. Back when the lights on the city's monument sign actually came on at night.
My blog post of this afternoon is a follow-up to several blog posts of the past few several months on several important and related matters, including:
a.) the issue of the current and past financial state of the Hallandale Beach CRA, but especially since its creation, given the millions of dollars that can not seem to be accounted for and the Broward inspector General's scathing report on it earlier this year alleging "gross mismanagement" of it by the HB CRA Board of Directors (City Commission) and high-ranking city officials;
Above, the sort of headlines you can get and expect when, despite great citizen opposition, you use your position on the CRA Board to force the HB CRA to give the publishers -who make $200k a year in salary- a $50,000 CRA loan every year, despite the fact that they DON'T actually cover any legitimate news going on in the city, not even at City Hall.
But they do give you, the real head of the HB CRA Board, Mayor Joy Cooper, a "column" for you to spread your ill-considered nonsense and propaganda. Yes, that's right, The South Florida Sun-Times, the faux newspaper that DOESN'T even do Letters to the Editor.
So how exactly does that eliminate blight in this city?
b.) the effort by concerned Hallandale Beach residents, taxpayers and small business owners to get an honest and independent audit of the HB CRA by the Broward County Auditor, and then by the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee in Tallahassee;
c.) the way that Public Records Requests are dealt with in this city and specifically, my request of a few months ago for text messages between Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper, City Manager Renee C. Miller and Cooper pal and Broward lobbyist, Judy Stern, and their collective efforts to lobby and cajole Broward County Manager Bertha Henry and the elected nine-member Broward County Commission to prevent an audit from taking place as Hallandale Beach taxpayers wanted, so they can finally know where the millions of dollars really went for years with no real oversight or accountability;
d.) the city's longstanding anti-democratic and anti-taxpayer attitude and past track record of consistently attempting to hide relevant and germane public records from its citizens as long as they could, however they could, and the pernicious and negative effect that continues to have on the city and its citizens, as in this case, it appears on the face of it that the city is attempting to use AT&T as defensive bulwark against having to turn over public records that may prove embarrassing or difficult to justify if made public by Cooper, Miller & Stern.
For those of you who are new to this issue -that would be Channel 4/CBS4, Channel 6/NBC6, Channel 7/7 News and Channel 10/Local10, the Miami Herald, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, et al- or who've forgotten some of the pertinent details, you may want to re-read Tom Lauder's spot-on piece about this very matter from July,
Media Trackers Florida
Hallandale Beach Mayor Fails to Report Texts to Lobbyist During Meeting
By: Tom Lauder
July 31, 2013
So, after all that, here's my email to Hallandale Beach City Clerk Sheena James this morning about these matters.
A lot of information to absorb be sure, but much of it familiar to many of you and it has the added advantage of connecting-the-dots that nearly everyone in a position to help this community's citizens have consciously refused to do, despite all the years of accumulated evidence all around us in this city, and what is -and isn't- over at HB City Hall.
They merely have to open their eyes.
I also note for the record that the CRA Board never publicly voted to give approval to Miller and Zelkowitz to appear and speak at the Broward County Commission meeting of June 4th on behalf of a policy that disadvantages HB citizens, taxpayers and small business owners.
A federal judge said Wednesday that the Environmental Protection Agency may have tried to evade a Freedom of Information Act request and added that “numerous inconsistencies” in the agency’s court filings “undermine confidence in their truthfulness.”
As a result, Judge Royce C. Lamberth granted the conservative Landmark Legal Foundation, which filed the request for e-mails of current and former top EPA officials, the right to question them in person and in writing.
“The possibility that unsearched personal email accounts may have been used for official business raises the possibility that leaders in the EPA may have purposefully attempted to skirt disclosure under the FOIA,” Lamberth wrote.