From a month ago but still applicable:
Local10: Mayor wants $52K fine against Gulfstream Park waived
No vote taken on waiving fine at Hallandale Beach budget meeting
By Bob Norman, Reporter, bnorman@Local10.com, and Ben Candea, Senior Web Producer, email@example.com
Published On: Oct 04 2013 06:13:16 PM EDT
Updated On: Oct 04 2013 11:51:10 PM EDT
This blog post today was an email an hour ago that soon got sent all over the city, county and state. In fact, I made a point of sending it up to Tallahassee to someone who has been outside the blog's view and sphere-of-influence up until now, the Chair of the Florida Senate's Gaming Committee, Garrett Richter, whose name makes me think of an NFL player from the 1960's.
It represents the follow-up to my last two posts on Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino and the building code fines they have tried to get out of paying, with the moral atta-boy support of Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper.
Who, of course, is supposed to be representing the interests of HB citizens, not the parties that break its laws and rules.
In case you need a quick catch-up, here they are
November 8, 2013
Another completely unnecessary night of confusion, finger-pointing and buffoonery at Hallandale Beach City Hall. Agenda item re Gulfstream Park Race Track's $52k fine for Building Code Violations is deferred, but only after it became clear to one and all that execs at Gulfstream Park prefer to deal only with their pal, Mayor Cooper, not the ENTIRE elected City Commission, as the 4 other members find out about the deferral roughly 24 hours after Cooper; article & video re proposed Pegasus Park at Gulfstream Park; @DRFInsidePost, @HRTV, @raypaulickhttp://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/2013/11/another-completely-unnecessary-night-of.html
NOVEMBER 5, 2013
On Wednesday night, Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper has to defend her freelancing, breaking of city's rules in order to help her friends at Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino with bldg. code fines they EARNED. Again! Her campaign contributors, Gulfstream Park, must really love her "Special Rules for Special People" form of advocacy, but why does she save her energy & love for a multi-million dollar company instead of insisting they follow the law and finally fix up their appearance problems?
Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino will try to weasel their way out of a $52k bldg. code fine tonight -one they EARNED the old-fashioned way- and Mayor Cooper will be rooting them across the finish line; Pegasus Park; Hallandale Beach's shenanigans with 2014 Parks Bond issue to use money for purposes other than Parks -surprise!
This will take place tonight at the same Hallandale Beach City Commission meeting where GP will pat themselves on the back for their little-understood Pegasus Park project, for which they seem to have all of two renderings of, and none of which shows what this 11-story statue will look like from the nearest main road, U.S.-1./South Federal Highway.
That's a fact I discovered when I asked about that at the HB Planning & Zoning
So,. something the size of the Statue of Liberty will be erected less than a block from U.S.-1 and they can't provide the public any image or idea of what it will look like from the perspective of 99% of the public who ever see it?)
There is no recorded history of any Hallandale Beach citizen or HB-based property owner
ever getting such a large fine waived. EVER.
I didn't make that fact up, the city staff says as much in their own background docs, below.
This is especially troubling given the unrepentant repeat offender track record of Gulfstream Park, whose past behavior and avoidance of paying legitimate fines is contained in the city staff's documents.
So given all this, WHY are Mayor Cooper and the HB City Commission poised to waive the entire building code fine when Gulfstream Park has ZERO extenuating
circumstances to explain or justify their actions in starting a project of this size and scope without permits?
Why do you suppose the State of Florida also fined them?
Personally, I'd like to know where the records are that detail the communication trail between
between Gulfstream Park execs and Mayor Cooper, who seems to have conveniently
forgotten -again- that under this city manager-run form of govt. this city operates under,
and the city's own rules of administration, Mayor Cooper is NOT to interfere with the everyday running of the city.
But she did.
She did so by acting like an unpaid lobbyist for Gulfstream Park, trying to make the case for why city employees should, in effect, ignore what they saw and heard, and then later in the day, wearing her mayor's hat, trying to cram a huge fee waiver down the Commission's throat, a month ago,
That came at the end of an already far-too-long night meeting -where Comm. Sanders
was, apparently, no longer even present at?
Talk about adding insult to injury!
Yes, at the end of a long night meeting where mere minutes after the mayor revealed her own embarrassing (but not to her) role in this unethical matter, she immediately wanted a vote on a waiver without providing any documents for the commissioners to read or make sense of, and that in any case, was never properly noticed and placed on the public agenda.
Yes, that would be the same meeting where she tried to waive the STATE'S fine, too. (Thank you for remembering!)
14. RESOLUTIONS/CITY BUSINESS
Also tonight, agenda item #13A is the replat of the very controversial property at 2000
S. Ocean Drive, which drew HUNDREDS of residents to an early September community
meeting at The Hemispheres, 99% of whom publicly opposed it when they spoke because
of what it does to the area, the beach and to them.
When it came before the HB P&Z Board, it was overwhelmingly rejected.
If you haven't heard, the city also seems to have some three card monte shenanigans in store for tonight for the so-called Parks Bond issue that won't even go before HB voters
until next year -in August, not November, for purely parochial political reasons.
A RESOLUTION OF THE MAYOR AND CITY COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF HALLANDALE BEACH, FLORIDA, DECLARING THE CITY'S OFFICIAL INTENT TO REIMBURSE ITSELF FROM THE PROCEEDS OF TAX-EXEMPT OBLIGATIONS FOR CERTAIN CAPITAL EXPENDITURES TO BE MADE BY THE CITY, WITH RESPECT TO THE MAIN FIRE STATION, PUBLIC LAND ACQUISITION, AND PARKS AND RECREATION CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS (COLLECTIVELY REFERRED TO AS THE "PROJECT"); AUTHORIZING CERTAIN INCIDENTAL ACTIONS; AND PROVIDING AN EFFECTIVE DATE. (STAFF: CITY MANAGER) (SEE BACKUP) (Staff Report, Supporting Docs)
It appears the city wants to borrow money from it despite it not having even been approved
yet, in order to build a new Fire Station HQ in NW, which, as it happens, will NOT be
centrally-located but will be off of a one-way road where the smallest percentage of the
city actually lives -13%.
You tell me, if this was such an important priority, why hasn't the city properly planned for that
construction for years by having budgets that actually reflect that need?
Not mentioned in the city's own documents -what happens if HB voters go thumbs-down on the Parks Bond issue, as seems likely right now based on my many conversation around town, given citizens' well-earned reservoir of anger at the city for refusing to construct a Parks Bond issue that is for Parks Only, as public testimony made clear over the years, which I and they would support.
But what we will NOT do is vote for a new slush fund for Mayor Cooper and the HB City
Commission and the city's high-paid staff to use under the pretext of fixing the parks and instead see those funds funneled into their pet projects involving cronies, while neglecting
the long-neglected parks which are the source of so much embarrassment in this city, owing to Mayor Cooper and the City Commission's own longstanding myopia and benign neglect.
Taxpayers paid millions of dollars for the Old Dixie Highway property a block from City Hall
to make that a public park, and yet over four years later, there's still nothing there.
Mayor Cooper needs to stop wearing so many hats when she is only supposed to be
wearing one in this city, and stop running interference for her friends who owe the city and
its citizens $52,000 in fines.