From the p.o.v. of Hallandale Beach's beleaguered citizens & taxpayers, Friday morning's crucial meeting in downtown Fort Lauderdale of the Oversight Comm. of Broward's Inspector General was uniformly great, even when HB CRA Attorney Steven W. Zelkowitz spoke, since it's what Zelkowitz didn't say or couldn't admit -and that WAS mentioned by my friend and former HB Commissioner Keith London and myself- that was most telling.
Along with the comments of the Oversight Comm. members themselves and IG John Scott and his Chief Counsel, in what was the most open and fairly-run meeting I've ever been to in South Florida the past ten years.
(HB CRA Director Rosemond was also present, but did not speak publicly.)
Even though absent from the proceedings, Hallandale Beach's obnoxious, thin-skinned and anti-democratic mayor Joy Cooper was the Broward pol whose name was mentioned MOST
over a period of about two hours -and not in a good way!
Just like the name "Hallandale Beach" was repeatedly used as an example of what NOT to do in these things.
And all the negative things that were mentioned all came under the reign of Mayor Cooper.
I especially love the idea that it came out during CRA Attorney Zelkowitz's comments that Mayor Cooper sent the Oversight Comm. a letter re the Broward IG.
But guess who Mayor Cooper DIDN'T send a copy of her THREE-PAGE letter to.
Yes, the IG's Office.
When I spoke, I told everyone present that this was no mere oversight, it was entirely intentional by her, and that the mayor wanted the IG and his staff to be blindsided by it at the meeting.
Instead, though, Mayor Cooper's self-serving stunt completely backfired on her.
Not that much of the South Florida news media actually bothered to show-up to the Broward County Govt. Bldg. to report on what transpired, which was entirely in keeping with how things have been down here for years, as the Sun-Sentinel still has NOT mentioned the HB CRA scandal in an editorial, six months after the IG's inch-and-a-half thick Final Report alleging and proving "gross mismanagement" was released.
But your faithful blogger was there, and did I ever get a wheelbarrow's worth of facts and nuggets to share!
It was also NOT a good day for the anti-IG Broward League of Cities and their hardcore and permanent crew of longtime apologists and paid consultants throughout the county, who continue to want to allow themselves the freedom to continue to misrepresent what's really going on with ethics in this county and what the IG's Office is doing, but also continue using municipal taxpayer dollars to pay attorneys to tell them what exactly they want to hear, instead of simply following the spirit and letter of the law.
Or as one of the learned members of the Oversight Comm. put it, it seems like Broward cities love using taxpayer dollars to "shield" themselves, but there's no reason for that to continue any longer.
(So, remind me again why South Florida's news media refuses to go after the Broward League of Cities and ask for meaningful transparency from them on how much they receive every year in taxpayer money from each and every Broward city, and show from any of the many examples they could choose, just how that money is continually used in ways that are fundamentally against the best long-term interests of their own citizens, and rather FOR the benefit of career politicians, including lobbying against their own citizens? Oh, right.
The South Florida news media doesn't want to do that.)
More details on all this will be coming out in the coming days on the blog, along with photos and video on Monday and Tuesday, including answering the question of who the unexpected people were who showed-up with Mayor Cooper when she twice had to testify under oath and answer questions from the IG's office over the past year.
The answers to that surprised members of the the Committee and left some of them -and most of the audience, even the Broward League of Cities types- shaking their heads in bewilderment at Mayor Cooper's efforts to deny, deny, deny.
In retrospect, I could NOT have scripted it better myself from the point of view of frustrated HB citizens FINALLY getting some highly-relevant and meaningful and provable facts out in the open for everyone to know, esp. among such well-known people as those on the committee.
And, of course, into the record!
If only members of the JLAC in Tallahassee could have been there to hear some of the damning testimony, and litany of inconvenient facts concerning HB's CRA and the invisible oversight of its millions by Mayor Cooper and her loyal Rubber Stamp Crew, suddenly being uttered aloud.
C'est al vie...
But next week some time, I will send them some excerpts of what was said and let's see them try to ignore the stone cold facts uttered by people who know them like the Inspector General knows them.
The proof is in the pudding, and the case has never been more stronger that JLAC needs to come thru for citizens in our city so we can finally find out where the $80 MIllion has gone the past 10 years.