November 1st, 2013
If any FL state legislator you have recently spoken to has told you, either flat-out or strongly implied, that they have made clear their desire for there to be a JLAC-authorized audit of the HB CRA, as the official response I received from Tallahassee Thursday afternoon makes clear, those state legislators are NOT being honest with you.
There are 140 elected state legislators in Florida and not a single legislator among the bunch has had either the backbone or initiative to directly contact JLAC's office and publicly declare their public support for this community's desire to find out where the $80 Million in CRA funds has really gone the past ten years.
So you might ask, where ARE the four state legislators that represent Hallandale Beach in Tallahassee, and why are they still in hiding on this issue, and not stepping-up to represent their constituents and get the facts on such an important issue?
Well, since you asked, as you'll recall from my previous email on this matter, state Sen. Eleanor Sobel and state Sen. Oscar Braynon II have lined-up firmly on the side of protecting the flank of the very woman who is most directly-responsible for the mess that combines the very worst aspects of corruption, crony capitalism, incompetency, indefensible public policy and consistent lack of oversight and accountability, Mayor Joy Cooper.
As for Braynon, well, my sense of things in talking to the people who are the most-involved in this community is that Braynon is so little known and seen in this city that he is far more rumor than reality, a fact that should not go unnoticed or unremarked upon by others.
As for state Rep. Joe Gibbons and state Rep. Shevrin Jones, well, like members of an Old West bank-robbing gang, they are currently hiding in plain sight from their own constituents within the safe confines of the hip pocket of Hallandale Beach mayor Joy Cooper and her lobbyist pal, Judy Stern.
To be brought out whenever these two women find it convenient and serve as props that insulate them from any moral or legal responsibility and incoming fire from legislators, the media and the public.
Sorry to say it, folks, but there's your late-2013 snapshot of the 'Profiles In Courage' of your members of the Florida legislature. They are exactly what they appear to be.
And after you've finished pondering that question, that is, how we can be represented by so many people who show so little concern about such an important issue, ponder something else: Where is Broward County Commissioner Barbara Sharief?
The handful of times I've personally interacted with her she's always been friendly, engaged and willing to speak honestly about what she thought about a particular issue or situation, even if it was an unpopular opinion.
Which is all to the good I think.
But here's the thing.
I've probably sent Comm. Sharief and her staff a few dozen emails over the past two years re the HB CRA, each one full of facts, first-hand anecdotes and the city's very own troubling and inexplicable words and docs that painted the picture of the longstanding mess it's been in, doing little public good while greatly profiting a small handful of people with connections to HB City Hall.
Even if only because of those emails I sent her, Comm. Sharief knows -or should know- much more than most of the reporters who've written about this subject, the few who have
I would argue that my sending those emails to her was entirely appropriate given that most of the incompetency, corruption, and general shadiness with the HB CRA took place in -wait for it- her District.
So given all that, what has Comm. Sharief actually said or done the past two years to show that she's actually looking out for HB taxpayers and small business owners on this matter involving, I remind you, tens of millions of dollars?
Comm. Sharief and her staff have NEVER responded to any fact-filled email of mine that specifically dealt with the HB CRA over the past two years.
Comm. Sharief was NOT present at the Broward County Commission meeting in June when former HB Commissioner Keith London and current Comm. Michele Lazarow spoke honestly and plainly about the longstanding need for this community to finally have an honest and thorough audit.
Yes, an honest accounting for what has taken place in the past that will assure HB residents.
To no avail.
Despite having the better part of two years to say or do something that was in any way supportive of the effort for the people of Hallandale Beach to finally get the truth, Comm. Barbara Sharief has said and done nothing.
Are HB residents, taxpayers, small business owners -and voters- supposed to ignore that inescapable fact?
I think not.
Why are local TV/print reporters and other bloggers NOT directly asking the five of them to explain themselves on this issue, and say why they are sticking it to the people of this community, and, frankly, actually seem to be supporting the very people who are directly responsible for this financial scandal, as Sen. Sobel and Sen. Braynon have made clear for everyone with their condescending tone in their letter to JLAC telling them NO AUDIT.
If you feel inclined, here's how you reach them:
Braynon's District Office: 606 NW 183rd Street Miami Gardens, FL 33169 (305) 654-7150
Sobel's District Office: The "Old" Library First Floor 2600 Hollywood Blvd. Hollywood, FL 33020 (954) 924-3693
Gibbons' District Office Suite 203, Pembroke Park Town Hall 3150 SW 52nd Avenue Pembroke Park, FL 33023-5413 (954) 893-5006
Jones' District Office 1965 South State Road 7 West Park, FL 33023-6733
Sharief doesn't list a district office on her website, only her main office at the Broward County Governmental Center, 115 S. Andrews Ave., Room 410 Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
Joint Legislative Auditing Committee (JLAC) is physically located at 876 Pepper Building,
but their mailing address is 111 W. Madison Street Tallahassee, FL 32399-1400
(850) 487-4110 email@example.com
Those are the facts as of 2:00 p.m. on November 1st, 2013.
It's up to you to change the dynamic now or we will never find out where that $80 Million in CRA funds really went.
On a happier note, there are still lots of very talented people in this world whom you have never of -until now- who have bright futures ahead of them, and one of those persons is Miriam Bryant
Steve Layton YouTube Channel: Miriam Bryant sings the DuBose Heyward/George Gershwin classic from Porgy & Bess, "Summertime" on the August 10th, 2013 broadcast of SVT's "Sommarkväll" at The River Cafe, Göteborg, Sweden.
As seen in my October 30th, 2013 blog post re Miriam,
Hallandale Beach is on both the ocean and on the Intracoastal, so why in the year 2013 do we NOT have even one restaurant like the one shown in Miriam's video, The River Cafe in Göteborg, Sweden?
That's why there are elections that carry genuine consequences.
Something similar-but-smaller in scale that allows the public to actually be able to see and feel the water should already be in the works on the south side of the Intracoastal bridge, next to where The Related Group's project The Beachwalk is being built now.
But it isn't, is it? Nope.
Another missed opportunity for Hallandale Beach.
I've removed the email addresses below for obvious reasons and replaced by name with initials.
The Committee has not received any written requests, either for or against an audit of the Hallandale Beach CRA, since the September letter from Senators Sobel and Braynon.
Kathy DuBose, Coordinator
Joint Legislative Auditing Committee
Sent: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 1:44 PM
To: Dubose, Kathy; White, Deborah
Subject: FW: Attn: Kathy DuBose -re prospective audit of Hallandale Beach CRA by JLAC
Sent: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 1:00 PM
Subject: Attn: Kathy DuBose -re prospective audit of Hallandale Beach CRA by JLAC
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, Oct 30, 2013 at 1:00 PM
Subject: Attn: Kathy DuBose -re prospective audit of Hallandale Beach CRA by JLAC
To: Joint Legislative Auditing Committee
October 30th, 2013
Dear Ms. DuBose:
Just wanted to follow-up on my previous email of two months ago and your response of Sept. 9th regarding the possible audit by JLAC of what I and so many other Hallandale Beach citizens believe has been an ineffectual and poorly-managed Hallandale Beach CRA for
so many years.
To date, has the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee received a request FOR or AGAINST an audit of the Hallandale Beach CRA from any member of the Legislature, other than the September 16th letter AGAINST an audit co-written by Sen. Eleanor Sobel and Sen. Oscar
There have been no media reports in South Florida of any kind the past six weeks on this issue, to say nothing of anything publicly from the two state senators who are supposed to represent the citizens of this community, who have borne witness to the millions of CRA dollars that have gone out the door with nothing tangible to show for them, not the very people directly responsible for doing so.
I just wanted to know what the scoreboard is looking like as of this afternoon.
Thank you in advance for your assistance!
I've added these links to earlier Broward Bulldog articles to give any new readers of the blog some sense of perspective that's not written by me:
"Hallandale finds allies amid aggressive response to county’s request for CRA documents." I'll have a lot more on this matter and our angry and vindictive Mayor Cooper soon.
Hallandale finds allies amid aggressive response to county’s request for CRA documents http://t.co/m1XbloJBnb
— Broward Bulldog (@BrowardBulldog) September 25, 2013
Broward opens broad inquiry into misuse of property tax dollars by CRAs; millions at stake
Broward opens broad inquiry into misuse of property tax dollars by CRAs; millions at stake http://t.co/bl39juxy0D
— Broward Bulldog (@BrowardBulldog) September 12, 2013
Hallandale Mayor sends multiple texts to Lobbyist during Broward Commission meeting
Hallandale Mayor sends multiple texts to Lobbyist during Broward Commission meeting http://t.co/521M2hD7Fa @browardpolitics @Buddynevins
— MediaTrackersFL (@MediaTrackersFL) July 31, 2013
Defiant Hallandale commissioners reject call for new legal opinion on CRA spending
Defiant Hallandale commissioners reject call for new legal opinion on CRA spending http://t.co/9FySftQ2L6
— Broward Bulldog (@BrowardBulldog) July 11, 2013
Hallandale may seek Attorney General opinion on CRA spending; statewide impact seen
Hallandale may seek Attorney General opinion on CRA spending; statewide impact seen http://t.co/90rfgM2gxt
— Broward Bulldog (@BrowardBulldog) July 9, 2013
Hallandale diverts millions from CRA’s budget to pay for non-redevelopment programs
Hallandale diverts millions from CRA’s budget to pay for non-redevelopment programs http://t.co/Pn7GVcJqBi
— Broward Bulldog (@BrowardBulldog) July 6, 2013
Hallandale Mayor & Commissioners fail to document contacts w/ lobbyist Judy Stern
Hallandale Mayor & Commissioners fail to document contacts w/ lobbyist Judy Stern http://t.co/pa28Lpwjpt @browardpolitics @Buddynevins
— MediaTrackersFL (@MediaTrackersFL) June 27, 2013
Unhappy Broward commissioners want more control over city CRAs
Unhappy Broward commissioners want more control over city CRAs http://t.co/a6207ZuNEl
— Broward Bulldog (@BrowardBulldog) June 12, 2013
Lobbyist Judy Stern uses texts to thwart Hallandale CRA investigation
Lobbyist Judy Stern uses texts to thwart Hallandale CRA investigation florida.mediatrackers.org/2013/06/10/hal… @browardpolitics @browardbulldog @buddynevins
— MediaTrackersFL (@MediaTrackersFL) June 10, 2013
Legislature asks Hallandale for answers about CRA spending; Subpoenas land at city hall
Legislature asks Hallandale for answers about CRA spending; Subpoenas land at city hall browardbulldog.org/2013/06/legisl…
— Broward Bulldog (@BrowardBulldog) June 10, 2013
A problematic model: Hallandale Beach CRA under city manager’s thumb
A problematic model: Hallandale Beach CRA under city manager’s thumb j.mp/13xk92t
— Broward Bulldog (@BrowardBulldog) May 15, 2013
Broward Auditor looks at Hallandale Beach CRA with eye toward recovering misspent funds
By William Gjebre* BrowardBulldog.org
The Broward County Auditor’s Office has begun looking into whether Hallandale Beach should be required to repay some of the millions in tax dollars allegedly misspent due to “gross mismanagement” by city officials.
Broward Auditor looks at Hallandale Beach CRA with eye toward recovering misspent funds j.mp/11ysUve
— Broward Bulldog (@BrowardBulldog) May 13, 2013
Broward Inspector General: Hallandale leaders don’t know what they’re talking about, By William Gjebre* BrowardBulldog.org. The Broward Inspector General’s final report on the “gross mismanagement” of millions in tax dollars by Hallandale Beach is sharply critical of city leaders it says have shown a “basic misunderstanding” of what’s gone wrong.
Broward Inspector General: Hallandale leaders don’t know what they’re talking about browardbulldog.org/2013/04/browar…
— Broward Bulldog (@BrowardBulldog) April 23, 2013
New post: Legislative Involvement in Administration: Problems in Broward County, FL tinyurl.com/9ykrjeb
— City Ethics (@CityEthics) October 3, 2012