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 and Europe, especially the UK 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.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Has FL House Rep. Joe Gibbons been secretly lobbying for approval of Gilbert Benhamou's (incompatible) 2000 S. Ocean Drive condo project on the beach that comes up for approval tonight? I'm told the answer is YES

The following is an email of mine that went out earlier this week to the Usual Suspects that comprise my grapevine throughout the Sunshine State of Florida.
It concerns some subjects that have been much-discussed here on the blog over the years: the nexus of the traditional linchpins of South Florida real estate development, lobbying and ethics.
I know, you're shocked -shocked!
Even more shocked that it involves our own erstwhile carpetbagger of a state rep, Joe Gibbons. 

Hallandale to vote on luxury condo tower planned for beach
By Susannah Bryan, Sun Sentinel
April 1, 2014
http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2014-04-01/news/fl-spa-to-condo-drama-hallandale-20140331_1_luxury-condo-tower-tallest-tower-proposed-tower
-----
As you read Integrity Florida's Dan Krassner's email below about more proof that Florida legislators cater to the powerful, ask yourself, what is State Rep. Joe Gibbons doing?

As we all know from first-hand experience with him, just has long been the case too with Hallandale Beach Comm. Alexander Lewy, Gibbons loves nothing so much as to propitiate on behalf of influential people 
who can help him later politically.
That's who they are.

So, is Joe Gibbons secretly lobbying people in and around HB City Hall to approve the 2000 S. Ocean Drive project -where the The Regency Health Spa is now- that comes up for approval tonight's 6:30 p.m. City Commission meeting?

13.  RESOLUTIONS/PUBLIC HEARING

A.     A RESOLUTION OF THE MAYOR AND CITY COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF HALLANDALE BEACH, FLORIDA, APPROVING THE MAJOR DEVELOPMENT PLAN (APPLICATION # 88-13-DB) FOR THE PROJECT KNOWN AS AND LOCATED AT  2000 SOUTH OCEAN DRIVE, IN SUBSTANTIALLY THE ATTACHED FORM, IN ACCORDANCE WITH ARTICLE V, SECTION 32-782 OF THE CITY OF HALLANDALE BEACH CODE OF ORDINANCES, ZONING AND LAND DEVELOPMENT CODE, APPROVING THE ASSIGNMENT OF 32 RESIDENTIAL FLEXIBILITY UNITS IN ACCORDANCE WITH ARTICLE III, DIVISION 2, SECTION 32-157 OF THE ZONING AND LAND DEVELOPMENT CODE; PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE AND FOR ALL OTHER PURPOSES. (STAFF: PLANNING AND ZONING MANAGER) (SEE BACKUP & BACKUP FOR ITEM #13.B. & #14.A.) (Staff ReportSupporting Docs)

ITEM #13.A. WILL BE HEARD IN CONJUNCTION WITH ITEM #13.B. & #14.A.

B.     A RESOLUTION OF THE MAYOR AND CITY COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF HALLANDALE BEACH, FLORIDA, APPROVING AND AUTHORIZING THE CITY MANAGER TO EXECUTE THE DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE CITY OF HALLANDALE BEACH AND GPH REGENCY, LLC., FOR THE PROJECT LOCATED AT 2000 SOUTH OCEAN BOULEVARD, IN SUBSTANTIALLY THE SAME FORM AS ATTACHED HERETO AS EXHIBIT 1; AND PROVIDING AN EFFECTIVE DATE. (STAFF: PLANNING AND ZONING MANAGER) (SEE BACKUP & BACKUP FOR ITEMS #13.A. & #14.B.) (Supporting Docs)

ITEM #13.B. WILL NE HEARD IN CONJUNCTION WITH ITEM #13.A. & #14.A.

14.  RESOLUTIONS/CITY BUSINESS

A.     APPLICATION #143-13-FV, FOR A VARIANCE TO CHAPTER 8, ARTICLE III, FLOOD DAMAGE PREVENTION, SECTION 8-74, ADMINISTRATION, OF THE CITY OF HALLANDALE BEACH CODE OF ORDINANCES, TO CONSTRUCT THE BUILDING PROPOSED AT 2000 SOUTH OCEAN DRIVE EASTWARD OF THE COASTAL CONSTRUCTION CONTROL LINE (CCCL).  (STAFF: PLANNING AND ZONING MANAGER) (SEE BACKUP & BACKUP FOR ITEM #13.A. & #13.B.) (Supporting Docs)

A well-informed person tells me that that is precisely the case.
Which calls to mind Recommendation #1 from the Krassner email below:
Apply uniform ethics rules for legislators and local officials.  If local officials are banned from legislative lobbying, then apply the same rules to legislators lobbying local officials.

If what I have been told is true, and I believe it is, shouldn't Joe Gibbons' name be appearing on the city's official lobbying list, and since that is his profession, he'd be well-acquainted with the rules, right?
Yes, it should be appearing there. 
But it's not.

Well, would you be surprised if I told you that the city's own Lobbying list -on its website- hasn't been updated since before Christmas, over three months ago?

That is to say, last updated prior to the developer's proposed Plat being rejected by the HB Planning & Zoning Advisory Board?
And before it was rejected yet again by the P& Z Board a few weeks ago, to the consternation of the developer and his crew of highly-paid professionals?

No, you wouldn't be surprised because I've written so many times previously over the years on my blog and via emails about how consistently inattentive the City of Hallandale Beach has long been to meeting and following the letter of Florida's Sunshine Laws, and actually making sure that all appropriate public 
information is transparent, ACCURATE and made public ASAP.
NOT updating that list for three months is none of those things.

But if it is NOT on the Lobbying list, and it isn't, shouldn't Joe Gibbons name at least be appearing on the city's official Visitor list then, since that covers interactions regardless of where they occur?

Yes, IF the letter and spirit of the law meant anything in this city.
IF this city was well-managed and there was a genuine fidelity to following laws among the powers-that-be at HB City Hall, elected and otherwise.
But here in Hallandale Beach, as I can personally vouch for, that is NOT the case.
The very city that continues to act like they were/are above the law by continuing to use the photos and images of mine they stole and have been using illegally for nearly four years, including on the front of the official city map, without my legal permission or paying me one cent, is proof positive of that.

It's time for the news media to start asking Joe Gibbons some hard questions about his stealthy lobbying style and the sorts of curious deals he has tried to strike for himself.
Maybe someone in the news media should ask the Board of Directors at the Parker Plaza condominium complex what sort of deal Gibbons had with them.

I've heard tell that Gibbons was so cocky that he was practically spending the keep-quiet money already before the developer decided that they couldn't afford the price Gibbons and the Parker Plaza folks wanted. 

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Dan Krassner <dan@integrityfl.org>
Date: Mon, Mar 31, 2014 at 7:10 AM
Subject: Report: Energy industry exerts outsized political influence in Florida


Nonpartisan government watchdog group Integrity Florida released a research report titled  "Power Play: Political influence of Florida's top energy corporations".

Click here to read the report.
Click here to read the press release.

The findings conclude that, increasingly, the Florida Legislature sets its agenda and policy outcomes based on the needs of large political donors rather than the public interest.  In one recent example, the sitting state senate president openly explained his position on a public policy issue as supporting whatever one major campaign donor tells him to support.  A large Budweiser distributor contributed nearly $300,000 to political candidates and committees aligned with Senate President Don Gaetz and had the edge on its smaller craft beer industry competitors.

A similar pattern exists for the energy sector in Florida where the Florida Legislature maintains a traditional, regulated monopoly-utility model.  This report examines the political influence of the state's four largest electric utility companies: Florida Power & Light, Duke Energy (formerly Progress Energy), TECO Energy and Gulf Power.

These four corporations registered, on average, one lobbyist for every two state legislators each legislative session between 2007 and 2013.  For the last five election cycles, these electric utilities were among the largest donors to state-level campaigns in Florida.

In the same period of time, the policy wins for the four electric utilities included rate increases for customers, legislation that allows early cost recovery for nuclear facilities that have not been built, the defeat of a proposal that would have increased electric bill transparency and the removal of consumer-friendly state regulators who opposed two proposed rate hikes. 

Summary of Research Findings  
  1. Major campaign donations.  Electric utilities contributed more than $18 million to state-level candidates and party organizations between the 2004 and 2012 election cycles.
  2. Significant lobbying.  Lobbying spending by Florida's four largest electric utilities was more than $12 million between 2007 and 2013.
  3. Revolving door and cronyism.  Electric utilities have made a point of hiring former state regulators and have employed the firms of several sitting state legislators.
  4. Higher electric bills for consumers.  Floridians have faced higher electric utility bills from each of the four corporations examined in this study in recent years.
  5. Anti-consumer regulations.  The Florida Legislature and the Florida Public Service Commission routinely side with electric utilities rather than consumers. 
Summary of Policy Reform Recommendations  
  1. Apply uniform ethics rules for legislators and local officials.  If local officials are banned from legislative lobbying, then apply the same rules to legislators lobbying local officials.
  2. Put inspector general reports online.  Inspector general investigative reports and audits should be posted online by the Florida Public Service Commission and all state and local agencies.
  3. Put gift and client disclosures made by all state and local officials online.
  4. Require additional disclosure for political donations from government vendors and companies regulated by the Public Service Commission.
  5. Establish electric bill transparency.  Unbundle bills with detailed disclosure of rate components.
Sincerely,   



Dan Krassner
Co-Founder and Executive Director
Integrity Florida


Ben Wilcox
Research Director
Integrity Florida  

 
Integrity Florida is a nonpartisan research institute and government watchdog whose mission is to promote integrity in government and expose public corruption.  More information at www.integrityflorida.org
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Yes, YEARS after he should have, in what is an obvious ploy to somehow inoculate and ingratiate himself to voters in advance of the Broward County Commission race against former Hollywood City Commissioner Beam Furr next year, after so many years of Gibbons consistently insulting the intelligence of the concerned residents of south Broward County and being an invisible presence, esp. in Hallandale Beach.
And he compounds this by being, not incidentally, one of the least-effective legislators in the area, since Joe Gibbons is nothing if not the very picture of a knee-jerk politician.
Gibbons actually has the unmitigated gall and ego to think that his personal and political ambitions are more important in the larger scheme of things than the truth, which is that the citizens of this part of the county and state are entitled to be represented in government by someone who actually lives here -all-the-time- not less than eight months out of the year.
The citizens of this area deserve to be represented by someone who puts THEIR best-interests first, not his own! Joe Gibbons is the wrong man at the wrong time and he will NOT be missed after he loses next year. 
-----
Sun-Sentinel video: Joe Gibbons responds to residency accusations.

"I don't think it's right that I'm being kind of dogged like I have been by people who don't have my best interests at heart,'' said Gibbons.
You're right, I don't have YOUR best interests at heart, I have the community's.

The Southest Broward community that I live in whose residents you have lied to and mis-represented for so many years.

You, with your non-legislative job not in Broward or South Florida but up in Tallahassee working as a lobbyist for a powerful and influential law firm.

Color us unimpressed by you putting this community's best-interests LAST on your list of priorities for years, even while you drew a government paycheck purporting to represent us.

You may've fooled all the lazy and indifferent reporters and columnists in Tallahassee and South Florida who didn't care about FL legislators actually living where they are supposed to, like the Sun-Sentinel's Michael Mayo recently admitted in his own column, but we have been totally hip to your serial lies and intentional misrepresentation all along, Joe Gibbons.

So start making plans now to move up to Lakeland next summer and joining your dysfunctional family that has indulged your personal ego and overweening political ambition.
You and your serial lies and your weird dysfunctional family obviously need more quality time together to bond!
So, this community, the one you consistently put LAST, is going to give you the boot and give you the time to do just that!

------
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
County commission candidate — and his wife — say Broward is his home
Gibbons defends against residency questions
By Brittany Wallman, Sun Sentinel
August 25, 2013
He lives in Hallandale Beach. His wife spends most of her week in Lakeland. Their 4-year-old twins live their lives in Jacksonville. This is the family of Joe Gibbons.
The state representative and his wife spoke out this week, telling the Sun Sentinel that Gibbons spends most of his time in Broward County. Skepticism about where the 64-year-old lobbyist and Democrat hangs his hat has dogged him since he married a Jacksonville lawyer five years ago and the couple subsequently had twins.

Read the rest of the story of a pol coming to terms with his serial lies to his constituents at

A reminder: From things I've personally seen and observed, I believe that there's still yet another big shoe that will drop on Joe Gibbons this year.
If everything checks out as it seems to as of now, I hope to be one of the persons dropping that big shoe on him sometime before Christmas.
Christmas is the time for giving after all!

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Cityline on A1A and the beach
Where Hollywood meets Hallandale Beach on State Road A1A, Hyde Beach Resort & Residences meets the iconic beach ball-colored Water Tower

Hallandale Beach City Hall

Hallandale Beach City Hall
May 30, 2017 photo by SouthBeachHoosier
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Me in the Summer of 2016

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Above, me in June, pre-recent haircut, near acres and acres of orange groves off Scenic U.S. #17 in Frostproof, FL, while visiting hot/humid Central Florida, which I'm convinced is where heat/humidity goes in the Summer to get away from it all... The oppressive heat & humidity there is literally everywhere you go. :-(

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"In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation." -South Beach Hoosier, 2007.

North Miami Beach Senior High School, the Home of the Chargers

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Before I was a Hoosier, I was an NMB Charger, Class of 1979.