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.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Smart word-to-the-wise re the Matt Cooper problem for Hallandale Beach-area residents/voters/business owners 10 weeks before November's General Election

Yes, it's getting to be that time of the election cycle again: time for election signs to start cropping up for the November General Election on November 4th
Or in the case of the person shown above and below, time to start removing political signs erected by other Hallandale Beach citizens, employing their Constitutionally-protected right to express their opinions. You see, Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper's son, Matt, is NOT so crazy about that right of free opinion and dissent.
Especially when we "dissent" against his mother.


Smart word-to-the-wise re the Matt Cooper problem for Hallandale Beach-area residents/voters/business owners 10 weeks before November's General Election

Do you recall this email and blog post of mine from November 11, 2012? 

If not, or you never read it in the first place, please read it again...

Hallandale Beach's Midnight Vigilante is no Paul Revere! Caught in the act: Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy 
Cooper's son's Midnight Ride of campaign sign-stealing -on Election Day!; Anything goes now in HB -even political intimidation- as Broward IG & Broward SAO sleepwalk while laws & ethics are repeatedly laughed at by pols in power; @MayorCooper, #FDLE, @myfloridalegal, @fbi.gov
http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/2012/11/hallandale-beachs-midnight-vigilante-is.html

So, in the "Lessons Learned" Dept., here's where we stand: After Labor Day, if you ever see serial social misfit Matt Cooper hanging around your home, property or business that has a political campaign sign
located somewhere on it, especially at night, please be sure to grab either your cell phone or camera ASAP and make sure that you take some quick photos of him in action -for evidence.
And obviously, don’t forget to take photos of his getaway vehicle, esp. the license plate! 

And before you ask, I'm not sure if he's still using a vehicle with a very large New York Yankees "NYT" logo on the back window, as was the case in 2012.

If you've read any of the articles that have previously been written about him, you already know that Matt Cooper has a track record of bending the rules and breaking the law, and using the name of his

mother, Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper, as both a shield and a sword against both law enforcement and the community's own sense of decency.


BrowardPalmBeach NewTimes
"My Mother Is the Mayor; I'll Spit All Over Your Kids," and Other Tales From Hallandale Beach 
By Stefan Kamph 
Mon., May 16 2011 at 8:43 AM
http://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com/pulp/2011/05/hallandale_beach_matt_cooper_spit_on_your_kids.php

(As many of you know from fact-filled anecdotes that many longtime HB residents have told us over the past ten years, apparently, he's not even the only male in the family who acts like he's "golden" -and an "Untouchable.")

Of course, things being the way they are now here in Hallandale Beach -and have been for years- where clear-cut rules, ordinances and laws have been and continue to be routinely ignored or winked at because of
who’s violating them, whether that's R.K. Properties or FECR Properties.

RK is treated VERY differently -better- from other property owners and parties in this city, witness their longstanding failure over more than 4-5 years for them to comply and put in the required camera
surveillance warning signs 
regarding their security cameras in their parking lot in front of and adjacent to the Publix Supermarket and the Publix Liquor store at 1400 Hallandale Beach Blvd.


Plus, many of you also know from previous emails and conversations with me this year about other very curious things they've been able to get away with for years at their other Hallandale Beach Blvd. properties that nobody else in the area would be able to get away with -and nothing happens to them. 
Nada!

Then there's what I call the 
Florida East Coast Realty//Jerome Hollo fiasco.
FECR Properties was required to fix their parcel on the SW corner of U.S.-1 and Atlantic Shores Blvd. once they bought it in December of 2012 and return it to its previous state until they began building on it.
Not that I ever believed they would actually build anything on it, having bought it for a song, to the complete surprise of The Mard Gras Casino, and clearly trying to re-sell it for a big profit.
Before I left the area for the summer at the beginning of June, they somehow had been able to get away with NOT complying with the city's so-called rules for 18 months. And counting...

More on that here, in chron order:

February 8, 2013
Friday begins a very bumpy couple of weeks for real estate developer Jerome Hollo and his plan to NOT pay Hallandale Beach taxpayers the $450,000 that Florida East Coast Realty owes them. And a storm is coming...
http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/2013/02/friday-begins-very-bumpy-couple-of.html

March 20, 2013
Csaba Kulin sounds the alarm over Hallandale Beach City Hall's aggressive attempts to prevent HB citizens from knowing just how much taxpayers will be paying the Police under their new union contract and how they arrived at those figures; HB City Commission's First Reading on this item is tonight at 6:30 p.m.; decision on waiver of $450k in fines owed by Florida East Coast Realty to be decided tonight
http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/2013/03/csaba-kulin-sounds-alarm-over.html

April 19, 2013
Wither Florida's Sunshine Laws? Part II: Investigating the continuing dysfunction, lack of appropriate disclosure of public information and the generally imperious anti-citizen attitude at Hallandale Beach City Hall under Mayor Joy Cooper; Yet MORE on the City of Hallandale Beach's failure to comply with legally-required public disclosure/lobbying laws, as well as the accuracy and timeliness of public records on HB's own website; Lobbying records that are supposed to be timely and accurate are TWO MONTHS old, making any pretense of genuine lobbying disclosure a joke; @MayorCooper
http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/2013/04/wither-floridas-sunshine-laws-part-ii.html

Yes, sometimes, sadly-enough, an oft-repeated rhetorical question for those of us living in Hallandale Beach to pose to the mirror is, "Is there any end in sight to HB City Hall's attempt to give away money to people and groups who neither deserve it nor who've done anything to honestly earn it?"
You'd almost think there were gushing oil wells behind Hallandale Beach City Hall, bubbling-up Texas Tea.

So, it's not like there aren't already plenty of successful predicates in this city for groups and individuals trying to get away with things when they have access to power or influnce, and similarly, Matt Cooper has continued to get away with his self-evident uncivil behavior, time-after-time.


In case you’ve never seen them before, just for some context, the photos of him in that link at the top of this email were taken just a bit after Midnight on Election Day 2012, less than seven hours before polls opened-up around the city.
He is photographed just moments after he’s been caught stealing someone else’s campaign signs and placing them into his getaway vehicle.
That is to say, he was caught stealing campaign signs of people opposed to his mother’s autocratic reign of ruin, where as well know so well, countless opportunities and incalculable amounts of money have been routinely wasted over the years so that Mayor Cooper could get her way on some policy or decision, despite the great cost to the rest of the community via their wallet and present and future Quality-of-Life.

In the next 10 weeks, if you spot Matt Cooper trying to illegally remove campaign signs from your property or that of your neighbors or friends -or attempting to deface one- DON’T bother to call the Hallandale Beach Police Dept., since they’re unlikely to lift a finger -and may well give you static for your trouble.
Instead, please email me your photos, along with the date, time, and any relevant circumstances/context, along with your contact info and names of any other witnesses, and I’ll follow-up with you ASAP.

I'll make sure that the concerned residents and small business owners of our community who make it their business to care about such things, get word about it in a timely fashion.
And, of course, I’ll also make sure that the so-called legal authorities who are supposed to deal with this sort of matter get all the relevant facts and are made to do their job -instead of ignoring the facts like they did 21 months ago- so that an appropriate punishment can be meted-out to someone who is so clearly used to
getting away with anti-social behavior.
I'll publicly put THEM on the spot to do what they didn't do two years ago -anything.

I'll also let the local news media know all the details they need to know, though we all know from sad experience over the recent years that it's foolish to think that necessarily having a compelling story in
Hallandale Beach involving illegal behavior or undue influence will actually catch their attention, much less, merit any column inches or airtime. Why?
Because it's in Hallandale Beach...

Friday, August 22, 2014

#Bardarbunga #ashtag - Icelandic authorities remain on high alert as #Bárðarbunga volcano area experienced most serious earthquakes of week today. Seismologist quoted in Expressen.se says there's 50% chance of full-scale outbreak, one that that could match or exceed Eyjafjallajokull eruption of 2010; #ashtag










Icelandic authorities remain on high alert Friday afternoon U.S. time as some of the strongest earhquakes of the week have been measured within the past few hours, as the Bardarbunga volcano remains at serious risk of erupting. 
I first started following this story closely on Tuesday after a friend in Sweden emailed me a link to an article in Expressen.se quoting an experienced seismologist named Reynir Bödvarsson said that in his opinion, there's 50% chance of a full-scale outbreak that could match or exceed the Eyjafjallajokull eruption of 2010 that wreaked so much havoc with world travel and had economic consequences that people couldn't have imagined before they happened.
To say nothing of being stranded in another country with limited funds after your plane flight is cancelled, with no idea when you can get home.


Stor vulkan på Island riskerar kraftigt utbrott

While there are currently no signs of magma moving to the surface, within the poast 24 hours the Icelandic Met Office reported: 
"Intense earthquake activity continues at the Bárðarbunga volcano – a situation that has persisted since 16 August. There are no signs that the seismicity is decreasing."

It's Bárðarbunga in Icelandic.

English language updates from the Icelandic Met Office , i.e. weather serviceis here: 
http://en.vedur.is/earthquakes-and-volcanism/earthquakes/vatnajokull/

Live webcam from Bardarbunga: http://vedur2.mogt.is/grimsfjall/webcam/
As you check it out, keep in mind how late the sun is visible there this time of the year, where they are now 4 hours ahead of Eastern Daylight, where I am now.

You can also stay updated on the latests developments while you're on the go via Twitter
at https://twitter.com/search?f=realtime&q=Bardarbunga&src=typd or via @yay_news YouTube's streaming: https://www.youtube.com/user/yaynews

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Long overdue public accountability finally comes to the Broward County Commission: Broward County Commission meetings will FINALLY be available to residents, taxpayers and media online via an archive; no more having to buy DVDs!

When I was at Broward County HQ for various reasons back in February, March and April, nearly every single well-informed County employee I trust and specifically asked about County Manager Bertha Henry's refusal to make video-on-demand happen, this sort of common sense transparency change that many residents assume already exists, told me that they'd "heard" that she was putting her foot down, and would need to be dragged into implementing such a program, no matter how much the elected Commission said they wanted it done or how much concerned citizens like me said we wanted it ASAP, and, by the way, DIDN'T think it was too much to expect in the year 2014.

This didn't surprise me, per se, considering that Ms. Henry -whom I'm no fan of- had previously missed a deadline to inform the Commission and the public about what was going on with this overdue acknowledgement of the 21st Century.
(Dragged because nothing was going on or because she didn't want to appear to be publicly and directly challenging her bosses by refusing to follow their directives???) 

In any case, I was quite surprised to get this bit of positive email today, at bottom
Surprised, but pleased.
Take victories where you can find them!


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, Feb 6, 2014 at 5:39 PM
Subject: Just another in a long line of reasons to fire her: Broward Bulldog update to Browrad County Administrator Bertha Henry's failure to meet County Comm.'s deadline for video-on-demand service for public


Bertha Henry is the same woman in charge who utterly failed to make sure that 
the Broward County Charter Review Comm.'s minutes and documents were online 
on the county's website before the November 2010 election so that residents/voters 
could actually see the accurate background information on the County's charter 
issues that appeared on the ballot; as well as find out why many others did not 
make the ballot and let the people decide, like the idea of a County-wide elected 
mayor of Broward County, just like in Miami-Dade County and Orange County, 
due to parochialism, power politics and behind-the-scenes lobbying by the Broward 
County League of Cities, and most of the county's elected crew.

Getting that information online in time for people to make informed choices is precisely 
the sort of thing that you'd take for granted if you lived in most parts of the country.
But not here.

For those of you who weren't around then, at the time, I wrote a number of blog posts 
about this issue as well as many emails to elected officials and it took forever to get 
them to do the right thing.

This same sort of thing happened with the so-called Courthouse Taskforce that was 
chaired by a Comm. who owned property in the area, and so, was emblematic of a group
of people who were appointed who only wanted a new courthouse, not anyone in favor of 
another solution.
In that matter, the County consistently failed to have the Task Force agendas and 
background documents online before the meetings they held.
Even with the case of the final meeting, that info, which ought to have been placed online 
days before, instead was placed online after midnight of the day of the meeting -hours after 
it took place.

That's how they do things with Bertha Henry in charge.
Don't hold your breath thinking that anything short of forcing her to walk the plank is going 
to get her properly motivated.


----
Broward Bulldog
Broward commissioners tell Henry to come up with a plan for video-on-demand of meetings
By William Hladky, BrowardBulldog.org 

And now... 

From: Stapleton, Margaret
Sent: Monday, August 11, 2014 1:57 PM
To: Sharief, Barbara; Lamarca, Chip; Holness, Dale; Jacobs, Kristin; Wexler, Lois; Kiar, Martin; Ritter, Stacy; Gunzburger, Suzanne; Ryan, Tim; Scavron, Aaron; Flury, Barbara; Rosenberg, Eric; Fields, Gregory; Beckford, John; Bertino, John; Wesner, Kate; Hall, Kathy; Pierson, Kelly; Pauli, Kenneth; Maroe, Kimberly; Carter, Kristin; Scarlette, Lahoma; Carbonell, Launa; Lynch, Lauraine; Wolter, Margaret; Pryde, Mary; Carreras, Megan; Clark, Michael; Goldstein, Norma; Busey, Philip; Yeager, Sandra; Barrocas, Scott; Popiel, Stephen; Hirschman, William
Cc: Directors; Henry, Bertha; Hernandez, Roberto; Cepero, Monica; Cassini, Gretchen; Jefferson, Alphonso; Maroe, Kimberly
Subject: Commission Meeting Archive and Security Updates
Importance: High

Commissioners,

Broward County will formally announce today that, as part of our ongoing commitment to transparency in government, video recordings of County Commission meetings, including Public Hearings and Good and Welfare, will be posted online beginning with the August 12th meeting, and will typically be available for on-demand viewing by noon each Wednesday.  A new and improved Government website, including a new Agendas and Minutes Archive webpage, has been launched in support of the change.


Most of the information on the new website is in “responsive design.” This is a Web best practice that makes content more readily accessible across multiple mobile devices, including Apple and Android smartphones and tablets. Site visitors can:

·         Select a Commission Meeting Viewing Option (live, replay or on-demand)
·         Access New Video Recording Meeting Archive (August 12, 2014 forward) and Action Agenda and Meeting Minutes Archive (from July 23, 1915)
·         View Commission Meeting Agendas and Back-Up Material
·         Subscribe to Receive Agenda Notifications
·         View Current Commission Meeting Schedule
·         Get Information on Signing up to Speak/Requesting Communication Aids
·         Link to Commissioner Websites and/or Find Commission District
·         Access Related Links and Resources
Security Update

Facilities Management is also announcing new security measures beginning August 12th, including the addition of a walk-through magnetometer, used for metal detection. The magnetometer will significantly enhance overall security, and as an added benefit, is expected to speed the security screening process. Room 422 will open at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

Facilities Management reminds employees that while it is important for them to wear their Broward County ID during the workday, it is especially important for any staff attending the meeting or seeking access to Commission Chambers on a Commission Meeting day, to have their Broward County ID with them and prominently displayed. This helps Security readily identify Broward County employees and expedites the screening process; however, all employees and visitors will be screened.

AED (Automated External Defibrillator) equipment is located near every entrance to the Governmental Center and in the elevator lobby area on every floor. An additional unit has been installed in the Chamber. As you face the dais, it is located on the wall to your left. Security personnel and law enforcement within the building are trained on the operation of AED equipment and to perform CPR.



BCLOGO4C
Margaret Stapleton, Director
Broward County Office of Public Communications
115 S. Andrews Ave., Room 506
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
Phone: 954-357-6931
Cell: 954-802-3487

Thursday, August 7, 2014

ICYMI: President Obama's job approval is now at an all-time low of 40%. The U.S. opinion poll about Obama whose negative results were buried by the very TV network who paid for it... Surprise! It's NBC News; Thanks to Fox News Channel's Chris Stirewalt, I know what they were ignoring. @cstirewalt continues the great work at "FOX News First" of finding the news & news nuggets I want to hear more about

The following is from an email that I sent out yesterday, early Wednesday afternoon, to my always-curious and very well-informed crew of friends and associates with a News Junkie gene located around Florida and thw world beyond, who, like me, can't watch and read everything, so you have to pick and choose your times and share what you know, when you can, oui?
In retrospect I really should've blogged it and simply sent an email out with links to it, but sometimes, even after all these years of having a blog and now an ever growing Twitter feed, @hbbtruth https://twitter.com/hbbtruth you don't think of it first at the time.

My post today are my thoughts regarding something I'd read in the FOX News First daily email, which is written by Chris Stirewalt@cstirewalt, which I have previously mentioned here on the blog because of how often I see some interesting facts or anecdotes that I don't see elsewhere.

---
The poll referenced below in the Fox News newsletter that I get in my email inbox every weekday, which was financed in part by NBC News, is the very same opinion poll that last night's NBC's Evening News
conscipuously avoided mentioning last night. Really.


The very last thing that you'd expect, competition being what it is or at least used to be... once upon a time.
No, you would expect that absent some terrible/amazing story that knocks everything else off the lineup, given their direct involvement, the results of the poll would be one of the first 10 news stories reported upon, but it wasn't.
Why do you suppose that is?


That sort of attitude is precisely the sort of thing that only encourages most reasonable people, regardless of their personal or political positions, to doubt the veracity of so much of what they see reported upon -and only encourages them to wonder as I often have on my own blog over the past few years about the increasing number of legitimate news stories I know about taking place in South Florida that are either being consciously ignored, spiked or buried.

Despite all the advances in technology over the last two decades with regards to improved newsgathering equipment that makes it easier than ever to report, in my part of South Florida, more than ever, the stories that are being ignored by the news media greatly outnumber the ones that are actually reported upon in some manner or fashion, no matter how compelling or important they genuinely are.
A muzzled or lethargic press is not the same thing as a free press, no matter how many more instances we see all the time of this discouraging attitude.

-This is just an excerpt- see bottom for whole newsletter
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Fox News First Daily Politics
Date: Wed, 06 Aug 2014 09:51:27 -0400
Subject: Fox News First -- Crisis mode: Obama leadership woes sinking
Dem hopes | Walsh heading for the exits? | Grimes gets a 'Billigan'
from Bubba | Establishment scores, doesn't sweep in primaries | What
cheese?

FOX News First:  August 6
By Chris Stirewalt

CRISIS MODE: OBAMA LEADERSHIP WOES SINKING DEM HOPES

The WSJ/NBC News poll dropped like a bucket of cold water on Washington, where fevered attacks over legislative minutiae and blame-placing in recent weeks has caused politicians to forget what is actually going on. And what’s going on is that Americans are deeply frustrated with their president, his refusal to govern by normal means and his handling of crises at our border and around the world. Foreign policy seldom intrudes into the midterm election discussion, but when the world seems to be falling apart, Americans get anxious and upset with their commander in chief and his party. That’s clearly what’s happening here. Sixty percent of respondents said the U.S. is in decline, only 35 percent were satisfied with America’s role in the world, and just 21 percent said that the next generation would be better off.



The president likes to say that he can act alone on domestic issues, a dubious supposition. But on international affairs, an area in which American presidents have enormous latitude, the situation is dire.
Respondents offered a negative assessment of the U.S. response to the Ukrainian war, the Syrian civil war, the conflict in Gaza, the rise of ISIS and especially the flow of illegal immigrant minors across the southern border. Just 11 percent were satisfied with the handling of the border crisis. Overall, just 36 percent of respondents approved of Obama’s handling of foreign policy, 12 points lower than ahead of the 2010 vote.



The consequences for November are ominous for Democrats. Republicans are in slightly better shape in the generic-ballot test than they were at this point in 2010, the year that a wave election washed away the Democratic majority in the House. The president’s job approval, now at an all-time low of 40 percent in this poll, is 7 points lower than it was four years ago. The reality is setting in that Democratic hopes of
holding the Senate are winnowing, a realization that could turn a bad year into a rout. The president promises more executive action to mobilize base supporters on immigration and corporate taxes, but with numbers like these, Democrats will be increasingly unwilling to hustle for what looks like a lost cause. And the harder the president goes in rallying his base, the deeper he will sink in the estimation of moderate voters who are so fed up with his administration.



-- 90 days until Nov. 4 --


You can read the whole thing here, via Chris Stirewalt's Twitter account:





Friday, August 1, 2014

It's a damn shame that FL House Rep. Joe Gibbons will now have to go to Tallahassee to do his job instead of... avoiding South Florida reporters armed with 'inconvenient facts; Florida redistricting meets Broward County Commission Seat 1 race


It's a damn shame that FL House Rep. Joe Gibbons will now have to go to Tallahassee to do his job instead of... avoiding South Florida reporters armed with 'inconvenient facts' in his continuing attempt to explain away his dreadful record of insignificance in Tallahassee, and longstanding track record of perpetually looking the other way at what was taking place in his supposed "home" of Hallandale Beach under the direction of his friend Mayor Joy Cooper, especially as it relates to the misuse of the city's CRA,with her directing ill-founded schemes that made it an ATM for her political cronies and pals.

When the concerned citizenry of HB publicly proclaimed its genuine desire in 2013 for JLAC to perform an independent audit that would investigate where all the millions in CRA dollars went over the recent past, with Joy Cooper deciding where the money went, as I've written here many times, what did Joe Gibbons do?Nada!

It's also a shame that as soon as the FL House does what they need to do in order to meet the judge's order, regardless of how long it actually takes, Gibbons will inevitably say that there's just "not enough time" left for a no-holds-barred debate with Beam Furr in the HB/Hollywood area, a debate the public wants 
PRIOR to the primary for the Broward County Comm. District 1 seat.

You don't have to be as prescient as me or as familiar with Gibbons' M.O to know that cold, hard facts are NOT and have never been Gibbons' best friends.
Instead, Gibbons will no doubt continue playing the role of elusive rabbit to Furr's measured, fact-based issues campaign that actually compares and contrasts their records.

As it happens, I will have a nice fact-filled blog post next week on the issue of ethics and Joe Gibbons, and as you can imagine, it will deal with his lack of them, even when dealing with the federal government.
Who lies to the feds about something that's so easy to check on? Guess!

It'll feature irrefutable facts and a back-story that you have never read or heard about before.
Yes, think of it as my primary campaign 'contribution.' :-)

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Me in the Summer of 2016

Me in the Summer of 2016
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. :-(

In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation

In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation
"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

North Miami Beach Senior High School, the Home of the Chargers
Before I was a Hoosier, I was an NMB Charger, Class of 1979.