A common sense public policy overview from David in South Florida, offering a critical perspective on the current events, politics, govt./public policy, sports and pop culture of the U.S., #SoFL and Europe, esp. the #UK, #Sweden and #France, via my life in #Texas, #Memphis, #Miami, #IU, #Chicago, #WashingtonDC & #SoFL. In particular, #Broward & #MiamiDade County, and the cities of #HallandaleBeach, #HollywoodFL & #Aventura. Trust me when I tell you, this part of Florida is NOT the Land of Lincoln.

Photo in upper-left is Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower on State Road A1A, September 2008; March 2018 photo below of HB's North Beach and southern Hollywood Beach, looking left-to-right, looking north, HYDE Condominium, Etaru Japanese Robatayaki restaurant, and Hollywood Beach in the distance, with umbrellas. All photos by me, © Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Observations on the Dysfunction Junction in #HallandaleBeach: Thin-skinned Mayor Joy Cooper orders ineffective Police Chief Dwayne Flournoy to remove political-nemesis Commissioner Keith London from CRA meeting. An ominous portent for any common sense ever seeing the light of day at HB City Hall in 2015, to be sure, but with "reporters" like Sun-Sentinel's Susannah Bryan -who continues to act more like a stenographer who chooses to ignore facts, context and nuance- how would anyone ever find out?

Below are excerpts from two emails I've penned over the past few days that were sent to quite a few Hallandale Beach, Hollywood and Broward County residents, civic activists and small business owners -plus selected elected officials and serious journalists and bloggers in South Florida and throughout the Sunshine State- who, like me and many readers of this blog, are way beyond merely being seriously concerned, frustrated and vexed about the shocking level of the truly incompetent and mismanaged local government hereabouts, plus, the shocking number of incurious south Florida reporters around who seem more lapdog than genuine watchdog... 
Troubling trends that show no sign of abating in South Florida.

I've made a few editing, spelling corrections and added some tweets that I couldn't include in my emails. All the better to make it easier for you to double-check what I say, no?

Observations on the Dysfunction Junction in #HallandaleBeach: Thin-skinned Mayor Joy Cooper orders ineffective Police Chief Dwayne Flournoy to remove political-nemesis Commissioner Keith London from CRA meeting. 
An ominous portent for any common sense ever seeing the light of day at HB City Hall in 2015, to be sure, but with "reporters" like Sun-Sentinel's Susannah Bryan -who continues to act more like a stenographer who chooses to ignore facts, context and nuance- how would anyone ever find out?

Wednesday January 14th, 2015
1:40 p.m.

On Wednesday morning I tweeted the link to this Local10 story by investigative reporter Bob Norman, so head over to my Twitter feed if you want to RT it, or, add your own comments about this all-too-predictable development.

Local10 News
Hallandale Beach mayor orders commissioner removed from meeting
A longstanding feud between Mayor Joy Cooper and Commissioner Keith London disrupts Hallandale Beach business, with the mayor ordering the police chief to remove him.

Published On: Jan 13 2015 06:32:13 PM EST
Updated On: Jan 13 2015 10:33:31 PM EST

To me, this is as sure a sign as you'll ever hope to find of the continuing governmental/civic dysfunction and battle of fragile/precious/precocious egos at Hallandale Beach City Hall among elected officials and the army of highly-paid and myopic city officials who regard taxpayers and Small Business owners as both hopeless dupes and Public Enemy #1.

For thousands and thousands of put-upon citizens, residents and Small Business owners in this part of South Florida, people wanted to hang on just a little bit longer in 2015 to the small hope of finally having a "normal" properly-functioning city -for a change- a place

where facts, logic and reason would win the argument, instead of the usual deceit, threats, deliberate misinformation and baffling bureaucratic incompetency, it's an ominous portent for 2015.

After so many years of valuable time, resources and opportunities being continually squandered on brain-dead schemes and circular thinking masquerading as public policy, people here with common sense and a genuine desire to make this area the sort of place it ought to be now but ISN'T, know in their bones that for a whole host of reasons, many poorly thought-out City Commission & CRA policy decisions and ordinances over the past few years need to be seriously revisited and thoroughly re-examined.
Unfortunately for all of us, this kind of incident at HB City Hall Monday makes that sort of necessary public debate and re-examination all but impossible.

In retrospect, many of us who've been paying attention could have placed bets upon this sort of embarrassing incident eventually happening once the HB election results came in nine weeks ago, with the only question being when in the year it took place.
But that would not have been a reflection on how clever we all are are, collectively, per se, so much as a reflection on the Sad Sack cast of not-so-bright characters that we continue to have in place at HB City Hall making important decisions about this area's future.
People who genuinely make no pretense about taking for granted the legitimate concerns and fears that you and I -and our neighbors- have.

For years I've tried my best to name and detail on the blog the specific elected officials and city personnel who do NOT honestly feel it's incumbent upon them to do the sort of basic continual public outreach, factual due diligence and thoughtful policy oversight and
tweaking that's routine among other South Florida cities' elected officials and bureaucracy, even in towns that are known for squabbling over public policy peanuts.

Which means that Hallandale Beach's future, such as it is, remains dangerously constricted and bereft of the sort of fresh air, new ideas and much-more free speech that it needs to right the ship, tethered as it is to the thin-skinned egos and deep reservoirs of personal vanity and high self-regard of a few individuals, who even while claiming to be looking out for the city, are merely looking lovingly upon their own reflection in a mirror. 

Mirror, mirror on the wall...

If these individuals had the smarts and strength of character we'd like them to have to adapt and finally look honestly upon the uniformily unsatisfactory results that years of this myopic and self-destructive behavior has wrought for everyone involved in the city -not least, chasing successful businesses out-of-town and the city remaining both a media punching bag and a perpetual political pinata with goodies going only to friends of City Hall- we might finally see some tangible and long overdue measureable mileposts that'd clearly be in the best long-term interests of this beleaguered city.

But facts are facts, and people like that simply do NOT currently make up a quorum at HB City Hall, which is why it's even more incumbent for well-intentioned citizens who want a better future for themself, their families or their business, to get properly informed and actively engaged, in-person and online, in 2015.


Thursday January 15, 2015
1:45 p.m.

In my email of yesterday afternoon about Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper's hysterics and histrionics at HB City Hall Monday night -which included a link to Local10 video- I neglected to include the rather dumbfounding article that appeared in the Sun-Sentinel written by reporter Susannah Bryan.
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Mayor tries to remove official during heated meeting

Susannah Bryan, Staff writer
January 13, 2015

Just weeks after Keith London rejoined the Hallandale Beach commission, he came close to being kicked out of City Hall on Monday by his longtime nemesis, Mayor Joy Cooper.
A veteran commissioner, London stepped down in 2012 to challenge Cooper for the mayoral seat. He lost that race, but returned to the commission in November, sparking questions of how long it might take for his legendary battles with Cooper to resume.
          As it turns out, not long at all.

Read the rest of the article at:

Bryan, of course, is the very same incurious beat reporter for the Sun-Sentinel that I have rightly taken to task many times in the past via emails and blog posts for her CONSISTENT failure to report important facts and relevant context and nuance about issues and matters taking place in Hallandale Beach and Hollywood that would allow readers to make more sense of what she was writing about.

How many times have I told you in the past about frequently NOT recognizing what Bryan wrote about when I myself had not only witnessed it first-hand, but actually recorded it? Correct -many, many times.

For instance... back on September 26, 2014:

Some informed commentary, context and important facts that you didn't read about in Susannah Bryan's recent Sun-Sentinel article about Hollywood City Manager Cathy Swanson-Rivenbark and some of her critics re the 'million-dollar mistake.' Trust me, you'll thank me later!

or almost a year ago.. January 25, 2014
South Florida Sun-Sentinel's incomplete stories re red-light cameras finally getting the boot in Hallandale Beach, and the city's longstanding problems with signage, is just another example of their shallow reporting that consistently misses-the-mark when residents want genuine depth and context

@SunSentinel's incomplete stories re Hallandale Beach booting red-light cameras is just more bad, shallow reporting 

Susannah Bryan is the same Sun-Sentinel reporter who, 12 weeks later, has STILL chosen NOT to discuss or report anything about why her October 20th, 2014 online story about the criminal investigation surrounding allegations against interim-HB Commissioner and candidate Leo Grachow, was pulled less than two weeks before the November election.
Not just removed, but surgically-removed -like it had never existed in the first place.

That Bryan and the newspaper have also NOT written anything since then about the eventual disposition of the Broward State's Attorney investigation of Grachow, to say nothing of her failure to write about the concerns among at least some HB residents that the whole incident was nothing but a successful political "dirty trick," tells you plenty about the sorry state of journalism in South Florida in the year 2015.

As you'll soon read below, so does Bryan's refusal to directly ask Commissioners Anthony Sanders and Bill Julian -and accurately quote their responses- why they believe it is a good idea to move what are often contentious CRA meetings involving millions of dollars and crucial public policy, to the afternoon, when most adult Hallandale Beach residents are at work and thus unable to participate.
(As if two of the five City Commissioners saying that they would NOT be able to attend was not enough of a logical reason to NOT change the time.)

That's important and relevant because Commissioners Sanders and Julian are the same people who voted last year to move the HB Planning & Zoning meetings -that also often deal with VERY contentious development projects- to the evening from the 1:30 p.m. time slot they have held for more than ten years.

So, where's Sanders' and Julian's internal consistency, and what principles on behalf of citizens are they defending by agreeing to a time change that would now likley result in LESS people being able to participate at a public meeting?
None, of course, it's merely the latest example of their overt appeasing of Mayor Cooper. Yet again.

Appeasement - the very same thing that Commissioners Sanders and Julian have become so expert at for SO MANY years as members of Cooper's Rubber Stamp Crew, instead of taking their responsibilities as elected representatives of this city's citizens seriously, and insisting upon honest answers, real oversight and and genuine performance from city administrators, Dept. heads and employees who've long felt free to do whatever they wanted, with no meaningful repurcussions for continued incompetence, unsatisfactory performance and demonstrated displays of public disrespect for the citizens of this community.
As I've recounted and then some on the blog...and will again very soon after waiting a few months for city employees to actually respond to some questions.

Yes, it's as if it never ever occurs to reporter Bryan to ask such questions, much less, ask pointed questions of subjects that will allow people like you to draw your own conclusions about what's really going on, based on freely-given answers.

But then the incurious Bryan also doesn't bother to include in her story the important historical fact that Mayor Cooper has a LONG HISTORY of deliberately ignoring the city's own administrative procedures, to say nothing of ignoring Robert's Rules of Order, with
the best example of that being from August of 2007, though there are dozens of others to choose from that I have written about here on the blog in often-frustrated dismay.

Back in 2007, Mayor Cooper personally railroaded the installation of Pastor Anthony Sanders as an interim HB City Commissioner many weeks BEFORE then-Commissioner Francine Schiller's date of resignation was official, despite the fact that there was already a scheduled City Commission meeting two weeks later where the matter could have been discussed and debated in a calm, organized and relatively sane fashion, with citizens both present and able to participate.

(Yes, the meeting Ithat  attended and recorded from beginning-to-end and even happened to be standing next to the person who first called Anthony Sanders by cellphone out in the breezeway outside to tell Sanders the news that he'd been selected. That is, AFTER my friend and real estate professional, Arturo O'Neill, sitting next to me in the back of the City Commission chambers, predicted it minutes before it happened. As if he had written the script!)

But Mayor Cooper didn't want to risk that happening, so she violated the city's own written rules and any pretense of following Robert's Rules of Order and acted like a despot.
At an evening City Commission meeting, Mayor Cooper as presiding officer made sure that the public was NEVER allowed to speak during the meeting about the subject at hand after hearing about it just minutes before.

By doing so she ensured that the public also didn't have the chance to speak at all about the self-evident way that Mayor Cooper consciously ignored the city's very own written procedures for handling interim Commission appointments, which they had dutifully followed for Keith London's appointment not so months before.

Just saying... context and nuance really DO matter, even if they don't ever seem to exist in Susannah Bryan's account of the surreal reality that permeates SE Broward County.

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