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.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Connecting-the-dots on some South Florida transportation outrages re Tri-Rail; airline passengers being the low man in the airport totem pole at Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport under Kent George; ethics of Delaware North's no-bid contract; Uber and Lyft fight for customer choice; fact-based sarcasm and then some about taxpayers and customers always coming up last when it involves transportation policy

Connecting-the-dots on some South Florida transportation outrages re Tri-Rail; airline passengers being the low man in the airport totem pole at Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport under Kent George; ethics of Delaware North's no-bid contract; Uber and Lyft fight for customer choice; fact-based sarcasm and then some about taxpayers and customers always coming up last when it involves transportation policy

Speaking of South Florida transportation slowpokes, here are some quick appetizers:
SFRTA, i.e. Tri-Rail, finally got a YouTube Channel last week. 
Only took until February of 2015...

After finally getting on Twitter Jan. 27th! @Tri_Rail https://twitter.com/Tri_Rail

So why did it take them so long and why would they not have the word TriRail in their URL? That's what I'm wondering.

There's a YouTube Channel that's actually called SFRTA -because there wasn't one already!- and which uses one of SFRTA's photos called https://www.youtube.com/user/SFRTA which is run by someone interested in "model railroading and railfanning"

And so it goes in South Florida transportation circles.
Round-and-round instead of progress.
Can't wait until Tri-Rail hears about "quadraphonic" stereo...

(Warning: More fact-based sarcasm after the article)

South Florida Sun Sentinel
Uber doesn't like the rules? Tough
Gary Stein
February 1, 2015

Sorry, but I am not a card-carrying member of the trendy Uber Fan Club.

The arrogant yuppie, technology-based alternative to cabs is facing fines and being told to stop operating in Broward and Palm Beach counties -- and a lot of other places -- mainly because Uber has this idea about rules.

It doesn't like them.
Read the rest of the column at:

Do you mean the cellphone waiting lot at FLL that for years has had such poorly-designed directional signs that both longtime Broward residents and visitors who use it infrequently, constantly missed it, and had to drive round-and-round the airport?
THAT airport waiting area?

Well, as 
IF we needed more proof of how disconnected from reality the obtuse Sun-Sentinel and its Opinion page & Editorial Board members are... say hello again to Gary Stein, the same genius who's been directly involved for years in some of the Sun-Sentinel's most eye-rolling municipal election endorsements over the years that have left people scratching their heads.

Ones where Sun-Sentinel endorsements actually didn't use a candidate's demonstarted unethical behavior against them because as we've seen thru the years, the paper prefers identity politics to a competition of articulated public policy ideas.

Yes, the same Sun-Sentinel writing talent whose track record in the case of Hallandale Beach a few years back proved how little preparation they actually did before their Editorial Board's candidates interviews, given how little HE knew about ANYTHING, whether about the individual candidates or the specific issues affecting HB voters or...

Stein did so little preperation, in fact, that neither he or the other assembled geniuses there knew what most of us did: that HB citizens were being prevented from voting for three (3) City Commission candidates for the -yes- 3 available seats that November, thanks to the shenanigans of Mayor Cooper and her Rubber Stamp Crew, who wanted to insure a back-door route that would allow Comm. Anthony Sanders to get in by hook-or-by-crook and continue his years of misadventures in policy-making and ethics.

(Despite NOT being one of the two candidates who received the most votes, because of the way the the rules were written, Comm. Sanders got to stay on the dais, with predictably lamentable results since then for HB taxpayers and Small Business owners with common sense.)

I wrote about this back on October 17, 2012:

Absolutely pummeled! Hallandale Beach Comm. Anthony A. Sanders & ex-Comm. Bill Julian both bomb at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel's Editorial Board meeting for HB candidates Monday morning, while Csaba Kulin, Michele Lazarow and Gerald Dean shine while enthusiastically making the case for a pro-reform City Hall that actually serves taxpayers to replace the corrupt and unethical one we've been stuck with for years under Joy Cooper and her Rubber Stamp Crew; Kulin, Lazarow & Dean recount in detail most of the major issues and recent scandals; @SandersHB, @AlexLewy


and then later on October 30, 2012:
Their lack of Journalism ethics is hiding in plain sight: In their head-scratching endorsement of do-nothing Hallandale Beach Comm. Anthony A. Sanders over civic activist Csaba Kulin, the Tribune Co's Sun-Sentinel said he has "experience." Yes, but it's of the completely ineffective and unethical variety we don't want more of!; Vote Kulin!; @SandersHB

As to the matter of the local taxi industry as it is managed by Broward County and its current notions of customer service, consider the curious case of my good friend and fellow HB civic activist Csaba "Chuck" Kulin.
Csaba is someone who is both well-known and trusted by so many of you because of his MANY 
years of hard work and dedicated civic service to the larger community, often a voice for reason and clarity against great odds.
And unlike many people I know, he DOESN'T embellish!

On two separate occasions between Sept. of 2013 and last April, Csaba saw exactly how benevolent Broward taxi drivers are when push comes to shove, and told me about what happened to him each time within 24 hours.
Csaba twice had to take a taxi from FLL to his home in Hallandale Beach after arriving either too late or TOO EARLY for me to swing by the airport -about 15-20 minutes from where we live- and pick him up, as he has done before many times for me.

Thanks to the egregiously poor job FDOT had done at that point in redesigning US-1 to and from the airport, particularly with their U-turn from hell, each time, the taxi driver consistently tried -but failed - to take advantage of Csaba by trying to drive him to his home in Hallandale Beach on NE 14th Avenue via... I-595 and then 441/State Road 7.
Yes, that State Road 441.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with our part of South Florida know, that is more than a little bit west of the airport's entrance and exit off of U.S.-1 the street that runs thru the middle of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood and Aventura.
And FAR west of dear old HB, as you can see here, via a hypothetical trip from FLL to HB City Hall I've created to demonstrate- https://goo.gl/maps/nc6DU 
Taking the route the taxi driver wanted would have more than doubled the taxi fare Csaba was charged.

Yes, as if the taxi driver thought that the best way to show some South Florida hospitality to someone who was groggy from a late or early-arriving flight, was by trying to take advantage of him and his wallet.
But Csaba was hip to what the taxi driver was up to, and forced him to drive the route the taxi driver in each case clearly did NOT want to take -the straightest route!

But think about how many dozens and dozens of times that happens a week when neither you or I know the passenger involved who ARE taken advantage of by unscrupulous taxi drivers.
What do you suppose those visitors image of Broward and South Florida is after that?

Uber and Lyft -the sooner the better as far as I'm concerned.

And then, it's time for the Broward County Commission to finally wake up to the 21st Century and create a long-overdue citizen Advisory Board for FLL Airport, so that the cozy and curious business and economic connections there that consistently seem to work AGAINST the best short-term and long-term interests of visitors and Broward taxpayers, are finally given the proper scrutiny they have long deserved.

You know, like renewing a longtime no-bid contract with a company with years and years of public complaints and few answers?

Broward Commission skips bids, awards 15-year airport food contract to Delaware North

As my friend and fellow Broward civic activist Charlotte Greenbarg writes in the comments above, this particular move -which the Miami Herald never mentioned when it mattered- in rewarding a company that had longstanding problems delivering a quality product on a consistent basis to consumers, only shows the sheer level of power that lobbyists exert in this county, to the continuing detriment of Broward's taxpayers. :-(

South Florida Sun-Sentinel
No-bid airport contract raises eyebrows
February 7, 2014

The Broward County Commission may have chosen the best company for a multi-year airport food-and-concessions contract, but it's hard to know for sure because it skipped the open-bid process, raising questions and doubt.

Local governments are supposed to put contracts out to bid to ensure the public gets the best deal. Sure, the process is a hassle. And sometimes it's easier to re-up with a long-term provider if you want needed upgrades now, but face a contract from yesteryear. 

To make change happen quickly, we're told, is part of why the commission recently approved a no-bid, half-a-billion-dollar contract with the company that provides concessions in two of four terminals at Fort-Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. 

But such an argument speaks to why government leaders should be wary of long-term, no-bid contracts. 

Read the rest of the Editorial at:

As if we'd forgotten this three years before:
South Florida Sun-sentinel
Broward overpaid almost $1 million to clean airport, audit says
By Brittany Wallman, Sun Sentinel
May 10, 2011

FORT LAUDERDALE — Broward visitors overpaid almost $1 million to clean the airport over the 2008-09 budget years, and the county still pays more than other Florida airport authorities for janitorial work, the county auditor says.

The new audit raises an alarm about a $63 million cleaning contract the county has with Sunshine Cleaning Systems Inc. Its 280 workers wash windows, clean toilets, vacuum carpets, and clean parking garages and sidewalks at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

Read the rest of the article at:

The way the whole Uber fight has taken place in Broward and environs the past few months makes clear to me and many others that by almost any reasonable standard, Broward County Aviation Dir. Kent George has a lot to explain to taxpayers, residents and business community.
Especially about the self-evident problems at/around & w/FLL that he seems inclined not to either answer or be held publicly accountable for.

It's time to change that dynamic and the best way is by the injection of MORE Sunshine and the creation of a citizen-led Advisory Board that has both no aviation or hospitality lobbyists or reps and zero Broward County bureaucrats acting as "minders" to prevent the public from looking around and kicking the tires.
"Tires" we all have collectively helped to buy thru years and years of user fees.


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