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.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Csaba Kulin & I re Monday's so-called Traffic Workshop at Hallandale Beach City Hall: What questions you should be asking yourself -as well as asking the people who are supposed to be representing you on the dais- even while HB City Hall and the Diplomat Hotel's lawyers and lobbyists obfuscate, and try to ignore the self-evident 'Elephant in the room' - the longstanding lack of adequate #OpenSpace in Hallandale Beach

Csaba Kulin & I re Monday's so-called Traffic Workshop at Hallandale Beach City Hall: What questions you should be asking yourself -as well as asking the people who are supposed to be representing you on the dais- even while HB City Hall and the Diplomat Hotel's lawyers and lobbyists obfuscate, and try to ignore the self-evident 'Elephant in the room' - the longstanding lack of adequate #OpenSpace in Hallandale Beach

I screwed-up.
My intention last week was to post these series of emails over the weekend so that as many concerned people as possible would know the germane facts before Monday morning's meeting at Hallandale Beach City Hall, 
But I failed to get it up in time. :-(

In any case, despite my being late to getting these facts in front of you, the facts are still the facts, and you'd be well-advised to learn them because we know from history that you certainly can't rely on honesty from the duplicitous folks at HB City Hall.
People who have a long and well-documented history of intentionally attempting to mislead area residents and Small Business owners thru mis-statements of facts, half-truths and false narratives.

Since I first mailed this out Sunday afternoon to lots of concerned people in Hallandale Beach, next-door Hollywood and around the the rest of Broward County, I've edited it slightly for better context and to add some Google Maps to give more perspective to the exact nature of the problems we have here.

Sunday May 17th, 2015
5:30 p.m.

re Monday's 9 AM Traffic Workshop at Hallandale Beach City Hall: What you ought to know about it and be asking yourself -and asking the people who claim to represent you at HB City Hall but have done such a poor job of doing so.

Monday morning represents a Golden Opportunity to change the public dynamic in Hallandale Beach, where for so many years residents and Small Business owners have taken it on the chin on one important public policy issue after another.

That is, it's a Golden Opportunity IF you take proper advantage of the chance to make yourself heard on the continuing problems of both a lack of honest discussion about Traffic Gridlock and Open Space in Hallandale Beach, and the associated problem of the powers-that-be at City Hall failing to be both properly responsive and savvy about adequately resolving those problems for YEARS.

Which is why so many of us in SE Broward cringe when we have to travel around the area, and know, in advance, precisely how bad the level of traffic gridlock will be, esp. if we are going from State Road A1A to I-95 or vice-versa.

After all, just a few years ago, then-Broward County Commissioner Diana Wasserman-Rubin, who at the time represented the western-most part of HB and areas west of there out towards Miramar, admitted publicly at a Broward County Commission meeting that due to the awful traffic gridlock here, she personally avoided NE HB and Hallandale Beach Blvd. at all costs, regardless of the time of year.

And THAT particular County Commission meeting was about development in the same exact area of NE HB as what the Diplomat has in mind now, off of Hallandale Beach Blvd.
Hallandale Beach Blvd. is always the nexus of any traffic gridlock discussion in this city s because the reality is that most of the city's population and wealth is centered east of U.S.-1 -towards the beach and the Intracoastal Waterway- and Hallandale Beach Blvd., owing to issues involving nature (water), geography, development and past zoning decisions, is THE ONLY STREET that connects the eastern part of the city to the west, where I-95 is located. 

It's also important to recall that the HB City Commission had the chance to purchase -for a song!- the empty waterfront property on the Intracoasal Waterway & NE 26th Avenue where Manero's restaurant used to be located, and where The Beachwalk condominium next to the Intracoastal bridge is now located.
Yes, that sweet bit of Open Space in NE HB could have been the first actual city park on the water in a city with the name Beach in it!
But under the myopic leadership of Mayor Joy Cooper and then-City Manager Mark A. Antonio, that opportunity was completely lost.

Why? Good question.
Antonio, Cooper and the City Commission have NEVER properly explained to the city's residents why they were SO SLOW on the draw when that opportunity presented itself -as I wrote about at the time- and allowed The Related Group to swoop-in after so many years of that property being both under-used and an eyesore to the community.
AND the city could have purchased it for such a LOW PRICE!

That waterfront property could have been one the crown jewels of the city for every resident to enjoy, regardless of where they live in the city.

Similarly, let's not forget about other germane facts regarding the endemic traffic problems here that have NEVER been publicly and adequately addressed by the principals involved.

Mayor Cooper and Comm. William 'Bill" Julian have NEVER publicly explained why they voted to allow Gulfstream Park Race Track -with so many acres to choose from- to construct their three employee dorms in the EXACT place where Hibiscus Steet could have logically been extended east from very busy US-1 to the area behind the always-busy Publix on 14th Avenue.

June 22, 2008 photo of Hibiscus Street looking east from U.S.-1. This street only goes one block because of Gulfstream's dorms.

June 13, 2008,

May 12, 2008, Hibiscus, i.e the future SE 2nd Street?

The expansion of that road at any point in the past would have allowed Golden Isles residents and everyone else in HB living and working east of 14th Avenue -.i.e. most of the city's populationto get to HB City Hall and Aventura and points south on U.S.-1 WITHOUT requiring them to actually get on Hallandale Beach Blvd. and deal with that traffic

Where was their logic and reason?
That wasn't merely a dreadful public policy decision, it's one that was made worse because the people making it were never forced to answer for it by South Florida's news media, including the Sun-Sentinel.

Let's not kid ourselves, things in Hallandale Beach didn't get the way they did overnight.
And things won't get IMMEDIATELY better overnight if pro-reform people are finally elected to the City Commission next year, but it'd clearly be an important step in the right direction towards getting the city properly refocused and at a point where it ought to be NOW -but ISN'T.

Things got the way they did here over time and by the people in charge at HB City Hall consistently taking residents for granted and NOT being up to the jobs they were elected to, forever failing to provide the proper level of official oversight and scrutiny demanded of such a job. 

The very thing I wrote about in my last few posts, so that very troubling trend continues even now...

What follows is a chronological account of facts re tomorrow morning's meeting and what you ought to know about it.

I know that for some of you, people who have been receiving my emails and or reading my blog for years, this is somewhat familiar territory, albeit with new facts worth considering before you show up or watch the meeting online.

But for others, people new to the chronic dysfunction and myopic public policy that best characterize what has actually taken place in this city for many years, this may well be the first time you've had
access to pertinent facts about an important aspect of the city's Quality of Life.
Facts that I believe effectively counter-act and destroy the conscious mis-truths and lies that have been routinely spread and repeated by HB City Hall for many, many years, even as the media ignored it. (To everyone's detriment, including their own.)

And in case you forgot or never knew, cold hard facts and figures like the ones below are like Kryptonite to the elected officials and bureaucrats at Hallandale Beach City Hall.
They become largely distracted and powerless to respond -honestly.
So, if you bring them up, expect the elected folks on the dais and the highly-paid bureaucrats next to them to quickly try to refute the facts with distractions and old-fashioned obfuscation, mis-statement
of facts and lies.
And if necessary, personal attacks against those telling the truth. 

Just saying... I've been there.

Still this chance to speak truth to power before so many HB residents leave for the summer, is one that those of you who want this city to be better must embrace.
That's especially true for those of you who live on the beach and who have quite correctly complained for so many years about the countless missed opportunities by HB City Hall to do right be everyone, but especially to you and your neighbors.
Fot you, this is your opportunity to change the dynamic and make them know that just because you live over on the beach, you are indeed hip to what they are attempting to pull off here.

Missed opportunities like the powers-that-be at HB City Hall foolishly keeping the taxpayer-owned, perfectly-placed North Beach Center -just steps from the Atlantic Ocean- a place that properly ought to be a beautiful crown jewel for the community that we can honestly brag about, CLOSED to the public for years at a time.
AFTER it was already closed for years due to City Hall's very own incompetence at attempting to repair it, at great cost to everyone as I wrote so many times on the blog with dozens and dozens of contemporaneous photos to tell the godawful tale, and plenty in follow-up posts.

Yes, for those of you who are fortunate enough to live on the beach, Monday morning represents your chance to publicly discuss with facts, reason and any remaining anger, the "wind tunnel" effects you and your neighbors have to deal with all the time because of the conscious Zoning choices that have been made re development along the beach among campaign contributors of Mayor Cooper and Commissioner Sanders.
Do not not miss the chance to publicly say to city officials what you have been telling me in-person, via phone and via email for years and years.

Twitter: @hbbtruth, https://twitter.com/hbbtruth

Monday May 12, 2015

Dear Csaba:

Besides the City of Hallandale Beach's announced May 18th workshop, are you currently aware of any other tentative meetings re The Diplomat's future development plans, or, of any any HB/Hollywood 
citizen's effort to keep the proper level of scrutiny on them to help ensure that they do NOT attempt to gain some goodies from the always-pliant HB City Commission?
That is, goodies that are more than they are now legally entitled to have and build?

I ask because as of 3:15 p.m. this afternoon, the city's own website has NOTHING on its landing page about that workshop next Monday -surprise!
In fact, despite how much it has been discussed over the years here as a way that developers fudge on their applications, the only reference on the city's website this afternoon to "hotel-condo" is a link to a
HB P&Z meeting.
That is, a HB P&Z meeting from... 2012!
Again, surprise, surprise!

Perhaps I'm missing something, but so far, in none of the recent media pieces I've read about The Diplomat -and the associated "hotel condo" controversy- have I seen a single reporter actually ask a Diplomat rep some simple questions that ought to have been asked and ANSWERED by now.
Actually, that should be should have been ANSWERED years ago to the HB public's satisfaction.

For instance:
1.) Why has The Diplomat failed for YEARS to actually DO what they were already legally allowed to do within that property in the way of genuine improvements? That's something that you and I consistently encouraged them to do years ago, since making that place more successful is in everyone's interest.
But they have failed to do so.

2.) When is The Diplomat going to improve their unpopular golf course, which according to everyone I know and have spoken to, who are both knowledgeable about golf in general and that golf course in particular, since the general consensus is that it is NOT very interesting or challenging, and charges FAR TOO MUCH for a round of golf for the level of course it actually is?

3.) Why has The Diplomat failed all these YEARS to actually advertise their golf course properly? Say, with actual advertising like other courses in South Florida, or, at a minimum, apply with the city for some directional signs that consumers and drivers can see?
Why does The Diplomat fail to do the small things that HB churches seem able to do with helpful signage?

You'll recall how much fun I had a few years ago at the Broward County Commission meeting on The Diplomat's request to build those unwelcome, unsightly and incompatible condo towers in NE HB, by simply asking these very simple questions to the representatives of the Diplomatthe County Commission and the public during my three minutes of public comment.
Last time I checked -today- The Diplomat and their army of highly-paid lawyers, lobbyists and publicists STILL haven't adequately answered those simple questions to the public's satisfaction.


"Hallandale Beach plans to host a workshop May 18 at 9 a.m. to discuss traffic that will come with forthcoming development projects."

South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Hallandale Beach ditches hotel moratorium
By Susannah Bryan, Sun Sentinel
May 8, 2015 7:39 PM
Hallandale Beach

A moratorium on hotel permits was quickly shown the door this week
after developers warned it would doom economic growth throughout the

It might have been one of the shortest moratoriums in city history,
lasting only a few weeks.

At the commission's request, City Manager Renee Miller declared a
moratorium April 16 to give staff time to research the impact of
hotel-condo developments on nearby neighborhoods.

Read the rest of the article at


*NB: References below in Csaba's email to 'Debbie O" below refers to land development attorney Debbie Orshefsky, who for most Hallandale Beach and Hollywood residents and Small Business owners, has become the public face for most of the most-controversial projects in our part of 

SE Broward for the past 12 years.

To the best of my knowledge -and my amazing memory- Mayor Cooper has voted against approving only ONE Debbie Orshefsky development project in the past 12 years.

That was Hallandale Square, the Taubman project proposed for the SE corner of US-1 and HBB that never happened, and, which as I wrote and complained about at the time, including to germane city officials, soon became the home of lots of debris, flotsam and homeless people, as the developer at the time completely failed to properly maintain the property, and made it a de facto poster child for the laughingstock the city had become with its bad public policy and lack of oversight, accountability and follow-through. 
Right where everyone driving thru the city could see it.
But not the folks at HB City Hall!
Re: Broward's Open Space requirement and the curious manuevers in
Hallandale Beach by City Hall and the Diplomat Hotel

Thursday, May 14, 2015 at 4:18 PM

To: Csaba Kulin

Excellent analysis, Csaba!

Unless I hear from you by Noon Friday, I will incorporate your spot-on comments into my email and blog post tomorrow afternoon, which I hope will serve as a useful warning shot to everyone in HB and environs to be on guard for precisely the sort of confidence game you mentioned the city is attempting to pull off before the public is the wiser.

I only wish that I had access to some of the Broward primary source material on Open Space that I had last year -now stored in a plastic tote at my sister's place in Pembroke Pines- which I used to bring to Keith London's monthly meetings when he first started them many years ago.

Back when Keith routinely used that old, huge and unwieldy map of HB and shocked so many first-time visitors when he told them that curious bit of info about the city being allowed to count waterways as Open Space for purposes of the city meeting standards.

Keith's testimony to some Broward group about that issue years ago -Broward Planning Council?-before he was first elected, was the first time I ever heard of him.
I found the info on Google and agreed that what HB was doing then was fraudulent in spirit, even if keeping with the letter of the law.


On 5/14/15, Csaba Kulin wrote:


Let me just give you a couple of points.

The City Manager on her own announced a six months moratorium on
“condo-hotel” projects. Immediately Miss O. and other developers
started lobbying and the City Commission reversed the moratorium 3 to
2. Comm. London and Lazarow voted no. Clarity of the rules and traffic
was the main argument to keep the moratorium.
To calm the opposition, the Mayor agreed to have a “meeting” to talk
about “traffic” on the 18th. Waste of time. We always talk about
traffic, weather, sea water rise and flooding but we never do anything
about it. An insult to the intelligence of the residents.

Item 14D on the May 20, 2015 Agenda (Parks & Open Space LOS) may 

be the most important single item with respect to the future of our City.
If this opportunity is missed all the other discussions of future development,
“synergy” and “economic engine” is fruitless.


*Broward County Land Use Plan requires all municipalities to provide a
minimum of 3 acres of parks for every 1,000 existing and projected
permanent population.  Policy 1.1.2 of the City of Hallandale Beach
Recreation and Open Space Element also requires 3 acres per 1,000
existing and projected permanent population as mandated by the

*In 2011, Broward County Planning Council (BCPC) created an Open Space Task
Force to research the use of water bodies by municipalities to meet
the municipal parks LOS requirements of 3 acres per 1,000 population.*

*At that same time (2011) the City audited its inventory and the
methodology used to calculate it.  As a result of that analysis, the
inventory was reduced by approximately 62 acres. That portion of
school property which is not open space suitable for recreation was
removed, as was 90% of the acreage from city-maintained
waterways that are not accessible to the general public. A credit of
0.71 acre remains in the inventory for water bodies which are public
but are accessible only by residents that live adjacent to them.*

*Substantial research and analysis on this issue was performed by the
County Task Force.  Their work resulted in amendments to the Broward
County Land Use Plan as adopted by the Broward County Commission in
2013.  The amendments did not affect the cities’ use of water body
acreage in their existing inventory to be counted as community parks
acreage.  Any open space added to an inventory subsequent to the
adoption of the changes must adhere to them.*

*The following is a summary of the referenced amendments: *

1.  *Water body acreage added to community parks acreage inventory may
count no more than 10% of such additional acreage unless managed by a
governmental agency for recreation or environmental purpose.*
2. *Required the County to publish municipalities’ parks inventory.
Municipalities should also publish on their website their parks
3. *Parks and open space acreage was to be accessible to the public on
a regular basis.*
4. *Conspicuous signage of access to the park be posted.*
5. *A water body with safe public access from another bordering
municipality could be counted as community park.*
6. *Deleted the provision allowing 50% credit for private golf courses
deed- restricted for open space. (private refers to golf courses which
are not open to the public)*
7. *Acreage deed- restricted or designated “Conservation” on the Land
Use Map could count as park acreage.*
8. *Required municipalities to provide an up-to-date inventory and
documentation of sites used to meet the 3 acres per 1,000 existing
population for Plan Amendments which result in an increase demand
for“community parks.”*

*The City’s current parks and open space acreage requirement, based on
its existing population, is 111.34 acres. The acreage required based
on the City’s build-out population is 145.59 acres. The City currently
has 200 acres in its Parks and Open Space Inventory (Exhibit 1) of
which 65 acres are land and 135 are water bodies. The Inventory is in
compliance with the City and Broward County Land Use Plans.
**(Note: How did the City come to this conclusion? See No. 1.) *


*The Rule is “3 acres of Open Space Acreage per 1,000 population”.
(Note: Not waterways).
The population is 37,113 according to the 2010 Census.
(Note: approximately 60,000 during the “season”).
The “Build out Population” is 48,493.*

*Hallandale Beach is required to have 145.49 acres of “Open Space
Acreage”. (Note: 48.483 times 3 acres).
Hallandale Beach has 55.63 acres of Public Parks. Hallandale Beach has
9.90 acres of Public School Property.
Hallandale Beach has 134.6 acres of Public Waterways.
(Note: 13.46 acres is 10%).*

*Hallandale Beach counts 200.13 acres of Public Parks and Open Space.
(Note: 55.63 + 9.9 + 134.6 acres).*

*IN MY OPINION: Hallandale Beach should count 78.99 acres of Public
Parks and Open Space. (Note: 55.63 + 9.9 + 13.46). Hallandale Beach
needs an additional 66.5 acres of “Public Parks and Open Space


*I'd love to find out what the “penalty” is for any City not being in
compliance with the “Open Space Acreage Rule”? *

Chuck Kulin

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