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, July 15, 2015

Questions are being raised -again!- about South Florida reporters' curious notions of journalism, esp. continuing to leave out important context & questions about ethical conflict-of-interest -and burying the lede- re the City of Hollywood, Broward County PBA, Traci Callari & Eleanor Sobel. "Hollywood suing pension boards over perk known as '13th check"

I'll admit it: I really hate lazy, incurious reporting that's neither accurate or timely, and which doesn't ask the questions that NEED to be asked to give proper context, yet, wants to take a bow for their effort anyhow.
And South Florida in the year 2015 is positively swimming in this sort of bad journalism.

South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Hollywood suing pension boards over perk known as '13th check'
Susannah Bryan, Staff writer
July 12, 2015

City Hall is taking on all three employee pension boards, saying their leadership broke state law by sending lucrative "13th checks" to retired firefighters, cops and other employees periodically over the past nine years.

The payouts have ranged from $200 to more than $26,000. The cost of the payouts next fiscal year comes to $9 million for all three pension boards, city officials say.

Hollywood commissioners agreed Wednesday to file a lawsuit against the pension boards for sending the checks to retired workers despite the pension plans being severely underfunded.

Read the rest of the article at:

Quick, can any of you tell me what important context is NOT mentioned at all in the above Sun-Sentinel article about the City of Hollywood's financial priorities, and where questions about any
prospective voting conflicts faced by City of Hollywood Comm. Traci Callari are, in my opinion, the buried lede?

For those of you who have either known me personally for a while, or perhaps have Followed me for any amount of time via the blog or Twitter, the answer is rather obvious.
Callari's own husband, James, i.e. Jamie, a City of Hollywood detective.

He's mentioned unfavorably in this 2005 NewTimes piece about the way the Broward PBA has for years attempted to make the HPD its puppet,
and mentioned in this one from 2013 about his curious notions of.. well, let's just say it's NOT good.

Given what seems self-evident, Comm. Callari's husband would likely be slated to receive a generous check in the future if the city continued to do business in an obviously prejudicial way to current and future taxpayers and its own financial future. 

What's the reason that it isn't mentioned at all so that any reader reading this story might know this salient fact from the outset and be free to draw their own conclusions about Comm. Callari's sense of priorities, whatever they are, such as they are?

Once again it's asleep-at-the-wheel Sun-Sentinel beat reporter Susannah Bryan, the same reporter I've written about so often in this space because of my and many other SE Broward residents dissatisfaction with her.
Residents, civic activists and business people in Hollywood AND Hallandale Beach who want to know all the pertinent facts. 

For instance, last September 26th:
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!

Bryan consistently fails  to summon up enough strength or energy to actually ask reasonably-hard, pointed or even follow-up questions of public officials and city bureaucrats, especially in Hallandale Beach after they say and do things that logic can not explain by any stretch of the imagination.

Yes, the very same beat reporter that, years after-the-fact, has NEVER written at all -much less, knowledgeably- about the Broward PBA (intentionally?) breaking Hollywood's voter-approved city charter law about campaign election reporting requirements and contribution limits in Hollywood city elections.

Those new rules came about after Hollywood's appointed Charter Review Comm. responded to the public by getting it included on the ballot.

(I know because I sat in on some those Hollywood Charter Review meetings where increasing the expected levels of ethics and fair-dealing at Hollywood City Hall, and getting increased 

accountability and oversight for the public were stressed. 
As opposed to what actually transpired at Hallandale Beach's Charter Review meetings.)

That charter change took place BEFORE the Broward PBA's zealous efforts of November 2012 to oust several incumbentsand get at least one of their troika of candidates elected to prevent the public from keeping close watch over the purse.

The Broward PBA succeeded in getting Traci Callari on the Commission as a reliable pro-PBA and anti-taxpayer vote after ousting incumbent Heidi O'Sheehan, AFTER the Broward PBA forces were thoroughly trounced at the ballot box earlier by Hollywood voters across the city in a

referendum revolving around issues involving the city's union contracts/pensions and the city's budget hole, a vote that the Broward PBA and its president Jeff Marano has never either accepted or forgotten.

And let's not forget that it was the Broward PBA that got Florida state Senator Eleanor Sobel to have the City of Hollywood investigated by the Florida Joint Legislative Auditing Comm. in Tallahassee, since the Broward PBA endorsed Sobel and agressively worked the polls for her. 

Yes, the same Tallahassee group composed of state Senators and state representatives that Sobel DIDN'T want to see investigate the City of Hallandale Beach and her longtime friend, Mayor Joy Cooper, for their shockingly lax management, year-after-year, of the HB CRA, which saw $80 Million dollars wasted, with near-zero oversight.

Foe those of you who forgot or never knew about Eleanor Sobel's stealthy work to protect her friends and special interest group pals from any legitimate scrutiny and oversight, see my blog posts from:

October 17, 2013
Instead of looking-out for you and your Hallandale Beach neighbors, HB's craven state legislators (Sobel, Gibbons, Jones & Braynon) are doing Mayor Joy Cooper's dirty work in Tallahassee, making excuses for her ten years of oversight/policy failures with the HB CRA; #JLAC

November 2, 2013 
Latest news re Hallandale Beach CRA: Where are Joe Gibbons, Shevrin Jones and Barbara Sharief hiding? They're NOT adequately representing HB citizens who want to find out where the $80 Million in CRA funds has really gone; Response of JLAC re my inquiry re legislator's letters re prospective audit of Hallandale Beach CRA by JLAC

November 29, 2013 
Sandbagged! Independent audit of Hallandale Beach CRA was in offing by Florida JLAC, but Hallandale Beach's beleaguered citizens/taxpayers get stabbed in the back by Eleanor Sobel, Oscar Braynon II, Joe Gibbons, Shevrin Jones and Barbara Sharief. Why? To help HB mayor Joy Cooper preserve her facade that everything here is okay; @mayorcooper

Eventiually, the City of Hollywood sued the Broward PBA soon thereafter for breaking the city's campaign finance rules. 
So where exactly have you heard about THAT in South Florida?

For the record, as of today, the South Florida media parties who've never once mentioned these salient facts about Comm. Traci Callari includes the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Miami HeraldNews4/WFOR-TV, NBC6/WTVJ-TV, WSNV-TV and Local10/WPLG-TV. 

Plus, rather predictably, the Hollywood Gazette and the South Florida Sun-Times
Which means everyone who OUGHT to be investigating and explaining the facts in a useful context.
#Surprise #NotSurprised

Which, of course, is why blogs like mine exist.
Unless something unexpected happens, this specific issue will be covered in more depth soon on my blog, with useful fact-filled links that connect-the-dots, along with a shout-out to former Hollywood civic activist Sara Case, co-editor of the greatly-missed Hollywood Balance Sheet blog. 

Sara, now living up near Washington, D.C., is the only person besides myself to ever mention how very curious it is that such important facts and context about this matter of great financial importance to Hollywood residents and Small Business owners, never seemed to see the light of day in-print or on-air, despite how much people say they want to know MORE about what's really going on at South Florida city halls in general, and theirs in particular.
That speaks volumes about the current sorry state of journalism and the people who populate the news media in South Florida.

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

Monday, July 6, 2015

From political cipher and unknown to possible successor to Marco Rubio in the U.S. Senate in no time at all, there are a myriad of legal & political choices confronting Florida Lt. Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera, as he seeks to define himself to Floridians before rivals pounce and do it for him. @LopezCantera

Tampa Bay Times

Eyeing Senate bid, Lt. Gov. Lopez-Cantera must decide whether to stay or go
By Steve Bousquet, Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau
Saturday, July 4, 2015 6:00am

TALLAHASSEE — After 18 months in Gov. Rick Scott's shadow, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera has to make his first big decision.

Before he enters Florida's wide-open race for the U.S. Senate, he'll reach a political crossroads as the state's No. 2 executive: Should he stay or go?

Lopez-Cantera won't say, and the public probably would not notice the difference

Read the rest of the article at:


Roll Call
The Mystery of a Possible Florida Senate Candidate
By Stuart Rothenberg

Posted at 4 p.m. on April 21

A handful of Republicans are currently being mentioned as possible Senate candidates for the Florida seat being vacated by Marco Rubio, who is running for the GOP presidential nomination.

Former Rep. Bill McCollum, who has run repeatedly (and often unsuccessfully) for statewide office, is mentioned, as are a handful of House members, including Rep. Ron DeSantis, a tea party favorite.

Perhaps the most interesting, or at least unusual, candidate for the Republican nomination is the state’s current lieutenant governor, Carlos Lopez-Cantera, a former Florida House member (and majority leader) and Miami-Dade County property appraiser.

What makes Lopez-Cantera, who was appointed to his current post in January 2014 by Republican Gov. Rick Scott, so unusual is that he is a Cuban-American Jew who was born in Madrid

Read the rest of the article at:

Nearly everyone I know and respect in South Florida who knew Carlos Lopez-Cantera when he first decided to run for the not-exactly-sexy position of Miami-Dade Appraiser -in an area of the country we know from experience is NOT exactly known for accuracy and truthfulness about tax dollars or numbers- told me that their take was that he was merely biding his time, waiting for a larger opportunity.

According to them, perhaps a run for the position of Miami-Dade County Mayor AFTER he'd been in office as Appraiser for about 6-10 years, and had actually acquired some reasonable amount of name recognition and power, to say nothing of perhaps even making some tangible improvements in his office that he could tout to what would surely be legions of skeptics.

Well, they're just as surprised as anyone that someone whom just three years ago, most South Florida political junkies and reporters had either never heard of or ever met him before in person, might now be 1 of 100 votes in Washington in just 18 months time.
I know because I'm one of those surprised people.

There's no higher-ranking politician in Florida whom I -and most people I know- actually know less about. than Carlos Lopez-Cantera.
That fact is abetted by South Florida's current lackluster crop of print/TV reporters and columnists, most of whom can be charitably described as apathetic and sleepwalking zombies in the best of times. And this is clearly NOT the best of times for serious new consumers in Florida.

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

#HOLLYWOODFL based photographer and entrepreneur Esther Chuang with Hollywood Mayor-elect Josh Levy

Thumbs up! What a night! #HOLLYWOODFL based photographer and entrepreneur Esther Chuang with a very elated Hollywood Mayor-elect Josh Levy at his Victory Party, held at Leo Anato's Atelier3/AT3 on Harrison Street & S. 19th Avenue, Hollywood. AT3's great environment and the amazing variety of food prepared by chef Kevin Dreifuss, former owner/chef of ENDS MEAT restaurant, was SUPERB! November 8, 2016

Esther Chuang, Morro Dois Irmãos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2015

Above, perhaps my most-favorite photo ever of Esther, which is really saying something considering the THOUSANDS that I've actually seen of her, from all over the world. But despite the fact that you can't actually see it here, trust me, her amazing smile and inner and external beauty are there. This photo is an even more amazing achievement when you know the backstory of what it took for Esther to get to the top of the mountain, since it's NOT for the faint of heart. Next time you see her, ask her about that! Morro Dois Irmãos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on her birthday, July 10, 2015. That's the Christ The Redeemer statue way out in the horizon on the top of another mountain, to the left of her head. �� In case you forgot what the Christ the Redeemer statue looks like, up close, here's another Brazilian beauty to connect-the-dots for you: Gisele Bündchen, aka @Gisele.

Abençoado por Deus e bonito por natureza!✨ ������

A post shared by Gisele Bündchen (@gisele) on

@ETARURestaurant, Señor Café

North Miami Beach High school alumni

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.

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.