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:
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/broward/hollywood/fl-pensions-hollywood-13th-check-20150710-story.html

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,
http://www.browardpalmbeach.com/news/hollywoods-finest-6314673
and mentioned in this one from 2013 about his curious notions of.. well, let's just say it's NOT good.
http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2013-02-02/news/fl-dea-hollywood-clash-20130202_1_dea-agent-cones-hollywood-police-officer

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?


Correct. 
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!
http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/2014/09/some-informed-commentary-context-and.html

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.
http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/2013/11/sandbagged-independent-audit-of.html

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
http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/2013/10/instead-of-looking-out-for-you-and-your.html

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
http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/2013/11/latest-news-re-hallandale-beach-cra.html

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
http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/2013/11/sandbagged-independent-audit-of.html

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.

Dave
Twitter: @hbbtruth, https://twitter.com/hbbtruth
https://twitter.com/hbbtruth/with_replies
http://www.hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/
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