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. 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.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Since facts still matter... Important facts & context NOT revealed in Sun-Sentinel's account of Broward County School Board hiring Leo Bobadilla from Houston to head its "troubled $800 million bond program." Charlotte Greenbarg, Buddy Nevins & Ericka Mellon help me connect some dots on the 'bigger picture' and what it reveals is NOT positive about Broward School Board members' public accountability. Surprise!

Since facts still matter... Important facts & context NOT revealed in Sun-Sentinel's account of Broward County School Board hiring Leo Bobadilla from Houston to head its "troubled $800 million bond program." Charlotte Greenbarg, Buddy Nevins & Ericka Mellon help me connect some dots on the 'bigger picture' and what it reveals is NOT positive about Broward School Board members' public accountability. Surprise!

South Florida Sun-Sentinel
District hires $185K executive - School board vote brings aboard head of embattled bond program in Texas
By Brittany Shammas, Staff writer
October 21, 2015

The Broward County School Board voted Tuesday to hire the leader of an embattled Houston school district bond program to oversee its own troubled $800 million bond program, which is being used renovate aging schools.

Leo Bobadilla, chief operating officer at the Houston Independent School District, will earn $185,707 as Broward's chief facilities officer. He'll be responsible for overseeing the construction and design of new facilities, as well as maintaining, repairing and renovating existing facilities

Read the rest of the article at:

Broward Beat
Slammed In Last Job Because Of Bad Audits, Now Hired By Broward Schools
By Buddy Nevins
October 18, 2015

The Houston school executive chosen to manage Broward’s school construction was slammed for running a program that overpaid contractors and allowed lawful spending caps to be circumvented.

Leo Bobadilla, chief operating officer of the Houston school system, is due to be hired on Superintendent Robert Runcie’s recommendation on Tuesday.

Read the rest of the article at:

Do I even need to point out that this week, per the above matter, we saw YET ANOTHER 
embarrassing vote on the Broward School Board by SE Broward's member, Ann Murray, who showed all over again that facts and context never really matter to her as long as she and the other School Board insiders can keep common sense accountability and reform from coming into play before even more kids and parents abandon the Broward public schools? 
Apparently so.

But if you were hiring someone for an important position of public trust, wouldn't you want to know as many salient and relevant facts as possible about their past experience, good and bad? 
Probably so.
The problem is that Ann Murray doesn't.

This is hardly surprising, given Murray's consistently unimpressive track record on behalf of the public and public education, which I have cited 44 times in the past 7 years on my blog, most recently, back in June:
Broward County residents increasingly dismayed by brazenness of Broward County 
Schools Supt. Robert W. Runcie & Broward School Board's Ann Murray and Rosalind 
Osgood's actions re bond $$ transparency & oversight

Supt. Robert W. Runcie wants Leo Bobadilla
Okay, that's good enough for Murray to say yes.
Just like the guys from Chicago that Runcie also said he needed to hire to fix things for him who never quite worked out. 

At times like this, it's very hard to recall that Supt. Runcie works for her and us, not the other way around.
And I remind you that I was a Runcie supporter initially, but at some point you have to admit that it's not working out the way you hoped.

Below, a relevant fact about this matter from my friend Charlotte Greenbarg, longtime Hollywood and Broward civic activist and education reformer, now making a big difference over in Lutz, in Hillsborough County.
(Yes, Lutz. Which, admittedly, I had never heard of before Charlotte moved there, since it sounded more like an App than a real place in Florida.)

Makes you wonder why the fact that the Houston audit was apparently going to be released the next day wasn't mentioned in the Sun-Sentinel article, no?
Really, the Broward School Board couldn't even wait 48 hours?

FYI: The abc13.com link below has a video about the story, too.


This is the article from the Houston Chronicle. The Broward School Board didn’t think it was important to wait for the audit. Wonder why? 
They hired the Houston person the day BEFORE the audit was released.

Charlotte Greenbarg, President
IVBE, Inc.
Lutz, FL

Audit: HISD's inflation claims as cause for $211M shortfall are false
A just-released audit contradicts claims by HISD officials that "rising inflation and construction costs" were to blame for a $211 million budget shortfall.

By Ted Oberg and Trent Seibert
Wednesday, October 21, 2015 06:46PM


 An audit released Wednesday contradicts claims made last month by Houston Independent School District officials that "rising inflation and construction costs" were to blame for a $211 million shortfall in the school district's failure to complete all school projects promised to the community.
Read the rest of the article at:

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

An open letter to Florida CFO Jeff Atwater about the long overdue need for CRA reform in Florida. Today's Florida Bulldog expose by William Gjebre is a perfect example of why these spending/ethical reforms were needed... YESTERDAY: @Florida_Bulldog: Fort Lauderdale to use “poor people’s money” to subsidize transit for affluent?

October 20, 2015

Dear Mr. Atwater:

Per the enclosed story from this morning's newest expose in the Florida Bulldog
'Fort Lauderdale to use “poor people’s money” to subsidize transit for affluent?,'
I had some quick thoughts to share with you.

I do so because your record in public service shows that more than seems true with 
99% of the elected officials in this state, you've proven to be someone who shows 
via word and deed that you believe in both the spirit and letter of Florida's laws 
governing public accountability and spending, not just the abstract idea of them. 

Given my experience in Hallandale Beach, which I have recounted to you previously, 
where over a period of years, tens of millions of HB CRA dollars were mis-spent with 
no genuine accountability and no meaningful oversight, -where the Broward Inspector 
General's damning report showed high-ranking, highly-paid city/CRA staff 
essentially went on the 'honor system' with recipients who were friends of HB 
City Hall, including NOT even requiring CRA fund recipients to show any evidence 
they were actually doing or making progress towards what they claimed they'd 
accomplish with the CRA fundsI keep waiting for the Florida Legislature to do what
they keep saying they want to do, namely, tighten-up CRA rules so that clearly-understood 
rules are set so that both the public and the cities will know in advance what city CRA 
Boards can and can NOT do with CRA funds.

And chief among these is NOT continue to use them as slush funds and "found money" 
to pay for the things involving public policy that those in charge DON'T want the public 
either to get wind of or have any real input on, regardless of how many people it might 
ultimately affect.
This continuing misbehavior by local government corrodes public trust and alienates 
people who do believe that CRAs can serve a very useful purpose.

After all, how can I trust someone in government who will do whatever they want 
whenever I'm not looking?

I appreciate that you're no longer in the legislature and are sensitive to the limits of your 
own office's authority and official duties, but if the legislature is going to keep punting, 
why not consider launching a public campaign to bring some of these excesses to light, 
and create some momentum for more pressure to be exerted to make the needed reforms
that Florida residents deserve?

The current system, and the repeated reluctance of city/CRA attorneys to tell their 
bosses to rein-in their worst instincts, puts the honest public officials in Florida who DO 
believe in transparency and genuine publiengagement in difficult positions, especially 
when their bosses or their colleagues who don't believe in openness, want to continue 
to keep their thumbs on the scale to get their way and keep the public thoroughly 
disadvantaged -and in the dark.

Given all the spending horror stories that have taken place throughout the state with 
respect to CRAs, why is the effort to finally enact meaningful CRA reforms in Florida 
NOT being pushed seriously NOW in Tallahassee?
Just wondering, since the public knows that it's LONG OVERDUE

I just posted this letter to my blog.

In the near future, I'll be happy to post any response that you and your office or any of 
the state legislators receiving this email as a cc choose to respond with. 
end of letter

Here's the article and the tweet about it that I encourage all of my blog's readers to share. 

Florida Bulldog
OCTOBER 20, 2015 AT 5:41 AM
Fort Lauderdale to use “poor people’s money” to subsidize transit for affluent?
By William Gjebre, FloridaBulldog.org 
OCTOBER 20, 2015 AT 5:41 AM
Fort Lauderdale’s recent approval of a no-bid contract to update the plan for the troubled Northwest-Progresso-Flagler Heights Community Redevelopment Agency has raised concerns about a lack of public input amid a rush to add projects not in the current plan at the expense of community needs.
Scott Strawbridge, who serves on the CRA’s 14-member advisory board, has called for outside review of the agency after he and his colleagues were informed that City Manager Lee Feldman signed a $24,500 contract with a private firm in August to amend the current CRA plan, last updated in 2001.
Read the rest of the article at:

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Salient facts and tough questions re tonight's community meeting in Hallandale Beach about the latest development proposal -gambit?- about the Diplomat Hotel & Country Club, part of the Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa in Hollywood. What is allowed under current zoning and what is allowed under the requested new zoning?

Salient facts and tough questions re tonight's community meeting  in Hallandale Beach about the latest development proposal -gambit?- about the Diplomat Hotel & Country Club, part of the Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa in Hollywood. What is allowed under current zoning and what is allowed under the requested new zoning?

Below is a slightly-longer and corrected version of a quick email I wrote and dispatched yesterday afternoon to about 300 people throughout South Florida, including news media, regarding tonight's important 6 pm meeting in Hallandale Beach, behind City Hall.
There's much more in this issue than a quick first look would reveal.


October 14, 2015

For the record, since many of you receiving this email today were not living in the area at the time, in all the many years since the previous ill-considered Diplomat Hotel & County Club's 5-6 super-sized condo towers project was rejected by the Broward County Commission, 
project that I and many of you actively fought against from the very 
beginning, on the facts, because it was so self-evidently over-the-top and INCOMPATIBLE for the residential NE neighborhood it would have been shoehorned into, did the owners and management of the Diplomat EVER once do the most-obvious things they could have (and should have already) been doing to actually improve that property's bottom line and help the local economy - advertise and market it like they really meant it -in interesting and compelling ways that would draw new customers.

That rejected development project would have negatively affected not just the Quality of Life of area residents in general, but if approved, had also placed MANY HB homeowners in almost-permanent shadows as a result of the proposed Diplomat condo towers, built but feet away from their living room and bedroom windows.

For reasons known only to the Diplomat, despite all the resources in the world they had access to, the Diplomat consciously chose to NOT do the small common sense things for the golf course they needed to do to be successful in a competitive marketplace like South Florida, especially when their golf course is widely said by experienced golfers to be both TOO EXPENSIVE and NOT very challenging or FUN to play to boot, compared to other less-expensive golf courses in South Florida.

But instead of improving the actual product and learning how to effectively market their property, they seemed content to rely on word-of-mouth from prior hotel guests, many of whom, of course, were often staying/playing at their company's expense, NOT via their own wallet/purse.
Guests who no longer visit it or play because of their concern about a perceived slip in the golf course's basic quality, value and the level of CUSTOMER SERVICE.

Over-and-over at myriad public meetings in Hallandale Beach and in Ft. Lauderdale, I made the point to public officials, the public and the the press that the Diplomat's owners and management cries that they desperately needed the multiple super-size condo towers built on residential neighborhood streets to make enough money, had yet to show they were willing to do even the most basic things that any norma business would have to do to be successful.

Public meetings which, as I would later reveal via email to many of you and on my blog, included "comments" from individuals who were paid by HB City Hall with city tax dollars, all of whom consistently hectored genuinely concerned Hallandale Beach and Hollywood residents who were against or agnostic about the proposal on the one hand, and on the other hand -SURPRISE- spoke in favor of the Diplomat's position, all without EVER publicly disclosing their $$$ relationship to the City that favored it.

Many of you even know two of them: Patricia Genetti, the duplicitous head of the Hallandale Beach Chamber of Commerce, and, the City's former paid "spy," Joe Kessel.
And no, despite many in the local news media's words to me at the time that they would definitely follow up and publicly ask how these two people receiving tax dollars from HB City Hall for trying to influence policy were able to go before public bodies throughout Broward -as well as HB- without publicly disclosing (as legally required) that they were there as paid representatives of the City, none did. :-(

Before the final County meetings that eventually sealed their losing fate -and in all the YEARS since then!- the Diplomat's owners and management have never so much as arranged to have erected even ONE simple directional sign for their Golf Course/Resort property to let visitors know where they are and how to get there.

That's why you DON'T see any Diplomat Golf Course directional signs near I-95, on U.S.-1, State Road A1A or Hallandale Beach Blvd., while you DO see MANY such simple directional signs on those streets and all over town, even for relatively small and modest-sized churches.

Instead of showing some smarts, initiative and moxie for a change, and listening to HB residents and their own guests, the Diplomat wallowed in either self-pity or apathy, the Diplomat refused/refuses to do even the simplest thing to show that they are serious about making that property successful, something that nobody in the area is against, including me?

Why? Because then as now, the Diplomat team's whole pretext for asking for zoning variances and building is fatally and horribly flawed, especially as long as they refuse to face reality about their product and the public's perception of it.
Then as now, they continue to rely upon and posit things that are simply NOT in evidence, and eagerly misconstrue the reality of facts that are so in abundance to anyone who simply walks or drives around the area and opens their eyes.

The fact is, not once in all the many public meetings where I spoke and laid out the true facts, did the Diplomat or its representatives ever answer or rebut my simple questions that deserved an honest answer.

Not ONCE at all those meetings did the Diplomat answer the question of why they were adamantly REFUSING to do the very things that they were ALREADY legally entitled to do on that property in terms of building and improving upon it, without anyone's approval.
Things that nobody in town was publicly opposed to.

Despite having seen the questions coming so many times before, the Diplomat never tried to answer the questions publicly, low-hanging fruit in the larger scheme of things.

Honestly, shouldn't answering those sort of simple questions be the very minimum that the public should expect the Diplomat and its well-connected and well-paid team to be able to answer logically, especially when they ask the City to CHANGE zoning so that THEY can materially benefit, with the public likely to suffer in the process, unless some cooler and smarter heads prevail?

Isn't asking why the Diplomat Hotel & Golf Course's management have NOT properly marketed their golf course and resort in the past, and NOT tried to do anything to 

IMPROVE it, and build what they already legally could build there, be the starting point for questions for the Diplomat team from HB City Commissioners? 
Yes. That's the bare minimum!

Any commissioner who's afraid to ask those questions and consider what that means about the Diplomat and its vision doesn't deserve to be on the dais.

Below are two useful tools to use to help get better informed.
The first tool is the latest article from the Florida Bulldog about this very issue:

Hallandale Beach skyline to change with massive Diplomat expansion
By William Gjebre, FloridaBulldog.org
A proposal for a massive, four-tower project in Hallandale Beach featuring three hotels, 938 rooms and a 250-unit high-rise condominium under the Diplomat brand will be officially unveiled to nearby residents at a meeting Thursday in the city’s Cultural Center....

Article at: http://www.floridabulldog.org/2015/10/hallandale-beach-skyline-to-change-with-massive-diplomat-expansion/

The second tool is an informative and to-the-point email I received earlier today from my good friend and fellow civic activist, Csaba "Chuck" Kulin, about the Diplomat's proposal and tomorrow night's
important meeting.

I strongly urge you to read both -AND the attachment!- and think about the facts on the ground we can see with our very own eyes. 

But think long and hard, too, about what sort of area you want this part of SE Broward to be in the near-future, when we already have the unfortunate distinction of having some of the most gridlocked, F-rated roads in the entire state of Florida. Make plans NOW to attend tomorow's meeting -and bring a neighbor or two!

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Csaba Kulin
Date: Tue, 13 Oct 2015 23:51:43 -0700
Subject: Diplomat Project Details
To: Undisclosed Recipients

Dear HB Resident,

There is going to be a very important meeting this Thursday at 6:00 P.M. Hallandale Beach Community Center about the Diplomat Hotel and Country Club development. You will hear a presentation by the developer’s attorney telling you why it is a good project and how it will improve your quality of life.

I included the current zoning of the golf course, permitted uses, standards of a golf course and accessory uses. Accessory uses are limited to 15% of the golf course and buildings may not be higher than 100 feet. Read the details bellow.

The developer is asking the City to rezone the total property to “PDD planned development district”. The purpose and intent of the PDD planned development district is to provide an optional zoning
procedure to permit site design flexibility and greater land use intensity and density. That is the way the developer hopes to build a 20, 24 and 30 story condo-hotel.

On the 5 acre land (behind City National Bank) the developer is allowed to build a 30 story office building (no residential units). If the City does not rezone the property and gift 250 “residential flex
units” to the developer it may be an office building providing hundreds of new jobs.

Please read the “Current Zoning” and “Requested Zoning” below to be better informed.

Chuck Kulin
Fairways North, Inc.


Below is an email I received from Csaba Thursday morning:

Hallandale Beach Residents;
The Notice of Community Meeting about the Diplomat under “The applications Involve” said the following:
  • Applying the Planned Development Overlay Zoning District to the total property.
  • Rezoning a 5 acre portion of the property to CCB District.
This is the first time I saw any mention of REZONING the Diplomat Golf Course. Up to this time I believed that the Diplomat requested some variances to the current zoning. This is a major change in my opinion.
I hope the Ms. Orshefsky will answer all the question bellow but in case she will not we need to ask it ourselves.
We need a clear picture of what is allowed under current zoning and what is allowed under the requested new zoning.Here are a few questions we need to get answers to:
  • What is the current zoning of the total property?
  • What are the current permitted uses in the total property?
  • What are the current accessory use limitations of the total property?
  • What are the permitted uses in a Planned Development Overlay Zoning District?
  • What are the permitted uses in a CCB District?
Each of us may have only a few minutes to speak so please feel free to ask any of the questions not yet asked or NOT answered clearly.

Chuck Kulin

Friday, October 9, 2015

Perspectives on American TV, 2015: A public shout-out for some nicely-observed insight from Stacia L. Brown @washingtonpost - How @RosewoodFOX is expanding representations of black men in network TV. She correctly notes how the new Fox-TV show starring @Morris_Chestnut has already shown "how rare it is to see two black men onscreen discussing something other than violence, racism, or their own mortality." Amen.

Perspectives on American TV, 2015: A public shout-out for some nicely-observed insight from Stacia L. Brown @washingtonpost - How @RosewoodFOX is expanding representations of black men in network TV. She correctly notes how the new Fox-TV show starring @Morris_Chestnut has already shown "how rare it is to see two black men onscreen discussing something other than violence, racism, or their own mortality." Amen.

I've written the following post in reverse-chron order, with oldest on top, in an attempt to be more logical than usual.

For me, the highlight from Brown's column was this line: 
"The subtlest moments — like Rosie, Dante, and those flowers — punctuate how rare it is to see two black men onscreen discussing something other than violence, racism, or their own mortality."


I've watched all three Rosewood episodes so far, and partly because it's set here in South Florida -#SoFLand partly because I also think it has a good premise for a series and a nice core of actors around star Morris Chestnutit's definitely starting to grow on me.
Especially as it finally stops trying to explain who every character is and can actually breathe a little and let the plots develop however they will.

Not that it's ever going to be M.A.S.H., of course, or even aspires to be, but most people now forget how really crummy some of their early M.A.S.H. episodes were when the writers and editors kept hammering home who the various characters were long past the point where we got it, esp. Klinger
Radar and Frank Burns.

In retrospect, some of those early M.A.S.H. episodes often seem like the show's writers were intentionally bullying Larry Linville's Burns character just to see what sort of reaction it might provoke in either him or the show's audience. 
People loved seeing pranks performed on poor Frank Burns, but serial cruelty is another thing altogether. 

It's always especially noticeable in those episodes composed largely of clips.
You almost wonder what the writers were thinking.

Most TV viewers nowadays forget that, for a while at least, like the Mary Tyler Moore Show,
M.A.S.H. was forced by CBS network execs to use a laugh track, which was cringe-worthy, even though it was performed without a studio audience.
As we know, as the two shows' dramatic success grew expondentially on Saturday nights, that foolish crutch was eventually dispensed with, even if it remained on so many other middling network TV shows well into the 1980's.

The really odd thing is that I was thinking the same exact things last night watching the newest episode of Rosewood as what Washington Post reporter Stacia L. Brown writes about. 
Weird. :-)

Like Brown,  I also hope that they give the show a chance to properly develop and find its way.
It's always a good thing to have fully-realized characters on network TV, especially if they can be set against an area of the country that is -quite correctly I'm sorry to say- often regarded as the height of superficiality, where physical looks always-but-always trumps brain power every time.
(As I know so well from growing-up in sunny sand, surf and bikini-clad South Florida!)
How ironic would that be?

And if it can be a character that looks, acts and thinks like series star Morris Chestnut's,  one that's doesn't adhere to most Hollywood's showrunners' pre-conceived paint-by-numbers notions of what the show has to do, as opposed to what it can do, so much the better for everyone concerned, not least, the poor TV audience who desperately prefers to see more accurate depictions of complex people's lives on the tube. And lives different from their own, with their own separate struggles.

But then a sophisticated TV audience that wants more also has to let the networks know they want that, not more of the same old thing, or variations on a TV theme from 25 years before.
And so it is here with Fox-TV.
People have to use their voices.
So far, so good!

Since I sent out an email with much of the above Thursday afternoon to my corps of well-informed friends and Followers(!)  across the country, have been greatly heartened by the number who say that they not only like and watch the show, but also agree with points that Stacia L. Brown and I raise.


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Some informed thoughts and useful facts re recent Florida Bulldog article on Hollywood Comm. Peter Hernandez and his curious (and ineffective) efforts to kill the Hollywood Beach CRA. This is a perfect example of his 3 years in office so far, and why he should face tough & articulate competition in 2016

Some informed thoughts and useful facts re recent Florida Bulldog article on Hollywood Comm. Peter Hernandez and his curious (and ineffective) efforts to kill the Hollywood Beach CRA. 
This is a perfect example of his 3 years in office so far, and why he should face tough  & articulate competition in 2016

My comments are below the recent article and the public comments so far at their website.
I've held off on sending this for two weeks -plus its publication in Miami Herald on Sept. 20th- to allow a little more time to develop for people to both respond to what's written there and for the City of Hollywood's budget process to play itself out.

I wouldn't bring it up if it wasn't an important subject -CRA's- AND something I've previously
discussed publicly, including in conversations with some of you over coffee and bagels at Panera Bread and other eateries hereabouts.
Most of it was sent out as an email by me on Wednesday afternoon to people around Hollywood, Hallandale Beach and South Florida, and a few folks in Tallahassee.


Florida Bulldog
Hollywood Beach CRA the target of moves to cut its funding, or kill it
By William Gjebre, FloridaBulldog.org
September 15, 2015 at 6:28 am

Hollywood City Commissioner Peter Hernandez says the Beach Community Redevelopment Agency should be abolished because it has had increasing property tax funds for its use — at times exceeding its needs — while the “rest of the city is starving” to pay for operations and needed improvements.

While his proposal has yet to gain support from his colleagues, Hernandez and other city commissioners, who also serve as directors of the CRA, have directed the city’s staff to explore options that would redirect the Hollywood Beach CRA funds left over at the end of the year to the city. Such a revenue give back would mark a first for a CRA in Broward.

Well, where to even begin?

Not once in this Florida Bulldog article do you see a single instance where Hollywood Commissioner Peter Hernandez speaks with any sort of specificity about any serious 

attempts by him to make a motion that would annually CAP the specific amount of money the Hollywood Beach CRA has control over.

For instance, like publicly recounting the first date that he brought it up as a topic for debate on the dais -as well as the most recent time- and summarizing what his particular logical arguments consisted of then, plus what he's learned from losing the argument that day and changed to make it more reasonable and likely to pass.

Also noteworthy for its complete absence from the Bulldog article is Hernandez detailing 
any efforts he has personally made to engage the larger Hollywood community in the weeks and months prior to his bringing it up the first time on the dais at City Hall. 

In other words, the very first thing that I and most of you know from experience would be necessary to change and improve public policy in Hollywood, regardless of the issue, given how much more of an engaged political/social culture exists in Hollywood than in other broward cities, esp. Hallandale Beach.
A level of public participation and engagement citizens and Small Business owners fully expect, and for good reason.

(Just wondering: Why has Comm. Hernandez ALSO done such a consistently dreadful 
job publicly of informing/educating Hollywood area residents and 
businesses about what's really going on these days with the myriad milestones of the TriRail Coastal commuter line that will run thru HIS district? 
It's positively dumbfounding! 

Even by the most charitable of standards, Hernandez has remained a virual cipher publicly about the one non-tourism issue that can most rapidly and 
dynamically improve the economic condition of Hollywood in general and its downtown area -and his neighborhood- in particular: the TriRail Coastal line
Frankly, I would be very surprised if his opponents in next year's election don't 
choose to ask him those very same questions in a much-less friendly way.
Wouldn't be surprised if they didn't demand some reasonable explanation from him about why he's seemed asleep at the wheel on this issue, judging by his lack 
of energy or effort.

He has nothing specific about the CRA funding issue or TriRail on his campaign's 
Facebook account,
http://www.peterforhollywood.com/index.html which doesn't seem to have had anything added to it in well over three yearsSo much for communicating.)

Based on my continuing conversations, emails and phone calls with Hollywood citizens, 
residents and Small Business owners, especially those over on the Beach, unless Comm. Hernandez has been acting with the sort of stealthiness that characterized the Manhattan Project, he seems to have made exactly ZERO public attempts to engage the larger Hollywood community beforehand, so that he could then make the logical case from the dais that he and his arguments represent a tangible segment of the community who want to reform the CRA by enacting a CAP.

We can all agree that a well-appointed tool box is a good thing to have around, since you never know in advance what specific tool you might need to resolve a problem around the house or office. 

But just as there's a big difference between reforming the Beach CRA and eliminating it 
completely, it's troubling to me and many others in the community that Comm. Hernandez 
seems so consistently eager to use a hammer or a saw on the problem he sees -perceives- instead of what perhaps the problem more reasonably seems to require: a well-placed screwdriver to tighten certain things up accountability-wise so that the public is satisfied.

Even worse than his bad choice of tools, though, in the opinion of some who pay attention, Comm. Hernandez seems to be woefully naive on what the logical negative consequences would likely be for the city as a whole in eliminating the Beach CRA, both as a practical matter and from a PR point-of-view. 

The latter angle -PR- carries much more weight here than in does in most communities given that tourism and hospitality -and specifically, projecting a family image- is Hollywood's economic bread and butter now and for the forseeable future.

So, despite there being plenty of options in the tool box to accomplish his goal -whatever that actually is- Comm. Hernandez seems to have compounded his problem by being apathetic and naive about engaging the Hollywood community at large.

This, DESPITE the fact that a CLEAR MAJORITY of well-informed people I know and respect in Hollywood -with very different political ideologies- are largely in agreement that more serious reforms are and have been needed at the Hollywood Beach CRA over the past few years.
And some of them have been implemented.

Most of them believe that the first step in beginning to bring back increased public support to Beach CRA activities is capping its yearly spending, and removing the (perhaps unfair) illusion that it operates like it has an unlimited credit card.

(The VERY same thing that Hallandale Beach residents believe to be the case with its long troubled CRA -but for MORE and different reasons- who have also been desirous of 
having better oversight tools like a CAP.)

In fact, an even larger number of people probably support this CAP approach to the CRA 
than probably agree on any other aspect of Hollywood public policy that I can think of. 

Not only was I persuaded many years ago to the merits of a CAP on the Hollywood Beach CRA, 
but so was my friend, former Hollywood Balance Sheet blog co-editor Sara Case, before she left Hollywood for DC.

Sara even wrote as much on the blog, something I was reminded of recently when going thru some 
old email, and found her responding to someone who'd refused to really see what had been going on with the city's budget, and then suggested how it could be reformed and improved.

So what does Comm. Hernandez prefer to do instead of organizing Hollywood citizens and businesses in favor of a meaningful CAP that gives a degree of certainty? 
He blusters and seems to make ill-conceived threats that he seems to be in no serious position to carry out.

The truth is, I can't honestly say that I know Comm. Hernandez very well , since I don't, and I've never pretended otherwise on my blog or in my emails to many of you. 
I suspect Comm. Hernandez would likely recognize me on sight ONLY if I was wearing my trademark red IU ballcap, while standing behind my video-camera and tripod recording something at Hollywood City Hall, while I took copious notes.
In short, the position I've been on so many occasions over the years on so many issues large and small. 
Otherwise, to him I'm a complete stranger. 
Which is fine by me.

Whether its because he so loves the "working man" persona he's created or simply his muddled way of thinking, I can't say, but a few things are clear to me.
One is that my own sense of things from first-hand observations of him and conversations with Hollywood friends and citizens who keep on top of things at Hollywood City Hall is that Comm. Hernandez, whether intentionally or not, has created the impression that he is someone who actually enjoys being seen as combative, even when it's not necessary, and often even when it's actually MORE injurious to his particular argument, case or cause.

That doesn't make him unique in Broward or South Florida local govt., of course, but it is the particular sterotype he has largely helped craft for himself, based on his own actions and words and votes.
From a distance, it seems that what he has really built is more of a self-constructed cage than a public platform for fully engaging the community.

Perhaps because of either his ambition or ego, Comm. Hernandez not only doesn't seem to appreciate 
that his continuing to act like the tactics he regularly employs are actually working -when it's clear to nearly everyone that they aren't- but he also seems blind to the fact that when he specifically talks about the city having more money to spend, he has
NOT made the case that a majority of Hollywood citizens or Small Business owners necessarily believe that's a good idea.
For good reason - they DON'T!

When Hollywood citizens I know and respect hear a Hollywood Commissioner say that they want more money to spend, given what has happened there in the recent past and what was required -a bitter referendum on the city's budget priorities- those citizens immediately grab for their wallets or purses to make sure they are STILL there.

They ALSO begin to immediately suspect the Commissioner who publicly says they want more money to dole out at City Hall wants to give an even higher share of the city's limited budget to the Police and Fire Depts. -with the resultant increased pension costs and negative financial consequences sure to follow.

THAT particular approach is NOT a public policy decision those Hollywood citizens I know and respect will support, since it took so long for the city to rein those things in in the first place.
They don't want to go back to how things used to be.
If you missed my recent email to Hollywood's City Manager about what's going on with the TriRail Coastal commuter line, I've placed it on my blog here, so take a look: 
I've included some helpful Google Maps to connect-the-dots a bit.