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.

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.

Dave



---
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.

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