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.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

#SoFL - Rare win for govt #ethics! .@dwightyoakamfan on North Miami's vote to torpedo #FL state Rep. Joseph S. Geller & Greenspoon Marder. Stephanie Kienzle connect-the-dots yet again, this time on what was really at stake for the public of North Miami.


For once, I have a blog post today that hardly needs any additional commentary or useful context from yours truly, because it's written with such care and concern by my friend, Stephanie 
Kienzlewho says everything that needs to be said -and more- about what was really at risk recently to the long-beleaguered citizenry of North Miami.
Specifically, in the way of lobbyists taking over more territory at yet one more City Hall in South Florida, and one lobbyist in particular, Evan Ross.

North Miami is a place I know intimately from growing up in next-door North Miami Beach from 1968-1979, when North Miami was not only home to some of my favorite people and place -and my barbers, the fabulous Spinelli Brothers, who used to cut my hair at their sports and show-biz memorabilia-filled shop on West Dixie Highway in the 1970's, when they still had many famous sports and show business clients who would always visit them when in Miami for a personal or business trip.
People whose faces and names you would instantly recognize today. 

(The Spinelli Brothers were even kind enough to sponsor me for Optimist football, even though I played for North Miami Beach Optimist, not North Miami, but they still received one of those very large sponsor photos of me in my uniform anyway in exhange for a donation to NMB Optimist. They hung the photo up in their shop, and trust me, when I walked in there with my Dad, it was always one of the first things I checked out upon entering, to make sure it still had its prime location!) 

North Miami was also home to some of the best though sadly, no-longer extant restaurants in all of South Florida, including Marcella's, on West Dixie Highway and N.E. 138th Street, with their legendary lip-smacking garlic rolls and amazing food smells that made both kids and adults salivate like crazy while you waited to get a table in a place that was almost always packed with happy customers.

Of course, North Miami is also home to the North Miami HS Pioneers were also the arch-rival of my school, the North Miami Beach HS Chargers, and thus the combatants in what was then an often bitter rivalry that split families, since until NMB opened in the early 1970's, North Miami High was the most northern public high school in NE Dade County.

I was personally eyewitness to many epic and hard-fought battles (and screaming matches) between fans over the years in soccer, football, basketball and even Girls gymnastics, in the years when I was the NMB Gymnastics team manager and the PA announcer for home meets, when NMB was far-and-away the best team in Florida, and had many hundreds of people attend our home meets.
We capped that my senior year by winning yet another GMAC County title, as well as a state title for our beloved coach -and amazing AP Science teacher- Pete Saponaro
That state championship was one we hosted in NMB, with me handling all the travel planning and logistics for all the invited teams from around the state, as well as media czar for the media that covered the meet. 

But even that had a North Miami angle.
"Sap" himself was a North Miami High grad before leaving for Penn State, where he was an All-American and co-captain one of the years that Penn State was the NCAA Mens Champion.

Before I was a Hoosier, I was an NMB Charger, Class of 1979.

My last blog post on the antics and activities of Florida state Rep. Joseph S. Geller was just over two months ago, on September 17th, in a post I titled, 
#Ethics still matter in South Florida! Stephanie Kienzle of Votersopinion.com keeps her eyes firmly on what's going on with the VERY CURIOUS legal antics of FL state Rep. Joe Geller, even as most of South Florida's news media keeps ignoring what's right in front of us.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Tighter security checks on refugees in U.S.? At least for one night, U.S. Rep. @GerryConnolly's concise and to-the-point logic and reason (re refugees) actually triumphed on American TV last night. Sensible people across the U.S. should enjoy it while we can...; #Syria #refugees #Paris #terrorism #ISIS

PBS NewsHour
Does the U.S. need tighter security checks on refugees? 
November 19, 2015 at 7:07 PM ET

Highly recommend you watch this video from last night's PBS NewsHourand not just because it may be the only fair-minded discussion of the  Syrian/Iraqi refugee debate I've seen on American TV this year, where someone who was arguing for both logic and accountability from the federal government wasn't sandbagged.

It features the insightful comments of Rep. Gerry Connolly, the new Democratic Congressman 
who represents Northern Virginia, and specifically, Arlington County, where I lived for 15 years, roughly about 5 miles from Georgetown.

Rep. Connolly replaced bombastic, combative and often over-the-top longtime Rep. Jim Moran
Moran, not unlike Mayor Joy Cooper in beleaguered Hallandale Beach, was considered by even 
people who voted for him, to often be an insufferable egomaniac with a deep-and-abiding love for TV camera lights that challenged New York Senator Charles Schumer's widely-known love for the limelight, fancied himself shoot-from-the-hips pol whose shortcuts with facts and logic often resulted in him shooting himself in the foot and getting into un-necessary and petty fights. 
And for good measure, just like Mayor Cooper, Moran has a pugnacious son with a penchant for criminality and mischief but who -surprise- considers himself above the law.

Gerry Connolly was a respected politician who stood out among Northern Virginia's lock-step liberal mindset when I lived in Arlington, back when I was still a DLC Democrat, because he was the sort of principled Democrat whom we have far too few of these days in DC, to wit, someone who thinks that well-thought out, fair-minded results that actually solve real problems mattered more than ideology or party. (Usually.)

This is the sort of TV performance that catches people's attention outside of his immediate area, and not just because you have to know that there were NOT exactly many among the 47 Dems who, having voted against President Obama yesterday on refugee resettlement in the U.S., didn't relish the idea of going on national TV and telling everyone why he and his supporters were wrong -again.
Especially when it's so much easier to just toe-the current DNC mindset and blithely assume the federal "bureaucracy" will handle everything correctly without any genuine accountability or benchmarks from Congress.
Like that's ever happened with positive results for most Americans.

Rep. Connolly's performance is also noteworthy precisely because he didn't fall for the usual trap of allowing the news media's own narrative to dominate the discussion, nor did he allow the discussion to drift off into other areas that would allow him to be trapped into a corner and painted as a heartless pol by the other guest, Erol Kekic of Church World Service.
Something that seems to frequently happen to most GOP members appearing on that sort of TV show pretty much without fail, though to be fair, often because they foolishly act like they will be treated fairly instead of aggressively by both host and fellow guests. 
The recent history of the GOP, even when they are in power, is, seemingly, to never learn from history.

Rep. Connolly's concise and to-the-point logic and reason (re refugees) actually triumphed on
American TV.  For at least one night anyway...
Sensible people across the U.S., like so many of you readers of this blog, should enjoy it while we can...
You can be sure there there won't be many more such examples before the end of the year.


Saturday, November 14, 2015

#Paris - Initial thoughts on the latest example of #ISIS pathology on display on the streets of Paris, a city that stands in stark contrast to everything repressive Islamic fundamentalism rejects: Liberté, égalité, fraternité; @France24_en

#Paris - Initial thoughts on the latest example of #ISIS pathology on display on the streets of Paris, a city that stands in stark contrast to everything repressive Islamic fundamentalism rejects: Liberté, égalité, fraternité; @France24_en

Tom Burges Watson of France24

Per continuing developments in #Paris, you probably still have it from previous emails of mine but just in case... link for France24's English language channel in Paris, which I previously mentioned back in January during Charlie Hebdo massacres. http://www.france24.com/en/

I also watched both the English and French-language channels during the last French presidential elections, where Hollande defeated Sarkozy. A well-known international media organoization even contacted me about appearing on-air to discuss the election, if you can believe it.
I said no thanks, foolishly.

As it happens, I took French for many years at North Miami Beach High School in late '70's and even received an award for being the 2nd-best non-native speaker of French at the 1979 Dade County Youth Fair Oral competition down at FIU, open to all French high school students in greater Miami.
Of course, I lost to a ringer from Quebec. :-(

In case you forgot what some people in Great Britain were thinking back in January, since we are rarely reminded of it in the U.S.:

The Telegraph
Quarter of British Muslims sympathise with Charlie Hebdo terrorists 
Some 27 per cent of British Muslims sympathise with Paris gunmen, 
while more than one in ten say satirical cartoons "deserve" to be attacked
Am sure we will see similar polls done in U.K. and other European countries within the next few days, with results that both surprise and frustrate.

Ann Coulter's thought about Donald Trump, on the other hand, seems reflected in both the words, action and human behavior of Americans I see and speak with everyday, not mystical elite salons that believe that their own unpopularity is, itself, a reflection of something positive. She's right, they're wrong. 

This blog post is based in part to my not only looking at themany emails I received from friends and contacts in Europe, but also watching and monitoring France24 all morning, including seeing the Interior Minister's speech outlawing public demonstrations until at least next Thursday (?), for fear, clearly, of creating so many new and completely undefensible targets for so-called '"one wolves."
That being a favorite topic of some U.S. TV reporters, even when there isn't as much empirical evidence of them as often suggested in their reports.
But it only takes one, right?
Or, two in Boston.

Also, since it was reported last night per French President Hollandes's speech to the nation, I've learned that there are 61 official "border' entrances and exits in France, which will be more closely monitored than ever before, even while plane flights into France continue.

Press reports I've seen in various places keep hinting at more than passing concern with the 
French-Belgium border for some reason, but yet the media seems reluctant to say just why that would be so compared to France's borders with Spain, Germany or via boat in #Calais, scene of so much craziness and heartbreak because of the surge of immigrants there and theri attempst to get into Great Britain via the Eurotunnel or any other means available to them, a topic which I've written emails about to friends bot not posted about on the blog this summer.

I wonder whether this info I have heard about Belgium is being mentioned specifically because of an errant police leak or it's merely a trial ballon? Sheer supposition? Intuition? 
Hard to say, which also makes it frustrating given how much mis-information has already gotten out and with MUCH more sure to come in the days ahead..

As of 9 am Eastern this morning, two Syrian passports and 1 French passport were found so far on the 7 dead terrorists who killed themselves.
Numbers show that French police did not actually kill any terrorists, leading to a growing if still somewhat under-the-radar for now criticism that French SWAT teams simply waited too long to go in, given history and pathology of hostage takers -i.e. they were selected for the assignment 
precisely because they are prepared (and happy) to kill themselves AFTER killing as many hostages as possible, for a radical ideology where #numbers DO matter.

(That "strain" of Islam that to the regret of this country, President Obama refuses to say aloud for fear of causing offense - Islamic fundamentalism.)

Which means that in these types of situations, law enforcement simply has no time to pretend they are military units with overwhelming numbers and have the freedom to mass, coordinate with everyone and then enter and attack on THEIR own timetable.
New reality is that in this type of terror hostage situation, the clock is ticking... and a real bomb WILL definitely go off.

Similar public criticism of Littleton police by parents during and after the Columbine High 
School massacre proved to be more than justified, as there's still extant video of assembled, frantic parents and public near school asking why police were waiting SO LONG back then,
given that the Littleton area SWAT teams were armored, armed and trained.

Los Angeles Times
Police Under Fire in Quest to Study Columbine
Emergencies: Public lacks understanding, officials say. They defend actions of Littleton officers.
April 27, 1999

(N.B.: Eric Lichtblau is now at NY Times and an excellent reporter.)

Too much police concern for SWAT team members and not enough for kid hostages?
Which is precisely what I was thinking even as I watched the LIVE coverage of that on CNN 
back in 1999, when I was still living/working in Washington DC and that day, doing some consulting work for a well-known U.S.law firm... until the news hit and everyone raced into the giant conference room to watch the TV and see what was happening.
And not quite believing the 'rescue operation' seemed to be going in slow-motion... 

I had a similar sinking feeling and thought last night, and I suspect that many of  you did as well 
-the Police are simply waiting TOO LONG... 

:-( Anguish and exasperation in equal measure.

The Tweet below from this morning is my clear reference to George Stephanopoulos' frequent
absence from his own Sunday morning public affairs show, This Week, NOT the amount of time per show he's actually visible on it, which may be the impression I mistakenly conveyed when I did it.
This fact is self-evident, esp. to someone like me who's tracked it all year, since I believe that as of July, he was barely on 55% of 2015's This Week shows.

I've mentioned to many of you in person and probably even tweeted it a few times, and mentioned in emails, that as far as I'm concerned, ABC News should have never allowed Jake Tapper to get away to CNN, however it happened.
He was the best host for that show since its creator and first host, David Brinkley.  

Monday, November 2, 2015

Tomorrow's vote in San Francisco on #housing, #techboom, #SharingEconomy and @Airbnb may be the least-covered important voter referendum on ideas & public policy of the past 15 years. (Thanks #MSM!) Fortunately, @ConorDougherty of @nytimes has a fair and well-written story on it for you to make sense of.

Tomorrow's vote in San Francisco on #housing, #techboom, #SharingEconomy and @Airbnb may be the least-covered important voter referendum on ideas & public policy of the past 15 years. (Thanks #MSM!) Fortunately, @ConorDougherty of @nytimes has a fair and well-written story on it for you to make sense of.


The two inactive Twitter links above can now be found at:
Airbnb Is Inc.'s 2014 Company of the Year 
Disruptive, brazen, and overall brilliant, the (possibly illegal) home-sharing empire has become the biggest lodging provider on Earth--earning it the title of Inc.'s 2014 Company of the Year.
By Burt Helm,  Senior Contributing Writer @burthelm

Tomorrow's vote in San Francisco on #housing, #techboom, #sharingeconomy and @Airbnb may be the least-covered important voter referendum on ideas & public policy of the past 15 years. 
Fortunately, @ConorDougherty of @nytimes has a fair and well-written story on it for you to make sense of in advance of the predictable spin we can expect from both sides of the debate, where a loss may well be spun as a win and vice-versa.

His article below describes what is arguably the most important vote taking place in the U.S. tomorrow, esp. as far as ideas and getting an accurate reading of the mood of a particular community goes, and yet until I saw this NY Times story today, the #MSM has made no serious attempt to make me fully aware of the universe of both positive and negative consequences possible afterwards for other communities. (Thanks #MSM!)
Just saying...


New York Times
San Francisco Ballots Turn Up Anger Over the Technical Divide

SAN FRANCISCO — Bruce Bennett is 52 and has a bum knee in need of surgery. But two Sundays ago he put on a knee brace and huffed his way up steep hills and dozens of stairs to implore residents to vote against a city measure called Proposition F.
“This is probably the heaviest I’ve ever gotten involved in any campaign,” he said.
Proposition F is a new proposal that would cut the supply of short-term home rentals, or, to quote a few of the people who answered their doors for Mr. Bennett, “the Airbnb thing.”

Read the rest of the article at: