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, March 30, 2016

Why so few blog posts this month at Hallandale Beach Blog? Or, the curious case of the passive-aggressive DVD. :-(

Why so few blog posts this month at Hallandale Beach Blog? Or, the curious case of the passive-aggressive DVD. :-( 

Just wanted to take a moment to thank those of you blog readers and Twitter Followers who have taken the time to write me or send me DMs via Twitter, @hbbtruth, asking about the curious and noticeable paucity of posts on the blog this past month.
Distressing in that more than usual, this March was FULL of news in Florida, the U.S. and in Europe that I had something worthwhile to contribute and couldn't.
It's good to know that some people DO notice those things that seem slightly askew to them from a distance, whether that's someone reading the blog from somewhere else in the Sunshine State of Florida, or my coterie of curious and well-informed readers in Europe, especially in Sweden and the U.K.
In the case of the latter, as you more regular readers in the U.S. know by now, because of their jobs in the media and/or access to well-known and connected people, they've often served as not only my Eyes and Ears for giving you some much-needed context and history for stories that the U.S. media was doing their usual half-ass job of reporting and following up on, but served as my unofficial Special Investigative Unit, too!

Over the past few weeks, nearly two dozen blog posts that I'd already started and mostly finished, were saved not to the blog's Draft as per usual, but rather because I had an unusually high number of photos to add to the posts and didn't want to waste time moving them from one place to the other, I saved the posts with photos to a DVD.
Then, for some reason that has thus far eluded me -certainly NOT karma- the DVD didn't want to work again and part with the info I had so carefully carefully cobbled together on it.

So, those fact/anecdote-filled stories I had hoped to share with you about a lot of different subjects -South Florida politics; IU and the NCAA tournrey; political consequences of the Florida Presidential primary and why my predictions of last year came true, unlike Florida's Mainstream Media; huge proposed real estate projects in Hallandale Beach and what happened and why; the latest immigration and society stories in Europe and Sweden that you certainly were NOT hearing about on U.S. nightly newscasts; and some new music I wanted to bring to your attention...- well, there they stayed on that DVD. 
Causing me nothing but heartburn!

You see, my experience over the years with my blog, laptops and DVDs, that is, when I didn't keep my cool, has taught me now that when you have a serious problem, the last thing you want to do is make the situation untenable and dig myself further into a hole.
I simply wasn't going to allow my anger about what happened to get the better of me and cause me to break or otherwise make useless the DVD I'd already poured so MANY hours and hours into.
The good news is that after going thru a number of "experts," for a change in Florida, patience and competence has finally won out, and that DVD of mine has been salvaged.
By the end of the week you will be able to read for yourself the MANY blog posts that I had hoped to have you peruse and carefully consider the past few weeks when they were certainly the definition of the word timely.
Now, I just have to tweak them here and there a bit and add some more useful context -my usual Secret Ingredient that keeps so many of you regularly coming back here.

Tack sa mycket!
And thanks for hanging in there with me!


Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Long-overdue reality check for FDOT re Tri-Rail Coastal on FEC tracks: When is the Tri-Rail Coastal Station Refinement Report FINALLY going to be released?

Wednesday March 2nd, 2016
What follows below is a predicate for better understanding my tweets this afternoon to the Florida Dept. of Transportation, District 4, which covers Broward County, Florida, which are at bottom of this post.


Well, the facts speak for themselves.
Facts that I as a longtime public transit advocate and supporter of the SFECC Study and a Tri-Rail Coastal commuter train system between downtown Miami and Palm Beach, via the FEC tracks, find extremely frustrating and exasperating.
To say the least.

But then I've always been consistent about the fact that just because I've been a strong pro-transit advocate wherever I have lived -because I actually used it myself almost everyday in Chicago, Evanston
and Washington, D.C./Arlington
- didn't mean that I would sit back quietly and accept a lack of public candor, transparency and level of public accountability from transportation officials and consultants
regarding proposed public transit projects.

Especially if they clearly have some flaws worth pointing out or exhibit a lack of common sense, logic and utility. Or, are clearly projects engaging in fanciful thinking about the public's expected behavior and future usage of a prospective system, link or improvement, because some special interest group stands to benefit
inordinately from its construction and prefers the public pay instead of an appropriate fee paid for only by actual users.
To quote myself, "Just because you're pro-transit doesn't mean you have to ignore displays of transit incompetency or mismanagement when you see it!"

The latter, sadly, are things that have been FAR too plentiful in South Florida since I returned to the area from DC in 2003, and I've continually used my blog as a forum to communicate the facts with the public and
interested parties about the problems in detail since 2007, including most recently, the lack of public engagement in Broward of officials associated with the All Aboard Florida project, who backtracked
from their initial plans to NOT having a public meeting in Broward County after I got the attention of the public, the news media and angry local public officials who were surprised to discover they were
being ignored -until I pointed it out to them.

A refresher on that issue if you need one:

May 6, 2013 - More Transit Policy Woes in South Florida: With stealthy and self-sabotaging friends like All Aboard Florida and SFRTA/Tri-Rail, pro-transit advocates in South Florida don't need any more enemies; 'All Aboard Florida' fails to schedule a single public scoping meeting in Broward County this Spring despite Fort Lauderdale being a proposed station, while SFRTA chief refuses to answer a simple question -Will Hallandale Beach have a station under the proposed Coastal line plan?; Just because you're pro-transit doesn't mean you have to ignore displays of transit incompetency or mismanagement when you see it! 


May 16, 2013 -Reverse engines! Reluctantly but prudently, All Aboard Florida wises-up and agrees to have a Fort Laudedale scoping meeting after all, on May 29th; 5 weeks later, still no response from SFRTA Executive Director Joseph Giulietti about whether or not Hallandale Beach will have a station as part of their proposed Tri-Rail Coastal plan


March 26, 2015 -South Florida has once again redefined the meaning of "Free Ride." But shouldn't we all realize by now that when it comes to #TransportationPolicy in #SoFL, there's no such thing as a free ride? But #Miami pols, @Tri_Rail & @AllAboardFla can't help themslves when it comes to taking taxpayer dollars and taking credit for something BEFORE the facts are ALL in


August 5, 2015 - Common sense questions about public policy, process and public engagement -to say nothing of financial risk- continue to dog @AllAboardFla and the Fortress Investment Group as they seek $1.75 billion in tax-exempt bonds from the Florida Development Finance Corporation for their planned Miami-to-Orlando express train, via Fort lauderdale and West Palm Beach. Some observations on what we know and what reporters should have been asking all along, but were NOT.


August 22, 2015 -Thoughts re role of Tri-Rail Coastal commuter rail on HB/Hollywood redevelopment, per City of Hollywood's community meeting on Monday Aug. 24 for its Regional Activity Center re-zoning, which includes U.S.-1 & Pembroke Road


So, that said, I could have written the tweets below I sent today to FDOT over a year ago, 9 months ago, 6 months ago or at Christmas, and whenever I did so, it would be 100% true.
Just as it is today.

There's been nothing useful to the general public at the Tri-Rail Coastal website for over a year about the most important and most-anticipated information -the location of stations for the
initial stage of the project.
Instead, they have been content to do ZERO updates and leave it marked "Coming Soon."
No, a year is not soon!

And it's NOT how you properly engage and inform the citizenry about a project that completely depends upon public funds for its creation and maintenance.

Station Refinement Report
This report provides a summary of the planning analysis conducted to identify recommended initial station area locations on the FEC corridor. It also outlines a recommended phasing strategy for subsequent station development to assist project stakeholders with future planning efforts. The report recommendations will form the basis for the alternatives to be analyzed during the next phase (Project Development.) Coming Soon
And though I could have said something particularly critical about it, I chose NOT to comment in my tweets about how the information on their website labeled Station Area Opportunities reads more like like
fiction, esp. the material about Hallandale Beach.
Frankly, it's as if they swallowed whole the city's PR Kool-Aid without blinking, instead of posting objective information because they understood implicitly that area residents and business owners would both rely upon
the information to be accurate.

Station Area Opportunities

The Tri-Rail Coastal Link Station Area Opportunities publication is intended to summarize the station area visions created by many communities for their station areas, as well as provide information about the development potential for the area surrounding each station.

Download PDF (32MB)

So tell me, how can it be that after all this time that FDOT STILL hasn't released the initial locations of Tri-Rail Coastal stations in South Florida, and as it directly affects me and so many of you receiving this email, the location of those sites in NE Miami-Dade and SE Broward?
I know from MANY phone conversations and emails to and from many of you that station locations have been guaranteed by local city officials and Electeds to be part of the initial operation of the commuter line, when, in fact, they WON'T be?

And just as I state below in my tweets from this afternoon, I DO know the names of people who has been misleading the public and Small Business owners, trying to sell them a bogus bill of goods.
People who deserve honesty are instead receiving duplicity from public officials who are supposed to be working for them, not against them.

Another question that comes to mind is WHY is the local South Florida news media, print and electronic, has largely been snoozing on this important storythat directly affects important issues like South Florida's transportation gridlock and the local economy -and parts of local cities near the FEC
tracks that remain in a funk and economically depressed
instead of properly demanding honest answers and a thorough justification from public officials (and consultants) in charge at FDOT for their lack of candor, public engagement and snail-like pace?

Project Manager 

Amie Goddeau
FDOT Project Manager, FDOT District 4
3400 West Commercial Boulevard
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33309-3421
Read the tweets below from the bottom up.

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.