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.

Friday, April 29, 2016

#håkaninewyork - #GoodNewsBadNews: Swedish rock icon Håkan Hellström comes to U.S. and both shows @GramercyTheatre in NYC are Sold Out. But I'm NOT there -and neither are any of my friends to take photos. :-(

#håkaninewyork - #GoodNewsBadNews: Swedish rock icon Håkan Hellström comes to U.S. and both shows @GramercyTheatre in NYC are Sold Out. But I'm NOT there -and neither are any of my friends to take photos. :-(

My last blog post abt Swedish singer and songwriter Håkan Hellström was on May 8, 2014, titled, 
"Just 14 years ago today: debut single of Håkan Hellström. (Känn ingen sorg för mig i Göteborg.) And now, everyone in Sweden ❤ Håkan -he can do no wrong. :-); video from his Allsång på Skansen show last summer"

Please take a look at this post first so that what you read below will make a LOT more sense!

A photo posted by Victor Nyberg (@vicnyberg) on

A photo posted by Anders Nunstedt (@pappapop) on



This AftonbladetTV EXCLUSIVE clip integrates live action of Håkan Hellström singing his beloved hit known by people of all ages in Sweden, Valborg, creative animation and clips from the film based on his life and songs, "Känn ingen sorg."

I can't begin to tell you how much I LOVE this video! it's no exaggeration -I really have watched it hundreds of times. :-)

Monday, April 25, 2016

If more New Yorkers are being killed every year in traffic accidents than by guns, why is NYPD sabotaging the #VisionZero traffic safety initiative #NYC borrowed from #Sweden? Paul Steely White of @transalt gives us a much-needed #RealityCheck

I begin this post by acknowledging that this is one of the dozens of topics I've been meaning to write about in much-greater deatil on this blog for quite some time. In the case of this particular important subject, for well over 18 months.
(And no, not just because it involves a critical and common sense initiative that comes from -yes- Sweden, but rather because it comes with about 17 years of real-world studies and facts to back it up.)

#VisionZero -Vision Zero is a transportation and public safety initiative that seeks to place the emphasis on engineering over law enforcement when it comes to preventing/reducing traffic and pedestrian fatalities/accidents on public streets.

Well, today thanks to public policy writer and pundit extraordinaire Nicole Gelinas, @nicolegelinas one of the most-interesting persons you can read and Follow on Twitter, I have a new and compelling reason to share it with you today.
A new reason to try to get you to seriously ponder the initiative and consider perhaps taking some personal action and initiative of your own with local government so that it can be introduced into your own city and neighborhood before it's too late.

So here's how we got here today. 
At top of this post: Back in November of 2014, Björn Lyrvall, Sweden's popular Ambassador to the United States, tweeted out a public policy message that was, admittedly, like a sure-fire siren song for longtime pro-transit advocates like myself and the dozens and dozens of public transit officials/supporters/bloggers I know all over the country, and, of course, closer to home, here in South Florida. 

For you newcomers to the blog, over the past nine years I've written dozens and dozens of posts here dealong with some aspect of public transportation, public policy and public safety, even including compelling cases or anecdotes I was familiar with that originated in -yes- Sweden.
For instance, there was this popular 2010 post that involved Volkswagen and a very interesting public policy and human behavior experiment they conducted in Stockholm that was very compelling, in both Swedish and English:

Our friend, Hastighetslotteriet, or The Speed Camera Lottery: The fun theory works in Stockholm, but NOT in Joy Cooper's Hallandale Beach, Red-light Camera Central

At the time Amb. Lyrall tweeted out that tweet in November of 23014, there were many variations of the message about the efficacy of #VisionZero circulating on Social Media in various guises, but this was perhaps the most-effective, since it also included the PBS NewsHour video that not only explains its genesis back in Sweden, but also why it's so necessary in urban areas of the U.S. today: Because everyday innocent people die from needless accidents, made more cruel and horrifying because they are twists of fate that DON'T need to take place.

PBS NewsHour
'A long way from zero': NYC takes on traffic fatalities
8:19 Aired: 11/23/14 Rating: NR

Although New York City streets over the past few years have been the safest in decades, traffic accidents and pedestrian fatalities have recently started to tick back up. Now, city officials are looking to "Vision Zero," an initiative based on a model from Sweden. The plan hinges on expanded enforcement, new street designs and legislation to increase penalties for dangerous drivers. 

Last week I first became aware -thru Nicole's twitter feed- that something quite harmful and negative to this effort was becoming the everyday reality for New York City residents, contrary to what had been portrayed in that PBS NewsHour video.  
The result is that we now know that despite lots of well-meaning public lip service and the diligent efforts of Mayor Bill DeBlasio and many concerned citizens to do something meaningful and responsive for public safety in the country's largest city, and for a change, something that does NOT involve increasing the crippling tax burden of average city residents, with the apparent wink of complicit top NYPD officials, including Police Chief Bill Bratton, on a daily basis, NYPD Police Officers are undermining the initiative's goals thru outright sabotage, and which don't increase the level of public safety.

That message, upsetting as it is, clearly comes out via last week's New York Daily News Guest Op-Ed penned by Paul Steely White, Executive Director of the public policy group, Transportation Alternatives. @transalt https://www.transalt.org https://twitter.com/transalt

Bill Bratton's blindness on Vision Zero: The NYPD needs to get fully on board Bill de Blasio's traffic enforcement plans 
BY Paul Steely White 
Thursday, April 21, 2016, 5:00 AM

Recently an NYPD officer was caught on video complaining to a driver he had pulled over that “Mayor de Blasio wants us to give out summonses.” After the cop was disciplined, Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch fumed, “Suspending a police officer for speaking the truth about the reality of Vision Zero is a colossal, politically motivated overreaction by the department.”

The officer’s complaint and Lynch’s comments are significant because they reveal that the NYPD is not fully on board with the mayor’s goal of ending traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2024.
Read the rest of the essay at:



Monday, April 18, 2016

South Florida Journalism in 2016: The ever-expanding gulf between what the South Florida press corps offers up and the quality, local-centric news coverage the South Florida public craves, has never been as large as now; Margaret Sullivan gives as good as she gets in her final NY Times Public Editor column that hits out against elite/institutional bias

South Florida Journalism in 2016: The ever-expanding gulf between what the South Florida press corps offers up and the quality, local-centric news coverage the South Florida public craves, has never been as large as now; Margaret Sullivan gives as good as she gets in her final NY Times Public Editor column that hits out against elite/institutional bias
Revised April 21, 2016 at 3:15 p.m.

As most of you longtime readers of Hallandale Beach Blog know well by now -but which you newer readers don't, especially those of you who have only discovered me the past two years via my tweets @hbbtruth- I started this blog in 2007, largely out of a fit of frustration and anger at the self-evident failure and lack of individual/collective effort I saw on a daily basis by the South Florida news media. Specifically, its collective failure to evolve from what it once was -home to nationally-respected who were in some cases some of the best and most-dogged investigative news sleuths in the country.
It's why so many of them eventually wound up at the then-three national U.S. TV networks and the fledgling CNN when that cablenet debuted.

My complaint, summed-up, was that the South Florida's press corps' failed to build upon this track record, and failed to expand its level of news coverage of public policy and local government in ways that readers/viewers clearly wanted to see and rather expected.

Though I was born in San Antonio, Texas a few years before, my family arrived in Miami from Memphis when I was seven years old in the Summer of 1968, the day after Miami Dolphins #1 Draft pick Larry Csonka of Syracuse signed with the Dolphins.
As everyone who knows me then or now can tell you, I have been a devout news, sports and public affairs junkie ever since then.
But the difference between then and now is that when I was growing-up in South Florida in the '70's, there was an All-News AM radio station, WINZ AM 940 that was a CBS News affiliate and provided lots of news reportes to new York, especially those covering weather, immigration and the Sapce Shuttle.

That has NOT been the case in several decades, nor has there been even one attempt by anyone to lay the groundwork for a Local News Cable channel of the sort that has existed in many media markets throughout thsi country, including some smaller than South Florida's.

Why has COMCAST, long the dominant cable provider in South Florida, utterly failed to deliver on that potential? Well, you know who never asks?
The South Florida news media themselves, including the Miami Herald and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
If you want to waste an hour, try going thru their newspaper archives and try to find a single story about the subject in the past 20 years.
That's the sort of media area South Florida is.

That's made worse because with my crazy accurate memory, I've been able to recall  at the drop of a hat the names of individual reporters and anchors at local TV/radio stations and reporters and editors at the Miami Herald and the late Miami News -that I spent so much time at as a High School student- and the individual beats their reporters covered and owned .
And the important news stories they broke or gave much-needed historical context to when it really mattered to residents of South Florida, NOT after-the-fact months later in some investigative piece clearly designed to win journalism awards, NOT keep South Florida properly informed.

I still have an institutional memory of what those people were able to do with much less in the way of resources and technology than the current crew of South Florida journalists have and take for granted, for whatever reasons.
That doesn't just rankle, it makes me cringe, because so much of what I regularly consume from local South Florida media isn't just parochial but even shallower than the above ground swimming pools that once seemed to dominate South Florida and North Miami Beach in the 1970's.

And that means that getting to the heart of some of the endemic and unique problems of South Florida, much less their possible solutions, are one day farther away than they need to be for our community's long-term sake.

Over the past nine years that I have been writing this blog, a recurring theme here has been the cleavage between what the South Florida news media believes is perfectly acceptable in terms of effort and end product for news consumers, and what the public wants and expects from them. 

A graph where X never meets Y.

Over the years, the insufficient level of individual and collective effort expended by the South Florida press corps and the dominant English-language news outlets has only gnawed away at me and other well-informed observers I know and trust, as we are continually see both individual reporter bias, institutional lack of historical knowledge and lack of torpedo every well-intentioned effort to make local South Florida residents better informed about their community and the state that is now the third-largest in the country.

We see the growing gap between what the public expects from print/TV reporters and columnists and TV Assignment Editors and News Directors, in the form of interesting and compelling ways to cover local news, and what is actually presented to us as readers and viewers, as the very seeds for our area's growing technology and information gap.
A growing class and income chasm that won't be made smaller by simply pretending that it doesn't exist.

These same national trends are regularly and correctly decried in Washington as harmful to the nation's future and economic vitality when presented calmly as facts by politicians of varying political persuasions and august public interest groups with demonstrated track records for being non-partisan, but somehow, closer to home, these same problems are largely ignored when they are pointed out by people like myself and other public observers in South Florida who want this community to be MUCH BETTER than it is,.
Even when we use self-evident facts and the news media's own track record as our opening and closing arguments.

It's not exactly a secret that compared to the rest of the country, South Florida's relative youth historically -the City of Miami not being founded until 1897- and large and ever-growing population of Northeastern and Midwestern transplants whose history and allegiances remain elsewhere years after they've moved here, has always worked against the long-term interests of South Florida institutions, civic groups and foundations, even ones who profess laudable societal goals and do try to show some spirit and verve.

But this also means these groups are NOT front-of-mind and front-and-center when it comes to focusing the community's attention on problems the way similar groups are elsewhere in the country.
It's not an excuse, merely a reflection of history and common knowledge, borne of experience living in and growing-up in South Florida.
But at some point, these same groups current unwillingness to point out the problems at hand and suggesting tangible solutions, has to be called out, and I will be doing just that in a future post with some energy and enthusiasm that I know will surprise and anger many with its ferocity and focus.

So be it!

My blog has never been interested in carrying the water for South Florida's elites or well-off.

But as it concerns today's theme of journalistic lack of effort in South Florida, it's hard to shake the notion that many of these civic groups ansd foundations, so dependent upon the South Florida news media for positive attention and charity dollars when they can get it, seem to spend an inordinate amount of time and energy denying self-evident problem in large part  because of whose oxen may well need to be gored. (Or is it a case of being afraid to bite the hand that feeds them?) 
The South Florida news media's.

To me and many of the people I regularly speak with and confide in here in South Florida and throughout the Sunshine State -even many reporters, editors, columnists and TV anchors whose names are known instantly to many of you- the gulf in South Florida between what is possible in local journalism because of advances in technology that make it easier than ever to report accurately and in real-time, has, unfortunately, never seemed so large as at it does at present.

This is made all the worse by what takes place everyday with the two largest South Florida-based daily newspapers, McClatchy's Miami Herald and the Tribune Company's South Florida Sun-Sentinel, both of whom are and have been going in the wrong direction from readers desires for far too many years.

Since the majority of my focus on this blog, despite my 1,001 other interests and passions, has always been what is happening in South Florida -for good or for bad and why- I write to day to share some much-needed wisdom from a trusted source I have long depended upon, even while never mentioning her previously: Margaret Sullivan, the departing New York Times Public Editor.
At the end of her term as the the Reader's Ombudsman, just as was true throughout when she never hesitated to challenge long-established Times icons and the Times' often counter-intuitive ways of thinking about the larger public interest, Margaret Sullivan gives as good as she gets.

As I have remarked here many times in the past with fact-filled blog post and copies of letters to the Miami Herald's management, the Herald never replaced their Ombudsman, Edward Schumacher-Matos, after he left for NPR. And they consciously ignored many of the common sense suggestions he made about journalists.

That includes his April 25, 2010 column, Reporter-columnists tread fine line with readers' trust about the need for journalists to publicly come out to readers as one one thing or the other, i.e. not being both reporter AND columnist, because of the damage that such dual roles can cause to perceived bias and credibility with readers.

The Herald ignored that advice when it came to dealing with both Beth Reinhard and later, Marc CaputoIf you want a copy of that column, just write me and ask for a copy.
It's not been available at the Herald's website for many years.

To see how indifferent the Herald's management was to reader perceptions of bias or unfairness, take a poke at my blog post from May 21 of 2012 titled, 
"What's going on at the Miami Herald? More than a year after the last one fled, the Herald still lacks an Ombudsman -and shows no sign of getting one- to represent readers deep concerns about bias, misrepresentation and flackery on behalf of South Florida's powerful & privileged at the Herald. And that's just one of many unresolved problems there..." 

See also, among many others to choose from:

11/12/10 - A day in the life of McClatchy's Miami Herald, as viewed by a reader who's largely given up on them fixing their problems, or surviving long-term

For another consistently lousy year of journalism at the Miami Herald, esp. covering Broward County, more lumps of coal in the Christmas stocking of One Herald Plaza -Part 1

8/13/13 - Former Miami Herald Ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos -whose position at the Herald remains unfilled 27 months later by McClatchy execs- as NPR's Ombudsman, lays the wood into NPR's Laura Sullivan & Amy Walters for a 2011 investigation re foster care in South Dakota, which officials there took umbrage with, and for good reason it seems. “My finding is that the series was deeply flawed and should not have been aired as it was”

I hasten to add that this was also during the McClatchy era when the Herald ran a multi-weeks old story about Donald Trump in the "Breaking News" section of the Herald's Broward homepage on Monday December 19th, 2011 at 11:21 p.m.
And there it stayed for days...
Really. :-(

Margaret Sullivan's final column from last Friday is a column of pure gold, for it has much that the South Florida press corps could and SHOULD learn from in the way of perceived reporter/editorial/institutional bias, attention to accuracy and willingness to publicly admit mistakes.

I highly commend it to you and ask you to consider sharing it with others you know in South Florida and throughout the Sunshine State who think as I (we) do -that South Florida and the rest of the state would be much better off with a fully-engaged and curious press corps year-round, not the one we have had for years that habitually takes a Summer slumber or vacation come mid-June, never to be seen again until after Labor Day, no matter how important the story.

New study by "the American Press Institute - almost no one trusts the media. The report found that just six percent of Americans have a great amount of confidence in the press.  To put that into perspective, the API ‘s study showed that Americans trust only Congress less than the media. Other organizations that the public has more confidence in than journalists: banks, organized religion, the Supreme Court, and the military.  The number one reason people mistrust the media is that they found reports one-sided or biased. Following closely behind was that readers found something factually inaccurate. Interestingly, respondents to the API report said that how a media outlet responds to inaccurate reports is extremely important.  “Several focus group participants said they do not expect news sources to be perfect and how a source reacts to errors can actually build trust,” stated the report. “Several people said that owning up to mistakes and drawing attention to errors or mistakes can show consumers that a source is accountable and dedicated to getting it right in the long term.” 
On the heels of this not-at-all surprising survey comes this great rear-view column from Sullivan, soon-to-be the Washington Post's new media columnist.

New York Times
The Public Editor's Journal - Margaret Sullivan  
Five Things I Won’t Miss at The Times — and Seven I Will  By Margaret Sullivan 
April 15, 2016 10:00 am 
April 15, 2016 10:00 am
While preparing to leave the public editor’s office and move to Washington, I’ve been getting together in recent weeks with some people I’ve met while living in New York. One was Ben Smith, the editor in chief of BuzzFeed, who asked me over lunch what columns I planned to do before I left. I tossed it back to him, asking what he would like to read, and he suggested I take up “what I love and what I hate about The New York Times.”
This guy’s definitely got a future as an editor! I decided to tweak his idea, with a nod to Nora Ephron’s list from her book, “I Remember Nothing: And Other Reflections.” (Of all the people I wish I had been able to meet in New York, she tops the list.)
Read the rest of her great post at:

Friday, April 1, 2016

How the latest ethical outrage in Hallandale Beach -captured by Local10's Terrell Forney- showing innocent people being taken advantage of, roils us and reminds us why an increasing number of people are choosing to leave South Florida

IF you ever wondered why so many otherwise normal and relatively contented people who have lived in South Florida for quite some time eventually packed-up and left, well, there are, of course, 1001 reasons that combine varying degrees of logic and common sense, and not simply foolish whims followed upon. 

That's especially the case when people choose to make life decisions on one of the deadly hot days of July in South Florida, when the life and energy can literally be sucked out of your body for doing nothing more physically demanding or complicated than simply getting out of your car and walking into an air conditioned store.  
Inescapable Fact: Air conditioning explains South Florida's growth and history so much more than geography ever possibly could plausibly explain.

Often, some reasons for leaving the area are better than others, and one non-personal reason is that you simply get tired of living somewhere where the general idea of NOT taking of advantage of other people is not the outlier, but rather the exception to the rule.
And so it goes in Hallandale Beach, with a company that I'd never heard of before called 400 Broward Inc., which owns property on Foster Road in the Northwest part of the city. 
This company apparently thought nothing of renting out its apartments to people without properly informing them that the building was in foreclosure, and which based on the Local10 video below, has owners who seem keen to keep their tenants security deposits, to boot. 

Hallandale Beach Commissioner Keith London recently penned an email that explained his own take on the situation affecting at least 26 HB residents, which has been handled so badly by so many parties, including some information explaining how, according to Comm. London, the HB CRA fits in to the equation, or blame if you will. 
Comm. London states in his email that as of now, "The CRA has NO defined plan for this building or the vacant land," which is located right near a new planned Hallandale Beach Fire Station and the new HBFD HQ.

Well, this sort of non-sensical and half-assed approach to public policy and taxpayer funds by the HB CRA will NOT surprise longtime readers of this blog, since for nine years, one of the running ethical and journalistic themes of this blog, quite literally, the subject of dozens of posts here, has been the circumstances and fall-out of the grossly-under-reported story of what actually took place in 2007, when a small plot of land in NW Hallandale Beach -with an extant building- belonging to City of HB Commissioner Anthony A. Sanders and his wife Jessica was purchased by the HB CRA.  
Purchased for more than it was worth!

This purchase was made despite there being... yes, no written, agreed-upon or voted-upon plan for how that specific land would be used for the betterment of the HB community in fulfilling the stated aims and intentions of rules and language establishing CRAs by the State of Florida.
That Comm. Sanders was allowed to vote on the deal at the time and did NOT choose to (or be asked to) recuse himself -facts which were NOT publicly reported at the time or after except by myself- is typical for how common sense public policy and issues involving ethics, Sunshine Laws, propriety and notions of govt. oversight have been handled in HB for so long under a series of City Attorneys and City Commissions under Mayor Joy Cooper.

That is to say, with no public push-back by any responsible law enforcement or ethical group to investigate the circumstances at the time, or afterwards.
In fact, under the property deal that the city negotiated with Anthony and Jessica Sanders, as I've mentioned numerous here previously on the blog -and which most people in South Florida who know me personally also know- I personally told the Office of the Broward Inspector General that Comm. Sanders was even allowed to continue to use the building for FREE AFTER it was purchased. 
Now THAT is a sweetheart of a deal.



More than almost any recent South Florida-centric story I can think of, this recent news report by Local10 reporter Terrell Forney spoke volumes about what life in South Florida has increasingly become for residents of South Florida, even for lots of well-to-do and resourceful people I know who previously thought they'd live here for the rest of their lives. 
Which is to say, way past #frustrating.

They see something like this outrage in HB happen that should NOT ever happen and ask how things like it can KEEP happening here. To little or no public outrage.

Some people manage to deal with it by only being around South Florida for part of the year, which has increasingly become the chief coping mechanism for many people I know with longtime connections, homes or relatives back in Ohio and North Carolina.  
But for others, well, unless they get out of the area for a bit every now and then to recharge themselves, they get emotionally beaten down and burned-out by the daily assault on their conscience of so much chronic apathy, gross official/govt.  incompetency/myopia, and lack of resolve by society at large to publicly hold irresponsible and unethical people and businesses accountable for their actions.
It weighs on them in visible ways, and you can only imagine how it is for people with less resources at their disposal.

As of today, there has been no organized public outcry against the company behind this self-evident unethical housing melodrama, which is typical of how public life and society in South Florida operate unless a well-funded individual or influential group with some backbone and resolve decides to finally wade in and get directly involved.
And start calling people and groups out with a vengeance.

See my tweets below the Local10 video to be reminded of an important underlying issue regarding the proposed new Hallandale Beach Fire Station and Fire Dept. HQ, a matter I have written about previously on the blog many times before, with various degrees of shock and amazement, as the powers-that-be at Hallandale Beach City Hall continually sought to foolishly place a valuable tool and resource in the worst possible location for it and the public's safety -because they can!

It's another example of the longstanding nonsensical public policy notions that have been percolating inside Hallandale Beach City Hall disguised as economic development, when it's really nothing more than the marriage of the city's longstanding practice of crony capitalism and an Edifice Complex under longtime Mayor Joy Cooper.

Local 10 News, Miami
Hallandale Beach apartment residents forced from homes after building goes into foreclosure
Commissioner fights to have city help relocate tenants

By Terrell Forney - Reporter
Posted: 6:04 PM, March 23, 2016
Updated: 6:08 PM, March 23, 201


In reverse chronological order:

Want more specific info about the many shady and unethical antecedents in HB I cite above? 
Just contact me!