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 North 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.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Quick thoughts regarding real estate attorney Alan Koslow's current legal problems -facing federal money-laundering conspiracy charges; paid $8,500 to launder $220,000 in FBI sting?

Though Becker & Poliakoff attorney Alan Koslow is clearly very good at his job, as we in Hallandale Beach and environs have often learned the hard way, as I've often chronicled to my chagrin the past nine years on this blog, I believe Koslow is, perhaps single-handedly, MORE 
responsible than any other single party I can think of -over the past dozen years- for defending and advancing the often parochial and short-term interests of the myriad developers who've proposed the largest number of buildings in Hallandale Beach that were either incompatible to the existing neighborhood, inappropriate under current HB zoning rules or just plain UGLY to look at.
It's actually easier to think of which projects he hasn't been involved with in some capacity or another.

And unfortunately for Hallandale Beach's long-term health and future Quality of Life, Mayor Joy Cooper and Commissioners Bill Julian and Anthony A. Sanders have voted for EVERY one of them, too, even when the majority of HB's citizens were clearly opposed or wanted some reasonable modifications.

Over the years, people I meet and talk to at various public meetings around Broward county have often been confused about which real estate/development attorney was responsible for which specific project or proposal in Hallandale Beach or Hollywood, since there have been so many.
So, to those of you who've already emailed me about this, I don't believe Koslow was involved with the latest round of Diplomat development melodrama, rather it was Debbie Orshefsky. 
Orshefsky left Greenberg & Traurig for Holland & Knight subsequent to the first go-round of Diplomat Golf Course melodrama -i.e. Diplomat LACa few years ago that the citizens of HB won, thanks in large part to my good friend and fellow Broward civic activist Csaba Kulin's very dedicated work ethic and tireless efforts to engage and educate the community, using reason, facts and common sense, not half-truths. 

ICYMI on Thursday: My two cents!

Have a great Memorial Day weekend!


Thursday, May 26, 2016

Some informed perspective on the City of Miami from Al Crespo of The Crespogram, and what's behind his ethics complaint against Comm. Ken Russell

May 26, 2016

Many if not most of you from previous emails and my blog posts that I have cheered many of the reforms that new City of Miami Commissioner Ken Russell has called for and pushed since he got into office.
In District 2, he replaced ethically-challenged Marc Sarnoff, himself a one-time reformer who, predictably, like so many other "reform" candidates in South Florida I could name who got elected, eventually went the way of the "Dark Side," with a CRA playing a co-starring role.

I've applauded Russell's efforts to infuse more genuine transparency and a sense of accountability in the way Miami govt. works and its employees actually do their jobs and interact with citizens, long a very sore point with taxpayers and South Florida observers with any sense of history.
That change in attitude has been especially noteworthy with respect to his positive votes and public comments regarding the City of Miami's sports authorities, and specifically, that it's the public and taxpayers to whom they will faithfully strive to best serve now, not the powerful, deep-pocked private interests that routinely seek to gain their favor.

Things were out of whack there for a LONG TIME, which explains a lot about why the local sports scene is the way it is. 
Screwed-up but good.

Here's what I wrote about Comm. Russell and this matter on February 28, 2016, in a blog post titled, 
After DECADES of #SoFL sports fans & taxpayers getting the shaft, City of Miami Comm. Ken Russell demands MORE reform, transparency and oversight over #SoFL's crony-laden sports Establishment: Is #Broward next? Let's hope so for taxpayers' wallets and sports fans' best long-term interests, after YEARS of Broward Commission caving-in to powerful special interests -read Florida Panthers!

Still, all that said, since I returned to South Florida from DC, I've come to know from experience and results that Al Crespo is someone who is not just a very savvy and well-informed person, a true South Florida resource, but also someone who takes public accountability of public officials and old-fashioned notions of civic engagement as seriously as I do.
There aren't a lot of us.

Plus, like me, he truly appreciates elected officials and govt. employees who are willing to honestly engage with the public, to to do the hard work necessary to be properly prepared before meetings start to actually demonstrate some oversight, not just faking it, and using staff as a crutch.

I hardly need remind most of you that has been a longstanding problem in Hallandale Beach, and South Florida in general. 
Everyone wants to glad-hand, but far fewer people want to stay up late reading binders and trying to master often obtuse material. You know, to properly do the job they ran for?

Certainly Al Crespo is in a far better position to know what's really going at Dinner Key and environs, and at the Miami CRAs, than I am, so I'm sharing a recent column of his with you today, below, so that you can read it and gain something from his perspective on what's what.


An ethics complaint filed against Commissioner Ken Russell for a failure to provide a public document.

For the record, I follow both Al Crespo and Comm. Russell on Twitter, and they follow me as well.

This story about disclosures and the need for them to be both timely and accurate, not surprisingly, reminds me of yet another Hallandale Beach City Hall ethics story, where, typically, Mayor Joy Cooper, exercising power and discretion she did not actually have, seems to have decided that she alone got to decide who got what gifts and freebies deposited upon City Hall 
by contractors and lobbyists, or, if food or drink, who got what portion of them -or the best quality.

As IF anyone who has any experience with HB City Hall and the people who run it could ever have any faith that any FORM 9's filed would be either accurate or timely!

This in a city like Hallandale Beach where a city commissioner like Anthony A. Sanders voted to have the city/CRA buy his property -for more than it was worth- despite the fact that: 
a.) the city had no written or commission-approved plans as to what they would do with the property once they took possession of it, and
b.) Sanders didn't have the good sense or ethical duty to recuse himself from voting on the issue.

(Not that local South Florida newspaper Editorial Boards have ever asked about these matters that Sanders still can't explain years later!)

Not that the go-along-to-get-along City Attorney at the time, David Jove, even thought to publicly suggest Sanders' recusal -he didn't!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Brilliant column by Michael Shermer in Scientific American on Malthus and science policy, also provides great lessons that can and should be applied to South Florida government and public policy that desperately need MORE fresh innovative ideas AND can-do reform

Brilliant column by Michael Shermer in Scientific American on Malthus and science policy, also provides great lessons that can and should be applied to South Florida government and public policy that desperately need MORE fresh innovative ideas AND can-do reform.

For the past few months I've been planning on doing a number of fact and anecdote-filled blog posts here about the importance of what two South Florida elected officials - Broward County Comm. Beam Furr and City of Miami Comm. Ken Russell- are doing to make a very positive difference for their constituents, and the greater South Florida community in general. 
Though you can be excused for not having heard about it in the South Florida news media, given who increasingly populates the local press corps these days and their startling lack of curiosity, candor or interest in any issue that doesn't lend itself to pithy tweets or Instagram photos. :-(

Furr and Russell have done this not by spouting lines from some best-selling book they read over the Christmas holidays or by hewing to what some government "consultant' has written after a careful examination of the facts-on-the-ground, but rather by incorporating some old-fashioned notions of logic, reason, common sense and meaningful oversight to public policy and their votes.

In short, giving those notions I love and champion here a much-needed comeback, so they are no longer the unwanted step-children in important public policy debates in an area of the country that for years has so often seemed to always be a day late and a dollar short when it should have been so much more than simply mediocre.
With few-if-any reporters around to report on it or chronicle why that's so.

I will still be doing those blog posts on Furr and Russell in the near-future, but for now, this weekend, I just wanted to share some wisdom I gleaned earlier today, which I will amplify on in the coming days and weeks;

Brilliant! And with lessons that can apply to public policy & govt. policy as well - 
Michael Shermer in Scientific American: Why Malthus Is Still Wrong - Why Malthus makes for bad science policy

The belief that “those in power knew best what was good for the vulnerable and weak” led directly to... much of what we see around us on a daily basis in South Florida and the Sunshine State: thoroughly mediocre and myopic elected officials and bureaucrats with lots of power and experience who consistently enjoy making the public the loser in most deals, while their friends and campaign contributors emerge to profit.

Which is why #genuine #ethical and #hard-working people who are open to honestly discussing new ideas and innovation, like Comm. Beam Furr in Broward and Comm. Ken Russell in City of Miami, are to be openly encouraged and fully-supported.
And, in my opinion, given the benefit of the doubt when you aren't really sure who is right about an issue!

Scientific American 

Why Malthus Is Still Wrong
Why Malthus makes for bad science policy
By Michael Shermer on May 1, 2016
If by fiat I had to identify the most consequential ideas in the history of science, good and bad, in the top 10 would be the 1798 treatise An Essay on the Principle of Population, by English political economist Thomas Robert Malthus. On the positive side of the ledger, it inspired Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace to work out the mechanics of natural selection based on Malthus's observation that populations tend to increase geometrically (2, 4, 8, 16 …), whereas food reserves grow arithmetically (2, 3, 4, 5 …), leading to competition for scarce resources and differential reproductive success, the driver of evolution.
Read the rest of the column at:

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Setting the record straight as #NeverTrump Rick Wilson engages in some selective historical revisionism right before our eyes to continue his anti-Trump machinations. #Rejected!

Setting the record straight as #NeverTrump Rick Wilson engages in some selective historical revisionism right before our eyes to continue his anti-Trump machinations. #Rejected!

These three tweets of mine are in reverse-chron order:

What follows is what I hope will prove to be some useful context to better help you understand my tweets of this afternoon about voluble #NeverTrump's Rick Wilson attempts to engage the news media in some selective historical revisionism.

Roll Call 
The Downfall of a Pragmatic Republican 
How the late Bob Bennett's ouster from the Senate foreshadowed Trump 
Posted at May 10, 2016 5:00 AM
By Niels Lesniewski

The death of the much-admired former Utah Sen. Robert F. Bennett just hours after Donald Trump effectively secured his party's presidential nomination reminded official Washington of the first visible stirrings of the unrest that Trump has now ridden to the top of his party.  

Before there was Trump’s "beautiful wall," or oath to make America great again, there was this: Bennett, a party stalwart with a reputation for pragmatism and deftness at the pork-barrel politics that made compromise possible, brought to tears at a 2010 nominating convention as he realized that his own party was ousting him after 18 years in the Senate. 

See the rest of the story at:

The Roll Call article concerns arrogant, condescending & patronizing longtime Utah Senator Bob Bennett, who, by almost any reasonable objective, was easily one of the least-liked people in D.C. for years in large part because of how badly he treated people, whether they were Congressional staffers, members of the news media, Capitol Police, other Senators or the general public.
Unlike what the article would have you believe, Bob Bennett was NOT a prince of a fellow, he was a prick of a fellow.

I'm not exaggerating when I say that Sen. Bob Bennett was perhaps more genuinely loathed by more people on Capitol Hill than anyone I ever met between the 15 years I lived and worked in the D.C. area between 1988 and 2003. And trust me, there are many more legitimate contenders to that crown than you dear readers can possibly know, many of them people who, while no longer on the Hill, per se, are still part of the Washington firmament, either as lobbyists, Think Tank 'thinkers" or at supposed non-profits.

And that's regardless of party or ideology, since many Republican members and staffers I knew pretty well literally got a cold chill down their spine whenever they spotted Bennett coming towards them.
And did you forget that I knew who Julian Epstein was years before he became a regular face on MSNBC in the '90's after the Lewinsky scandal broke?
Now there was a guy who was loathed in a non-partisan way by a lot of people on Capitol Hill! 
And with good reason!!

Eventually, after 18 years in the Senate, enough average Utah GOP voters had had quite enough of Bob Bennett and his grating personality, sanctimonious ways and know-it-all persona to say "No thanks, we'll take it from here." 
Unlike the Beltway media, I was not at all surprised when news came that he had come in third place in the 2010 Utah GOP Convention, and was thus denied renomination to the Senate he had come to think was his birthright. 


So, given that, dig this bit of selective historical revisionism from Wilson we get from Roll Call:
But it was six years ago that he became the first victim of the first strike of what has lately become a full-blown “civil war inside of the Republican Party,” said Rick Wilson, a Republican political strategist and media consultant.
“That was the rumblings, the preview of the beginning of the first act,” Wilson said. “Now we’re in the second, and it’s getting much louder, much uglier, deciding whether we’re going to be a conservative party or a nationalist, populist party in the image of Donald Trump. And it’s a very hairy moment for conservative Republicans.”
But it was six years ago that he became the first victim of the first strike of what has lately become a full-blown “civil war inside of the Republican Party,” said Rick Wilson, a Republican political strategist and media consultant.
“That was the rumblings, the preview of the beginning of the first act,” Wilson said. “Now we’re in the second, and it’s getting much louder, much uglier, deciding whether we’re going to be a conservative party or a nationalist, populist party in the image of Donald Trump. And it’s a very hairy moment for conservative Republicans.”
- See more at: http://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/downfall-pragmatic-republican#sthash.kVe84Dpi.dpuf
Here's the reality: Bob Bennett was very rich, tall, enjoyed using that size differential of his to intimidate people, loved using political power to get what he wanted, and had a grand sense of entitlement that was completely out of proportion to anything he had ever actually accomplished while in office in 18 years.

To top it off, Bob Bennett was pushy and nasty to people whom he thought simply had to sit back and take it, take whatever he chose to dish out.

In that respect, Bob Bennett was completely UNLIKE former Florida Senator and Governor Lawton Chiles, a man I respected since I was a teenager precisely because of how well he treated all people, regardless of who they were, and how very hard he worked to do his job to the best of his ability. #diligent

(I've detailed this before on the blog but for some of you newcomers to the blog, here's a quick history lesson connecting me and former U.S. Senator and Florida governor Lawton Chiles
I first met and campaigned with Sen. Chiles in 1976, when he ran for re-election the first time. 
In fact, he and I were even filmed together one Saturday morning for about thirty minutes by the-then WCKT-TV, Channel 7 -the then-NBC-TV affiliate for Miami- as he and I walked door-to-door campaigning in a  middle-class North Miami Beach neighborhood just a few blocks away from the Dade County Carter-Mondale HQ, which was located in a strip mall behind the much-beloved and iconic Krispy Kreme donut shop on N.E. 167th Street and N.E. 6th Avenue. 
I picked up some donuts afterwards and ate them when the news segment with me came on! :-)

Many years later, in Washington, before he finally made the decision to run for governor, I had the good fortune to get to know Sen. Chiles and his wife Rhea a lot better, and to come to genuinely appreciate their many remarkable and sterling qualities. 
Many of those conversations with him came on the sidewalks between his Senate office and The Florida House embassy that the two of them had founded for Floridians visiting Washington.
Located right across the street from the U.S. Supreme Court, on East Capitol Street, it's a much-beloved institution among many Floridians who travel a lot to and from Washington, and is a place I personally have spent what seems like hundreds of hours at over the years. 
If not more... Plus, it's where I first had my photograph taken with then-Senator Bob Graham and THE Mickey Mouse. Really.)

Two years after Bennett's ouster, with Republican leaders in Washington still refusing to do what American voters wanted, most especially Tea Party voters, though Sen. Richard Lugar's personality and style were much more refined and professorial than Bennett's, he too was eventually rejected by generations of Indiana voters after serving 36 years in the Senate. Why?
Because he'd increasingly come to be perceived by voters as someone who was permanently disconnected from the pressing concerns of average Indiana citizens and Small Business owners.

As someone who actually lived in Indiana for over four years while Lugar was representing the state in Washington, I can tell you that Lugar eventually LOST the benefit of the doubt he had enjoyed with Hoosier voters for well over four decades, after becoming perceived -rightly I believe- as part of the permanent Washington establishment, not part of the group of hard-working citizen lawmakers assembled in D.C. trying to actually reform government and make it more accountable to American voters.

I believe that's why Lugar lost in a landslide, as I detailed in my last blog post about Richard Lugar, on May16, 2012: "Richard Mourdock: Precursor or anomaly? Greg Garrison and Charlie Cook adroitly pinpoint where Sen. Richard Lugar eventually lost his way, started losing the trust of Hoosier voters, then lost in a landslide due to the dis-connect. Points largely lost on a predictably apoplectic Beltway MSM"

That a leading #NeverTrump leader like Rick Wilson -who is NOT identified as such in the Roll Call story by the way- tries to imagine that Bob Bennett's defeat presaged Donald Trump's rise this year, is so self-serving and transparent that it is simultaneously funny AND quite telling. 
But probably not in a way I'm sure that Wilson would appreciate.

Some of us who were living and working in DC then and who were pretty observant about how certain powerful people treated other people who weren't powerful or influential -just regular people- haven't forgotten what a complete boor and jerk Senator Bob Bennett was for many years.
Though Bob Bennett and his irksome personality were not on my to-do list when I woke up this morning, I'm happy to take some time here now to set the record straight and remind you of what the #truth is.


#HollywoodFL based photographer/entrepreneur Esther Chuang

#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 now-closed 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 atop Mount Corcovado way out in the horizon on the top of another mountain, to the left of her head. To the right is the world famous beach of Ipanema and to the left is the equally famous beach of Copacabana. In case you forgot what the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio looks like, up close, plus the Amazon area of Brazil that Esther grew up near in Manaus, 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

A floresta Amazônica tem um papel fundamental no equilíbrio do clima na Terra e, portanto, na vida de cada um de nós. Nos últimos anos a proteção diminuiu e o desmatamento aumentou drasticamente. E o que já era ruim, pode ficar ainda pior. Se as medidas que o governo vem tomando não forem vetadas, nosso futuro estará ameaçado. Diga NÃO à diminuição da proteção da Floresta do Jamanxim! Diga NÃO à exploração de minério no coração da floresta! #TodosPelaAmazônia #342Amazonia #TodosPelaAmazonia Assine a petição: link na bio. ������✨���� The Amazon Rainforest plays a key role in balancing the climate on the Earth and therefore in each of our lives. In recent years, protection has decreased and deforestation has increased sharply. And what was already bad can get even worse. If the measures that the government has been taking are not vetoed, our future will be threatened. Say NO to the reduction of the Jamanxim Forest´s protection! Say NO to ore mining in the heart of the Forest! #togetherfortheAmazon

A post shared by Gisele Bündchen (@gisele) on