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.

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!

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#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!✨ ������

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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

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