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.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Miami Herald, under the current crew at McClatchy, continues to sink into irrelevancy.... Even when they should have Home Field Advantage on one of the biggest stories going: Zika

Here's the reality of South Florida journalism in the Summer of 2016: While the appearance of the Zika virus in Miami in four people who did not have risk factors associated with all known previous victims in Florida -and reportedly acquired in one of South Florida's most-popular tourist areas, Wynwood- was one of the top stories nationally, and this morning's headline strory in the Drudge Report, under, MOSQUITO NIGHTMARE HITS MIAMI and yet the Miami Herald's version of the story 
appears in today's Miami Herald website NOT near the top, but rather, buried towards the bottom, under dozens of other stories that are of much less consequence and importance to people who live and work in South Florida. 

I mention this because I just checked and it's clear that many of my earlier misgivings about Zika in Miami are going to be coming true this year.



In case you never received my previous emails or read my tweets about him, unlike Hoosier-by-choice me who went to IU from North Miami BeachRon Klain is a native-born Hoosier, but he chose to go to Georgetown and then Harvard Law instead of IU
Despite that choice, things have worked out pretty well for him, though, since along the way 
Ron's been a Supreme Court Law Clerk for Justice Byron White, was Vice President Al Gore's Chief of Staff and later performed the same duties more recently for Vice President Joe Biden
He's now General Counsel for one of the top tech and investment firms in the entire DC area, 
Revolution LLCa firm with some truly amazing talent and resources, and is lead by former AOL founder Steve Case.

As it concerns today's news, though, Ron was also President Obama's Ebola Czar.
I know from personal experience that Ron has been talking clearly and seriously about the Zika virus funding crisis for many, many months, appearing on many TV and cable TV shows and even written some Op-Eds in the Washington Post to try to educate people and sound the alarm about this. 
Despite his very hard work, the Miami Herald has never mentioned him since noting his Ebola appointment in October 2014.
Do you you see a pattern here?

The Miami Herald, under the current crew at McClatchy, continues to sink into irrelevancy.... 
Even when they should have Home Field Advantage on one of the biggest stories going. 

I've got more posts coming soon about Zika in Miami, including one I've been working on now for over two months.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Tonight's 6 PM meeting at Hallandale Beach Cultural Center re growth, development and transportation -two days before important HB P&Z meeting on giant Chateau Square project- will require some long overdue tough talk and pointed criticism!



re Tonight's 6 PM meeting at the Hallandale Beach Cultural Center re growth, development and transportation... 
I plan on speaking tonight and relating some telling anecdotes about 3-4 issues that I believe are crying out for some long overdue oversight, accountability and EXPLANATION from the bureaucrats and elected officials at HB City Hall, who've so long preferred to keep their heads down in the sand to being properly engaged with the local citizenry and proactively aware of their concerns.


No, as my blog has shown for nine years now, these are NOT exactly the sort of people you can allow yourself to give the benefit of the doubt, since they have managed so consistently to break nearly every vow and promise they've made about public accountability and public oversight over the past ten-plus years.


Which is to say, that they they are NOT the caliber of people you want deciding whether or not the city should allow TWO 40-story buildings -with a large retail and hotel complex as well- to be located at the corner of the city's busiest intersection, U.S.-1 and Hallandale Beach Blvd.

Hard to imagine that something could actually make that area WORSE, but based on what I've seen so far, it looks like this project, if approved, could very well make the city's infamous, gridlocked traffic even worse unless cooler heads and moderation prevail.

As you can see from the photos I snapped below from the posted signs the developer placed on the site, there will be a very important Hallandale Beach Planning & Zoning meeting re the Chateau Square project at 6:30 PM Wednesday night at Ingalls Park, NOT HB City Hall!






Even from a cursory look at the photos you can see how completely incompatible two 40-story buildings on that corner would be, and the disastrous effect it would have in a city where Hallandale Beach Blvd. is the ONLY East-West street that runs throughout the city, connecting the beach to I-95.
On a street that already receives the lowest possible rating from FDOT.
  
I initially was going to preview my comments for tonight and write about it here, but I have decided that it'll be better if you hear it from me in-person, just like the chagrined people in charge there tonight will have to.
(I plan on posting some of them on the blog tomorrow, along with some tell-tale photos.)

I hope if you have a few minutes tonight b/w 6 & 8, you will come by to participate.
Or, at least swing by to let me know whether or not you are in town right now.
You see, I've only seen one familiar face since Wednesday morning when I got back into town. :-(

And if you have any helpful suggestions about that pressing matter of concern to me that I discussed last week with some of you via email, all the better if you can manage to swing by and talk!


Above, me in June, pre-recent haircut, while visiting hot and humid Central Florida, which is where heat goes in the summer to get away from it all...

Dave 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Hallandale Beach loses one of its longtime sparkplugs, and a genuine voice of the people who wanted the city to be so much better: Mary Washington

This morning I received an email with some sad news about energetic, longtime Hallandale Beach community activist, former COHB Director of Human Services and City Commission candidate Mary Washington from her family.

"It is with great sadness to inform you that Mom...Mary G Washington is no longer with us.

Mother passed away yesterday July 19th, 2016.  She really enjoyed receiving and reading your blog and of course was a long time employee and activist with our City.
The wake will be Friday, July 29th, 2016 with the funeral services the following morning at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Hallandale.
 
The church is located at 816 N.W. 1st Avenue, Hallandale Beach.
 
 
At public meetings all around Hallandale Beach on a whole myriad of issues, but especially before, during and after important and often-contentious, marathon-long Hallandale Beach City Commission and P&Z meetings, Mary Washington was always very kind and sweet to me -and I know to many of you reading this as well.
 
When asked, Mary was always willing to share with me the benefit of her great personal and institutional knowledge of the city, its history and people.
From what she told me and what other people have told me about her over the years, she knew nearly everyone who was anyone in this town for many, many decades, and was a loyal friend and advisor to a whole host of people who have tried to make this a better community for the largest number of people, including the city's African-American population, which has been SO poorly served by its city's elected officials and bureaucracy for so very long.
 
To the extent that anyone plausibly could, she would often try to explain to an often-incredulous me, patiently, how this city that has so many great physical advantages, located as it is in a geographic sweet spot in South Florida, with access to both the Atlantic Ocean and an interstate and with a world-famous horse racing facility to lure visitors, Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino, had consistently managed to squander so MUCH of its natural potential, to everyone's detriment.
 
That slow process, of mediocrity being piled upon mediocrity, is how this Broward city has reached its current sorry state of governance that has become so infamous throughout South Florida.
A city where "normal" standards of government accountability and public oversight by elected officials and the staff have been and continue to be almost non-existent, have, over the years, quite rightly made it a media laughingstock.
 
There were years and years of poor choices by elected officials and highly-paid staffers who didn't live here, inadequate oversight and an insular political culture at HB City Hall that actually thought that keeping citizens out of the decision-making process was actually better than letting them participate in a meaningful way.
Years of city leaders failing repeatedly to seize opportunity to do do right by its citizens and Small Businesses owners have definitely left their mark.
 
Since I returned to South Florida from the Washington, D.C. area in late 2003, and began to make my concerns about what was going on -or wasn't- known at public meetings and in emails to others who wanted something better for this community, with me, Mary was gracious and free with her opinions about local issues and people, with particular attention to HB City Hall's careless and frequently combative attitude towards its very own citizens and neighborhoods.
 
With her help, and that of others who had much more personal first-hand knowledge of what was what, I eventually came to see the most-recent history I and my friends experienced here and that I've tried my best to honestly and accurately chronicle here on the blog, as just a case of history repeating itself.
That is, the long history in Hallandale Beach of important information and decisions being both closely held and made by only a handful of people, with the result that HB citizens and Small Business owners were usually the last ones to know what's really going on, despite their best efforts to be as fully engaged and informed as possible.

A problem that has been made worse by a largely absent and incurious South Florida press corps the past ten years, which was either afraid to report what was really taking place here and the logical consequences that one should expect as a result, despite how upfront and predictable it all was, or, they just couldn't be bothered to simply show up, observe and report what they saw and heard in a fair-minded fashion.
 
Yes, Mary Washington shared your/our #frustration with Hallandale Beach, but she always hoped for the best.
Despite everything she had been witness to over the years here, Mary remained an optimist.
She will be greatly missed.
 

Hallandale Beach loses one of its longtime sparkplugs, and a genuine voice of the people who wanted the city to be so much better: Mary Washington

This morning I received an email with some sad news about energetic, longtime Hallandale Beach community activist, former COHB Director of Human Services and City Commission candidate Mary Washington from her family.

"It is with great sadness to inform you that Mom...Mary G Washington is no longer with us.

Mother passed away yesterday July 19th, 2016.  She really enjoyed receiving and reading your blog and of course was a long time employee and activist with our City.
The wake will be Friday, July 29th, 2016 with the funeral services the following morning at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Hallandale.
 
The church is located at 816 N.W. 1st Avenue, Hallandale Beach.
 
 
At public meetings all around Hallandale Beach on a whole myriad of issues, but especially before, during and after important and often-contentious, marathon-long Hallandale Beach City Commission and P&Z meetings, Mary Washington was always very kind and sweet to me -and I know to many of you reading this as well.
 
When asked, Mary was always willing to share with me the benefit of her great personal and institutional knowledge of the city, its history and people.
From what she told me and what other people have told me about her over the years, she knew nearly everyone who was anyone in this town for many, many decades, and was a loyal friend and advisor to a whole host of people who have tried to make this a better community for the largest number of people, including the city's African-American population, which has been SO poorly served by its city's elected officials and bureaucracy for so very long.
 
To the extent that anyone plausibly could, she would often try to explain to an often-incredulous me, patiently, how this city that has so many great physical advantages, located as it is in a geographic sweet spot in South Florida, with access to both the Atlantic Ocean and an interstate and with a world-famous horse racing facility to lure visitors, Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino, had consistently managed to squander so MUCH of its natural potential, to everyone's detriment.
 
That slow process, of mediocrity being piled upon mediocrity, is how this Broward city has reached its current sorry state of governance that has become so infamous throughout South Florida.
A city where "normal" standards of government accountability and public oversight by elected officials and the staff have been and continue to be almost non-existent, have, over the years, quite rightly made it a media laughingstock.
 
There were years and years of poor choices by elected officials and highly-paid staffers who didn't live here, inadequate oversight and an insular political culture at HB City Hall that actually thought that keeping citizens out of the decision-making process was actually better than letting them participate in a meaningful way.
Years of city leaders failing repeatedly to seize opportunity to do do right by its citizens and Small Businesses owners have definitely left their mark.
 
Since I returned to South Florida from the Washington, D.C. area in late 2003, and began to make my concerns about what was going on -or wasn't- known at public meetings and in emails to others who wanted something better for this community, with me, Mary was gracious and free with her opinions about local issues and people, with particular attention to HB City Hall's careless and frequently combative attitude towards its very own citizens and neighborhoods.
 
With her help, and that of others who had much more personal first-hand knowledge of what was what, I eventually came to see the most-recent history I and my friends experienced here and that I've tried my best to honestly and accurately chronicle here on the blog, as just a case of history repeating itself.
That is, the long history in Hallandale Beach of important information and decisions being both closely held and made by only a handful of people, with the result that HB citizens and Small Business owners were usually the last ones to know what's really going on, despite their best efforts to be as fully engaged and informed as possible.

A problem that has been made worse by a largely absent and incurious South Florida press corps the past ten years, which was either afraid to report what was really taking place here and the logical consequences that one should expect as a result, despite how upfront and predictable it all was, or, they just couldn't be bothered to simply show up, observe and report what they saw and heard in a fair-minded fashion.
 
Yes, Mary Washington shared your/our #frustration with Hallandale Beach, but she always hoped for the best.
Despite everything she had been witness to over the years, Mary remained an optimist.
She will be greatly missed.
 

Monday, July 18, 2016

What should we make of this new campaign from The New Tropic: #MiamisNeverMovedLikeThis?



What should we make of this new campaign from The New Tropic: #MiamisNeverMovedLikeThis? 

I don't want to sound overly negative but given how consistently bad the tone, tenor and direction of transportation policy in South Florida has been for decades, maybe I'm missing something, but there's no explanation to speak of -a week after first being launched- explaining what sort of depth or expertise the essays in The New Tropic will have, how much independence the authors will have to be openly criticial -when appropriateof Miami area pols & officials (past and present) and Miami's Business Establishment.

No indication of who might be -and won't be- penning them, or even whether, surprise, many will turn out to be little more than slavish/advertorial pro-MDT and Co. content asking consumers and taxpayers to completely ignore the myopic, second-rate culture and CYA attitude towards residents that's held sway the past 40 years and... to just pretend instead.

Again, not to be critical but to me, it just doesn't seem like the way I'd launch something: in a way that raises more questions than it answers.
I hope to have more on this subject soon, possibly, with some answers and more useful information for you to ponder about @newtropicmiami, including who's really running things there, visibly and behind-the-scenes, and the identity of the parties that are trying to keep it afloat.
People I know, respect and talk to who pay attention to such matters in South Florida have some very definite thoughts about this issue and have not been shy in sharing them with me.

Dave

Saturday, July 9, 2016

In Sweden, Opposition Leader Anna Kinberg Batra has brought some much-needed fresh air and common sense into the public debate about civic responsibilities of migrants and newcomers to assimilate into Swedish society. #Almadalen


Anna Kinberg Batra (@kinbergbatra)
https://www.instagram.com/kinbergbatra/?hl=en


In Sweden, Opposition leader Anna Kinberg Batra has brought some much-needed fresh air and common sense into the public debate about civic responsibilities of migrants and newcomers to assimilate into Swedish society. #Almadalen
* Updated on July 20, 2016, see bottom!

Even as we've recently learned to our dismay that the Democratic Party in the U.S. is now prepared to abandon its longtime policy of emphasizing that newcomers to the U.S. must, of course, learn to be able to communicate in English, Anna Kinberg Batra, the leader of the Swedish Moderate Party, as well as the leader of the Swedish opposition, has publicly reiterated the need for all migrants and newcomers to Sweden to actually learn Swedish, or be prepared to suffer meaningful penalties as a result.

Which is to say, that perhaps the bad old days of countless government officials, patronizing academic elites and members of the news media consciously looking the other way when some migrants to Sweden just went thru the motions, and society was forced into pretending that all migrants were really doing the right thing, and that the problem of them isolating themselves wasn't real or have long-term negative consequences for Swedish society -besides causing great personal offense to millions of Swedish citizens paying the hefty freight for newcomers' housing and education- may finally be coming to an end.
That is, if Kinberg Batra becomes Prime Minister, and can institute some much-needed and long-overdue policy changes. 
IF.

Anna Kinberg Batra spoke for many frustrated and open-minded people I know and respect in Sweden when she spoke at length at a press conference today at Almadalen, Visby, about what sorts of changes she wanted to see.
Stating that there's nothing wrong in believing that there is, indeed, something known as "Swedish values," she made this point clear by emphasizing that besides the numerous personal rights and opportunities that come with being a legal resident or citizen in Sweden, there were also personal & social civic responsibilities attached to being able to live and work legally in Sweden as well.


”Man ska inte kunna skolka sig in i Sverige” -One should not be truant in Sweden- said @KinbergBatra, and who could plausibly argue with this bit of self-evident common sense? 

The job is the first important key to integration. Language is the other, she said.

She also said that it was naive to believe that the migrant situation in Sweden, with its attendant costs and chaos, were over for good. 
Again, directly at variance with what many powerful special interest groups and non-profits in Sweden want the people of Sweden to believe is the case, lest they ask for more accountability in an area that has seen so many financial/oversight scandals the past two years.

When it comes to government benefits, Kinberg Batra "repeated previous demands that a ceiling should be introduced so that newcomers can not get more in income support and establishment of compensation than what they can get by working."
Again, common sense, but then that is exactly what has been in such short supply in Sweden for many years in the view of many observers, including your faithful blogger.
You can love Sweden but acknowledge that its longstanding problems are not going to solve themselves.

My friends in Sweden are, it goes without saying, VERY pleased to hear Kinberg Batra say these things publicly and draw a meaningful distinction with other politicians and political parties on this issue, as their enthusiastic emails to me have made clear since she gave this talk.


A photo posted by Anna Kinberg Batra (@kinbergbatra) on







































---
Update of July 20, 2016:
Since I first wrote and posted the blog post above, I have discovered a new tweet from Anna Kinberg Batra herself that has a helpful link to her comments, plus a video of the entire speech:

Anna KinbergBatrastaliAlmedalen: Plan förettstarkareSverige| NyaModeraternahttps://t.co/vhvzATihSE
&mdash">https://t.co/vhvzATihSE">https://t.co/vhvzATihSE
— Anna KinbergBatra(@KinbergBatra) July">https://twitter.com/KinbergBatra/status/752384238956216320">July 11, 2016
You can find those comments on the Moderaterna party website at
http://www.moderat.se/nyhetsartikel/anna-kinberg-batras-tal-i-almedalen-plan-ett-starkare-sverige


Anna Kinberg Batras Almedalstal
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5a9gybTvA_k

Monday, July 4, 2016

Celebrating U.S.A.'s 240th birthday today from hot & humid Florida, but wishing I was in Sweden, on a boat in the Stockholm archipelago, eating strawberries with friends, and enjoying the Midnight Sun; Ingmar Bergman's "Wild Strawberries"

Snapshots, in a few tweets and words, of what I'm thinking about today, the Fourth of July...
Celebrating U.S.A.'s 240th birthday today from hot & humid Florida, but wishing I was in Sweden, on a boat in the Stockholm archipelago, eating strawberries with friends, and enjoying the Midnight Sun; Ingmar Bergman's "Wild Strawberries"










A photo posted by fullofkeys (@fullofkeys) on

Above, a great recent snapshot of a boat in an archipelago in Sweden taken on Midsummer Day by super-talented Anni Bernhard, a.k.a. singer Full of Keys, a friend of the blog and someone we adore for a whole host of good reasons, many of which we've written about here in the past.



Updated on 2016-07-05

Well, it's the Fourth of July, Birthday #240 for the USA.
Owing perhaps to the oppressive heat and humidity of Florida as I'm experiencing it in 2016. I mentioned strawberries in one of my tweets earlier today to Magnus Lundin, savvy and personable CEO of SISP, the Swedish Incubators & Science Parks, located in beautiful Stockholm, because 
a.) I really do LOVE strawberries, and,
b.) It seems without ever planning to, more often than not, most Fourth of July weekends, at some point, often after watching fireworks, I end up watching Ingmar Bergman's iconic film "Wild Strawberries" because... it's SO perfect, SO summer and SO Sweden!

I can't believe that I and my then-friends put up with this crazy summer heat as a kid growing-up in South Florida in the early and mid-1970's, riding our bikes EVERYWHERE during the day, without benefit of plastic water bottles!




Which is to say, for me, it's a perfect film for transporting me away from my everyday, mundane concerns, including helping me to forget how truly hot it is outside, with mosquitos buzzing around aiming to make me their meal ticket, something that was just as true this time of the year when I was living and working in Chicago and Washington, D.C. as it is today back in Florida. 

Part of the genius of this film, at least to me, is that like the best films, it always gives gives the viewer a reason to contemplate a life very different from the one they are currently living, since it has a huge dollop of wistfulness in it, something I, perhaps, already spend too much time considering.
This classic film of remembrance, known as Smultronställe in Swedish, officially opened in Sweden on December 26th, 1957, but for me, it remains a film of #summer.

One of my all-time favorite films, I've probably seen it, conservatively, over two dozen times, mostly on Turner Classic Movies (TCM), though I have a DVD and videocassette of it and many other Bergman films. It's a film that I always gets something new out of, and never tire of watching in part because there's so very much going on, even when it doesn't always seem that way.
It stars Victor Sjostrom, and a 22-year old Bibi AnderssonIngrid Thulin and Gunnar BjörnstrandI've got some good clips of it at the bottom of this post for you to peruse.

For those of you who are new to my blog and the wide variety of subjects that I like to discuss, share and analyze here, or newbies to my ever-expanding number of Followers on Twitter via my @hbbtruth handle, 
https://twitter.com/hbbtruth, I note here that Swedish film director Ingmar Bergman was accorded one of the greatest honors of any film personality I can think of when a few years ago, he was chosen to be the face of the newest Swedish 200 Kronor note, starting last year, replacing Selma Lagerlöf, who was the first female writer to ever win the Nobel Prize for Literature.




Designed by Göran Österlund

I previously discussed who the newest faces of Swedish currency were in this April 25, 2012 blog post titled, "Beautiful, just like the original! Greta Garbo will be featured on the new Swedish 100 Kronor note, with Ingmar Bergman on the 200 SEK note, all designed by Göran Österlund, starting in 2015"
http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/2012/04/beautiful-just-like-original-greta.html

-------

Cityline on A1A and the beach

Cityline on A1A and the beach
Where Hollywood meets Hallandale Beach on State Road A1A, Hyde Beach Resort & Residences meets the iconic beach ball-colored Water Tower. © 2017 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

Miami Dolphins classic logo

Miami Dolphins classic logo
What I grew up with in South Florida in the 1970's - not just winning, excellence and effort!

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.

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.