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.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Make plans to attend tonight's important Hollywood Mayoral and District 1 City Commission candidate forum at the Hollywood Beach Culture & Community Center at 7 PM, 1301 South Ocean Drive

Writing this post to remind you about tonight's important Hollywood Mayoral and District 1 City Commission candidate forum at the Hollywood Beach Culture & Community Center at 7 PM, 1301 South Ocean Drive.

I will be attending it and hope that as many of you as possible can make it as well to let the candidates know what you and your neighbors believe are the top local concerns and priorities of Hollywood residents and Small Business ownwers -esp. in the Hollywood Lakes and District 1 community- and let them and any pundits and reporters who attend get a sense of what they all collectively ought to be talking about, writing about and considering as voters as Election Day draws near.

As you might guess, I'm working on some questions of my own, and am hopeful that the local Miami news media will take full advantage of the opportunity to show up and perhaps do some LIVE stand-ups for the 6, 10 or 11 pm newscasts.

I have been to two candidate forums so far, each of which drew very large crowds of residents and interested parties. First was the joint candidate forum on September 16 at the Fred Lippman Community Center that featured the City Commission District 2 and mayoral candidates -minus District 1 incumbent Patricia Asseff- and last week at David Park in Hollywood Hills featuring all three mayoral candidates: Asseff, Joshua Levy and Eleanor Sobel.

In theory, tonight's forum should give District 1 candidates Debra Case, Victor Debianchi, Stacey North Kotzen and Luis H. Prada plenty of time to draw attention to their particular priorities and make a case for their candidacy, given that District 1 has traditionally had a lot of influence on what happens in the city because it includes the beach area that has long served as the economic engine of the city, via tourism.
So far, to my mind, based on what I've seen and heard, all the District 1 candidates have thus far been talking too much in cliches and platitudes, and really need to give some specificity and nuance to the voters to give them some sense of what they are for -and what they are against.

I do have some news to share with you that I suspect few of you have caught wind of yet, and that is that I learned recently that former Broward County Sheriff and Florida Attorney General Bob Butterworth and former Broward Commissioner Sue Gunzburger have officially endorsed Victor Debianchi in the District 1 Commission contest.

As many of you know, the Dolphins at Bengals game tonight is slated to kickoff at 8:20 and I was hoping to miss as little of it as possible after the candidate forum is over, so depending upon what time it's over, and knowing that they'd like to close up around 9 pm, I may be there a bit after the forum if there's a TV showing the game.
So if you don't get a chance to come by and say hello before or during the forum, swing by afterwards and let me know what you think.

Also, you might be interested in knowing that tonight is Comm. Asseff's 49th wedding anniversary, and yet because she cares so much about the city and its residents, instead of celebrating the anniversary, she'll be there tonight to listen to the residents and Small Business owners of Hollywood, and explain her goals and priorities for the city moving forward.

See ya there!


All August and September 2016 photos below by me, South Beach Hoosier. © 2016 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Hollywood developer Chip Abele's years-long effort to launch #YoungCircleCommons project in Downtown Hollywood, across from The ArtsPark, w/a #HiltonHotel, clears hurdle as Hollywood City Comm. unanimously approves requested changes

Above, my photo from this afternoon of Hollywood developer ​Chip Abele, with a rendering in the Commission Chambers of his proposed tower on U.S.-1/Federal Highway in downtown Hollywood, opposite the SW corner of Young Circle and The ArtsPark, just as the project's changes were unanimously approved by the Hollywood City Commission.

Wednesday September 21, 2016
After the Hollywood City Commission meeting this afternoon I was able to speak with Mr. Abele, above, for a minute in conjunction with getting some better quality copies of the renderings of his tower that are on the city's website, 
for a future blog post about the project and its tangled path to success, some of which I've chronicled in the past on the blog, as well as his many efforts to re-develop the NE corner of Young Circle over the years, all of which have led me to being at meetings at Hollywood City Hall at 2 AM in the past.

On July 24, 2008, I first wrote abiout Mr. Abele and his efforts to develop or re-devlop areas near Young Circle, The WSG/Young Circle ArtsPark Project

I can't help but think of the positive changes that could take place in Hollywood when they eventually get a brand new Publix on the northeast corner of Young CircleBlock 55.
To see more on that redevelopment project, Hollywood Circle, and what developer Chip Abele had once hoped to build then, see my February 19th, 2009 post labeled,
In Hollywood, blighted Block 55 gets a new lease on life as "Hollywood Circle"

On November 1st, 2011, I penned this post about his efforts, 
Wednesday's Hollywood CRA mtg. features Chip Abele's Block 55 LLC/1740 Polk Street project -inc. the new Publix- getting units from RAC for hotel

In my quick discussion with Mr. Abele this afternoon, he says that they aren't planning any sort of formal signing announcement about the Hilton Hotels deal they've made, but reiterated to me that the paperwork had "already been signed."

An upscale hotel in and above downtown Hollywood.
With a swimming pool on top, like the proverbial cherry!
And that pool looked very, very inviting with its amazing views. 

Now, if we could only get some quality Indian and Ethiopian restaurants in downtown 
Hollywood or hereabouts like I'd gotten used to in D.C., and have done without for so long here.
I can't be the only one who notices their absence from the South Florida food scene.

Tonight I'll be attending the Hollywood Mayoral Forum at David Park Community Center at 7 PM, sponsored by the Hollywood Hills Civic Association, not the Hallandale Beach City Comm. meeting.

By the way, I've got some more news to share soon about Comm. Bill Julian and his inability
to NOT continue to engage in questionable ethical behavior that calls into question his basic fitness for office, given his many ethical lapses and misdeeds in the past.
What reasonable people might call a hard-to-ignore "fact pattern."
In reverse chron order are my tweets about this news:

Friday, September 16, 2016

Today and Saturday, I will be at @HollywoodFLCRA's #ParkingDay event, at Danish Pastry Co., @danishpastryco, and at The Greek Joint, @GreekJoint. Come by and see what's doing -and what's to eat!

Today and Saturday, I will be at the Hollywood CRA event, above, PARK(ing) Day Hollywood.

I will be spending Friday morning and afternoon at -and outside of2031 Tyler Street, which is Danish Pastry Hollywood Co., @danishpastryco a place that I can personally assure you is absolutely full of delicious food (and great coffee) and candies from all parts of, yes, Scandinavia.

Later I'll be at 1925 Hollywood Blvd., i.e. The Greek Joint, @GreekJoint the home of perhaps the best Greek food in South Florida I've eaten since being at a once-popular Greek restaurant on Lincoln Road on South Beach, where, Once Upon a Time, I celebrated my North Miami Beach High School graduation with family and friends, after leaving the ceremony held at the nearby Miami Beach Convention Center.

Depending upon how things are going, I may even shoot some video of my own about this for my YouTube Channel, a useful tool that, quite honestly, I've neglected for far too long.
But as you readers of the blog will be seeing in the future weeks, I will be doing something about changing that dynamic as local elections in South Florida get closer and candidate debates and forums suddenly multiply like mushrooms, and important public policy issues hang in the air, waiting for someone to answer them in an honest and forthright manner.
Assuming someone besides me actually asks them, of course.

I hope that as many of you as possible can make this event in-person at either location, either day, because I have attended similar Pop Up public policy events in other parts of the country, and, if done correctly, they can really give you a very different and unique perspective  on what we accept as "normal" within the streetscape and landscape that makes up our daily life.
And in South Florida, of course, that always includes parking.

So, come for the public policy lessons, but be sure to stay and check out the friendly customer service and delectable Cinnamon Swirls with Vanilla Icing!

More photos and details in coming days as I share what I/we learned at this weekend's @HollywoodFLCRA's #ParkingDay event.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Tonight's meeting is the time to let Hallandale Beach officials and your neighbors -plus the South Florida news media- know exactly what you think about unethical Comm. Bill Julian, Simpleton Extraordinaire; Here's who WON'T be there: Eleanor Sobel, Joe Gibbons, Oscar Braynon II and Shevrin Jones, who turned their back on public corruption at HB City Hall years ago, letting CRA scandal get worse, not resolved

Above, Hallandale Beach City Hall, September 2016, as captured by me, SouthBeachHoosier, © 2016 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.
Tonight's meeting is the time to let Hallandale Beach officials and your neighbors -plus the South Florida news media- know exactly what you think about unethical Comm. Bill Julian, Simpleton Extraordinaire; Here's who WON'T be there: Eleanor Sobel, Joe Gibbons, Oscar Braynon II and Shevrin Jones, who turned their back on public corruption at HB City Hall years ago, letting CRA scandal get worse, not resolved

Important update to my last post: #SoFL #ethics - Proving that the past is prologue, yet again, here comes ethically-challenged Commissioner Bill Julian to once again personally make Hallandale Beach a laughingstock. But this time, a NATIONAL laughingstock. 

Surprise! It involves votes on real estate development and favors in return. Here's the latest 

on the matter, along with a stark reminder of Bill Julian's previous unethical actions

So, like many people in Broward County, we were recently surprised to wake up one morning and discover the strangest thing in in the pages of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the very newspaper that had specifically instructed its Hallandale Beach reporter to NOT report on the bribery allegations against Vice Mayor William "Bill" Julian in the context of their recent meetings.
It was an editorial about the longstanding public corruption and ethics problem at Hallandale Beach City Hall and the current one involving Commissioner Bill Julian

Here's a reminder about that lack of media clarity and accoiuntability from the newspaper first:

Florida newspaper kills story of local official allegedly seeking favors from developer
By Marc Caputo
08/26/16 05:33 AM EDT
The South Florida Sun Sentinel killed a news story on its website about Hallandale Beach Vice Mayor Bill Julian admitting on tape that he sought developer favors in return for his vote — a move by the newspaper’s leadership that appears to be part of a pattern of censoring controversial stories, according to multiple sources inside and outside the Fort Lauderdale newsroom.

The story concerning Julian’s alleged bribe-taking was first reported by WPLG-10, where investigative reporter Bob Norman obtained a voice message that the commissioner mistakenly left after he failed to properly hang up a phone. Julian discussed voting favorably for the $450 million Diplomat Golf & Tennis Club and linked it to alleged pledges from the developer’s attorneys who allegedly promised campaign contributions and campaign volunteers as well as a new van for his favorite city charity.

Read the rest of the article at:

That Editorial is here:
South Florida Sun-Sentinel Editorial: Hallandale Beach running off rails

Of course, it's important to keep in mind that the Sun-Sentinel's Editorial Board are the very same folks who were perfectly happy to keep quiet for YEARS about the Hallandale Beach CRA and the crimes against HB residents and Small Businesses that took place there over a period of years, which resulted in perhaps $80 Million going out the door with precious little of a tangible nature to show for it, as I so often wrote, blogged and tweeted about, with links here:

That is to say, the Sun-Sentinel ignored it for years AFTER a damning report had already been issued by the Broward County Inspector General showed that there was practically no oversight or vetting at HB City hall by anyone in a position of authority of the kind that would be expected, including from longtime Mayor Joy Cooper or the previous two City Managers.

So, where were Hallandale Beach's various state legislators when all of this was actually going on and what did they do?
State Senators Eleanor Sobel and Oscar Braynon II were actively trying to prevent a Joint Legislative Auditing Comm. audit in Tallahassee into the HB CRA -and succeeded!- while State Rep. Shevrin Jones was so clueless and uninformed about what was going on in his own district that he NEVER knew what was going on -admitting as much in a tweet to me.

Jones never publicly offered to help the public get the facts they were entitled to, even though the public in question that was most-angry and most-taken advantage of was, of course, his own constituents.
And Joe Gibbons did what he does best: saying nothing and doing nothing to help Hallandale Beach's beleaguered citizens and Small Business owners who had a right to expect more from all of them than endless amounts of apathy, indifference and outright obfuscation of the truth.
With help like this, who needs enemies?

And don't forget! A scheduled meeting to discuss the alleged bribery scandal surrounding 
Comm. Bill Julian will take place tonight at 6:30 p.m. at Hallandale Beach residents and interested parties who want to speak need to sign up in advance.
This is prior to the controversial vote on the Chateau Group project on US-1 and Hallandale Beach Blvd.

Many if not most of you who are familiar with how things actually work at Hallandale Beach City Hall are also quite familiar with how frequently Mayor Cooper has brought up items that 
were NOT on the scheduled agenda and tried to force the Commission to vote on that matter, 
even when the staff said that they did not have any information to provide the Commission
at the time so that they could make an even vaguely-informed vote.

Like, above, the way in 2013 Mayor Cooper tried to have the City Commission forgive the hefty 
fines that Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino accrued from the city and state for violating 
the city's own Code Compliance rules, by starting work on huge temporary buildings before they 
had any permits. They owed the city $52,000.

Gulfstream Park first tried to pressure city employees and when that didn't work, they simply called Mayor Cooper across the street instead of following established procedures and contacting the City Manager and the rest of the Commission to inform them and the public about their self-created "problems."

I remind you that this email below is esp. important given that unlike it has always done in 
the past, even when they were held at locations other than the HB City Hall Chambers, the 
city did NOT televise -via their cable channel- or video record last month's Planning & Zoning 
meeting held at Ingalls Park re the very controversial Chateau Square project proposed for 
the SE corner of US-1 and Hallandale Beach Blvd., which comes before the HB City Commission 
next Wednesday night for the first of two required readings.