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.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

#Ethics - More context, facts and fall-out to consider re Hallandale Beach Comm. Anthony A. Sanders' "misconduct" in office, per Broward Inspector General. Naturally, Sanders being Sanders, he views the public finally learning all the facts about what he has been doing in office as “an assassination on my character.” Surprise!

#Ethics - More context, facts and fall-out to consider re Hallandale Beach Comm. Anthony A. Sanders' "misconduct" in office, per Broward Inspector General. Naturally, Sanders being Sanders, he views the public finally learning all the facts about what he has been doing in office as “an assassination on my character.” Surprise!

What follows below is an updated version of an email that I sent out LAST Wednesday morning before Noon regarding the then-latest breaking news from the office of John W. Scott, the Broward Inspector General, regarding what most well-informed people in this area of South Florida have long considered to be the the longstanding, self-evident unethical behavior and actions of Hallandale Beach Commissioner Anthony A. Sanders.

I sent it out to roughly 175 interested parties ecompassing citizens, journalists, civic groups and state legislators throughout Broward County, South Florida and the Sunshine State.
That is to say, sent it to selected email inboxes of well-informed people thoroughout the State of Florida who have an abiding and longstanding personal and or professional interest in seeing to it that the government that is closest to the people in Florida, the municipal level, is NOT, in the end, simply a stealthy transference of wealth between a community's citizens and taxpayers to its elected officials and bureaucrats.
A members-only ATM for insiders who know how to fix or finesse the system they are supposed to be providing oversight over on behalf of... the People.

But what do you do when someone is perfectly willing to brazenly break the spirit and letter of ordinances, laws and basic morality in order to get their way, whatever that might be?
Someone who, basically, calls the bluff of civil society and law enforcement in Broward County, and literally dares any one of them to stop him from doing what he wants to do and will keep doing?
Someone like Commissioner Anthony A. Sanders.

The people who received that email of mine last Wednesday, and prior emails over the years regarding Comm. Sanders and his actions, are serious people of substance, purpose and public influence.
And what they also have in common, to varying extents, is being more than a little aware of the longstanding public corruption and financial chicanery that has taken place at Hallandale Beach City Hall for years, often in the person of Comm. Sanders.

Thanks in large part to my efforts over the years to publicize things on this blog and via the South Florida news media, as well as a handful of hard-working, high-minded friends who have wanted nothing less than for Hallandale Beach to FINALLY be a better, smarter, safer and better-managed community, not the public laughingstock it has been for many years under notoriously thin-skinned Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper.

To repeat the unhappy truth that I have written here so many times before today, literally, a reality where many South Florida print and TV reporters "joke" about how truly bad the state of things were and are in HB, and then use that as their own reason not to get involved and actually REPORT the facts and context of what's going on in HB, because, afterall, "that's just Hallandale Beach."

For those of you who are new to this fact-based bIog, I'm glad you came by to check it out today and get some more important facts on this matter regarding public corruption, as well as important context and nuance to better make sense of it all.

You should bear in mind as you read this that over the past ten years I have written DOZENS of fact-filled blog posts here about the VERY curious and dysfunctional actions and behavior of Comm. Sanders, connecting-the-dots on how VERY SHORT he has come up in the public's estimation on so many important areas of the job, compared to both what the community has a right to reasonably expect in an elected official -like actually doing your homework and being familiar with the facts being discussed on the dais for one thing!- and more importantly, what the community needed to see up on the dais in the way of resolve and fidelity to public accountability, oversight and transparency.

Over-and-over, Comm. Sanders has come up woefully short and usually been just about the least-informed person in the entire Commission Chambers when an issue or policy was being discussed, analyzed or voted upon, whether in his role as a City Commissioner or as a CRA Board Member.

But that unfortunate reality, that burden that Hallandale Beach's residents and Small Business owners have had to carry for so long, has never prevented the South Florida Sun-Sentinel's Editorial Board from endorsing Sanders, owing to their longstanding pledge to support diversity on the dais, even if it comes at the risk of complete incompetency.

What the Hallandale Beach community got in Sanders was entirely predictable, someone who felt entitled to do whatever he wanted, and to ignore rules and public expectations he found either troublesome or cumbersome.
I was one of a handful of people in this area who called it publicly many, many years ago, within days and weeks of him being apppointed to the HB City Commission under strange circumstances that were entirely contrary to the city's own written procedures.

But the South Florida Sun-Sentinel's liberal Editorial Board has never let self-evident facts-on-the-ground regarding Comm. Sanders performance in office get in the way of their efforts to make sure that he was on the five-member City Commission, even when he couldn't publicly explain himself or his troubling track record in the newspaper's very own pre-election group candidate interviews, according to people who were there.

In Hallandale, Sanders, London 
By Sun Sentinel Editorial Board
In Seat 1, four people are vying for office, including incumbent Anthony Sanders.The Sun Sentinel Editorial Board encourages voters to retain Sanders. His experience and knowledge of the issues make him the better choice for this southeast Broward city of about 38,000.
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/opinion/endorsements/fl-endorsement-hallandale-gs1008-20141025-story.html


At this point, don't hold your breath that these same reporters and editors are finally going to publicly own up to their own serious and serial mistakes in judgment in a future editorial.
Meanwhile, look hard at what the Sun-Sentinel's selfish and short-sighted whims have done to this community.



Above, Broward Inspector General John W. Scott at a Broward League of Women Voters event in Coconut Creek, FL that I attended on January 24, 2013, with four other concerned Hallandale Beach residents and activists.

Let me put it this way... on the day that I took this photo of Mr. Scott in 2013,I all but knew most of the major points detailed in his office's preliminary report, the subject of last week's news articles.

Again for the benefit of newcomers to the blog, I'm a person who was constantly feeding the IG's office with tips consisting germane facts and context they weren't getting elsewhere.
Inconvenient facts for Comm. Sanders, who, for all his brazeness in exploiting his ties to nonprofits who receive money from the Hallandale Beach CRA, which has mis-spent and wasted millions of dollars over the years, and which Comm. Sanders never cared to know what happened to the money, or even whether it was spent for the intended purpose.
What he cared about was directing the money $$$ -deciding who would get it.
Now, you'll learn why.

There's one more thing you should know about Comm. Sanders before reading my comments. Call it context, call it nuance, call it whatever you like. 
As best as anyone in the city can figure, there has NEVER been a single proposed development anywhere in the City of Hallandale Beach in the 10-plus years since Anthony A. Sanders has been a HB City Commissioner that he did not vote FOR,.
No matter how ill-conceived it was, no matter how unpopular it was with neghborhood residents, no matter how unsightly or just plain ugly it was, no matter if the city's own professional staff recommended against approving it.

Even by the very, very low ethical/public policy standards of South Florida, that is a remarkably dubious track record and proof positive of Comm. Sanders always looking at well-financed developers and their large teams of experts and consultants as a means to an end. 
He has always claimed that there would be secondary economic (ripple) effects in Northwest Hallandale Beach -the area that he claims as his own desite the fact that everyone on the HB City Commission is elected citywide- but as we can see both then and now, the actual economic ripple effect that resulted was NOT the one that most reasonable people would've expected.

Even Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper, the ringleader of what I have long called the Cooper Rubber Stamp Crew that for so many years ran this city into the ground and disrespected its residents and small business owners, actually managed to vote against a few proposed real estate developments.
But not clearly disconnected-from-reality Comm. Sanders.


It's been common knowledge for the longest time -in part because I've mentioned it so frequently here on the blog and in my frequent emails after something Mayor Cooper herself said and did- that her biggest fear has long been that the true facts about the state of this city and its longtime mismanagement under her actually get out and penetrate the minds of the people in this state whose opinion she deeply cares about.
It helps feed her enormous ego.

That is to say, her pals throughout the area and up in Tallahassee, like the folks at the Florida League of Cities or former state Sen. Eleanor Sobel, the latter of whom as I've written here so often, was always happy to play guard dog for her up in Tallahassee, and help keep the germane facts from getting made public, as Sobel did in running interference for the mayor re the city's completely mismanaged and unethical CRA with the bicameral Joint Legislative Audit Commitee.

All to prevent an honest audit so that Hallandale Beach residents, taxpayers and small business owners could finally discover where all the tens of millions of HB CRA dollars went.
-----

Date: Wed, Jul 12, 2017 at 12:42 PM
Subject: #Ethics matters - More context, facts and fall-out to consider re Hallandale Beach Comm. Sanders' "misconduct" in office, per Broward Inspector General



Right now, I'm trying hard not to gloat about this long-overdue news and turn of events,
given all the dozens and dozens of fact-filled pieces I've written on my blog and in emails
to many of you over the past 11 years about Comm. Anthony A. Sanders, starting with his curious and completely illegal selection to the City Commission by Hallandale Beach Mayor 
Joy Cooper in 2006 to replace Comm. Francine Schiller, who was ill.

Mayor Cooper forced Anthony A. Sanders down the throats of Hallandale Beach residents 
by filling a HB City Commission vacancy that wasn't even legally vacant, and wouldn't be 
for another three weeks, days AFTER the scheduled second City Commission meeting of the month, which is to say, that there would have been plenty of time for public comments re the city's extant policies for filling vacancies.

But Mayor Cooper didn't want the best prospective candidate in the city to fill the position, she consciously wanted Sanders.  

Cooper she did so by blatantly violating the city's own rules and protocols -used just 
the year before for Keith London to replace then-HB City Commissioner Joe Gibbons on the Commission after his election to the Florida state House, in large part because she knew that then-City Attorney David Jove was a veritable bump on a log.

Jove was someone who wouldn't do anything to jeopardize his outrageously large pension by reminding the mayor that what she was doing was patently illegal under the city's very own rules.

Once on board as part of Cooper's Rubber Stamp Crew, Sanders was noticeable for his
almost-immediate very curious and confounding unethical ethical behavior and actions
-or complete inaction when positive action, oversight and genuine accountability were necessary but Sanders was NOT up to the task.
Not up to the responsibilities he owed the citizens of Hallandale Beach.

I gave SO MUCH information over the years to the Broward Inspector General via emails
about Sanders and his retinue of hacks and apologists in HB, sometimes including specific
information about the non-profits associated with him -including recipients of CRA loans
that didn't file required yearly reports to the IRS and didn't spend the money for their
stated purposes- to say nothing of the complete lack of public information and transparency
about the sources of the funding and where it all went.

And do I need to even remind you how many dozens of time I wrote on the blog and in emails that Sanders was so brazen from the get-go that that he didn't even bother to recuse himself from voting on the dais, as required, when the city wanted to buy his old property for more than it was worth, despite the city having no actual (written) purpose for the building if they acquired it.

You know, the former Sanders property at 501 N.W. 1st Avenue that became the city-owned
building that he could use for free afterwards, and which famously had Sanders, Cooper and
Bill Julian campaign signs all over it for weeks before elections?
http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-city-of-hallandale-beachs-rules-are.html
Yes, despite it then being a city-owned building.



Check out this 2012 Local10 video with reporter Glenna Milberg: about what the Broward Inspector General had to say about the fishy deal with the purchase of Comm. Sanders' property.

She wanted to interview Sanders, but he didn't want to have anything to do with the questions that might come his way from one of the few widely-respected reporters in South Florida:
http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/2012/07/video-local10s-glenna-milberg-examines.html


In case you forgot some of the details, here's an excerpt from that 2012 email, that was
also received by the Broward IG.

Wednesday September 26th, 2012
3:05 p.m.

I received a phone call from Csaba Kulin this afternoon and he mentioned several
disturbing things to me that I believe that all concerned Hallandale Beach residents
ought to know about.

Some of the facts he shared are ones that we all might've predicted would happen
at some point in the final six weeks with Comm. Anthony A. Sanders re-election
effort, given,

a.) the truly abysmal job Sanders has done in office the past four years, and the 
fact that he's refused to meet with resident taxpayers like you and me in public 
and simply tell the truth about what really happened with that 2009 land sale to
the city, where the only parties who profited was Comm. Sanders and his wife,
Jessica, and,
b.) Sanders foolishly and illegally refused to recuse himself that Spring, and
actually voting to give himself free use of the building he "sold" until it is demolished,
courtesy of a motion by then-Commissioner Bill Julian that passed 4-1.

So you have the proper context, now that he has his own yards signs, Csaba has
been busy campaigning and walking neighborhoods in NW HB for the past week,
sometimes with Gerald Dean, sometimes by himself.

Csaba told me that he is being told over-and-over by residents that he speaks with
at their homes that someone from Comm. Sanders' campaign have been a very busy
beaver, indeed.
It turns out that someone from Team Sanders has been illegally placing Sanders 
yard signs in residents' front yards without their permission.

According to Csaba, they're everywhere- but not by choice.

When asked why they don't simply remove them or call to complain, residents say
that they know that regardless of what they do, another Sanders sign will be placed
there overnight if they do anything to remove it, which is apparently what has already
happened to some people who wouldn't put up with the effort to coerce the neighborhood.

Given these circumstances, some residents, esp. older residents, are quite understandably
intimidated, and reluctant to draw attention to themelf by removing the illegally-placed
campaign signs from their own yards,
They have become unwilling victims of Sanders' desire to stay in office and ride
the gravy train however long he can, by hook or by crook.

Not that Sanders is telling the truth to anyone in NW HB, either, since as 
we've all discussed previously, the truth is NOT Sanders' friend!
It's one of the reasons why Sanders initially refused to cooperate with the
Broward Inspector General and his team of investigators,

Yes, expect a lot more details to come out in the coming weeks and months 
regarding matters and behavior involving Sanders and his associates that I have 
pointed at and hinted at over the years, that were begging for some kind of 
plausible, reasonable explanation from him but which got... none.





Florida Bulldog
Report: Hallandale commissioner Anthony Sanders “engaged in pattern of misconduct”
By William Gjebre, FloridaBulldog.org 
JULY 11, 2017 AT 10:58 AM



A preliminary report by the Broward Inspector General’s Office says Hallandale Beach City Commissioner Anthony Sanders “engaged in a pattern of misconduct” when he “failed to disclose payments” made to him and other family members by a community group which Sanders voted to give thousands of dollars in city grants and other funding.
The July 7 report obtained by Florida Bulldog also said that Palms Community Action Coalition Inc. (PCAC) made contractual payments to Higher Vision Ministries, where Sanders is the pastor and the only paid full-time employee. The report adds that Sanders solicited and received contributions for the church from developers seeking to do business with the city.
PCAC is a Hallandale Beach-based nonprofit organization that provides job training and community development services to local residents.
Read the rest of the article at:
http://www.floridabulldog.org/2017/07/report-hallandale-commissioner-anthony-sanders/










South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Hallandale Commissioner Anthony Sanders engaged in misconduct, Inspector General says

Susannah Bryan, Reporter, Sun Sentinel

July 11, 2017 7:45 PM

Anthony Sanders used his position as a Hallandale Beach commissioner to approve nearly $1 million in funding to a nonprofit that made monthly payments to the church he founded and also paid his immediate family, according to a Broward Inspector General’s report obtained by the Sun Sentinel.

Sanders, 56, failed to disclose the payments he, his wife and two sons received from the Palms Community Action Coalition, according to the Inspector General’s preliminary report. Sanders’ wife at one point served as executive director of the nonprofit, which had a mission of job training, job placement and community outreach.

“Sanders engaged in a pattern of misconduct that violated Florida ethics laws, the Hallandale Beach city charter and the Broward code of ethics for elected officials,” the report says.


Read the rest of the article at:
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/broward/fl-sb-sanders-hallandale-oig-investigation-20170711-story.html








WSVN News
Video at http://bcove.me/295w22ub

Hallandale Beach commissioner accused of ethical misconduct involving non-profit
Brian Entin
July 12, 2017

HALLANDALE BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - A Hallandale Beach commissioner is being accused of using his elected position to financially benefit him, his church and his family.

Hallandale Beach City Commissioner Anthony Sanders has another position as a pastor, but the Broward County Inspector General said Sanders voted to allow money to go to a non-profit, which was benefiting his church and family.

“I’m a pastor, so this is what we call an attack from the enemy,” Sanders said. “It is an assassination on my character.”


Read the rest of the article at:
http://wsvn.com/news/local/hallandale-beach-commission-accused-of-using-non-profit-funds-for-personal-use/


Florida Bulldog
Hallandale freezes payments for city development, jobs programs citing waste & fraud
By William Gjebre, FloridaBulldog.org
JULY 19, 2017 AT 6:00 AM

Hallandale Beach City Manager Roger Carlton has ordered what could be a multi-million dollar freeze on all payments under two city jobs and business development programs, saying they “have lost their way.”
Carlton acted about what he said was “waste” and possible fraud weeks before a report by county investigators became public last week that accused City Commissioner Anthony Sanders of failing to disclose payments he received from a local community group awarded city funds, including money under the two programs, with his backing.
In a June 5 memorandum obtained by Florida Bulldog, Carlton, who was appointed city manager by a new reform-minded city commission majority, expressed outrage about the flawed city programs and public apathy about them.
Read the rest of the article at:
http://www.floridabulldog.org/2017/07/hallandale-freezes-payments-for-city-programs/?mc_cid=aa57462b51&mc_eid=5dfd4ab366






Happy to share some good news with the long-beleaguered citizens and Small Business owners of Hallandale Beach and South Florida, who have desperately need more news and days like this one - where people in power who consciously do bad things, yet felt a sense of entitlement, FINALLY get caught and publicly held to account.

So, what's Broward State Attorney Mike Satz going to do?
Good question!

While we are asking good questions, here's another: Why is #SoFL media NOT asking #Broward's #UsualSuspects in government and public policy to speak publicly about what they think abt Comm. Sanders & Family's unethical behavior, helping themselves to #HallandaleBeach $?

Where's the great ethical insight from 
state Sen. Gary Farmer, or his predecessor, Eleanor Sobel, or Oscar Braynon II, the latter two of whom helped protect the HB CRA's butt for  so long in Tallahassee despite all the squandered millions of dollars because their pal Joy Cooper insisted on it.

You remember that, don't you?
I talked about it so often on the blog and on Twitter and in emails and...?

Florida Bulldog
Two senators short-circuit Legislature’s plan to audit troubled Hallandale Beach CRA
By Willliam Gjebre, BrowardBulldog.org 
NOVEMBER 26, 2013 AT 6:13 AM

A Florida Legislature’s joint auditing committee is dropping its inquiry of Hallandale Beach’s questionable use of local redevelopment funds at the urging of two area state senators, one a long-time acquaintance of Mayor Joy Cooper.
Democratic Senators Eleanor Sobel and Oscar Braynon II, representing portions of Hallandale Beach, could not be reached for comment, despite repeated calls, to elaborate on a letter they signed recommending against a state audit or any action related to the controversial city spending of Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) funds.
In addition, the committee will not ask the Florida Attorney General for an updated opinion on how CRA funds can be used. This was a contentious issue between the city and the Broward Inspector General’s Office which found that Hallandale Beach had “grossly mismanaged” millions of dollars in CRA funds while ignoring a 2010 opinion that limited CRA spending to “bricks and mortar” redevelopment projects.

Read the rest of the article at
http://www.floridabulldog.org/2013/11/two-senators-short-circuit-legislatures-plan-to-audit-troubled-hallandale-beach-cra/#commentlist

My favorite line from above?
Neither Sobel nor Braynon responded to multiple requests for comment about their letter recommending against a state audit.





Where's the wise and learned counsel from the Broward League of Voters or The Broward Workshop or the Urban League of Broward County, whom the South Florida news media is forever telling us is still relevant to things in Broward County, all apparent evidence to the contrary?

What about some pithy comments from some reputed religious expert to comment on the idea of a pastor (who is also an elected official) deciding that charity, in the form of non-profit monie$, really DOES begin at home, as Sanders has shown?

What about former Hallandale Beach City Commisioner and state Rep. Joe Gibbons, or current state Reps. Joe Geller or Shevrin Jones?
I kid, of course, because the last three are well-known BS artists with a connection to Hallandale Beach, but whom nearly everyone who pays attention to things political herebaouts knows are three people who could really care less about what happens in HB, much preferring the sound of their own voice and its constant stream of false narratives and sweet nothings to the harsh glare of reality -their pal Sanders is a lying hypocrite who wants to play the victim after he broke the law.

Well, not to say I told you so but all-too-predictably, the South Florida news media is not doing anything remotely like asking people of any kind of power or influence in Broward County to weigh-in publicly on what seems like an easy softball of a question.
The sort of basic follow-up that for most of th 20th Century would have been expected by the press corps, regardless of the size of the city involved or the power of the public figure who had disgraced themself.

But South Florida's news media doesn't want to ask any probing questions of anyone about corrupt Hallandale Beach City Commissioner Anthony A. Sanders. or why the same news media didn't say anything about him when there was not just smoke billowing at Hallandale Beach City Hall, but a veritable Towering Inferno.

Just something for you all to consider the next time the press corps here in South Florida waxes philosophic and wonders aloud why most of them are neither trusted or respected by South Florida's residents.





Dave 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

How plucky South Florida businessman Rob Raymond of Doctor's Toy Store used his humorous-but-hard-working personality to battle past adversity in a very competitive industry, and a city's bureaucratic avalanche of Red Tape, and got the last laugh. @drstoystore *SPONSORED POST*


How plucky South Florida businessman Rob Raymond of Doctor's Toy Store used his humorous-but-hard-working personality to battle past adversity in a very competitive industry, and a city's bureaucratic avalanche of Red Tape, and got the last laugh. 
@drstoystore *SPONSORED POST*

Over the past few years, I've taken time every so often to share with your a little bit about about my hard-working friend, Rob Raymond, Founder and CEO of Doctor’s Toy Store in Hallandale Beach. His very successful business continues to be Florida's largest Medical Showroom because of his team's combination of solid experienced professionalism and excellent customer service in giving doctors and health care practice groups the quality medical equipment they want at discount prices. 

It's no overstatement when I say that Rob is easily the hardest-working business person I've met the last 13 years in South Florida. It's not even close.

Today I'll be sharing a few anecdotes that illustrate how Rob's consistent inner-drive, sense of humor and unwillingness to sit quietly on the sidelines, are the very qualities that helps motivate him and his team more than any best-selling business book by a Harvard Business School professor or pricy weekend motivational seminar full of celebrities and best-selling authors at an upscale suburban hotel.




As I've remarked here in the past, any person who has lived for any amount of time in South Florida knows that finding a firm or business that consistently delivers good customer service is that rarest of qualities here, almost as rare as a unicorn. 
But whether at his old location on Hallandale Beach's Fashion Row or the past three-plus years at his much-larger Doctors Toy Store showroom off of I-95, everything has proven Rob's vision correct for how to run a successful business that treats both his customers and employees the correct way. 

When you deal with Rob and his team, you do not feel like you are in, well, frankly, frequently pushy and frustrating South Florida, where so many businesses take you for granted and act like they are doing you a favor by letting you come thru the door.
No, at DTS, you genuinely feel like you're being taken care of and fussed over by a longtime Midwestern family-owned business, one that sometimes seems to know you and your needs better than you do. 


Old and new clients are constantly calling or coming by, eager to see Rob and wander around the showroom like kids in a candy store, eager to see for themselves what’s new at the high-profile location with the giant American flag flying high and proudly above it.
I saw that for myself on a recent Friday afternoon visit, with customers from three different countries present, as well as far-flung Coral Gables, all seeing what's what, checking off their To Do list and mentally adding to their Future Must-Buy list.

In fact, I even saw a very successful doctor come in with his teenage daughter, a doctor who has been dealing with Rob ever since he started DTS because he liked the personal care, attention to detail and the great discount prices. What's not to like?

As always, Rob remains steadfast in seeing to it that his clients are satisfied and get what they want, now and in the future, in the way of cutting-edge medical equipment and devices at discount prices, with excellent follow-up maintenance and repair when needed. 

Nobody knows better than Rob that it's his 18 years of dedication to his clients, large and small, as well as his conscientious and intuitive nature, that has put him in the position of being the well-respected owner of the largest medical equipment showroom in Florida. 
But he doesn't take that fact for granted. 
In fact, that only serves to further motivate him to get better and more efficient. 

Rob is a very creative guy who's always thinking outside-the-box to improve his business. Always looking to make it easier for his team to do their job better. And as I can personally attest, inspiration strikes him everywhere.

Over the years that I've known him, whether from inside of his car while we were stuck in heavy traffic, inside of Hallandale Beach City Hall during breaks between City Commission meetings, or over coffee and bagels at local restaurants or relaxing in his beautiful nautical-themed backyard, I've heard Rob talk at length and in great detail about what he wanted to do with his business to help it expand. Not just bigger -better.

And as anyone who has ever heard Rob speak at Hallandale Beach City Hall during public meetings knows, Rob has not been shy about sharing his thoughts or advice for improving the Quality of Life in this part of South Florida for both businesses and residents alike. And in asking the city to treat and serve its residents and businesses much, much better than it has been.

Rob knew from experience that an important factor for the products he had was the buying experience itself. If you are physically present at the point-of-sale, have you received a positive experience that inspires confidence in your future buying decisions? 

But it's equally true that a high degree of a client's satisfaction comes from the quality/usability of the product itself and the degree of CONSISTENT quality customer service they receive after a purchase, including their trust in the quality of the repair work done by DTS's experienced professionals on-site. 
(And who doesn't prefer better and quicker?)

Again, for him, it wouldn't suffice to simply have a larger location, it had to be a location that was more efficient and offered a dynamic quality.

Rob's expansion dreams of just a few years ago, of being able to have doctors and other health care professionals come in from all over South Florida or the world, and be better able to see his medical equipment and devices in a much-more attractive, dynamic and more-natural fashion -with lots more space to walk around- has become a reality
And seeing is believing.


The Dr's Toy Store tour! https://youtu.be/XyC30eFDhgM



Whether approaching the north entrance to Doctor's Toy Store on S.W. 30th Avenue via Pembroke Road, I-95 Exit #19, above, or via Hallandale Beach Blvd., I-95 Exit #19, below, you can't miss the giant American flag!





History has proven Rob correct, as the DTS showroom off of I-95 has helped ensure even more positive word-of-mouth for DTS among existing clients, because nothing beats the power of positive personal recommendations from people that you know and respect. 
Rob was the friend in the industry that people always wanted to know, but never had before.

I recently spent part of an afternoon with Rob at Doctor's Toy Store, where he is a bundle of calm, focused energy on the telephone dealing with doctors. Focused like a laser beam!
But speaking to his clients not from some plush corner office, but rather surrounded by his employees near the entrance of the showroom, who, themselves, are constantly being phoned, emailed, faxed and DM'ed from every part of South Florida, the U.S. and overseas with orders and questions.

I spoke with Rob, not about his well-known talent for analyzing, diagnosing and fixing equipment problems for his demanding clients, but rather about some of the obstacles that were put in his way over the years, including fairly recently.
Perspective is a great thing, and one of the things that Rob related to me is how often it's been the case in his life that adversity and disappointment helped propel him and his business forward, often winding up far more successful than planned from the detour. 

But that is not to say that the feelings of disappointment and pain are brand new, they really sting.
Nobody wants to hear from someone that the negative things they are going to say or the negative decision about them, is actually a positive in disguise. 
But perspective is what helps you turn that lemon into lemonade, and that is something that Rob has consistently done.

Rob had related to me in the past that before he started DTS, he had been fired from a previous job, despite doing a very good job for his employer. But we soon got off onto another subject as we so frequently do when he and I are together, so I never got the full story.

But on our most recent visit, he said that the experience of being fired, despite his doing everything expected of him, really jarred him. 
So much so that it caused him to have a heart-to-heart conversation with himself about what he was going to do next.

He decided then and there that his personality being what it was, that what he needed to be was an entrepreneur, and not spend any more time being someone who was working 40 hours a week for someone else.
He also reasoned that this would benefit his very thorough and conscientious nature in dealing with customers.
He'd be able give them his best every time, including his knowledge of what was going on within the industry, and they would either like it and stay as customers, or they wouldn't.

But they wouldn't be able to say later that he hadn't offered great discount prices AND great customer service. But what he wouldn't have was any self-doubt, since he would now be his own boss. There'd be nobody to complain to anymore.

Rob started his medical equipment business with a very small, anonymous-looking building located on W. Dixie Highway in Hallandale Beach. 
Success was slow at first, but Rob's near-encyclopedic knowledge of medical equipment soon proved its worth, since within a few years, he had managed to get enough steady, reliable customers to be able to lease the high-profile location he enjoyed for so many years on the east side of NE 1st Avenue, the backbone of the city's once-vaunted Fashion Row district.

But being the ever-observant person that he is, Rob soon noticed that there was a clear and disturbing sense of inequity in the way that small businesses in Hallandale Beach were dealt with by City Hall, and more specifically, the city's Code Compliance Dept.
It seemed to matter more than it ought to whether or not you were a person or business that was deemed to be "friendly" with HB City Hall and the people running things there.

He soon learned from other area business people that many were getting cited and fined over all sorts of picayune things that had never before been a problem. 
So what had changed they wondered?
Nobody at HB City Hall would say.
So Rob started asking questions publicly and stating what was clear -the city had an inconsistent policy of enforcing their rules and yet the City Commission and City Manager were turning a blind eye to it.

Rob also noticed that based on the stories he was hearing, the city's Code Compliance employees often didn't seem to know the written rules of the city's handbook as well as he did, after looking them up to double-check the facts.
Even worse, he was hearing from too many business people he knew and trusted in the city that if you called the Code Compliance Dept., it was next-to-impossible to ever get any any two employees to agree on the answer to any problem you called up with.
That's how much Red Tape there was -the city's own bureaucracy didn't know their own rules.

Small business owners like Rob need a high degree of certainty to prosper, especially price/expense certainty, and in a small city, they also need to know that every other business is being treated the same by City Hall officials, regardless of that business' size or number of years it has been in the city.
Yet what Rob was learning was disturbing - that sense of normalcy you'd expect was simply not how things were being done in Hallandale Beach.
It seemed like someone, or several people, had an agenda they wanted to see become reality. But who?

And, he wondered when he and DTS were going to be publicly made an example of, like other neighboring businesses. He didn't have to wait long.

Sooner than he expected, but quite predictably in retrospect, Rob and his business started being told by the city that things that they had been allowed to do for years in the neighborhood were, now, suddenly wrong or illegal. 
Not that the city could actually point to anything written in their book of rules.

If you can believe it, they were actually cited because of how many of the store's nicely-designed trucks could be parked -in their own parking lot!
Really!

Over the years, I've heard Rob complain dozens of times about how large and indecipherable the city's Code Compliance handbook was.
But unlike some people who might just complain privately, Rob would show up and share his views at City Hall during City Commission meetings.
Like me and many of the civic activists and concerned citizens of this area, we were not going to be concerned about the feelings of city employees if they were going to be so self-evident about showing a clear bias in how they interpreted the city's own rules.
No, we were not going to just roll over.

Rob was often very amusing in his telling of the crazy tales that were the reality in the city, but it was always with the same caveat that the people on the dais could understand -businesses in Hallandale Beach could and would relocate if the city didn't get their act together and stop hounding businesses for no logical reason other than parochial politics or reasons of personalities.


If city employees were going to cite HB businesses for violations, they better be able to identify something written in the city's handbook.

Rob would often call me up late at night after getting home from a long day at the store and ask me, practically giddy, if I knew the story about what had happened at a particular area business, and hint at the nonsensical reasons being offered up by the city for citing them.

Sometimes he was so motivated for me to know about it -and perhaps mention it on my blog or in my well-known FYI emails around the area- that he would offer to drive me by the location to show me for myself what he was talking about and angry about. 
But at other times, he would simply send me emails with very clear photos that showed that the city was once again in the business of harassing businesses. 
Apparently, to send them a message.
It could not have been more obvious.

Like most of you reading this now, Rob and I both hate bullies, but we in particular hate it when those bullies are elected officials or highly-paid government bureaucrats -say, at Hallandale Beach City Hall- using taxpayer-paid government resources to do their personal bidding and enforce their's or someone else's personal agenda.

But as Rob knew at the time, but what many people at HB City Hall didn't quite appreciate,
was that many of the business owners were already at their wit's end, and really would make good on their threats to move out of town.
They hated the chaos, inconsistency, incompetence and sense of unfairness.

Over a period of a few short years, the City of Hallandale Beach, thru its troubled CRA and Board of Directors, promised business owners along Fashion Row that a series of initiatives would be taken that would improve both the flow and aesthetics of what was essentially a one-way street that was well below acceptable standards in terms of parking.
But for years the very business owners who had invested in the city on that street received nothing but lip service and double-talk from HB City Hall, and never got reasonable answers to their very reasonable questions.

Which is how it came to be one day in February of 2014 that Rob and I and several concerned business owners and residents in the area were among those in attendance for several public meetings involving the poorly-run Hallandale Beach CRA.
Meetings that we suspected would be more of the same old dog-and-pony shows we had seen in the past that were held to try to pacify the local businesses and area residents and try to keep the festering Fashion Row problems from getting into the media even more than it had.
But at the first meeting, held at 5 PM no less, Rob and I and everyone else saw for ourselves how bad things really were.
Much worse than we thought!

At that meeting, the then-new CRA Director made his first public appearance at a store located on the street near Rob's then-showroom to discuss what everyone thought would be an update on all the promises the city and CRA had made in the recent past.
Promises that local business owners were counting on the city to keep.

Yet rather than be open and accommodating as you might expect, eager to make a good first impression, the new CRA boss was patronizing and condescending to everyone there. 
At one point, this highly-paid bureaucrat even told all the people in the room that he "didn't work for them." Really!

Rob was sitting a few seats over from me and we just looked at each other in amazement and shook our heads.
After hearing something like that, it can only go downhill. 
It did!

Perhaps 35 minutes after he arrived with some other city bureaucrats in tow, the CRA boss fled the the meeting in a huff, the audience dumbfounded, after he was asked some perfectly reasonable but pointed questions, including from Rob and myself.
Even by the low standards of Hallandale Beach that we had become used to, it was a pretty shocking performance by a city official.

And what do you know, just a few days later, at a Hallandale Beach CRA meeting held on cool Monday night, a high-profile person who who is great friends with the powers-that-be at HB City Hall and who owns much of the properties in the immediate area, i.e. is a landlord for some struggling businesses, publicly denounced the city's promises of finally instituting their positive initiatives.

Hmmm.. that's odd. Why would someone who owns so much land there be in favor of more chaos instead of some long overdue attention, structure and improvement?
Could it be because he had some ideas for the area himself? Why, yes!.

The reality, largely unspoken in the room, but known to Rob, myself, our mutual friend Csaba Kulin and a few other people in the room, was that this man had purchased several homes and parcels in the area that he wanted to assemble.
And as the city's own public records clearly show, he had actually met with the HB City Manager, Mayor and members of the City Commission many more times than would be logical in a very short period of time immediately before that CRA meeting.

Well-informed people like Rob and I knew that this person's ultimate plan would be greatly harmed if the city actually improved the public street that had been an eyesore for so many years -because of how poorly it had been maintained and the lack of adequate public parking and street lighting, ruining several small retailers- because what this man wanted was panic by the area businesses, not resolve.

Rob and I knew that this businessman with the City Hall connections wanted the existing businesses along NE 1st Avenue to begin to panic at the prospect of seeing the city not keep their promise to spend money for improvements, and be forced to close, so the businessman could then swoop in and perhaps get the property himself at a greatly discounted price, perhaps to build a large development there.
What sort of way is this to run a city?

I hardly need tell you at this point that straight shooter Rob Raymond was not going to have any of this secret scheming by someone to make worse an area he cared about and wanted to see improve.

Rob spoke up then and has continued to speak up for local businesses in ways that other groups in the area should be but aren't.
And Rob has continually kept me up to date about what was going on below-the-radar on that street and in the city with respect to the city's plans for that area of the city which would greatly improve overnight when and if a Tri-Rail Coastal station is put anywhere in that area within walking distance.

It was these many, many broken promises by Hallandale Beach City Hall, this petty personal harassment from them, that Rob remembered when it came time for him to consider where to move his business when the time finally came for him to make his longtime dream of a much-larger medical showroom a reality.
A place with the size, proximity to I-95 and high-visibility he needed.

In the end, Rob left Hallandale Beach and moved west to next-door Pembroke Park, where they were happy to welcome his business into town, on the west side of I-95.
Literally, across the street from Hallandale Beach, but in attitude and behavior, a million miles away from the petty, bureaucratic Red Tape kingdom of Hallandale Beach. 

Old customers and new all love the convenience of being able to get in and out easily from I-95 and not having todeal with Hallandale Beach Blvd.'s notorious traffic.  
Once again, Rob Raymond gets the last laugh and continues to prosper at his new location!

Below: One of the 12-plus Doctor's Toy Store vans you can spot everyday throughout South Florida any major highway between Palm Beach and Homestead.












Above: Before finally heading home, Doctor's Toy Store owner and founder Rob Raymond checking his messages one last time.
As always, Rob adds a unique personal touch of insight and humor that nobody else can.

Rob's friendly outgoing personality, quick sense of humor and near-encyclopedic knowledge of medical equipment old and new is truly dazzling. 
That personality of his goes a long way towards explaining how over a period of just 18 years, he has TRIPLED the size of his old showroom, and is continuing to satisfy his clients demand for medical equipment at discount prices with conscientious, top-quality customer service. 
His clients know that they are his number-one priority.

Doctor's Toy Store
2512 S.W. 30th Avenue, Hallandale Beach, FL 33009
(954) 457-0075  1(877) DRS-TOYS

Follow @drstoystore https://twitter.com/drstoystore


Doctor's Toy Store YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/doctorstoystore

*DTS sells and repairs probes
*DTS has leasing and financing programs available
*Weekend and evening hours available by appointment
BUY   SELL   TRADE   REPAIR   EXPORT



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

Hallandale Beach City Hall

Hallandale Beach City Hall
May 30, 2017 photo by SouthBeachHoosier

Frank Deford

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.