Hallandale Beach Blog - A common sense public policy overview offering a critical perspective on the current events, politics, govt., public policy, sports scene and pop culture of the U.S., South Florida and Europe, especially the UK and Sweden.
In particular, Broward & Miami-Dade County, and the cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood & Aventura. Trust me when I tell you, this part of Florida is NOT the Land of Lincoln. Photo in upper-left is Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower on State Road A1A, September 2008; March 2018 photo below of North Beach, looking left-to-right, looking north, HYDE Condominium, Etaru Japanese Robatayaki restaurant, and Hollywood Beach in the distance, with umbrellas. All photos by me, © Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Where did Millions of Hallandale Beach CRA dollars go? Years later, HB taxpayers still want answers, and the #FL state legislators responsible for preventing a much-needed JLAC audit of the HB CRA at the time still DON'T want to publicly talk about it. Seems like déjà vu, no? Sobel, Braynon, Gibbons & Jones are no Profiles in Courage!

Where did Millions of Hallandale Beach CRA dollars go? Years later, HB taxpayers still want answers, and the #FL state legislators responsible for preventing a much-needed JLAC audit of the HB CRA at the time still DON'T want to publicly talk about it. Seems like déjà vu, no? Sobel, Braynon, Gibbons & Jones are no Profiles in Courage!
So now that in 2017 the Hallandale Beach City Commission has a 3-2 pro-reform majority on it, intent on undoing a lot of the serious damage that has been done to the city the past dozen years under Mayor Joy Cooper, you probably won't be too surprised to discover that quite a lot of people in Hallandale Beach, Broward County and South Florida are STILL very interested in finding out where all the millions of Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) dollars were going for years. 
Not surprisingly, that includes me and many of you readers of this blog.

And not just because it's Hallandale Beach, but the larger issue of municipal CRA performance in Florida and whether cities have successfuly thwarted the original intent of what the state legislature meant to do when they created the enabling legislation.

In fact, the Florida Bulldog's William "Bill" Gjebre has a new fact-filled article on that very subject today that I am only too happy to highly recommend to you, and link to below.

I've even included a few links and tweets re just some of the dozens of things I've written about the HB CRA over the past nearly-ten years this blog has been in existence to give any of you newcomers to the blog some much-needed context and nuance for understanding this newest call for some much-needed financial accountability.

Along with Hallandale Beach Vice Mayor Keith London and a few of my friends who are fellow civic activists, like Csaba "Chuck" Kulin, I've been among the most-outspoken and VOCAL critics of the operation of the city's CRA program, with me particularly liking to engage with and call-out the pathetic reporting efforts of the local South Florida news media that so often ignored the scandal that was, literally, right in front of them.

But most could not be bothered because it was taking place in Hallandale Beach, not Pembroke Pines, Doral, Hialeah, Pinecrest, Palm Bay, Aventura or... 
Yes, that geographical discrimination that local reporters have been guilty of down here for so many years, where some stories are reported upon simply because of where they take place, not the core of the facts and the issues involved. :-(

More specifically, how and why under Mayor Joy Cooper and her Rubber Stamp Crew, and a succession of City Managers, for so many years  the Hallandale Beach CRA was allowed to operate with nothing resembling the sort of basic financial accountability and oversight that you'd expect of an entity that spent millions of dollars -on the public's behalf.
With so very little tangible to show for that money that was supposed to address the problems the CRA is tasked with solving or fixing.

Florida Bulldog
New majority on Hallandale commission wants to know: Where did CRA millions go?By William Gjebre, FloridaBulldog.org  
January 18, 2017 at 5:05 AM

The new majority on the Hallandale Beach City Commission will seek the first-ever forensic audit of all expenditures by its troubled Community Redevelopment Agency for the past five years, including finding out why $7.4 million had to be cut to balance the agency’s budget this fiscal year.

Current Vice Mayor Keith London and Commissioner Michele Lazarow had been frustrated in seeking such an audit by the previous commission majority headed by Mayor Joy Cooper.

Read the rest of the article at:

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#HollywoodFL based photographer/entrepreneur Esther Chuang

#HOLLYWOODFL based photographer and entrepreneur Esther Chuang with Hollywood Mayor-elect Josh Levy
Thumbs up! What a night! #HOLLYWOODFL based photographer and entrepreneur Esther Chuang with a very elated Hollywood Mayor-elect Josh Levy at his Victory Party, held at Leo Anato's Atelier3/AT3 on Harrison Street & S. 19th Avenue, Hollywood. AT3's great environment and the amazing variety of food prepared by chef Kevin Dreifuss, former owner/chef of now-closed ENDS MEAT restaurant, was SUPERB! November 8, 2016 Esther Chuang, Morro Dois Irmãos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2015
Above, perhaps my most-favorite photo ever of Esther, which is really saying something considering the THOUSANDS that I've actually seen of her, from all over the world. But despite the fact that you can't actually see it here, trust me, her amazing smile and inner and external beauty are there. This photo is an even more amazing achievement when you know the backstory of what it took for Esther to get to the top of the mountain, since it's NOT for the faint of heart. Next time you see her, ask her about that! Morro Dois Irmãos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on her birthday, July 10, 2015. That's the Christ The Redeemer statue atop Mount Corcovado way out in the horizon on the top of another mountain, to the left of her head. To the right is the world famous beach of Ipanema and to the left is the equally famous beach of Copacabana. In case you forgot what the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio looks like, up close, plus the Amazon area of Brazil that Esther grew up near in Manaus, here's another Brazilian beauty to connect-the-dots for you: Gisele Bündchen, aka @Gisele.

Abençoado por Deus e bonito por natureza!✨ ������

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

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