A common sense public policy overview from David in South Florida, offering a critical perspective on the current events, politics, govt./public policy, sports and pop culture of the U.S., #SoFL and Europe, esp. the #UK, #Sweden and #France, via my life in #Texas, #Memphis, #Miami, #IU, #Chicago, #WashingtonDC & #SoFL. In particular, #Broward & #MiamiDade County, and the cities of #HallandaleBeach, #HollywoodFL & #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.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

A Rising Tide May Lift All Boats but... the proposed Wave streetcar in downtown Fort Lauderdale is a bad idea that's the wrong plan in the wrong place at the wrong time. But will simply being a bad and impractical idea be enough for the Broward County Commission to actually kill it? The vote comes today at 2:00 PM - Time to hammer the nails in that coffin!

A Rising Tide May Lift All Boats but... the proposed Wave streetcar in downtown Fort Lauderdale is a bad idea that's the wrong plan in the wrong place at the wrong time. But will simply being a bad and impractical idea be enough for the Broward County Commission to actually kill it? The vote comes today at 2:00 PM  
Time to hammer the nails in that coffin!

Broward Beat
Ft Laud Mayor Dean Trantalis Takes Fight Against Streetcar To The County
By Buddy Nevins

I'll be writing something about these articles and what it represents over the next few days, while also finishing up my big long-promised 2018 blog post re Broward County and its longstanding, myriad transportation problems, something that I've been writing off-and-on for many months, while trying NOT to repeat what I've written in any of the DOZENS of fact-filled blog posts I've penned the past ten years about public transportation.
Posts that often caught people's fancy throughout South Florida and caused them to nod in agreement because of both my persuasive writing and institutional knowledge and memory about a lot of transit elements in South Florida that other residents either never knew about, forgot about, or took place before they moved here.
So, actual context for better understanding the current sad and sorry state of affairs.

Like the proposed Miami-Dade Metrorail Purple Line that would've connected NW Miami-Dade to Downtown Miami and the Dadeland South, which is one of the reasons that people in NW Dade voted for Metrorail in the first place -to achieve a sense of connectedness to the rest of Miami, especially its job center, government center and attractions.

To cite but one simple benefit of that Purple Line that was never built, it'd have allowed allowed Miami Dolphins football fans in South Dade as well as notoriously fickle University of Miami students to go to Dolphins and Hurricanes games via the very large University station in Coral Gables. 
No need to drive and pay for parking.   
Just as they could have done for the Marlins baseball team if it the line was up and running years ago the way it should have been, which would've made building a baseball stadium near the football stadium and thereby utilize the same great road connections the area has, including direct access to the Florida Turnpike.

It wouldn’t be the first time Miamians fell victim to a transit bait-and-switch. Miami-Dade voters in 2002 approved a half-penny transit sales tax that was supposed to pay for a massive Metrorail expansion — one new line would jut out west to Florida International University, while another would connect to the Miami Dolphins’ Sun Life Stadium.
As it turned out, county politicians had promised far more than they could ever deliver in order to win voter support. Making matters worse: a 2008 Miami Herald investigation revealed that the county frittered away much of the sales tax money on raises for the politically powerful Transport Workers Union. A wasteful hiring spree, meanwhile, awarded transit jobs to aides or relatives of at least nine local elected officials.
above from: Miami Herald
All aboard! Imaginary Purple Line created to generate interest in mass transit for Miami
By Michael Vasquez
March 08, 2013 07:50 PM
Updated March 08, 2013 09:26 PM


See also http://www.urbanimpactlab.com/purple-line/

But, of course, those same factual blog posts also earned me a lot of animosity from high-ranking people at local transit organizations -like the Broward MPO among others- for daring to hold a mirror up to their consistently dismal performances given the resources they command and their near-anonymous hold on power.
Trust me, there are few govt/agencies in South Florida who are more used to people telling them how wonderful they were/are than the folks at the Broward MPO.

Which, of course, explains a lot.

The evidence of their collective failure is all around us in Broward
Their failure to take other groups, agencies and elected officials to task publicly and highlight policies and methods that are counter-productive.

Instead, the Broward MPO is known largely by a sub-niche of people within the political power structure, and as I've tweeted about a few times over the years, is often NOT mentioned in the Miami Herald or the South Florida Sun-Sentinel for years at a time. YEARS.

Despite their stranglehold on policies and seemingly endless resources.
Where's the media oversight and accountability? MIA.

Though I could be wrong, I'm pretty sure I'm the only one of you reading this today to be criticized 
in public by the head of the Broward MPO after I detailed his and his agency's many failings at a Hallandale Beach City Commission meeting some years ago.
Promises, promises, but where were tangible results that Broward residents, taxpayers and Small Business owners actually wanted? MIA.

Thin-skinned Greg Stuart waited until I could no longer speak before blasting me, then obfuscated instead of simply answering the questions I posed to him because the truth was on my side, not his. As both of us knew at the time.
His aides at the time were not exactly the pick of the litter, either, considering their snide remarks at the time that showed that they were more cronies than transportation experts.

Needless to say, then-Mayor Joy Cooper -since removed from office by Gov. Scott after her arrest for numerous felonies- just chuckled from the dais, completely aware that she could prevent me from refuting what Stuart was saying, but unaware that Stuart was, in fact, making a monkey out of her and the entire Commission.
In short, he took advantage of her great ignorance and was flat-out lying to her -to her face- while he also tried to make an example out of me publicly for daring to challenge him and his band of thin-skinned bureaucrats.   

Per the article, as most of you know, I genuinely do consider Beam Furr a friend and believe he's a real role model for what a diligent, hard-working, well-informed and open-minded South Florida elected official ought to aspire to be.
But I also believe that Buddy is 100% right about what he writes here, especially about SE Broward taxpayers' collective disinterest in ponying up money for a bad idea that's the wrong plan in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Didn't know until Monday that Broward County would have been responsible for the secretive Fort Lauderdale Downtown Development Authority's share of possible Wave cost over-runs over DDA's agreed-upon share of $3 Million. Why was that? Whose great idea was this?  

See page 4:
I will likely be at that Broward County Comm. meeting today at 2 PM, since it could be must-see viewing in-person, as the transit and transportation industry's contractors and lobbyists have so much "riding on" The Wave, and will be happy to break the bank to turn their people out en masse and try to triangulate every county commissioner, however they can.  

But a county like Broward that's suing the state because they say they want to exert "local control" in their own area re guns, is going to have a hard time arguing the opposite POV here, and urging The Wave go forward in FTL when a majority of the elected FTL City Commission clearly don't want it.

But again, that assumes that logic and reason will plays the deciding role here in making the final decision, and I don't have to remind you where we actually live, now do I?

May 9th 615 PM Update: Unfortunately, I wasn't able to make it up to Broward Govt. HQ to see this in person and speak against it because the 2 PM agenda time ended up conflicting with something I had to deal with that I had forgotten about, but I did watch the entire discussion online and was pleasantly surprised that some holdouts, i.e. supporters of The Wave, finally saw the light: #facts

I'm concerned, though, that some people on the Broward County Commission, with the same general facts, would likely have voted for it if it had been in THEIR district. 
Won't name names but it's pretty clear who they area. 
Yes, the Usual Suspects! :-(


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