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.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Hallandale Beach resolves litigation re 2014 shooting of Howard Bowe by the city's SWAT team, but facts that didn't add up in 2014, still don't in 2018. Beware of SJWs suddenly claiming to be civic activists when they were MIA when it really mattered

Last Wednesday night the City of Hallandale Beach City Commission voted to resolve the litigation involving the city as a result of the 2014 shooting of an African-American Hallandale Beach resident named Howard Bowe by the city Police Dept.'s SWAT unit in a bungled operation that smelled fishy and seemed dodgy from the get-go as far as I and many of my friends in the area were concerned.
Facts just didn't add up.
Didn't add up in 2014, still don't in 2018.

Below is my initial response to the publication on Thursday of Meryl Kornfield's article in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel
I've posted my tweets and explanatory comments in chronological order so that they make more sense. Especially for those of you who aren't active on Twitter and aren't used to reading comments from the bottom up.

Many of you reading this blog post today were among the 130-plus recipients of my May 28th, 2014 email that I reference in my tweets about the shooting of Howard Bowe in Hallandale Beach, and how the city seemed determined from the very start to do every single thing wrong in its aftermath.

Just think of how differently and better this all could have been handled years ago if someone in a position of leadership at Hallandale Beach City Hall had actually had its citizens and residents long-term best interests at heart.
Shown some savviness, a degree of compassion and some old-fashioned common sense.
Someone like then-Mayor Joy Cooper and City Manager Renee Morse.
But they didn't.
Just the opposite.

If you've been a longtime Small Business owner or resident of Hallandale Beach or a regular visitor of this fact-based blog you will be all too familiar with the various reasons why expecting Cooper and Morse to act responsibly and speak candidly to the community was never in the cards - it was common knowledge from their track records that they were deceitful to residents and stakeholders in ways that were and are shocking even by the very low ethical and moral standards of conduct common among South Florida's unsavory elected officials and highly-paid bureaucrats.

To quote myself from a few years ago: For Mayor Cooper, the truth is like water was to the Wicked Witch - something to be avoided at all costs!

When THAT is your default culture at City Hall, as it was at the time, and STRICTLY enforced, 
only very bad things can result.
And they did -over-and-over for over a decade.
Very bad things.

And for those of you who are new to the blog or reading this blog post from a distance and don't know the situation, in 2014, at the time of this shooting, Hallandale Beach, the city that is notable for being the poster child in South Florida for traffic gridlock and over-sized condominium towers and where 70% of its population lives east of US-1/Federal Highway, had a White Jewish female mayor, and an African-American City Manager, City Attorney and Police Chief.

That reality in 2014, far from an Old Boys Club-type environment, is an inconvenient fact for some people in the community suddenly trying to thrust themselves onto the scene who've never actually done anything selfless for residents and Small Business owners.

South Florida Sun Sentinel 
Family of man killed in police raid to get $425K
South Florida Sun Sentinel 
Meryl Kornfield, Staff writer
June 21, 2018

The Hallandale Beach City Commission voted unanimously to pay the family of a man who died after being shot by a SWAT team carrying out an early-morning search warrant in his home.
Howard Bowe, 34, died 11 days after the May 8, 2014 fatal raid when officers were serving a search warrant as part of a narcotics investigation but instead killed Bowe and his dog.
The family filed a wrongful death lawsuit in federal court two years against the city and four police officers involved after the shooting of the father of three, alleging the "military-style raid committed a series of errors resulting in unnecessary confusion and chaos among the officers."
A resolution to pass the $425,000 settlement wasn't mentioned during the Wednesday night City Commission meeting, but the city clerk said it was passed unanimously, 4-0. The city isn't admitting liability by settling, and the officers were already cleared during an internal review.

Attorney Brian Stewart? Ever hear of him? There's a reason you likely haven't.
You haven't for the same reason that nobody who does closely follows or participates in Hallandale Beach politics or government, people who actually attend meetings and have a familiarity with the true facts and civic landscape of this city, like myself and many of my friends had ever seen or heard of him before 2017.
Last year Stewart showed up a few times at HB City Hall when I was there as usual in the back of the Chambers with my notepad, pen and camera, and as seems to be the case whenever I've seen him, he brought along some acolytes to cheer him on when he spoke.

While they were strong at barking out their agitprop on cue and showing everyone their anger, they were not so solid on the facts or the environment, as several well-informed friends and acquaintances told me during and after the meetings, when they walked up to me before I could slip away and get on my way home.
Enough people, mind you, that I could tell before they even said anything that they were genuinely peeved that someone was trying to portray himself as a genuine Hallandale Beach civic activist -yes, like that's a prestigious title, right- not just an attention-seeker.

The facts are that Stewart was someone who at City Hall and at public meetings as well as at informal occasional get-togethers where longtime concerned residents gather -often Panera Bread as a default for lack of enough good choices- was an unknown quantity because he was a no-show.
There's no there there.
Stewart had never actually done anything of note in Hallandale Beach public policy prior to 2017, not least, showing up and asking good hard questions at public places where the public has a chance to evaluate people based on their words an actions and judge who is a work horse and who is a show horse.

What you need to know is that he never showed up when it counted in the past. 
As it happens, Stewart is the guy behind http://blarg.legalmechanics.us/ and its associated Twitter feed, @LawBlarg, https://twitter.com/LawBlarg
At both, it's rather hard not to notice the rather self-congratulatory tone.

Where was Brian Stewart and his Identity Politics friends in 2014 when he and they could have made a positive difference? 
Could have held people like then-HB Mayor Joy Cooper, the city manager, the city attorney and the police chief to account?

It's tough to stroll into the City Chambers and act like an aggrieved Social Justice Warrior (SJW) when three of the most powerful people in the city are actually African-American, and another is 1 of the 4 other City Commissioners, no?
These facts made Hallandale Beach unique in Florida among non-Majority Minority cities.
(But none of them are in office or power now.)

Those facts, though, never prevented me from publicly criticizing them to their faces over the years in the Chambers or at contentious civic meetings, whether calling them out for their bad judgment or lack of oversight when it was justified, a fact that many people in Hallandale Beach are well aware of, when others were much less eager to do so.


I strongly urge you to read Radley Balko's article in The Washington Post becase there is some highly-useful information and context there that will shock a lot of newcomers to Hallandale Beach, and give you an excellent idea of how shady things have really been there for decades. 
It also will give longtime residents, i.e. people who think they're longtime because they've been in the area for 10-15 years, something to think about: you should have gotten involved years ago.
Things are the way they are today because you thought you were too busy to hold people in local government to account the way you should've.

In my opinion, it's the very sort of piece we should have seen in the South Florida news media at the time, or since, but never do. 
Yes, not only giving some historical context but holding people in power or who used to hold power to account for their decisions and the logical consequences that followed. 
Yes, you rarely if ever see that now in Miami-based news coverage, as I am forever mentioning and decrying here on this blog.

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