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.

About Us - Hallandale Beach Blog

*Some selected biographical information is at bottom

Hallandale Beach Blog is where I try to inject or superimpose a degree of accountability, transparency and insight onto Florida and local Broward County government and public policy issues, which I and many other residents feel has been sorely lacking in local media for many years. 
On this blog, locally, I concentrate my energy, enthusiasm, anger and laser-like attention on the coastal cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood and Aventura, but we keep our eyes and ears open about other places, too, thanks to many well-informed "sources."

If you lived in this part of South Florida, you'd ALREADY be stuck in stultifying traffic gridlock, paying higher-than-necessary taxes and continually musing about the chronic lack of accountability among not only elected govt. officials, but also of city, county and state employees as well. 

Collectively, with a few rare exceptions, local government and its bureaucrats couldn't be farther from the sort of results-oriented, strong work-ethic mentality that local residents deserve and expect. Yet seldom if ever see...

This is particularly true in the Broward County city I live in,  right on the Atlantic Ocean, Hallandale Beach, located north of the City of Aventura -in Miami-Dade County- and south of the City of Hollywood.

Here, the "Perfect Storm" of years of rampant apathy, incompetency, indifference and cronyism under the ruinous reign of longtime Mayor Joy Cooper are all too readily apparent to anyone who cares to open their eyes and look around. 

Sadly for its beleaguered residents, Hallandale Beach is where even easily-solved, quality-of-life problems are left to fester for YEARS on end, because of City Hall's myopia, lack of common sense and ineffective supervisory management. 

It's a city with tremendous and even dynamic potential for positive change because of its terrific location and its well-educated populace, the majority of whom long for it to be the kind of quality city it ought to be now, but clearly isn't because of the reasons I've already set forth here and have chronicled for nine years. 

Citizens here have become almost numb to HB City Hall's frequent ethics and performance outrages and screw-ups as a result of YEARS of the worst kind of mismanagement and lack of basic foresight, oversight and accountability. 

On a daily basis, residents and Small Business owners of this city wake up and see the same old problems that have never being adequately fixed or resolved by the city in a logical and responsible fashion, and see that they've merely been kicked further down the road -once again- for others to solve in the future.

Before I started this blog in 2007, I used to ask myself, and NOT always rhetorically, "Where are all the enterprising young reporters in South Florida who want to show that through their own hard work and enterprise, what REAL investigative reporting can produce?

My friends and other observers of the South Florida scene asked the same question, too.

Hearing no response, I decided to finally do what I'd thought about doing when I lived in the Washington, D.C. area for fifteen years but never did- start a blog of my own that could try to do some of these very things.

On this blog I adopt the the p.o.v. of a reasonable-but-skeptical person seeing the situation for the first time with fresh eyes, and wanting questions answered in a honest and logical way that citizens have the right to expect -and demand.

Hallandale Beach Blog intends to be a catalyst for positive change in public policy and government engagement. If there's one constant gripe in South Florida, regardless of your age, race, nationality or political persuasion, it's about the fundamental lack of PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY of Florida's state, regional and local govt./agency officials, elected and otherwise. 


Hallandale Beach Blog aims to be a small step towards regaining some of that needed accountability, whether it's thru shining some well-needed public scrutiny on the issue or pol, or requires a higher degree of follow-up investigation and public exposure of the incompetency, cronyism or negligence -South Florida's usual governing style.



To Contact Me
Have a response or a question for me about a something I've recently written or featured at Hallandale Beach Blog and don't want to make your identity public?
Want to submit a news tip, suggest a correction, or query me about doing a Guest Op-Ed about something you think my well-informed readers would be interested in?
Or, to just make a well-reasoned argument for or against a topic in the news that I didn't notice yet? 
Email me at: HallandaleBeachBlog (at) gmail (dot) com
Thanks!


Kontakta mig
Har ett svar eller en fråga om en bit jag har nyligen skrivit på Hallandale Beach Blog och inte vill göra din publika identitet?
Vill du skicka in en nyhets spets, föreslå en korrigering, eller fråga mig om att göra en gäst Op-Ed på något mina läsare är intresserade av?
Eller lämna ett motiverat argument om ett ämne i nyheterna att jag inte märker?
Kontakta mig på e-post: HallandaleBeachBlog (at) gmail (dot) com
Tack!
-----

DAVID   BRUCE SMITH
Blog: Hallandale Beach Blog www.hallandalebeachBlog.blogspot.com
Twitter: @hbbtruth, www.twitter.com/hbbtruth
Instagram: @hbbtruth, www.instagram.com/hbbtruth
Snapchat: SoBeHoosier
YouTube: Hallandale Beach Blog www.youtube.com/hallandalebeachblog

Strong in-depth, first-hand knowledge of domestic & international politics, foreign policy, economic, legislative/public policy and social trends; experienced in handling and leading successful media relations and publicity efforts in national political campaigns as well as for D.C. Non-Profits; extensive experience being part of a high-powered, highly-disciplined Government Relations effort, due to excellent verbal, written and negotiating skills.

1988-Present - Washington, D.C. and South Florida, Freelance Writer/Research Analyst/Government Relations consultant/Contractor:
Worked for prominent Washington, D.C. companies, trade associations, PACs and law firms on a variety of legislative and legal projects involving Banking, Broadcasting & Cable, Defense, Government Contracts, Healthcare, Insurance, Securities, Telecommunication, and International Trade, requiring lots of time spent working with officials and Members of Congress and their staffs on Capitol Hill, as well as at the SEC, the FTC, the Dept. of Commerce and the Dept. of State, and at numerous D.C. Think Tanks and public policy groups. This includes some of the largest corporate mergers of the past 30 years: Compaq Computer-Hewlett Packard, CBS-Westinghouse, Bell Atlantic-Nynex Corp., and the (failed) Lockheed Martin-Northrop Grumman effort.
Attended and monitored House & Senate hearings and public meetings and interacted with relevant Committee members and staffers, becoming intimately familiar with the issues, concerns and personalities of all the affected parties on behalf of the client, and formulating creative proposals that would further strengthens client’s POV/strategy; worked on client’s Hart-Scott-Rodino (H-S-R) pre-merger notification filings to the FTC; coordinated and managed very large document productions of merger/cases/workouts, document coding and database creation efforts. Worked on the damages phase of landmark banking case on the issue of good will won at Supreme Court: Glendale Federal Savings.
Worked at U.S. Customs Headquarters at the Dept. of Commerce and helped research, draft, write and implement myriad recommendations of Vice President Al Gore’s National Performance Review (Reinventing Government), a core success of the Clinton-Gore administration, focusing primarily on Information Technology and achieving better synchronization/reporting within federal agencies of the U.S. dealing with important Import/Export data.
This was important for both the federal government, foreign trade industry and U.S. consumers because the implementation generated exponentially greater transparency, public accountability, and government oversight in a key area of the U.S. economy that had long been notorious for having unreliable data, thereby creating an industry culture of insider-dom that made official government data accuracy dependent upon whom you knew or spoke with last, with wide variations of accuracy the more specific your focus.
Worked in D.C. on behalf of prominent Atlanta-based law firm representing the Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC) in complex civil and criminal litigation against numerous high-profile failed Savings & Loans across the country, principally in California, Texas, and Florida. Working with hands-on senior case attorneys, analyzed, evaluated and organized tens of thousands of pages of original documents/copies of bank financial statements, internal correspondence, real estate proposals and loan agreements, often looking for individual examples or a pattern of behavior involving bank officer and bank director financial nonfeasance and financial irregularities, for possible action by the Treasury Dept. or Dept. of Justice.
Analyzed developing trends in foreign trade/export control regimes, especially COCOM, and various proposals for verification regimes, in preparation of submission of policy journals articles to be co-written with a veteran Defense Industry contractor on Chemical and Biological Weapons (CBW) Proliferation, and myriad problems associated with dual-use technology and efforts to skirt enforcement and sanctions. Initiated contacts with prominent individuals and interest groups in arms control debate, from foreign trade/ policy experts in U.S. government, as well as private sector representatives from the chemical/industrial industry, Think Tanks, law firms, trade associations and beat reporters.
Government contacts included the Departments of State, Commerce, Defense and Treasury, as well as germane House & Senate Committees; economic/export counselors from Embassies of NATO and Australia Group member countries, particularly Germany. Forged long-standing relationships with them through mutual confidence borne of reciprocal exchange of information and ideas.

Past clients include:
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, LLP
Crowell & Moring LLP
Kirkpatrick & Lockhart
Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue
Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering
Piper Marbury, Rudenick & Wolfe, LLP
Howrey Simon, Arnold & White, LLP
Arnold & Porter
Boies, Schiller & Flexner, LLP
Mayer Brown & Platt
Morgan Lewis & Bockius, LLP
O’Melveny & Myers
Dickstein, Shapiro Morin & Oshinsky, LLP
Hogan & Hartson, LLP
Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd & Evans
Baker Botts, LLP
Powell Goldstein Frazer & Murphy, LLP
Schiff Hardin & Waite
Exxon Mobil -headquarters
National Realtors Association -headquarters
U.S. Customs Dept. - headquarters
U.S. Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics -headquarters
National Labor Relations Board
Roll Call newspaper
Kaiser Permanente
American International Automotive Dealers Association -headquarters

1987 - Chicago, IL, Director of Public Relations for a now-defunct TV/Film production company
Initiated and coordinated the acquisition of real estate properties, aircraft, and film/TV electronic equipment for a start up TV/Film production company that focuses on creating original syndication TV programming. Selected by company president to act as his personal representative at all meetings between the real estate broker, the property owner of the site to be used as company headquarters, and the many Chicago bankers handling the financing, so was intimately involved in all phases of negotiations. Helped to construct a creative and viable financing package which not only saved company over $600,000 in initial capital outlays, but which also significantly reduced the tax liability for seller, the crucial element and early stumbling block in concluding the deal.

1983-84 - Miami, FL Assistant State Chair for Florida Primary, Gary Hart Presidential Campaign
As the number-two ranking Hart campaign person in Florida, but the de facto daily state coordinator, helped defy huge odds and secure a crucial Florida primary despite very limited budget and personnel -and largely-unknown candidate with low-name recognition in Florida- by creating a small, media-savvy campaign organization almost from scratch, using ingenuity, enthusiasm, and discipline to help battle the larger, better-financed and more-experienced Walter Mondale forces, which included most of the the Florida Democratic Party’s Establishment and traditional resources throughout the state. Served as a Gary Hart press liaison to national, state and South Florida news media, briefing them on Hart news/strategies, while spearheading efforts to generate free-media stories throughout Florida and in D.C. news bureaus.
Used political acumen and intimate knowledge of Florida politics, history, and culture to persuade, cajole, and inveigle publicly-declared John Glenn, Alan Cranston and Reubin Askew delegates and supporters -and their prominent financial/political support systems- to publicly endorse Hart and support him and his platform from the primary all the way to the end of the Democratic National Convention in San Francisco. The astounding success of our free-media efforts -in the absence of paid-media- kept Hart campaign viable and competitive for many months until his win in the New Hampshire primary garnered us some much-needed campaign funds, personnel, momentum, and the serious media attention the campaign wanted.
1976 – Miami, FL Dade County Campaign Policy/Issues Chairman & Media Representative, Carter-Mondale Presidential Campaign
Selected by Dade County Party Chairman Mike Abrams to help coordinate campaign policy/issues between South Florida campaign and carter HQ in Atlanta. Briefed national, state and South Florida media on issues/trends in South Florida. Served as an Assistant to the head of Walter Mondale’s Advance Team, helping to coordinate all logistical/media planning with Secret Service on all Carter-Mondale appearances in South Florida. Went to Miami FBI headquarters and underwent FBI background check, and assigned the highest status security. This allowed unfettered access to Vice President nominee Mondale, his family and top campaign staff 24/7 from the moment his plane touched down at MIA to the moment he flew on to the next campaign stop.

EDUCATION: Attended Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, with a Double Major of  Telecommunications & Political Science, with a concentration in Broadcasting/Advertising and British/Strategic Studies.  
Served on two highly-competitive, highly-visible student organizations: the I.U. Student Athletic Board (SAB), which supports the activities of the I.U. Varsity Athletic Dept., and the I.U. Student Alumni Council (SAC), now known as the SAA, which facilitated career-oriented, well-organized student events throughout the year, often well-attended campus events featuring well-known or successful I.U. grads.
Gave informed, historically-accurate tours of campus for prospective I.U. students and their parents every spring, and also helped coordinate and lead Fall Fraternity Rush tours on behalf of the Inter Fraternity Council (IFC). Also occasionally conducted similar tours on campus on behalf of the I.U. Varsity Athletic Dept. and its Sports Information division when visiting news media -NBC Sports, CBS Sports, and ESPN- were in Bloomington to cover a nationally-televised ballgame, and wanted help with pre-production work, like getting enough interesting anecdotes or factoids to bring up during the telecast, or, to physically show them or strongly suggest certain attractive or interesting campus background/establishing shots to be used on-air as segues leading to or from TV commercials during telecasts.
Also conducted a few VIP campus tours every year for the school for visiting celebrities/authors/entertainers in town for official events that featured them, or who were in Bloomington to scout out I.U. as a prospective school for their own children or children of friends.
School administrators knew from I.U. Varsity Athletic Dept.’s recommendation that I had great reputation for giving a very thorough and accurate overview of I.U., both extolling I.U.’s many virtues and its realities for people who didn’t know much about it but who wanted to make an informed decision.    

PERSONAL: Served on Board of Directors of Young Professionals Division of American Cancer Society’s Washington, D.C. office, serving as Public Relations chair. Was a member of the Arlington Baseball Coalition/Virginians for Baseball effort to bring Major League Baseball -the former Montreal Expos- to Northern Virginia.
Enjoy film & theatre, sports, public policy foreign policy, trade policy, archaeology, architecture and sports.



Thinking Outside the Box

In 1976, at the age of fifteen, due to my excellent written and verbal communication skills during the Florida Democratic Primary, where I had been among the most-ardent, hardworking and deeply-involved Jimmy Carter supporters in a South Florida where our superior organizational support and hard work helped propel a then-largely unknown candidate to victory statewide, I was selected by the Dade County Democratic Party Chairman for an important role at the Carter-Mondale Florida headquarters in North Miami Beach: issues liaison with Carter-Mondale headquarters in Atlanta.
Among the duties included in this portfolio was acting as a designated press liaison with national, state, and local news media in South Florida. When Atlanta needed someone they trusted with excellent organizational and logistical skills, I was selected to be the Assistant to the head of the Carter-Mondale Advance Team for all candidate appearances in South Florida, receiving the highest security clearance possible. This allowed me to have unfettered access to the candidates, their families, and top campaign staff at the airports and hotels, as well as at events and traveling to them.
Which meant that many times, one of the persons being whisked past South Florida traffic in sleek bullet-proof limousines with Secret Service agents and police escorts, on the way from Miami International Airport to the penthouse suite at the Eden Roc hotel on Miami Beach, or making the rounds to various Miami TV stations for extended interviews, was a North Miami Beach High School sophomore who looked just like me.
Seven years later, as the number-two ranking person in Florida for Gary Hart’s 1984 Presidential campaign, with little money and no staff to speak of -I was the staff- I helped engineer a crucial primary victory, despite having the “Perfect Storm” of electoral roadblocks, any one of which would’ve killed almost any other candidate or campaign. When I started working for Hart in the Fall of 1983, we had a smart, savvy, and articulate candidate. But he was also a candidate plagued with low-name recognition from a part of the U.S. -Colorado- with few transplants or natural or historical connections to South Florida, compared to Northeast or Midwest-based pols.
Worst of all, we had no organization and no money for paid-media. I couldn’t do anything about the latter, so I worked on setting up the best version possible of the former, using my best judgment and everything I had ever learned from my days with the successful 1976 Carter-Mondale campaign and every political science/campaign book I’d ever read. Which were innumerable.
Much of the success we eventually enjoyed on Primary Day 1984 was due in large part to the unusual strategy I helped craft the previous Fall, when things were at their lowest, and network TV reporters and nationally-syndicated columnists and reporters were already writing the campaign off, pegging Hart in their columns, articles and TV/radio conversations as a Thinking Man’s Don Quixote, tilting at Walter Mondale’s well-oiled political machine. The absence of any pressure, though, other than what I put on myself, led me to conceive of a campaign strategy that was radically different from any I’d ever heard of.
What I eventually came up with was the political equivalent of “living off the land,” but with disaffected elected officials and prominent/financial supporters serving as the fuel to help carry us over the finish line. In the absence of the sort of resources most campaigns needed to be viable, for our efforts to be successful, we needed to out-smart and out-maneuver the larger, more-experienced and better-financed Mondale forces, and be disciplined enough not to make any self-inflicted mistakes that would make Mondale’s effort easier, with us left unable to respond to any crucial mistakes or disasters. We also needed to be smart enough to effectively use psychology to help us make the case for Hart’s candidacy, and not simply process and procedures.
In thinking about what motivates people the most to get involved -anger, fear, ego- we had to lay out the reasonable case for Hart’s campaign, but also not be afraid to tap into those elements that truly motivate people to get involved in a political campaign in a serious way.
This was best demonstrated early on, when I used my knowledge of Florida politics and history to personally contact public officials and their financial supporters throughout Florida, some of whom I already knew, who’d been political or financial supporters of other candidates that had fallen by the wayside: moderate former Florida governor Reubin Askew, whose plan seemed to consist largely of winning the state as a Favorite Son and using that as leverage to get some commitments on issues he favored for the party platform months later at the Convention in San Francisco; liberal U.S. Senator Alan Cranston of California, who claimed that he’d actually once covered Lenin as a journalist when he was just starting out; and, a national icon, U.S. Senator from Ohio and former NASA astronaut, John Glenn, who at the time had some well-known and respected political and financial supporters in Orlando and Northeast Florida area, a few of whom are still involved in politics 34 years later.
Because these were very serious and responsible people -people who were used to being paid attention to- I was very attentive to their comments on how the campaigns in Florida were going, which, not surprisingly, was full of suggestions about things they wished their preferred candidate should’ve done before it was too late.
Once they finished sounding-off, which I listened to patiently and without interrupting, I spoke positively about Senator Hart’s well-respected record in Congress and his willingness to challenge the political orthodoxy, as well as tired old Democratic Party nostrums, which was a large part of his initial appeal to me, personally. While that was all sinking in on them in some degree or fashion, I appealed to their egos by talking about how much we in the Hart campaign would appreciate serious players such as themselves, reconsidering their stated publicly-known preference and switch their support to the Hart candidacy.
Then I appealed to their biggest fear - of being left on the sidelines and out of the deliberations. I did this by reminding them that you can only win if you’re on the field. They understood.
I was VERY successful in these efforts.

The two advantages I had from the beginning, based on previous campaign experience from dealing with the wants and needs of the news media on almost a daily basis, were:
1.) my keen political knowledge, insight and intuition into the way political reporters think, and what motivates them to act and write in very particular ways, especially how they are forever returning to old political reportage maxims and memes, eager to make something simple that is anything but, and,
2.) my very firm belief that there was no way that the national news media, especially Beltway columnists, would follow Walter Mondale around the country for almost two years, without trying to create mischief and drama along the way, in order to have something new to write about on a daily or weekly basis.
The best drama, of course, comes from conflict, and I knew that it was only a matter of time before the press would become bored with Mondale and long for another candidate who’d give the campaign some added tangible meaning or sizzle they thought it lacked. My political intuition told me that no matter what Mondale did, the media would feel that it was their mission to find the un-Mondale, so they could have the horse race they craved, to follow and report upon.
My goal, then, was to always have Senator Hart’s campaign in Florida perfectly positioned, so that when our opportunity came, however it did, we could take full advantage of it and use it as adrenaline to push us over the top. One of the ways we could help lay the groundwork for that eventuality was through our daily conversations with the media, by always raising the expectations game for Mondale, knowing that when he would inevitably fall short of them by some measure, there’d be room for reasonable doubt in voter’s minds. In short, we’d tried to help create the vacuum in the minds of reporters and voters that Hart, thru his reason and intelligence, could fill. These efforts all proved very successful and helped keep the campaign alive until Hart’s unexpected New Hampshire primary win, coming on the heels of Mondale’s earlier Iowa caucus success, brought in much-needed campaign funds and personnel.
Suddenly, lots of of elected officials at all levels throughout the state as well as Florida-based Democratic Party money people started returning my phone calls, and wanted to know what they could do to help me. Just as I had predicted they would the previous year.


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