Hallandale Beach Water Tower on A1A/Ocean Drive, July 3, 2009 photo by South Beach Hoosier

Hallandale Beach Water Tower on A1A/Ocean Drive, July 3, 2009 photo by South Beach Hoosier
Hallandale Beach Water Tower on State Road A1A/South Ocean Drive & Hallandale Beach Blvd. Located below the Hallandale Beach Water Tower on A1A/South Ocean Drive, on the south side (right) is the "Community Center" that HB City Hall, thru their gross incompetency and spite, made off-limits to HB citizen taxpayers for over three-and-a-half years after being given it for FREE by The Related Group, after they'd used it as their "model" sales office for The Beach Club condo towers next-door. In 2012 the city signed a not-so lucrative deal to make it the "model" sales HQ for RG's The Beachwalk project next to the Intracoastal Bridge, thereby putting this taxpayer-owned building just steps from the Atlantic Ocean off-limits to Hallandale Beach citizens for years to come. (And where's the American flag on the Fourth of July weekend? Missing in action as it had been for months when i snapped this photo!) July 3, 2009 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved. For many years under Mayor Joy Cooper and City Managers Mark Antonio & Renee C. Miller, the City of Hallandale Beach illegally used this photo of mine on their official website as well as in large posters at city buildings, including the lobby of HB City Hall. This was done in clear violation of federal copyright laws, as they stole the photo without EVER asking my permission to use it or paying me a single cent. Really.
Hallandale Beach Blog is a common-sense public policy overview offering a critical perspective on current events, economics, government, politics & culture of South Florida, in particular, the cities of Hallandale Beach and Hollywood. South Beach Hoosier, www.SouthBeachHoosier.blogspot.com, is where I also ruminate on national and international subjects, especially the past and current South Florida sports scene with the Dolphins, the Marlins, the Orioles, the University of Miami Hurricanes, and the Indiana University Hoosiers. But sometimes, if it's particularly germane or amusing, I post it here, too.
Everything you see on this page was originally located on my current blog, Hallandale Beach Blog, www.HallandaleBeachBlog.blogspot.com
Due to space considerations over time, as I wrote new posts and added new photos to the blog, I had to move some items, photos, posts and, videos off the main site to keep the blog more manageable, but I didn't want to simply delete these items forever, since many were popular, so I've created this mirror hyphenated blog so they could remain alive, as it were. I especially didn't want to move the videos, but having too many videos on the main page slowed the loading time, so...
Many of the photos below have necessarily been reduced in size from their original to fit within the new site parameters here, which explains, some of the odd photo sizes, but I still have the full-size version of them. Please come see what I'm up to NOW at:

Monday, October 27, 2014

Some informed commentary, context and important facts that you didn't read about in Susannah Bryan's recent Sun-Sentinel article about Hollywood City Manager Cathy Swanson-Rivenbark and some of her critics re the 'million-dollar mistake.' Trust me, you'll thank me later!

Some informed commentary -and important facts- that you didn't read about in the Sun-Sentinel's story titled, "City seeks inquiry - Hollywood manager stands up to critics of 'million-dollar mistake,' says 'I'm not leaving'"
Trust me, you'll thank me later and have more context!
My comments are below the article.

South Florida Sun-Sentinel
City seeks inquiry - Hollywood manager stands up to critics of 'million-dollar mistake,' says 'I'm not leaving'
Susannah Bryan , Staff writer
September 19, 2014

Commissioners were split on whether to fire the city manager, butunanimously agreed to ask the Broward inspector general to investigateCity Hall's "million-dollar mistake."
In violation of city code, Hollywood administrators spent $935,000 on35 temp workers without commission approval over the past two years.The workers were assigned to the police and fire departments,utilities and general administration.
Commissioners rejected City Manager Cathy Swanson-Rivenbark's requestearlier this month to approve the spending retroactively.

Read the rest of the post at:


In case you faithful readers of the blog had forgotten, this Sun-Sentinel reporter, Susannah Bryan, is the latest of the many Sun-Sentinel reporters I've privately and publicly lambasted for years for their habit of consistently being too lazy and apathetic to mention even .01% of what they observed at Hallandale Beach City Hall. 
That is, WHEN they've deigned to actually show-up! 

To say nothing about all what they willfully ignored outside City Commission Chambers, which is hard to overstate and easy to pinpoint if you've been paying attention.  
Well, in any case, as this article makes clear, it's not like the percentage is much higher when Bryan is covering what goes on a few miles just north of us over at Hollywood City Hall.

In the article above, Bryan completely neglects to mention in print that the opinionated citizen she quotes on this matter, Jeff Brodeuris part of a small hardcore and very opinionated group of largely West Hollywood residents who are forever bitching about how bad they have it compared to other parts of the city.
Forever complaining about how badly Hollywood city employees have had it, and for reasons that are not always publicly stated, really can't stand all the attention (and CRA money spent) on the Hollywood Downtown area.

(First, I should state that I've been as critical as just about anyone re what the CRA was doing downtown years ago. And not just in emails but at public meetings where I said that  I was completely underwhelmed by the public outreach efforts regarding publicizing the public meetings of the new Master Plan for Downtown Hollywood developed by Bernard Zyscovich and his firm, particularly the efforts by the CRA and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and the business community as a whole. It was pathetic.
I even told Cathy Swanson-Rivenbark of my misgivings and related to her in a one-on-one meeting how badly I thought this had been botched, when she was the Assistant City Manager.

I mentioned that many of the obvious public places around Young Circle like Publix, Starbuck's and the ArtsPark, places where large number of the neighborhood is everyday, never had a single flyer put up on a bulleting board or front window so that the average Hollywood citizen would know what was taking place in their own neighborhood.
She agreed and resolved to nopt let opportunities like that get watsed agin in the future.

Second, it's not like it was ever going to be easy to fix the decades of lazy thinking about retail vs. residential priorities, to say nothing of the myriad retail mismatches and logistical and aesthetics mistakes in that important area of SE Broward that are still evident.
But the difference between me and Brodeur is that I know from personal experience that that area should turn around economically almost overnight once there's a reliable Tri-Rail Costal train station built nearby that can whisk Hollywood residents points north and south with regularity for work and recreation. 
Yes, Young and Middle-Aged Professionals who don't think simply being able to listen to FM radio while stuck in traffic is that appealing a prospect compared to being able to relax on a train that gets them back and forth much quicker and with less stress -and also listening to the same stationvia whatever electronic device they prefer. )

Since that is in fact the case, it should come as no surprise that Brodeur is also a longtime opponent of not only the Hollywood CRA, both in the abstract as well the reality, but quite naturally, also a
longtime critic of Hollywood City Manger Cathy Swanson-Rivenbark.
Cathy is someone whom most of you already know I've been very publicly supportive of for many years, both in my personal emails and my posts on the blog.
I've personally been an eyewitness to her genuine smarts, savvy and moxie over the years in figuring out how best to improve a, not-incidentally, NOT-so-perfect Hollywood, and make it a better place for everyone, not just well-to-do people living on the beach or near downtown.
I've personally seen how she sweats the small details and has always strived for creating maximum public transparency and public interaction.
I only wish that she was the City Manager of Hallandale Beach -or even better, the County Administrator of Broward County.

Jeff Brodeur's background is something I know for a fact from past experience, mostly from keeping informed and going to hundreds of Hollywood city/civic meetings over the past 11 years.
In fact, I'd know about him even if I hadn't gone to those meetings, from my voluminous email archives of past newspaper and blog articles, which makes that point abundantly clear.

Oh, like say this one from last year, when the Balance Sheet Blog was still up and running:
He is, in my eyes, the very picture of the sort of person who gives civic activism a bad name.
I don't want to be lumped in with him.

So why doesn't the Sun-Sentinel's Hollywood beat reporter Susannah Bryan know this?
More to the point, WHY doesn't she disclose ANY of this important context to readers so they have more facts to judge what's really going on in ths matter?
Why don't you ask Bryan's bosses at the newspaper?

As it happens, Jeff Brodeur was also very supportive three years ago of state Sen. Eleanor Sobel's efforts to get a JLAC investigation of Hollywood in late 2011, when Sobel was doing the bidding of the Broward PBA, who had previously endorsed her and spent a LOT of time, money and resources in defeating Tim Ryan and Ken Gottlieb in that very nasty and expensive state Senate race in SE Broward. Though some would say infamous race.

Yes, the same Eleanor Sobel who in her role as Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper's bosom pal, has done everything and then some the past two years to prevent state legislators and investigators on the JLAC from investigating what her friend Joy Cooper had actually been doing for years as Chair of the HB CRA, directing where all the HB CRA millions went, with no practical or consistent oversight and accountability from anyone at City Hall -including her.
As the Broward IG's damning 2013 report made clear.

The same Broward PBA  who in 2012 endorsed Traci Callari, the current Hollywood Commissioner who attempted to fire the City Manager this week. 
In the process of pumping and funneling as much money as they could into Callari's 2012 campaign, in order to defeat then-Hollywood Comm. Heidi O'Sheehan, who had been part of the majority of the City Commission for common sense who supported the vote for a public vote on pension costs that were threatening to make the city's future untenable.

An election that the Broward PBA later lost pretty overwhelmingly, despite their deep pockets, media histrionics and dirty tricks.
In doing so, the Broward PBA violated Hollywood's campaign finance rules that had previously been overwhelmingly approved by Hollywood voters as part of a Charter amendment. Why?
(And why was the Broward PBA and the city's later lawsuit against it never ever discussed in print or TV by the South Florida news media?)

So back to the question of why?
So that the Broward PBA could get who they wanted elected, come hell of high water? 
Yes. Traci Callari, whose husband is a Hollywood Police Officer.
All you need is some larger perspective to see how all these things are inter-connected and see how the losers of one issue never quite forget, and are forver trying to get vengeance on the people who bested them however they can, regardless of what the issue is.
So, from this we have learned quite well that the Broward PBA is always spoiling for a fight with anyone brave enough to hold them to account, which is why they have had it in for Beam Furrr, since the former Hollywood City Commissioner -and current Democratic nomineee for Broward County Comm. District 6- was asking questions publicly many years ago about the Police and Fire Pension when others in the community were reluctant to speak up and take sides.

So perhaps the real question for all of us in Hallandale Beach and Hollywood who are civic-minded and in favor of a thorough discussion of the issues this year is this one: Why, after all these years, is
the Sun-Sentinel's very own beat reporter for Hollywood and Hallandale Beach so consistently unable or unwilling to see what I and so many of you can see quite easily?
Good question. 
Why don't you ask Susannah Bryan's bosses at the newspaper?

That mediocrity in effort and results by the Sun-Sentinel is why I and so many of you reading this know in advance why the coming Sun-Sentinel coverage of the Hallandale Beach City Commission races will be so very feeble and pathetic.
Why despite having 45 days, anything they do will appear just days before the election, instead of early enough so that they can be fair, probing and thorough -and actually useful to HB residents.

And we know from painful experiences in the past that this half-assed approach and effort by the Sun-Sentinel only helps the very people who are already in office ruining this city with their consistently sinister/myopic judgment and seemingly neverending unethical behavior, both the electeds and the well-paid bureaucrats who never get held to account for their serial misdeeds and lies to the public at large.

As originally seen at Hallandale Beach Blog on September 26, 2014

No comments:

Hallandale Beach Blog is where I try to inject or superimpose a degree
of accountability, transparency and insight onto local Broward County
government and public policy issues, which I feel is sorely lacking in
local media now. On this blog, I concentrate my energy, enthusiasm,
anger and laser-like attention on the coastal cities of Hollywood
and Hallandale Beach.

If you lived in this part of South Florida, you'd ALREADY be stuck in
stultifying traffic, 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, they couldn't be farther from the
sort of strong results-oriented, eager work-ethic mentality that local
residents deserve and expect. This is particularly true in the town I live
in, the City of Hallandale Beach, just north of Aventura and south of

There, the "Perfect Storm" of years of apathy, incompetency and cronyism
are all too readily apparent. Sadly for its residents, HB is where even
easily-solved, quality-of-life problems are left to fester for YEARS on end,
because of myopia, lack of common sense and ineffective supervisory
management. It's a city with lots of potential because of its terrific location,
yet its citizens have become numb to its outrages and screw-ups after
years of the worst kind of mismanagement and lack of foresight.

On a daily basis, they wake-up and see the same old problems that have
NEVER being adequately resolved by the city in a logical and responsible
fashion, merely kicked -once again- further down the road.

I used to ask myself, not always rhetorically, "Where are all the enterprising
young reporters who want to show that through their own hard work and
enterprise, what REAL investigative reporting can produce?"

Hearing no response, I decided to start a blog that could do some of these
things, taking the p.o.v. of a reasonable but skeptical person seeing the
situation for the first time, and wanting questions answered in a honest
and logical way that citizens have the right to expect.
Hallandale Beach Blog intends to be a catalyst for positive change.

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 here among Florida's state, regional and
local govt./agency officials.

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

David put his hand in the bag and took out a stone and slung it. And it struck the Philistine on the head and he fell to the ground. Amen."-
Preacher Purl encouraging the underdog Hickory High basketball team before the state title game against heavily-favored South Bend Central in 1986's Hoosiers http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091217/

Audio of pregame speech:

Nature meets man's quest for oceanfront property in HB

Nature meets man's quest for oceanfront property in HB
Looking south towards The Beach Club and the Hallandale Beach Water Tower on A1A from the beach, near the Hollywood cityline, May 2, 2009 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved


"So this is where our tax dollars go to die? My friend and fellow civic activist Csaba Kulin, perhaps wondering when we're FINALLY going to get the clean and inviting public beach that Hallandale Beach residents believe we're entitled to but have never received under Mayor Cooper and her Rubber Stamp Crew. Instead, we get rusty pipes in the middle of the beach and garbage cans on the beach -without lids- at the windiest place in the entire city. And a public building across the street from the beach that the public can't use for free but which city employees can -for their holiday parties." Click photo to see many more photos of the site and the original post. Or, go to http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/2012/06/latest-info-photos-re-related-groups.html

Entering Broward County, May 8, 2008

Entering Broward County, May 8, 2008
The original header photo on this blog - Entering Broward County, 2008. Gulfstream Park Race Track in center, and over on State Road A1A, the Diplomat Residences and Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa in Hollywood, and the three towers of The Beach Club in HB. BEFORE there was a Village at Gulfstream Park retail complex. May 8, 2008 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

It's long past time to put the BEACH back in Hallandale Beach

It's long past time to put the BEACH back in Hallandale Beach
For there ever to be a successful balance between business, town, and nature in Hallandale Beach, big changes will be necessary. Late afternoon, North Beach, Hallandale Beach, FL, February 10, 2012 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2012 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved. While it might look nice and inviting from afar, the sad and galling reality for far too many Hallandale Beach residents who want to enjoy their public beaches, is that in the ten years under Mayor Joy Cooper and her Rubber Stamp Crew at City Hall, the city's highly-paid top bureaucrats and the city's ineffective Dept. of Public Works, the public beaches have been consistently neglected and poorly-maintained for MANY, MANY YEARS. In fact, there are several places at the beach where it's self-evident to even the casual observer that the city is NOT even in compliance with its own rules or ordinances -or even state laws- and hasn't been since I moved here in late 2003. To say nothing of showing initiative or common sense there. Yet despite the fact that the beach is an invaluable resource and the reason that many people have consciously chosen to live in Hallandale Beach instead of somewhere else in south Florida, Mayor Cooper and 3/4ths of the City Commission -and those bureaucrats- have chosen to squander time, energy and large sums of money on one terrible idea after another elsewhere in the city because of either personal connections or their push for the furtherance of crony capitalism, rather than in making the investment in making the public beaches cleaner, more attractive and more interesting for residents and guests alike. More recently, in her role as head of the Florida League of Cities, Mayor Cooper has neglected the city even more than usual, as she has flitted from one part of the state to another, acting like a Queen Bee. Believe me, the people she meets in other Florida cities in that FLC capacity have no earthly idea of what a poor job she has done for years by any sort of objective measure. In my opinion, in the year 2012, after all the dozens of fact-filled and photo-filled posts I've posted here documenting the deteriorating conditions of the city's public beaches, it's long past time to not only put the BEACH back in Hallandale, but to put genuine oversight and meaningful financial accountability to taxpayers in it as well. The citizens of this beach-side city deserve MUCH BETTER than they get with regard to beach maintenance and overall attractiveness. Ask yourself a question: If a well-managed but land-locked city like Coral Springs had a beach this size, what would it look like and how would it be managed? Now compare that image in your head with the current reality of ours under Mayor Joy Cooper. 'Nuff said!

Political Actions Speak Louder Than Words: Lies of Mayor Joy Cooper and City Manager Mike Good

Political Actions Speak Louder Than Words: Lies of Mayor Joy Cooper and City Manager Mike Good
March 3, 2009 photo by South Beach Hoosier, just days before the Air Supply concert on the beach, as Hallandale Beach DPW employees try to make the area "appear" to be well-maintained -when in reality, it's not- and thus fool HB taxpayers and visitors alike. This building underneath the city's iconic Water Tower, just steps from both the Atlantic Ocean and State Road A1A, was turned over to the City of Hallandale Beach on August 3rd, 2007, and yet as of September 2012, remains OFF-LIMITS to everyday HB citizens, taxpayers and residents, the true "owners" of the building, TWO YEARS later. There has STILL not been a single public open forum held by the city to gauge how citizens want to utilize it best. Instead, the building remains a veritable clubhouse for the cronies and pals of HB City Hall's elected officials and employees. And need I ask YET again, where's the American flag on the city flagpole next to the fountain? Once again, HB City Hall shows their gross incompetency by being unable to manage something as simple as keeping a flag flying. Pathetic! © 2012 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

A fish rots from the head down, and so does local government in Broward County, FL

A fish rots from the head down, and so does local government in Broward County, FL
A fish rots from the head down, and so does local government in Broward County, FL. This sign on U.S.-1 and S.E. 5th Street, across from Gulfstream Park Racing and Casino, lets you know that you're just feet away from the HB City Hall and Police Department. It's a government that gives every impression of holding itself apart and above from the citizens it's supposed to serve. The crazy thing is, they really don't think they have to follow the laws that govern everyone else in the state of Florida and the U.S., whether of logic and reason, contracts, or, more to the point for this blog, the Florida Statutes on Sunshine Laws and Public Records. City employees in Hallandale Beach routinely refuse to answer reasonable questions posed to them by residents, and often berate you for even having the nerve to ask! One of the other things that's quite shocking is the blatant disregard by the HB Police Dept. and Fire Dept. for basic safety rules. Common sense rules of behavior that are in place in every other American town, no matter how small or obscure. City employees -and friends of theirs- routinely park "their cars" directly in front of the building's east entrance, often for hours at a time. That's right, I said for HOURS at a time. While in every other town you'd find a clearly posted sign saying simply: "No Parking, Fire Zone, Cars Will be Towed," in HB, there are NO signs at all. I have personally observed parked HB city vehicles there that have prevented the HB Fire & Rescue vehicles from getting as close as necessary to the building. I've personally spoken to the individual members of Fire & Rescue after such incidents, and they were positively indignant that they are forced to put up with this sort of thing in the Year 2008. Oh, and one last thing. The lights that are supposed to illuminate this sign in front of HB City Hall HAVEN'T worked in over FOUR YEARS, either. Just like their cousin down the block on U.S.-1 at the city border with Aventura. I've told this to dozens of HB city officials, including the Mayor, City Manager, his staff, the Police Chief, a Police Captain, et al. None of them have done a thing, which is why as late as October 24. 2008, the sign was STILL dark at night! Four-and-a-half-years of nothing but darkness! Sundown, March 3, 2009 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2012 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

Approaching Hallandale Beach sign on U.S.-1/South Federal Hwy.

Approaching Hallandale Beach sign on U.S.-1/South Federal Hwy.
So, CAN you see the sign welcoming you into the City of Hallandale Beach? Judge for yourself. It's between the 3rd and 4th tree. Original photo here was taken January 2007; this one taken May 8, 2008; photo by South Beach Hoosier.

City of Hallandale Beach, City of Choice

City of Hallandale Beach, City of Choice
Hallandale Beach, City of Choice. The monument sign that greets northbound drivers on U.S.-1/South Federal Hwy. at the gateway into the city as they leave the City of Aventura and Miami-Dade County in the rear window, on one of the three main streets into Hallandale Beach. Unfortunately, it's the perfect metaphor for the City of Hallandale Beach and its elected officials and employees the past 8 years: myopic and lacking in common sense. This sign, five blocks south of City Hall, was originally placed so far west on the median strip -and practically BEHIND a palm tree- that drivers actually COULDN'T actually read it even if they wanted to. In any case, because of the city's longtime gross incompetency, negligence and lack of appropriate oversight, the spotlights that were supposed to illuminate the sign at night HAVEN'T worked since about mid-January of 2004. Which is to say, yes, MUCH LONGER than the U.S.'s involvement in WW II. Welcome to the City of Hallandale Beach! Begin heavy traffic, chronic red tape and mis-adventures in government! My original photo here on the blog of this situation was taken January 2007; this one was taken May 8, 2008; photo by South Beach Hoosier. The three palm trees that had been in front of it on the median that obstructed it for so long have come and gone, with the result that for a few years you couldn't help but notice that it DIDN'T work! In February of 2009, in order to make room for a southbound left-turning lane at S.E. 5th Street into The Village of Gulfstream retail complex, the 'invisible' sign was removed and placed farther north on the media. For more than a year, despite a solar panel nearby, there were no actual light fixtures present! As of January 24, 2013, if you can believe this, with a new expensive street-lighting project along the median of U.S.-1 finally finished, where recently-planted trees now have lights shining on branches -as if that meant anything- guess what? Despite another nearby solar unit, there are STILL zero actual light fixtures pointed at the sign! ZERO! Correct, all these years and tax dollars later, the City of Hallandale Beach is STILL unable to figure out how to light this sign on the busiest street in the city at its southern gateway. Yet another sign of the ruinous reign of Mayor Joy Cooper. No attention to detail! © 2012 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

Entering Hallandale Beach at night on U.S.-1/Federal Highway

Entering Hallandale Beach at night on U.S.-1/Federal Highway
Is that any better? May 11, 2008 photo by South Beach Hoosier.

Hallandale Beach STILL in the dark -FOUR years later!

Hallandale Beach STILL in the dark -FOUR years later!
You can only see this HB sign on U.S.-1 in the photo because of my camera's flash; May 11, 2008 photo by South Beach Hoosier.