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:
www.HallandaleBeachBlog.blogspot.com

Just Do It Stockholm!

Just Do It Stockholm!
NIKE WOMEN'S 10 KM STOCKHOLM, SATURDAY JUNE 27, 2015 Join the ultimate Stockholm race experience. Whether you’re running your first or racing your fastest, this is the ultimate Stockholm 10km. Your entry includes a race t-shirt and a finishers gift designed by one of Sweden’s top designers. You’ll also get exclusive access to Nike services and a full day of entertainment in the race village, with special appearances. Are you ready to gather your crew and run Stockholm? The race is limited to 5,000 runners so sign up now to be sure of a race entry. Come run with us. Click photo to register!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Ten days after story emerges about criminal allegations, why is South Florida's news media continuing to sleep on story about Hallandale Beach Comm/candidate Leo Grachow 2 weeks before election? Especially the South-Florida Sun Sentinel?

Last Friday I wrote this and it was 100% true at the time:




Here's an email I penned and sent on Sunday morning before the Dolphins-Bears game to a couple of hundred concerned people throughout Hallandale Beach, Broward County and South Florida.
That includes sending it to many members of the sleepwalking South Florida news media, who to their great dis-credit, are once again letting readers and viewers down two weeks before an election. Why?

Sunday October 19, 2014

You know, you find the most-interesting things on the Internet when you spend a few minutes on a lazy Sunday morning trying to find out more information so you can make better sense of what you already do know.
And often you think of questions you hadn't thought to ask before.

For instance, how and why is it that TEN DAYS after the South Florida Sun-Sentinel's initial story ran online re criminal allegations against interim HB City Commissioner and candidate Leo Grachow being investigated by the BSO -a story that hours later was then pulled and wiped clean from their website- not a single new fact-based bit of information has emerged in the South Florida news media -print or electronic- to either support the initial allegations or discredit them?
(Original article at bottom)

With all the reporters available to work the story and the amazing technology around now to better help explain it to readers or viewers, how can it then be true that nobody in South Florida's press corps has reported ANYTHING new in ten days?
And how is it that the Sun-Sentinel, typically, instead of being open and transparent, is shooting themsleves in the foot and making themselves even more irrelevant than usual by remaining mum, and NOT explaning what they're doing or why they pulled the story from their website?
Well, consider where we live.

If this same story weeks before an important election that would determine the majority on the city commission had taken place in Coral Gables, Hialeah or in the City of Miami, it's likely there'd have been Miami Herald and Sun-Sentiel reporters sitting outside someone's home overnight, somebody from all four Miami-area English language TV stations already busy working the streets trying to ferret-out more info, while others worked the phones to try to come up with a new angle on the story and the individuals involved.
But because this story happened in Hallandale Beach, there's... nothing at all.



Not even so much as an explanation from the newspaper that started the whole ball rolling in the first place.
-----

Original story of October 9th, 2014:
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/broward/hallandale/fl-grachow-hallandale-sauna-20141009-story.html
Woman accuses Hallandale commissioner of indecent exposure in condo sauna
By Susannah Bryan,Sun Sentinel

The Broward State Attorney's Office is looking into an accusation of
indecent exposure that's been lodged against Commissioner Leo Grachow.

Grachow, who is running in a commission race against Keith London,
denies the claim that he had his pants down in a sauna at his condo
gym.

"She obviously thinks she saw something, but it wasn't me," Grachow
said of his accuser. "I could have been in the sauna. But I wasn't
doing what I've been accused of."

Alessandra Martinez, 27, says she and Grachow, 66, were the only ones
in the condo's gym shortly before 8 p.m. Aug. 14.

Martinez says she was on a mat doing crunches. Her back was to the
sauna, but she was facing a mirror. In the mirror, she says could see
Grachow standing close to the glass door inside the sauna, watching
her.

Suspicious, she says she got up after about five minutes and walked
toward a nearby water fountain to see what he was doing.

"His pants were down to his knees," she said. "I kind of freaked out and froze."

When a couple walked into the gym, Martinez said, she turned to tell
them what she'd seen and moments later noticed Grachow exiting the
gym.

Martinez, whose father is a Broward Sheriff's deputy and stepmother is
a Fort Lauderdale Police detective, says she called Hallandale Beach
Police that night to report the incident.

An officer came to the condo to take a report, but did not make an arrest.

When Martinez met with Sgt. Edward Diaz five days later, she says he
tried to talk her out of filing charges.

Hallandale spokesman Peter Dobens said the city had no comment on the
allegation or investigation.

Six weeks after incident, Hallandale Beach police turned the case over
to the Broward State Attorney's Office.

The Public Corruption Unit is now investigating the allegations, said
Ron Ishoy, spokesman for the State Attorney's Office.

"There's no merit or meat to this," said Marc Zee, an attorney
representing Grachow. "Sgt. Diaz said he was going to forward to the
State Attorney's Office because that's the policy. I'm pretty
confident they will decide not to file charges."

Martinez said Hallandale police have declined to give her a copy of
the police report despite repeated requests.

Bob Jarvis, a law professor at Nova Southeastern University, said it's
highly unusual for a police agency to withhold a report from an
alleged victim.

"Police departments routinely release police reports every day, unless
there is a confidential informant involved or if by releasing the
report you will compromise the investigation," Jarvis said. "As soon
as you write a police report, it's supposed to be public record."

After three requests from the Sun Sentinel for a copy of the police
report, Hallandale Beach City Attorney Lynn Whitfield emailed a copy
of the first page to the newspaper this week. The names of both
parties along with all other identifying information were blacked out.

The report gives the address of the condo, 200 Leslie Drive and lists
the allegation — indecent exposure.

"This criminal investigation is still active and under review by the
State Attorney's Office to determine whether or not any criminal
charges will be filed," Whitfield wrote.

The State Attorney's Office has declined three requests by the Sun

Sentinel for a copy of the report, citing the open investigation.

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
Hollywood.

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.

"And
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

JUST AS TRUE NOW AS IT WAS WHEN IT WAS WRITTEN IN JUNE 2012!

JUST AS TRUE NOW AS IT WAS WHEN IT WAS WRITTEN IN JUNE 2012!
"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.