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, Europe 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. Pictured in upper-left is Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower on State Road A1A; September 2008 photo by me, South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Firing City of Hallandale Beach City Attorney Whitfield was a good start, but the fact remains that there are several city employees and Dept. heads who need to go ASAP in order to have the city move forward. There's no point in pretending that's not the case.


Above, Hallandale Beach City Hall, November 2016. "And the flag was still there..."
Photo by me, South Beach Hoosier. © 2016 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.


Local10 News, WPLG-TV, Miami
Secret audio implicates Hallandale Beach city attorney in alleged improper conduct
Commissioner Bill Julian can't seem to hang up his phone

By Bob Norman - Investigative Reporter
Posted: 11:58 PM, November 01, 2016
Read story at:

Local10 News, WPLG-TV, Miami
Hallandale Beach fires city attorney; mayor walks out of divided meeting
City Attorney V. Lynn Whitfield gives emotional farewell
By Bob Norman - Investigative Reporter
Posted: 11:36 PM, November 29, 2016

Firing City of Hallandale Beach City Attorney Whitfield was a good start, but the fact remains that there are several city employees and Dept. heads who need to go ASAP in order to have the city move forward. 
There's no point in pretending that's not the case.

On Monday I told many off you via a fact-filled email that was sent to concerned citizens 
throughout Hallandale Beach, Broward County and South Florida -and members of the news media- and then later, posted here at Hallandale Beach Blog, that on Tuesday, the first big step towards creating a new, positive and more-inclusive future for Hallandale Beach and its long-suffering residents and Small Business owners at Hallandale Beach City Hall would begin. And so it has....

Well, one down, but there are several more heads at Hallandale Beach City Hall that need to roll, including temperamentally-challenged City Manager Daniel Rosemond.
To be sure, it was a nice way to start, getting rid of City Attorney V. Lynn Whitfield, a 
woman who for years has acted one way publicly, but acted quite another way behind-the-scenes, as I know from first-hand experience.

Besides the dozens and dozens of times I saw Whitfield in action at public meetings over the years, where she often looked the other way at ethical situations involving elected officials and city employees that cried out for her to say or do something publicly, I got a chance to know the reality of her personality.

But before I mention that, consider this 2013 video I recorded with my friend and fellow Hallandale Beach and Broward County civic activist Csaba "Chuck" Kulin, who is a recent member of the city's Planning and Zoning Advisory Board, who has been a watchdog on finances, ethics and the appearance of impropriety in this area of Broward for many years.
The video speaks for itself regarding what seems to have been Whitfield's inexplicable willingness to look the other way on ethics and conflicts of interest in Hallandale Beach when it's right in front of her.

Csaba Kulin re Hallandale Beach City Attorney Whitfield's comments re her role on ethics. Uploaded May 2, 2013 https://youtu.be/dtpFnVOFA-I

That came when I repeatedly tried to tell her about the City of Hallandale Beach having illegally stolen a Hallandale Beach citizen's property, and then used it later without this person's permision or consent, in what was a profit-making enterprise, for which the citizen whose property was used received NOTHING.

I know the facts better than anyone because I was that citizen whose property was stolen by the city and the city-funded Hallandale Beach Chamber of Commerce.
The facts and context involved being what they were, and which would clearly point to it being an embarrassing episode for the city if made public, I thought it would be best tp go thru the system and for the City Attorney to know all the facts, so she could urge the City Commission to do the right thing.

But City Attorney V. Lynn Whitfield could hardly have cared less about knowning the facts involved when the city she represented had broken the law.

In fact, her own staff was witness to her yelling at me while I was outside of her office in January of 2014, when I stopped by the City Attorney's office one day while doing some errands in an attempt to schedule a meeting with me, a Hallandale Beach citizen, so that she would know what had taken place, since it had happened before she was hired by the city.

City Attorney Whitfield couldn't possibly have known all the germane facts, so, foolishly, I thought a calm and relaxed conversation of maybe 10-15 minutes with her in the near future, with supporting documents that would make clear the city's self-evident liability, would be a positive thing.
Instead, Whitfield kept insisting that I tell her then and show her my proof on her computer. Right then and there!

Well, as stated before, I was running errands that day and had only stopped by HB City Hall because my phone calls were not being returned. 
I am one among many other Hallandale Beach citizens who over the years have had bad and troubling experiences with city employees and elected officials lying about what they would do to address problems.

Given that fact, I was not about to fall for the trap.and do something stupid and allow her to buffalo me into having a meeting before it was appropriate.
More importantly, before I had time to make sure that I had someone with me who could witness anything that was done, said or agreed to.
Experience is the best predictor of behavior, no?

Someone on Whitfield's staff even told me that she had a history of refusing to meet with anyone from Hallandale Beach who had hired a lawyer, which is interesting in that she so often met and spoke with lawyers for people with interests before the city who were not even Hallandale Beach residents -like I was then

So again, firing City Attorney Whitfield was a good start, but the fact remains that there are several City of Hallandale Beach employees and Dept. heads who have a long and well-established history of showing a pronounced antagonism towards sharing facts and public documents with elected officials and citizens when they are supposed to.
There are lots of HB city employees who are clearly opposed to engaging in transparency and treating citizens with respect or civility, to say nothing of ones guilty of goofing around that is legendary in this small oceanside city, where it often seems like every other city employee has a city car of their own to drive around in, with taxpayers paying the tab.

It's long been known that there are certain locations in HB where for several hours a day, you can be sure of seeing a completely different city vehicle drive past nearly ever few minutes.
Question: Where are they all going if the problems in this city never actually get fixed, as is abundantly clear?

No, for years under imperious Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper's Rubber Stamp Crew of Julian, Sanders and Lewy, Hallandale Beach citizens and Small Business owners all had to glumly accept as "normal" conduct and behavior that was not only completely unsatisfactory, but often proof of the insidious culture of corruption, cronyism and incompetency that has long held sway here.

After all, and this may surprise some of you newcomers to the blog, Hallandale Beach is a city that, under Joy Cooper, once signed a secret deal with somone in the community to act as a paid spy and lobbyist at city meetings and community forums, both to voice enthusiasm for the city's position in public and to monitor who spoke out publicly against the city's position. Really.

I know because I'm the person in South Florida who first broke the news about it happening in 2010, a story that combined creepy elements of cronyism, corruption and breaking ethics and lobbying rules in one fell swoop.
I'm the person who made sure that the sordid story about elected officials betraying the pubic trust got reported publicly in the first place.

APRIL 5, 2010 
Joe Kessel is the spy/mole for Hallandale Beach City Hall's Ruinous Mike Good & Joy Cooper Regime

April 9, 2010 
The Kessel Chronicles, The Story Thus Far -Now with YouTube!

That April 9, 2010 post of mine has this nugget that still shines today and gives anyone reading this blog now and in the future a real taste of how bad things have been done at Hallandale Beach City Hall in the past -and continue to be:
Never seem inclined to find out how an entrenched culture of corruption could develop here where HB city employees would think it's normal or appropriate to try to physically prevent citizens like me from attending a publicly-noticed meeting at City Hall for 15 minutes, until they canceled it right before yours truly finally got there -thanks to the assistance of Comm. London- as happened to me just last month?
Did Assistant City Manager Mark Antonio, he of the $150k-plus salary, and a member
of the Evaluation Committee that was meeting that day
 try to explain to me when he saw me there, why the meeting was suddenly canceled once they knew I was trying to get to the meeting? More to the point, did he even attempt to explain why I, the only citizen trying to attend the meeting, was physically prevented by city employees from getting to the meeting? No, he did not. 
Instead, Antonio just scurried back to his office like a petulant child, actually yelling at Comm. London, as he hurried to his bunker of an office, safe from the reasonable questions of a citizen taxpayer.
That my friends, is the low moral and professional caliber of people currently working at Hallandale Beach City Hall -and he's one of the persons in charge. Now multiply that unprofessional attitude dozens of times. It explains an awful lot here, doesn't it?

On Tuesday afternoon, the ship that is the new leadership at HB City Hall finally 
started changing directions.
Obviously, it won't all be smooth sailing in the future, and there will clearly be difficult times when some hard and unpopular decisions will have to be made or even agonized over.
Good thing, then, that there's so much "deadwood" at Hallandale Beach City Hall to be tossed overboard in the coming weeks and months to help lighten the load and help the ship pick up some much-needed speed to be where it ought to be.



Dave

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