Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Dingo ate her baby: adidas gets killed in Calif. court on kangaroo shoes; Hoosier soccer news

Just for the record, so I don't off on a tangent on this whole shameful adidas shoe story, growing-up in the '70's, playing soccer for my North Miami Beach Optimist team, I always played with Puma soccer shoes myself, since I much preferred their snug fit to competing brands that my friends and teammates always swore by that were looser amd which they made tight by wrapping crazy amounts of tape around.
Unfortunately, they also took a long time to break in, and I can recall a few games, and one in particular out near Hialeah against Palm Springs North Optimist, always a very good squad, where I was slipping and sliding like crazy on what I think was some newly-cut grass.
I was like Dick Anderson on PolyTurf at the Orange Bowl against the Jets in 1971, where his sure hands failed him as he slipped while returning a punt and essentially fumbled away the game.
Yes, back in the pre-cable days of South Florida when syndicated German Bundesliga games and highlights were telecast every weekend -with Tony Charles doing play-by-play-
on local Miami PBS affiliate, Channel 2, WPBT, located in North Miami, not too far away from me in NMB.

As someone who's actually on the mailing list for the adidas email newsletter, and who has followed the sports marketing industry for a long time, I'll leave it to you to figure out the eventual market implication$ for adidas product sales in the largest state after being trounced in Sacramento after reading this excellent article by Maura Dolan of the LA Times.
Though I could be mistaken, I think my IU friend, track star Cyndie Brown was either working for or racing for adidas in the late 1980's, when she won the 1987 Pittsburgh Marathon, and we really thought she had a great a chance of making the Olympic team going to Seoul the following year, since the U.S. Olympic marathon qualifier was the same exact course in Pittsburgh, in what was to be the inaugural for the Women's Marathon as an Olympic sport.

(Even adidas pitchman and ESPN object of hype David Beckham has to backpedal after not being able to morally justify it. Have you seen this story on the ESPN family of networks? I haven't, and I recently got Direct TV.)
Then, to have the incredibly bad luck to have the decision handed down the same week that out-of-control Michael Vick imploded as a result of his chronic lack of hubris?

The guy who, in my opinion, will eventually be found out to have financed an underground railroad throughout the South for dog fighting so that he wouldn't get caught himself?

According to many accounts, Vick reportedly thought nothing of betting up to as much as $30K on individual dog fights, yet gives Virginia Tech $10K after campus shooting to show his solidarity. Draw your own conclusions.
Imagine how many times that simple fact will be repeated on sports talk radio over the next few months!

Following this sick story of a marketing company being blind to bad PR, is a positive one about some Hoosier soccer players who learned some valuable lessons while in Brazil, the land of Dolphin nemesis Tom Brady's latest girlfriend du jour, the ever popular supermodel Giselle Bundchen, who celebrated her birthday last Friday.
What do you get for the woman who has everything on her birthday when your ex-girlfriend, Bridget Moynahan -one of my longtime favorites- http://www.slate.com/id/2171055/
is due to deliver your first child?
After admiring her from a distance for years, I actually saw her in person in 2002 in Arlington near the Marine Memorial filming that so-so CIA film, The Recruit, with Al Pacino and Colin Farrell, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0292506/
From the Los Angeles Times
Adidas' use of kangaroo hide is illegal, California justices say
By Maura Dolan, Times Staff Writer
July 24, 2007

SAN FRANCISCO — Soccer shoes and other athletic footwear made with prized kangaroo skin are banned under a state law that was upheld Monday by the California Supreme Court.

The court unanimously decided that a 36-year-old ban on the import and sale of products made from various wildlife species, including kangaroo, was not preempted by federal wildlife law.

The case was brought by an animal protection group against Adidas, which sells soccer, rugby and baseball shoes made with the hide of kangaroo species that state law protects. Adidas argued that federal law, which permits the import and sale of kangaroo skin, takes precedence over state law.

A lawyer for Adidas said the shoes at issue would continue to be sold in California until other legal issues in the case are resolved. He said the case eventually could reach the U.S. Supreme Court.

Animal rights groups hailed the decision for giving states the right to protect species even after the federal government decided that they were no longer in peril.

Bending to pressure, soccer star David Beckham, who debuted last weekend with the Los Angeles Galaxy, has announced that he will no longer wear shoes made with kangaroo hide, according to published reports.

"The precedent is major across the country, especially with the number of species losing federal protection," said Jonathan Lovvorn, vice president of litigation for the Humane Society. "It is critically important in terms of a state's ability to protect species."

Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown praised the ruling for protecting the state's autonomy.

"The significance is not just kangaroos and shoes but the authority of the state to protect species by banning products," Brown said. "It reaffirms that California has the authority and autonomy as a state to do this kind of work."

In ruling against Adidas, the court said the federal government's decision to withdraw protection for the kangaroo "leaves the field open for states to act as they individually see fit."

"The Commonwealth of Australia is free to manage its indigenous wildlife populations in any manner it sees fit, subject to international treaty obligations," Justice Kathryn Mickle Werdegar wrote for the court. "Likewise, California is free to regulate within its own borders unless federal law or the United States Constitution requires otherwise."

The ban, however, could still be repealed by the state Legislature or struck down on other legal grounds as the case proceeds. The state Senate voted in May to end the ban on importing and selling kangaroo parts, and that bill is now in the Assembly. Since 2003, the first year the bill was introduced, Adidas America has spent $435,693 lobbying the Legislature, state filings show.
Lauren Ornelas, campaign director for Viva! Vegetarians International Voice for Animals, said the ruling may help defeat Adidas' effort to end the ban.

"We would like to see these shoes taken off the shelves in California, and see Adidas really put its money and mind into using synthetic material," said Ornelas, whose group filed the lawsuit against Adidas. "Using wildlife for shoes is not acceptable."

Orly Degani, who represented Viva! in the case, said the selling of products containing kangaroo is illegal and the ban can be enforced.

"What [Adidas] is doing is illegal," she said. The Humane Society said the state's Fish and Game Department may be asked to enforce the ban.

In removing the red, eastern grey and western grey kangaroos from the U.S. Endangered Species List in 1995, federal government officials declared that they had become "abundant." In 2005, the population of the three species, whose hides are used in footwear, was just under 25 million.

Adidas Promotional Retail Operations Inc. had argued that the state ban was preempted by federal law. In addition to Adidas, the defendants were Sport Chalet and Offside Soccer.

Andrea Corso, a spokeswoman for Adidas Group, which makes athletic shoes and apparel, said other shoemakers also use kangaroo hide, which she said players prize for the feel.

She said Adidas makes 10 styles of shoes from kangaroo hide, but less than 1% of the company's footwear contains the skin of the marsupial.

"A lot of soccer players strongly prefer it," Corso said.

Beckham, whose wife, Victoria, is a vegetarian, said he reached his decision against wearing the shoes after viewing graphic videos of the killing of baby kangaroos in Australia, news reports said.

Despite Beckham's position, the Galaxy has sided with Adidas in trying to have the ban overturned. The team has said that California soccer players will be at a disadvantage if they cannot wear the lighter, softer shoes.

In addition to banning the sale of products made of kangaroo, the state law also protects the polar bear, leopard, ocelot, tiger, cheetah, jaguar, sable antelope, wolf, zebra, whale, cobra, python, sea turtle, colobus monkey, vicuna, sea otter, free-roaming feral horse, dolphin, porpoise, Spanish lynx and elephant. The law was intended to prevent the extinction of wildlife the state Legislature found were threatened.

The Australian government permits the commercial use of kangaroos and exports their leather and meat, subject to government regulation, the state high court said. "The Australian government still considers some species threatened or endangered, but not the species at issue here," Werdegar wrote.

Martin L. Fineman, who represented Adidas before the court, said that although Adidas lost this challenge, the shoemaker had a strong case that the ban violates the Commerce Clause of the Constitution and that Viva! lacked legal standing to file the lawsuit.

California's law banning the import of the animal parts "is a plain attempt to regulate foreign commerce," Fineman said.

UCLA Law Professor Taimie Bryant, who has been following the kangaroo case and the legislation, said the most important part of Monday's ruling was "the emphasis on the state's ability to provide more protection for species that have been historically at risk of extinction.

"So at one hand we have the California Supreme Court emphasizing how important it is for states to make these kinds of decisions, and then you have the Legislature taking away that authority to regulate and protect species," she said.

The court ruled in Viva! vs. Adidas.

Copyright 2007 Los Angeles Times
Meanwhile, in some more positive soccer news, despite their loss in the Pan American Games, two Hoosier soccer players gained valuable experience.


U.S. Eliminated From Pan American Games
Mexico scores twice in final 15 minutes for victory
July 21, 2007

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Mexico used a man advantage to score a pair of goals in the final 15 minutes for a 2-0 win over the U.S. at the Pan American games on Saturday at Estádio do Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The loss eliminates the Americans from the tournament.
Hoosier sophomore Kevin Alston (Silver Spring, Md.) started his third-consecutive match at the games, while redshirt freshman Daniel Kelly (Hendersonville, Tenn./Hendersonville) came in off the bench in the second half.
The two teams were in a scoreless battle until American Jalil Anibaba picked up his second yellow card of the match in the 72nd minute, giving Mexico a man advantage. They wasted no time, scoring their first goal off the foot of Rodolfo del Real in the 75th minute. Just three minutes later, Mexico made it 2-0 with a score from Enrique Alejandro Esqueda.
The U.S. continued to push the ball to the net but were dealt a blow in the 80th minute when Danny Barrera picked up his second yellow of the match, leaving the team with just eight field players.
With the victory, Mexico advances to the semifinals where it will face Jamaica on July 24.
The U.S. ends the tournament with a 1-2-0 record.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Is South Beach too hot for athletes? No, just dumb ones.

SouthBeachHoosier relishes the opportunity to connect some dots on an issue raised by this recent Sun-sentinel story that allows him to finally use, for the first time ever, the famous remark attributed to notorious bank robber Willie Sutton and his rationale for robbing banks: because that's where the money is.

Similarly, the reason why so many athletes are arrested in South Florida or, like Michael Vick at MIA, detained but not arrested- is because of, in no particular order, that's where the sun, the fun and the women are. That's the list!
Honestly, it's not like they're going to be hanging out at the casinos in Hallandale Beach, though Dontrelle lives lives over at the Hard Rock Casino condos in Hollywood.

For comments of bemused and irritated Sun-Sentinel readers, see: http://www.topix.net/forum/source/south-florida-com/TJDRIPJA7BRU7VLDO


South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Is South Beach too hot for athletes?

By Michael Cunningham
July 15, 2007


The South Beach wine-and-dine is a standard recruiting tool for South Florida teams trying to woo players.

But now some agents and Heat coach Pat Riley are telling their players to stay away from South Beach in light of recent athlete-police confrontations.

Since spring 2006, at least 11 athletes have been arrested in Miami Beach's famed party district. That includes the June 23 arrest of former Dolphins defensive tackle Fred Evans and the December DUI charge against Marlins pitcher Dontrelle Willis. (Evans and Willis have pleaded not guilty).

In eight of the 11 arrests, police allege the athletes failed to heed their orders. It's doubtful the player clashes with cops will stop athletes from enjoying the popular destination, but some of their advisers wish players would find another place to party.

"I cringe when I hear my clients are going down there," said agent Mark Bartelstein, who represents about 40 NBA players. He said he tells them to avoid South Beach because he believes in some cases police "mishandled and mistreated" athletes.

Heat coach and President Pat Riley also indirectly raised questions about the Miami Beach police. Riley immediately suspended guard Robert Hite after a DUI arrest in January but, after charges were dropped against Hite, Riley didn't discipline forward James Posey for the same charges in April.

In explaining the different approaches, Riley said he'd made a mistake with Hite and wouldn't decide on any discipline for Posey until he got the "real, real" facts. Police said Hite's blood-alcohol level was well below the legal limit when he was arrested.

Posey has said he wasn't drunk or driving.

"The police, they're watching, they know who's there and you're driving away and you're putting yourself in jeopardy," Riley said recently. "We talk to our guys more now than ever about it."Agent Chubby Wells' client, NBA center Dale Davis, scuffled with police and was arrested last year but later was acquitted by a jury. Wells said he's still considering filing a lawsuit over the incident.

"I am not saying that people don't do anything bad or that all cops are bad," Wells said. "These athletes travel all over ... and it doesn't happen over and over in those places."

Sgt. Bobby Hernandez, the Miami Beach police spokesman, says overzealous police aren't the reason for the string of athlete arrests. Instead, Hernandez said the unique layout of South Beach and the strict public nuisance laws can put athletes at odds with officers.

There's a better chance athletes will come into contact with police at South Beach as opposed to other hot spots, Hernandez said, because it's a relatively small area. Most of the action in South Beach is within a roughly 40-square block area.

Also, Hernandez said Miami Beach police arrest for minor offenses more than cops in other cities because many bars and nightclubs are near residential areas. So loud music, public drinking or blocking traffic can affect locals who don't wish to be part of the party.

"We're a beach community that has to maintain a balance between the residents and the partyers," Hernandez said. "One way to control that is enforcing laws that seem to be minor and go overlooked other places but that affect quality of life tremendously. ... We can't have people playing loud music in the middle of the street at 4 a.m."

It's under that kind of circumstance that athletes have quarreled with Miami Beach police in the past 15 months. Most of those police reports include allegations that athletes were arrested when they didn't follow police instructions.

In May 2006, police arrested then-NBA player Awvee Storey because they said he blocked traffic and wouldn't move when told. Washington Wizards teammate Gilbert Arenas was arrested after police said he approached them to question their handling of Storey and then wouldn't get back in his car when instructed.

Those arrests, as well as that of NFL player Santonio Holmes, came amid a police crackdown on revelers during the South Beach hip-hop party on Memorial Day Weekend. Prosecutors later dropped the charges against all three players, who made $250 donations to a police assistance fund.

In April, Posey was arrested after police said he failed to move his car from a traffic lane when instructed by an officer; his case is pending. Former Panthers goalie Ed Belfour's incident worsened when police said he refused to leave a popular club; he later agreed to a plea bargain.

Police say Evans, the former Dolphin, resisted after they ordered him to leave a taxi. Police arrested NFL player Dhani Jones when he allegedly wouldn't stop dancing in front of a club (a disorderly conduct charge was later dropped).

Thomas Julin, a First Amendment attorney in Miami, said citizens have a Constitutional right to question police action as long as they do not interfere with officers' efforts to maintain order.

"If the athlete is questioning the police and thinks they are being too rash, and is arrested just for that, you definitely have the potential that the officer is acting in violation of the person's rights," he said. "But it's unusual that the First Amendment comes into play in those kinds of arrests you see on [South Beach]."

Police said Davis, the NBA center, refused to leave a hotel when asked repeatedly, accused police of targeting him because he's black and then walked toward police in what they said was an "aggressive manner." Police shocked the 6-foot-11, 250-pound Davis with a stun gun and arrested him.

In December, a jury found Davis not guilty on counts of assault and resisting an officer without violence. Davis told the Associated Press "justice was served." Wells, his agent, said police were too aggressive."You really have to be careful there because people have their eye on you," Wells said in an interview.

Bartelstein, the agent for Storey and Posey, said he's "not trying to lay all the blame on the authorities, because people have to take responsibility," but his experience has shown police to be unfair to athletes."

I think there have been cases where athletes have done wrong but also a lot of cases where guys were taken advantage of," Bartelstein said.

That's not true, Sgt. Hernandez said, adding that police "don't discriminate on who gets arrested and who doesn't." He said, if anything, Miami Beach cops are tolerant of party people, but that circumstances like the time, place and manner in which they party dictate the police response.

Hernandez said the attitude of suspects toward police matters, too. His "no-brainer" advice for athletes and other visitors to South Beach is to do as told by police.

"You are not going to win that argument with a cop out on the street," he said. "You might win later on in court; you might find justice or maybe even win a lawsuit. But that night, you are not going to win."

Staff Writer Ira Winderman contributed to this report.

Michael Cunningham can be reached at mcunningham@sun-sentinel.com.

Copyright © 2007, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Hoosier D.J. White To Play For Team USA in Pan American Games

Just got the good news this afternoon that D.J.White will continue the successful legacy of past Hoosier cagers representing the red, white and blue.

D.J. White To Play For Team USA in Pan American Games
July 17, 2007

Colorado Springs, Colo. - The official 12-member USA Pan American Games men's basketball team was announced Tuesday afternoon and Indiana senior forward
D.J. White has made the final roster. The player selections were made after USA Basketball conducted five trials sessions between July 12-14 and four practices between July 15-17 at Haverford College (Pa.). White is the eighth Indiana basketball player to play in this event.
"It feels good to know that I will represent my country," White said. "It is a great honor. Now we can concentrate on getting to know each other on and off the court."

The USA Pan American Games squad will compete July 25-29 in the 2007 Pan American Games men's basketball competition. The United States has been placed in preliminary round Group A along with Argentina, Panama and Uruguay, and Group B consists of Brazil, Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The U.S. opens preliminary play July 25 facing Uruguay (10 p.m. Rio de Janeiro local time), then meets Panama on July 26 (7:45 p.m. Rio de Janeiro local time) and the U.S. closes out preliminary round action against Argentina on July 27 (7:45 p.m. Rio de Janeiro local time). Semifinals will be held on July 28 and the finals will be played July 29.

Selected for the 2007 USA Pan American Games Team roster were: Joey Dorsey (Memphis / Baltimore, Md.); Wayne Ellington (North Carolina / Wynnewood, Pa.); Shan Foster (Vanderbilt / Kenner, La.); James Gist (Maryland / Silver Spring, Md.); Roy Hibbert (Georgetown / Adelphi, Md.); Maarty Leunen (Oregon / Redmond, Ore.); ; Derrick Low (Washington State / Honolulu, Hawaii); Eric Maynor (Virginia Commonwealth / Fayetteville, N.C.); Drew Neitzel (Michigan State / Grand Rapids, Mich.); Scottie Reynolds (Villanova / Herndon, Va.); Kyle Weaver (Washington State / Beloit, Wis.); and White (Tuscaloosa, Ala.).

"This was difficult of a decision as any I've been involved in with USA Basketball. Every kid here could play on this team and we would be proud to take them to Brazil. We just had to decide do we want to play with some extra guards and some extra bigs and maybe not as many wings, and that's really what it came down to," stated USA and Villanova University head coach Jay Wright.
"I think it has been difficult for everybody on the team and even the coaching staff to really, really think like a team because we were all so concerned with the cuts. We became close, but everybody kind of felt like they had one foot out the door. Now I think everybody will feel `alright we're in this' and now we're going to go down there as a team, as a family, and were going to start building that now. We've got to learn who is going to play what spots, who's going to have what roles, and I think it will move quickly now that we know who the squad is."
Wright is being assisted on the USA bench by University of Alabama head mentor Mark Gottfried and Yale University head coach James Jones.
Ellington (2006 Nike Hoop Summit, 2005 Youth Development Festival Blue Team); Leunen (2003 Youth Development Festival West Team); Reynolds (2005 Youth Development Festival White Team); and White (2004 Nike Hoop Summit and 2003 Youth Development Festival South Team) all possess previous USA Basketball experience.

Honors also are plentiful for the USA finalists. Collegeinsider.com named Maynor to its Mid-Major All-America Team, selected Hibbert for its Defensive All-America Team, and named Reynolds to its Freshmen All-America Team. Also, Reynolds collected Big East Rookie of the Year honors, while Dorsey earned Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year recognition from their respective conferences.

Named to their respective 2006-07 all-conference teams were: Dorsey (All-Conference USA first team); Hibbert (All-Big East first team); Low (All-Pacific-10 first team); Maynor (All-Colonial Athletic Association first team); Neitzel (All-Big Ten first team); Weaver (All-Pacific-10 first team); White (All-Big Ten second team); Foster (All-Southeastern honorable mention); Leunen (All-Pacific-10 honorable mention); and Reynolds (All-Big East honorable mention).
"It has been a good experience to play against the best players in the country on a daily basis," added White. "It has been an invaluable summer experience."
The USA roster features nine players who will be seniors in 2007-08, one who will be a junior and two who will be sophomores in 2007-08.
USA Pan American Games Team's training will continue through July 18 at Haverford College (Pa.), and July 19-21 at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.

USA Men In The Pan American Games
The Pan American Games, held every four years in the year prior to the Olympics and organized by the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO), is a multi-sport competition open to men and women representing countries from North, South and Central America and the Caribbean.
Featuring a roster of collegians who competed primarily against older and more internationally experienced senior national teams, the USA men suffered three narrow defeats in five games to place fourth at the 2003 Pan American Games in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The Americans have earned a medal in 12 of their 14 Pan Am Games appearances, including a record eight golds, as well as three silvers and one bronze.

The U.S. men currently own an 81-11 (.880 winning percentage) all-time mark at the Pan Am Games. Held since 1951, the USA dominated the first five Pan Am Games, earning five consecutive golds. At the 1971 Pan Ams, despite a record of 2-1 in the preliminary round, the USA did not advance to the medal round and for the first time in Pan American history did not win the gold medal. However, the United States rebounded for a 26-0 record over the next three Pan Am Games and captured its last Pan Am gold in 1983. The gold has eluded the U.S. in the past five Games, with the Americans earning three silvers (1987, 1995 and 1999), and a bronze medal (1991).

Hoosiers In The Pan American Games
Coach Bob Knight, 1979
Mike Woodson, 1979
Ray Tolbert, 1979
Isiah Thomas, 1979
Keith Smart, 1987
Dean Garrett, 1987
Damon Bailey, 1999
Todd Lindeman, 1999
D.J. White, 2007

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Happy 27th Birthday Jessica Simpson!

Jessica Simpson on December 31, 2003 wearing her FedEx Orange Bowl patch -"Get the patch!"- which is one of the best marketing ideas to ever come out of South Florida, because for a one-time fee, you get access to a number of interesting events for either free or at a discounted fee. http://www.orangebowl.org/
I've purchased one each year since returning to South Florida from the DC area and have never regretted it, and consider it money well spent, something which can't be said about 95% of the things that happen in local government.
That's why we'll soon have a vote to make in January regarding property tax rates, and the local municipalities which have grown more profligate in their spending, even while giving the public less bang for the buck.

The photo above was at the 2004 Orange Bowl Beach Bash at Hollywood Beach, four miles away from SouthBeachHoosier HQ in Hallandale Beach, the night before the U-M Hurricanes hard fought 16-14 victory over FSU.
Jess sung the national anthem before the OB Game, as she did the next day at the Sugar Bowl Game as well.
As it happens, Pizza Hut's one-woman promotion machine Jess wasn't the only entertainment that night at the beach, as the beautiful and beguiling Roselyn Sanchez of CBS' Without A Trace, http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0761052/ also performed -though I think that was before she had joined that show which has been a favorite of mine since it first aired. I was impressed albeit embarrassed that I didn't know of Roselyn's singing prowess.

Towards the end of the evening, Jess appeared onstage alone and sang a few songs, after which then-hubby Nick Lachey sang a couple of somgs, followed by the predictable duo efforts. The thousands that packed the beach that night -along with millions of cameras!- young singles as well as large families, seemed very pleased at seeing them in the flesh.
For photos of that particular night's events, please see the great photo gallery that WireImage.com has on their fantastic website, a website I check every other day to keep up on what's what:

Photo: Peggy Sirota
Article is at http://men.style.com/gq/features/slideshow/v/070105SIMPSON

As it happens, that year's event was the year before the never-to-be-forgotten scene recorded for posterity in MTV's Newlyweds show, http://www.mtv.com/ontv/dyn/newlyweds-nick_and_jessica/series.jhtml , a guilty pleasure of mine that I never missed, where the sold-out crowd at the USC-Oklahoma ballgame booed little sister Ashlee during the halftime show like it was going out of style.
No doubt you're already familiar with it from the video being played like only a thousand times a day for the first week after it happened.
Naturally, Ashlee had been singing at The Bash the night before.

This past January was quite a disappointment since the Orange Bowl Beach Bash in Hollywood was cancelled for the lack of $75,000 and some common sense at Hollywood's ethically-challenged city hall.
Or as a peaved reader put it December 31st in the Miami Herald's Outburst section of the paper:
"In the corrupt city of Hollywood the commissioners are considering giving $6 million worth of land for free to their developer crony ex-commissioner Ken Gottlieb and his . . . partner, former city employee, Cynthia Berman-Miller another downtown insider. . . . but they can't find $75,000 to help vendors and businesses on Hollywood beach to have the Hollywood beach bash?''

Sadly for everyone in this part of South Florida, since this is one of the best events of the year, Hollywood's powers-that-be decided that Hollywood wouldn't host the annual Bash, usually one of the highlights of the year for me, and instead, the OBC had it down on Biscayne Blvd., north of Venetian Causeway, making it a 'Fan Fest' instead of a 'Beach Bash."
It was absurd: Who wants to drive to downtown Miami on a holiday?
Especially if you're a college student staying in a hotel near a Broward beach?

I only wish that this event had existed when I was growing up here in the '70's, so my friends and I could've gone to the beach and seen the pomp and celebratory moods of the great Nebraska, Oklahoma, Alabama and Notre Dame teams of that era, along with some top-flight musical acts, since rock bands that were stadium acts seldom came south of Tampa or Orlando because the City of Miami would not allow bands to play at the Orange Bowl.

Usually, the excuse of the Beach Bash affords me the opportunity to see a few visiting media friends of mine, in town to cover either the OB game, and/or whomever the Dolphins might be playing that particular week.
Mostly, but not always, to talk and relax and sample some music & sun while we ruminate endlessly about the latest personal news, and share our latest take on sports, politics and the passing scene.
Or how my Hoosiers will fare once the Big Ten basketball season starts that same month.
So among the victims of this event being cut this year was the endless discussion/autopsy of the Nick Saban situation among these friends of mine.
As many if not most of you would know by now from my past posts, for me, Nick Saban leaving the Dolphins for the University of Alabama is "addition by subtraction," the proof of one the greatest sports maxims in existence.
Good riddance!
Miami Herald
Letter to the Editor: Issues and Ideas
Party crippled park
January 7, 2007

Margaret Pace Park is a welcome sliver of green oasis in a neighborhood overwhelmed by construction mayhem. On any given day you can find families clustered around the picnic tables, pickup games of soccer, basketball, volleyball and tennis all going on at the same time. Small children swarm over the jungle gym. But not this past holiday weekend.

Washington Mutual and the city of Miami teamed up to erect 10-foot chain-link fences, in place on Saturday morning when the neighborhood woke up and went to the park. The entire park was taken over from Saturday morning until Tuesday for Monday's eight-hour Orange Bowl Fan Party. Is this the best use of a city park for an entire holiday weekend?

Suggestions for the future:
* Leave half the park open to the purpose for which it was constructed -- public use. Turn only a portion of it over to a pricey event.
* Leave the park open for most of the weekend and do the setup on the day of the event.
* Any event held in a public park should be free to the public.
* Don't hold a big event like this in a small park, which prevents the neighborhood from enjoying its only open green space.

Note to Washington Mutual: You won yourself no friends in the Edgewater District.


Copyright (c) 2007 The Miami Herald
Miami Herald

December 19, 2006
By Todd Wright

The raucous atmosphere inside Nat's Beach Cafe last year rivaled that of the frenzied scene in the FedEx Orange Bowl game, owner Nat Dorman recalled.
His Hollywood beach restaurant, which specializes in Philly cheese steak subs, was packed wall to wall with tourists and college football enthusiasts who traveled from across the country to attend the bowl game and the annual Orange Bowl Beach Bash.
Visitors spent money, chanted fight songs and flashed team colors.
The same scene played out for many of the businesses and vendors along the beach and the Broadwalk.
But now all owners can do is reminisce.
Hollywood city leaders decided they couldn't afford the $75,000 Beach Bash price-tag in a tight budget year. So, the Orange Bowl Committee picked up its signature event and moved it to Miami.
When Hollywood sat down to hammer out the details, "they weren't able to make the commitment that we needed,'' said Jeff Purinton, spokesman for the Orange Bowl.
"It was a combination of that and Miami really being interested in doing it.
''The move south could spell bad news for some Hollywood beach vendors and businesses who look forward to bowl time as one of their most profitable periods of the year.
"It was one of the biggest nights of our business,'' Dorman said. "We were packed every night. The connection was great. It really meant a lot to us and it's going to hurt not having it this year.
''The event, renamed Fan Fest, will be held Jan. 1 in Miami's Margaret Pace Park. The game is Jan. 2.
Hollywood had hosted the event five out of the past six years.
Last year, more than 15,000 people showed up to meet the teams playing in the Orange Bowl, participate in a family-friendly carnival, and attend the concert, which often is headlined by a popular musical act.
This year, platinum rap recording artist Lil Wayne is scheduled to perform.
Hollywood commissioners were faced with the dilemma of raising taxes or cutting services to balance its 2007 budget.

At public hearings, residents demanded a lower tax rate, so commissioners decided to "trim the fat.'' That included funding for special events such as the Orange Bowl Beach Bash.
The city normally budgeted between $60,000 and $85,000 and the beach Community Redevelopment Agency chipped in about the same amount.
The Orange Bowl Committee wanted the city to spend a little more on the event, for staging, promotions and other expenses. Commissioners were hoping to scale back.
"The Orange Bowl was asking for bit more than we had expected,'' Mayor Mara Giulianti said. "They were pushing for a decision at a point in time where we didn't feel like we could make a commitment.''
The Orange Bowl has not cut all ties with the city, but losing the heavily attended Fan Fest has put a damper on many of the beach business owners' holiday cheer.

The Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa still will host one of the teams participating in the Orange Bowl this year and will do so for the next five years.
Still, vendors and the city will miss the exposure from having such a large national event that attracts so many tourists, business leaders said.
The Beach Bash was "an investment'' that helped many of the beach T-shirt shops, ice cream parlors and restaurants that line the Broadwalk, said Audrey Joynt, a prominent beach business leader.
Along with the thousands of tourists who wouldn't otherwise come to Hollywood, national media outlets following the teams and music stars had an opportunity to see what the city had to offer, she said.
"I know the city doesn't have money but I don't understand why they didn't have the CRA put in more or something to keep this,'' Joynt said. "I think it is a real benefit to the whole city."
To lose the event to save a few dollars was a little short-sighted.''

Copyright (c) 2006 The Miami Herald

Monday, July 2, 2007

FAQ's on Florida's Open Government Laws

First discovered this wonderful resource on Attorney General Bill McCullom's office website - http://myfloridalegal.com/ - which much like like the one I later discovered at
http://myfloridalegal.com/sunshine , proved invaluable prior to some recent visits to Hallandale Beach city hall, where I sought some reasonable answers to some nagging questions of interest to my two blogs, South Beach Hoosier and Hallandale BeachBlog,

(To keep up with the latest Consumer news coming out of the AG's office in Tallahassee, you can subscribe to the Attorney General's weekly Electronic Newsletter, which I started receiving about two months ago. You'll be pleasantly surprised.)

I suspect that for many of you, this information may prove somewhat helpful in discerning just what civic-minded folks like you can -and can't- obtain from the myriad state, regional and city goverments and independent agencies who ostensibly work for us, not themselves, though that wasn't the case with the City of Miami.

In my particular case, as I've mentioned in previous posts on Hallandale Beach Blog, being Hallandale Beach, despite my best hopes, I hit a series of rather predictable and proverbial brick walls in the form of official buckpassing and obfuscation, when what I was entitled to was some cooperation and transparency, to say nothing of accountability, from city employees who draw their paychecks from me and the rest of this town's residents.

In the long run, though, as you'll soon see, that will prove to be a very costly mistake to a few
officials in Hallandale Beach, who, even as I write this, have no idea how soon their life is going to get turned upside-down and become MUCH more complicated than they ever bargained for.

All by the simple infusion of some well-placed doses of "sunshine" and "law."
FAQ's on Florida's Open Government Laws

The following questions and answers are intended to be used as a reference only -- interested parties should refer to the Florida Statutes and applicable case law before drawing legal conclusions.
Q. What is the Sunshine Law?
A. Florida's Government-in-the-Sunshine law provides a right of access to governmental proceedings at both the state and local levels. It applies to any gathering of two or more members of the same board to discuss some matter which will foreseeably come before that board for action. There is also a constitutionally guaranteed right of access. Virtually all state and local collegial public bodies are covered by the open meetings requirements with the exception of the judiciary and the state Legislature which has its own constitutional provision relating to access.
Q. What are the requirements of the Sunshine law?
A. The Sunshine law requires that 1) meetings of boards or commissions must be open to the public; 2) reasonable notice of such meetings must be given, and 3) minutes of the meeting must be taken.
Q. What agencies are covered under the Sunshine Law?
A. The Government-in-the-Sunshine Law applies to "any board or commission of any state agency or authority or of any agency or authority of any county, municipal corporation or political subdivision." Thus, it applies to public collegial bodies within the state at both the local as well as state level. It applies equally to elected or appointed boards or commissions.
Q. Are federal agencies covered by the Sunshine Law?
A. Federal agencies operating in the state do not come under Florida's Sunshine law.
Q. Does the Sunshine Law apply to the Legislature?
A. Florida's Constitution provides that meetings of the Legislature be open and noticed except those specifically exempted by the Legislature or specifically closed by the Constitution. Each house is responsible through its rules of procedures for interpreting, implementing and enforcing these provisions. Information on the rules governing openness in the Legislature can be obtained from the respective houses.
Q. Does the Sunshine Law applies to members-elect?
A. Members-elect of public boards or commissions are covered by the Sunshine law immediately upon their election to public off ice.
Q. What qualifies as a meeting?
A. The Sunshine law applies to all discussions or deliberations as well as the formal action taken by a board or commission. The law, in essence, is applicable to any gathering, whether formal or casual, of two or more members of the same board or commission to discuss some matter on which foreseeable action will be taken by the public board or commission. There is no requirement that a quorum be present for a meeting to be covered under the law.
Q. Can a public agency hold closed meetings?
A. There are a limited number of exemptions which would allow a public agency to close a meeting. These include, but are not limited to, certain discussions with the board's attorney over pending litigation and portions of collective bargaining sessions. In addition, specific portions of meetings of some agencies (usually state agencies) may be closed when those agencies are making probable cause determinations or considering confidential records.
Q. Does the law require that a public meeting be audio taped?
A. There is no requirement under the Sunshine law that tape recordings be made by a public board or commission, but if they are made, they become public records.
Q. Can a city restrict a citizen's right to speak at a meeting?
A. Public agencies are allowed to adopt reasonable rules and regulations which ensure the orderly conduct of a public meeting and which require orderly behavior on the part of the public attending. This includes limiting the amount of time an individual can speak and, when a large number of people attend and wish to speak, requesting that a representative of each side of the issue speak rather than every one present.
Q. As a private citizen, can I videotape a public meeting?
A. A public board may not prohibit a citizen from videotaping a public meeting through the use of nondisruptive video recording devices.
Q. Can a board vote by secret ballot?
A. The Sunshine law requires that meetings of public boards or commissions be "open to the public at all times." Thus, use of preassigned numbers, codes or secret ballots would violate the law.
Q. Can two members of a public board attend social functions together?
A. Members of a public board are not prohibited under the Sunshine law from meeting together socially, provided that matters which may come before the board are not discussed at such gatherings.
Q. What is a public record?
A. The Florida Supreme Court has determined that public records are all materials made or received by an agency in connection with official business which are used to perpetuate, communicate or formalize knowledge. They are not limited to traditional written documents. Tapes, photographs, films and sound recordings are also considered public records subject to inspection unless a statutory exemption exists.
Q. Can I request public documents over the telephone and do I have to tell why I want them?
A. Nothing in the public records law requires that a request for public records be in writing or in person, although individuals may wish to make their request in writing to ensure they have an accurate record of what they requested. Unless otherwise exempted, a custodian of public records must honor a request for records, whether it is made in person, over the telephone, or in writing, provided the required fees are paid. In addition, nothing in the law requires the requestor to disclose the reason for the request.
Q. How much can an agency charge for public documents?
A. The law provides that the custodian shall furnish a copy of public records upon payment of the fee prescribed by law. If no fee is prescribed, an agency is normally allowed to charge up to 15 cents per one-sided copy for copies that are 14" x 8 1/2" or less. A charge of up to $1 per copy may be assessed for a certified copy of a public record. If the nature and volume of the records to be copied requires extensive use of information technology resources or extensive clerical or supervisory assistance, or both, the agency may charge a reasonable service charge based on the actual cost incurred.
Q. Does an agency have to explain why it denies access to public records?
A. A custodian of a public record who contends that the record or part of a record is exempt from inspection must state the basis for that exemption, including the statutory citation. Additionally, when asked, the custodian must state in writing the reasons for concluding the record is exempt.
Q. When does a document sent to a public agency become a public document?
A. As soon as a document is received by a public agency, it becomes a public record, unless there is a legislatively created exemption which makes it confidential and not subject to disclosure.
Q. Are public employee personnel records considered public records?
A. The rule on personnel records is the same as for other public documents ... unless the Legislature has specifically exempted an agency's personnel records or authorized the agency to adopt rules limiting public access to the records, personnel records are open to public inspection. There are, however, numerous statutory exemptions that apply to personnel records.
Q. Can an agency refuse to allow public records to be inspected or copied if requested to do so by the maker or sender of the documents?
A. No. To allow the maker or sender of documents to dictate the circumstances under which documents are deemed confidential would permit private parties instead of the Legislature to determine which public records are public and which are not.
Q. Are arrest records public documents?
A. Arrest reports prepared by a law enforcement agency after the arrest of a subject are generally considered to be open for public inspection. At the same time, however, certain information such as the identity of a sexual battery victim is exempt.
Q. Is an agency required to give out information from public records or produce public records in a particular form as requested by an individual?
A. The Sunshine Law provides for a right of access to inspect and copy existing public records. It does not mandate that the custodian give out information from the records nor does it mandate that an agency create new records to accommodate a request for information.
Q. What agency can prosecute violators?
A. The local state attorney has the statutory authority to prosecute alleged criminal violations of the open meetings and public records law. Certain civil remedies are also available.
Q. What is the difference between the Sunshine Amendment and the Sunshine Law?
A. The Sunshine Amendment was added to Florida's Constitution in 1976 and provides for full and public disclosure of the financial interests of all public officers, candidates and employees. The Sunshine Law provides for open meetings for governmental boards.
Q. How can I find out more about the open meetings and public records laws?
A. Probably the most comprehensive guide to understanding the requirements and exemptions to Florida's open government laws is the Government-in-the-Sunshine manual compiled by the Attorney General's Office. The manual is updated each year and is available for purchase through the First Amendment Foundation in Tallahassee. For information on obtaining a copy, contact the First Amendment Foundation at (850) 224-4555.

John Edwards model behavior on cover of Mens Vogue magazine; Les Habs & Tracey Geffin

Photo by Annie Leibowitz

Was running some errands last Thursday afternoon before we were scheduled to be hit with a so-called "wave" of rain that all of the local South Florida TV weather talking-heads had been predicting ominously for days, but which took its sweet time in showing up.
I stopped off at the Publix supermarket here in Hallandale Beach on Hallandale Beach Blvd., east of me towards the beach, a store that is so polyglot that even during the slow and steamy days of summer, they still carry the main 6-8 Montréal and Toronto daily newspapers, in English & French, along with their usual American cousin suspects.

I bought some of the Montréal papers last March, the day after #5, Bernie "Boom-Boom" Geoffrion of Les Habs died, when Le Journal de Montréal, had a beautiful color 8'' X 11'' glossy photo of the beloved Hall of Famer, the day after his jersey was to be raised to the rafters of the Belle Centre, which is, to say the least, no "Fabulous Forum."
In many ways, his wife Marlene tied together all the generations of Montréal hockey fans, because of her father, legendary Habs superstar Howie Morenz, her marriage to Bernie as well as her link to post-exapnsion NHL thru her son Danny, who was good enough to have been the Canadiens first round draft choice in 1978, at age 20, playing in the NHL for 3 years.

I was surprised -pleasantly so- to see that the best hockey story that I've read in years on hockey's neverending hold on Montréal was a story in le Journal, http://www2.canoe.com/jdem/abonnement/index.html/ by the player I most loved to watch and cheer for in the mid-to-late '70's, when his long hair flowed like the proverbial Stanley Cups a la Belle Province: The Flower, Guy LaFleur.

I can still recite that championship Habs roster as easily as I can roll off the Dolphins' Super Bowl championship teams, in part because so many of their players achieved such great success off-the-ice as head coaches and general managers with other teams, as well as the Canadiens.
I will try to find that article of his and run it in the future, because it was so insightful and heartfelt that I actually found myself getting teary-eyed reading it in the original French.
I suppose that sounds a little crazy to read in print, but trust me, when you read it for yourself, you'll see exactly what I mean.
LaFleur's article gets to the heart of what it means to be both a French-speaking player and fan in Montréal.
If you're not already familiar with it, a really great hockey blog, with a Montréal Canadiens-orientation is called, not surprisingly, http://wwwrealitycheckeyesontheprize.blogspot.com/
It's written with a lot of insight and understanding in the ways of the Canadiens and their fans, who while not "long-suffering" like Cubs and Red Sox fans, still have an obvious anxious gene that is not found in quite so many of the devout fans of other hockey teams.
(It's sort of like how Dolphin fans felt in '75 and '76, wondering what had happened to the methodical planning and execution they'd become used to, suddenly seeing -more often than not- other teams doing that, namely the Steelers and Raiders, and seeing something unrecognizable in the aqua, ornage and white Dolphins: road losses to the Oilers and late
collapses against so-so teams that you're used to beating nine times out of ten.
That's when the anxious gene really kicks in!)
The blog also consistently has great photos and illustrations, and really speaks to someone who knows the history of the NHL and the Habs in particular.

(When I run the LaFleur story in the future, I'll also explain how and why it came to be that a guy growing up in North Miami Beach came to root for the Canadiens, have a subscription to The Hockey News and have a large classic Canadiens bumper sticker near his bedroom sports wall, right near the team photo of the undefeated 1972 Dolphins.
Part of this can be chalked up as simply another ripple of the Tracey Geffin Effect.
That was my nickname, once I got to IU, for the small but subtle ways that I noticed I'd changed for the better while at North Miami Beach Senior High School, NMBHS, as a result of all my time around Tracey Geffin, my cool, stylish and urbane not-to-mention adorably gorgeous friend and classmate from Montréal.
I sat next to Tracey everyday for two and a half years, at the same large desk in the front row of our home room class at NMBHS, which was always our French class, my favorite class.
That class room, with the passionate and enthusiastic Pearl Chiari at the helm, was one of the best learning experiences of my life, due in large part to the fact that, simply put, "Pearl" was one of the best teachers Dade County ever had.
This simple fact was proven by her being named Dade County "Teacher of the Year" once I was at IU, though it was hardly news to any of Pearl's past students, who were very motivated to do well in large part because of all the hard work they saw her put into making it easier for us to learn French and assimilate aspects of French culture.
While yours truly eagerly fled the state of Florida entirely and headed north to beautiful Bloomington, in search of a place where logic and reason held sway, Tracey went down to Coral Gables and the U-M, for both undergrad and law school, becoming a terrific attorney in South Florida like her talented and brilliant younger brother and sister who followed her, Alan & Samantha. More on Tracey & Pearl in the future.)

Obviously, because of the heavy NY/NJ/CT influence on this area, this particular Publix also receives more than the normal amount of copies of the New York Times, The New York Post and the New York Daily News -sometimes it seems like they have more than Ft. Lauderdale Airport- which is good for a newspaper junkie like me.
If only they got the Boston Globe, Baltimore Sun or Philadelphia Enquirer, but you can't have everything, I suppose.

Eventually I found my self over near the magazine area, and what do you know but I found "Mr. Two Americas" peering at me on the newstand from the cover of Mens Vogue, and not just anywhere on the newstand, but in a nice neighborhood there, too, situated right next to the Robb Report, "For the Luxury Lifestyle." Yes, even on newstands, John Edwards enjoys a bit of a charmed life.
But lest you think that he's going to wax rhapsodic, no, the headline assures us that -ironic in light of recent events- he's going to talk about yes, "his wife's battle with cancer, taking on the terrorists, and his surge in the polls."
But apparently not on why he can stand up to terrorists but NOT appear on FOX News.
Frankly, after seeing the magazine myself and perusing it, I wonder if seeing this at an airport newstand is what got under Ann Coulter's skin the other day, when she was blindsided by Elizabeth Edwards by the master manipulator Chris Matthews, who preposterously claimed something along the lines of ""we've got a caller to the show..."

Yeah, on a show that never has call-ins, guess who decided to place a "spontaneous" call and immediately got through. That's normal!

If you didn't already know from my earlier posts, I was a VERY early supporter of John Edwards in 2002, even before the WaPo's Style section immortalized him and his wife Elizabeth, with a front page story that hit you right in the gut and read like it had been written by edwards publicists.
I even voted for Edwards in the 2004 FL primary, just months after moving here from Arlington, because of my own personal experiences in Washington with John Kerry's wading pool shallowness, overwhelming smugness and faux glibness and intelligence.

In short, my Edwards vote stemmed as much from my great desire to keep Kerry as far away from real power as possible as for anything Edwards said or did, though he did have certain innate gifts and strengths that other Dem candidates didn't possess.
As some SBH readers know, after seeing him up close and personal many times and hearing
horror stories from two women I had dated who'd each previously worked for Kerry's senate office, we all ended up voting for Bush 43 in the general election, our first time voting Republican for president.

I've since turned on Edwards -with a vengeance!- but still receive the Edwards campaign's daily email because it's so unintentionally funny and reeks of desperation.
I'm a DLC-er, a longtime Bill Richardson supporter from 1990, but I also strongly support the war, despite Bush's poor execution of it, so... despite the fact that he's far from perfect, Fred Thompson is more likely to be getting my vote in 2008 unless something completely unexpected happens.
(Like Richardson finally becoming the smart, charming and persuasive candidate that I know he can be, complete with a Clintonian Sister Souljah moment of clarity where he rips into someone in a nano-second on policy grounds.)
But I'm not holding my breath.


In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation

In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation
"In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation." -South Beach Hoosier, 2007

#IUBB, #bannersix

#IUBB, #bannersix
Assembly Hall, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana; Click photo to see video of Straight No Chaser's version of Back Home Again In Indiana, 2:37
The South Florida I Grew Up In

Excerpts from Joan Didion's Miami, 1987, Simon & Schuster:

In the continuing opera still called, even by Cubans who have now lived the largest part of their lives in this country, el exilo, the exile, meetings at private homes in Miami Beach are seen to have consequences. The actions of individuals are seen to affect events directly. Revolutions and counter-revolutions are framed in the private sector, and the state security apparatus exists exclusively to be enlisted by one or another private player. That this particular political style, indigenous to the Caribbean and to Central America, has now been naturalized in the United States is one reason why, on the flat coastal swamps of South Florida, where the palmettos once blew over the detritus of a dozen failed booms and the hotels were boarded up six months a year, there has evolved since the early New Year's morning in 1959 when Fulgencio Batista flew for the last time out of Havana a settlement of considerable interest, not exactly an American city as American cities have until recently been understood but a tropical capital: long on rumor, short on memory, overbuilt on the chimera of runaway money and referring not to New York or Boston or Los Angeles or Atlanta but to Caracas and Mexico, to Havana and to Bogota and to Paris and Madrid. Of American cities Miami has since 1959 connected only to Washington, which is the peculiarity of both places, and increasingly the warp...

"The general wildness, the eternal labyrinths of waters and marshes, interlocked and apparently neverending; the whole surrounded by interminable swamps... Here I am then in the Floridas, thought I," John James Audobon wrote to the editor of The Monthly American Journal of Geology and Natural Science during the course of an 1831 foray in the territory then still called the Floridas. The place came first, and to touch down there is to begin to understand why at least six administations now have found South Florida so fecund a colony. I never passed through security for a flight to Miami without experiencing a certain weightlessness, the heightened wariness of having left the developed world for a more fluid atmosphere, one in which the native distrust of extreme possibilities that tended to ground the temperate United States in an obeisance to democratic institutions seemed rooted, if at all, only shallowly.

At the gate for such flights the preferred language was already Spanish. Delays were explained by weather in Panama. The very names of the scheduled destinations suggested a world in which many evangelical inclinations had historically been accomodated, many yearnings toward empire indulged...

In this mood Miami seemed not a city at all but a tale, a romance of the tropics, a kind of waking dream in which any possibility could and would be accomodated...
Hallandale Beach Blog

Hallandale Beach Blog is where I try to inject or otherwise superimpose a degree of accountability, transparency and much-needed insight onto local Broward County government and public policy issues, which I feel is sorely lacking in local media now, despite all the technological advances that have taken place since I grew-up in South Florida in the 1970's. On this blog, I concentrate my energy, enthusiasm, anger, disdain and laser-like attention primarily on the coastal cities of Aventura, Hollywood and Hallandale Beach.

IF you lived in this part of South Florida, you'd ALREADY be in stultifying traffic, be paying higher-than-necessary taxes, and be continually musing about the chronic lack of any real accountability or transparency 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, work-ethic mentality that citizens here deserve and are paying for.

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, Hallandale Beach is where even the easily-solved or entirely predictable quality-of-life problems are left to fester for YEARS on end, because of myopia, lack of common sense and the unsatisfactory management and coordination of resources and personnel.

It's a city with tremendous potential because of its terrific location and weather, yet its citizens have become numb to its outrages and screw-ups after years of the worst kind of chronic mismanagement and lack of foresight. On a daily basis, they wake up and see the same old problems again that have never being adequately resolved by the city in a logical and responsible fashion. Instead the city government either closes their eyes and hopes you'll forget the problem, or kicks them -once again- further down the road.

I used to ask myself, and not at all rhetorically, "Where are all the enterprising young reporters who want to show 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.
Someone who wanted questions answered in a honest and forthright fashion that citizens have the right to expect.

Hallandale Beach Blog intends to be a catalyst for positive change. http://www.hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/

Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower, between beach and A1A/South Ocean Drive

Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower, between beach and A1A/South Ocean Drive
Hallandale Beach, FL; February 16, 2008 photo by South Beach Hoosier

Hollywood in Cartoons, The New Yorker

Hollywood in Cartoons, The New Yorker
"Gentlemen, I am happy to announce that as of today we are closing down our Washington news bureau and moving the entire operation to L.A."

Hollywood in Cartoons, The New Yorker

Hollywood in Cartoons, The New Yorker
"O.K., so I dig a hole and put the bone in the hole. But what's my motivation for burying it?"

Hollywood in cartoons, 10-21-06 Non-Sequitur by Wiley, www-NON-SEQUITUR.COM

Hollywood in cartoons, 10-21-06 Non-Sequitur by Wiley, www-NON-SEQUITUR.COM
The Magic of Hollywood: A motion has been put forth that we should seek to create rather than imitate. All in favor of killing this silly notion, nod in mindless agreement...

Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins
South Beach Hoosier's first Dolphin game at the Orange Bowl came in Dec. 1970, aged 9, a 45-3 win over Buffalo that propelled them into their first ever playoff appearance.

Sebastian the Ibis, the Spirited Mascot of the University of Miami Hurricanes

Sebastian the Ibis, the Spirited Mascot of the University of Miami Hurricanes
Before going to my first U-M game at the Orange Bowl in 1972, a friend's father often would bring me home an extra 'Canes game program. That's how I came to have the Alabama at U-M game program from Nov. 16, 1968, which was the first nationally-televised college football night game in color. (A 14-6 loss to the Crimson Tide.) After that first ballgame against Tulane, as l often did for Dolphin games if my father wasn't going, I'd get dropped off at the Levitz parking lot near the 836 & I-95 Cloverleaf in NMB, and catch a Dade County Park & Ride bus, going straight to the Orange Bowl. Onboard, I'd get next to the window and listen to WIOD's pre-game show on my Radio Shack transistor radio. A few times, I was just about the only person onboard besides the bus driver, which was alright by me. Once at the Orange Bowl, if I didn't already have a ticket, I'd buy a game program for myself and one or two for friends or teachers before heading to the ticket window, since you usually couldn't find a program vendor once inside. I probaly had a friend or my father with me for just under 40% of the U-M games I ever went to, but you have to remember that the team, though blessed with several talented players, like Chuck Foreman and Burgess Owens, was just so-so to average at best, and the games were usually played on Friday nights, so it wasn't exactly high on everyone's list of things to do. Depending upon the opponent, if I was alone, I'd often have entire areas of the Orange Bowl to myself. (Wish I had photos of that now!) For instance, I had a good portion of the East (open) End Zone to myself against Oklahoma in the mid-70's, when the Boomer Schooner and the Schooner Crew went out on the field after an Oklahoma TD, and the Schooner received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty from the refs, as would happen years later in an Orangle Bowl Classic game. (Against FSU?) I was there for the wins and losses under Pete Elliott, Carl Selmer & Lou Saban, and the huge on-field fight in '73 when under eventual national champion Notre Dame (under Ara Parseghian), they called a time-out with less than a minute to go, and already up 37-0. Their rationale? To score another TD and impress the AP football writers; final score 44-0. Well, they got their wish and beat Alabama 24-23 for the title at the Sugar Bowl. A year later, thanks to my Mom's boss, she and I saw Ara's last game as head coach of the Irish in the Orange Bowl Game from the East End Zone -in front of the Alabama cheerleaders!!!- in an exciting 13-11 Notre Dame win over Alabama and Bear Bryant, a rematch of the '73 national title game. I was also present for the U-M's huge 20-15 win under Pete Elliott against Darrel Royal's Texas Longhorns, the week Sports Illustrated's College Football preview issue came out with Texas on the cover, below. I was also present for lots of wins against schools called College of the Pacific, UNLV and Cal-Poly San Luis Obsispo, which I'd then never heard of before.

Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders, April 28, 2007

Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders, April 28, 2007
Photo by Mario J. Bermudez. April 28, 2007 at Dolphins NFL Draft Party at Dolphin HQ, Davie, FL

Of cheerleaders past and present

Given South Florida's unique version of the melting pot -con salsa- demographics and mindset, these women in the photo above are surely what most South Floridians would consider attractive women. But for this observer, who's spent hours & hours at IU cheerleader tryouts and who has known dozens of cheerleaders -and wannabes- in North Miami Beach, Bloomington, Evanston and Washington, D.C., the whole time I was watching these members of the Dolphins' squad perform, I couldn't help but compare them and their routines to those of some IU friends of mine who ALWAYS showed true Hoosier spirit & enthusiasm. Sitting at my table right near the stage and still later, while watching the long lines of Dolphin fans of all ages waiting to snap photos of themselves with the cheerleaders, I couldn't help but think about those friends who always left me and other Hoosier fans feeling positive & optimistic. Was there anyone I saw in Davie who possessed these valuable intangibles: the dancing precision of IU Red Stepper -and Captain- Gail Amster, my talented and spirited Phi Beta Kappa pal from Deerfield (IL), who always sat next to me in our Telecom. classes as we took turns entertaining the other; the ebullient spirit & energy of two Hoosier cheerleaders -and captains- from Bloomington, Wendy (Mulholland) Moyle & Sara Cox; the hypnotic, Midwestern, girl-next-door sexiness of Hoosier cheerleader Julie Bymaster, from Brownsburg; or, the adorable Southern girl-next-door appeal of former Hoosier Pom squader Jennifer Grimes, of Louisville, always such a clear distraction while sitting underneath the basket? Nope, not that I could see. But then they were VERY tough acts to follow!!! And that's not to mention my talented & spirited friends like Denise Andrews of Portage, Jody Kosanovich of Hammond & Linda Ahlbrand of Chesterton, all of whom were dynamic cheerleaders -and captains- at very large Hoosier high schools that were always in the championship mix, with Denise's team winning the Ind. football championship her senior year when she was captain -just like in a movie. That Denise, Jody & Linda all lived on the same dorm floor, just three stories above me at Briscoe Quad our freshman year, was one of the greatest coincidences -and strokes of luck for me!- that I could've ever hoped for. You could hardly ask for better ambassadors of IU than THESE very smart, sweet and talented women. In a future SBH post, I'll tell the story of one of the greatest Hoosiers I ever met, the aforementioned Wendy Mulholland, the Bloomington-born captain and emotional heart of the great early '80's IU cheerleading squads, and the daughter of Jack Mulholland, IU's former longtime Treasurer. The acorn doesn't fall far from a tree built on a foundation of integrity & community service! (After he retired, Mr. Mulholland was the first executive director of the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County. I used to joke with Wendy that her dad's name was the one that was permanently affixed to the bottom of my work-study checks for years, while I worked at the Dept. of Political Science's Library, first, at the Student Building in the old part of campus, and then later, after it was refurbished, in magnificent Woodburn Hall, my favorite building on campus.) In that future post, I'll share some reflections on Wendy's great strength of character and personality; my intentions of returning to Bloomington a few weeks before Fall '82 classes started, so I could help Wendy train and work-out to rehab her knee, so she'd feel confident in trying-out for the squad again, following a bad knee injury that'd left her physically-unable to try-out for the squad the previous spring, a big disappointment to those of us who cared about both Wendy and the team; my incredulity at, quite literally, running into Wendy while walking down a sidewalk one afternoon a few years later in Evanston, IL, when we were astonished to discover we were both living there, with me trying to hook on with a Windy City advertising agency, and Wendy then-attending Kellogg (KGSM) at Northwestern, right when the WSJ had named Kellogg the #1 Business School in the country. I'll also share a story about Wendy performing a true act of kindness towards me in 1982, when I was having a real emergency, and she went above-and-beyond what I had any logical reason to expect. Yet, Wendy, along with her very helpful dad, Jack, came through for me when I was in a very bad time crunch. I've never forgotten Wendy's kindness towards me, and her true Hoosier spirit. There's NOTHING I wouldn't do for Wendy Mulholland.

It's All About "The U"

It's All About "The U"
South Beach Hoosier's first U-M football game at the Orange Bowl was in 1972, age 11, against Tulane in the infamous "Fifth Down" game. In order to drum up support and attendance for the U-M at the Orange Bowl, that game had a promotion whereby South Florida kids who were school safety patrols could get in for free IF they wore their sash. I did. Clearly they knew that it was better to let kids in for free, knowing their parents would give them money to buy food and souvenirs, perhaps become a fan and want to return for future games. The ballgame made an interesting impression on The New York Times, resulting in this gem from the "View of Sport" column of Oct, 14, 1990, labeled 'Fifth Down or Not, It's Over When It's Over.' -"In 1972, aided by a fifth-down officiating gift in the last moments of the game, Miami of Florida defeated Tulane, 24-21. The country and the world was a much different place that fall because The New York Times took time and space to editorialize on the subject. ''Is it right for sportsmen, particularly young athletes, to be penalized or deprived of the goals for which they earnestly competed because responsible officials make mistakes? The ideal of true sportsmanship would be better served if Miami forfeited last week's game.' South Beach Hoosier hardly needs to tell you that this was YET another New York Times editoral that was completely ignored!

The issue I took with me the night of U-M's 20-15 upset of #1 Texas at the Orange Bowl

The issue I took with me the night of U-M's 20-15 upset of #1 Texas at the Orange Bowl
College Football, Texas No. 1, Hook 'em Horns, Sept. 10, 1973. Living in North Miami Beach in the '70's, my Sports Illustrated usually showed up in my mailbox on the Thursday or Friday before the Monday cover date. And was read cover-to-cover by Sunday morning.

The Perfect Storm

The Perfect Storm
U-M QB Ken Dorsey, Miami Hurricanes Undefeated National Champions 2001, Jan. 2002

Miami's Romp in the Rose

Miami's Romp in the Rose
Miami running back Clinton Portis, Jan. 7, 2002

Why the University of Miami should drop football

Why the University of Miami should drop football
June 12, 1995


Steve McGuire and Miami Overpower No.1 Notre Dame, Dec. 4, 1989

How Sweet It Is!

How Sweet It Is!
Miami Whips Oklahoma For The National Championship, Pictured: Dennis Kelleher, Jan. 11, 1988

My, Oh My, Miami!

My, Oh My, Miami!
Steve Walsh and the Canes Stun FSU, Oct. 12, 1987

Why Is Miami No. 1?

Why Is Miami No. 1?
QB Vinny Testaverde, Nov. 24, 1986

Miracle In Miami

Miracle In Miami
The Hurricanes Storm Past Nebraska, Halfback Keith Griffin, Jan. 9, 1984

Special Issue: College Football

Special Issue: College Football
The Best Passer, George Mira of Miami, Sept. 23, 1963

1984 College & Pro Spectatcular

1984 College & Pro Spectatcular
A Pair Of Aces: U-M QB Bernie Kosar & Miami Dolphin QB Dan Marino, Sept. 5, 1984

Pro Football Hall of Fame Special Issue

Pro Football Hall of Fame Special Issue
Dan Marino, Class of 2005, Aug. 2005


A Portfolio by Walter Iooss Jr., Ricky Williams, Miami Dolphins, Dec. 9, 2002

Coming Back

Coming Back
Jay Fiedler rallies Miami to a last-second win over Oakland, Oct. 1, 2001

Dan's Last Stand

Dan's Last Stand
At 38 and under siege, Dan Marino refuses to go down without a fight, Dec. 13, 1999

The War Zone

The War Zone
In the NFL's toughest division, the surprising Dolphins are on top, Lamar Smith, Dec. 11, 2000

Down and Dirty

Down and Dirty
Jimmy Johnson's Dolphins Bury The Patriots, Steve Emtman, Sept. 9, 1996

The Sunshine Boys

The Sunshine Boys
Now Playing in Miami: The Dan Marino and Jimmy Johnson Show, May 11, 1996


Miami loves Pat Riley but wants to give Don Shula the boot, Dec. 11, 1995


Which of today's stars are locks for the Hall of Fame? Dan Marino for sure. But who else? To find out, we polled the men who do the voting. Sept. 14, 1995

Sportsman Of The Year

Sportsman Of The Year
Don Shula, Dec. 20, 1993

Dan The Man

Dan The Man
Dan Marino Saves The Day For The Dolphins, Jan. 14, 1991

Dangerous Dan

Dangerous Dan
Dan Marino Passes Miami Into The Super Bowl, Jan. 14, 1985

Super Duper!

Super Duper!
Wide Receiver Mark Duper Of The Undefeated Dolphins, Nov. 19, 1984

Air Raid! Miami Bombs Washington

Air Raid! Miami Bombs Washington
Mark Clayton (burning Darryl Green) Sept. 10, 1984

Rookies On The Rise

Rookies On The Rise
Dan Marino: Miami's Hot Quarterback, Nov. 14, 1983

New Life In The WFL

New Life In The WFL
Warfield, Csonka and Kiick of Memphis, July 28, 1975

Zonk! Miami Massacres Minnesota

Zonk! Miami Massacres Minnesota
Larry Csonka, Jan. 21, 1974

Pro Football, Miami Is Rough And Ready

Pro Football, Miami Is Rough And Ready
Larry Csonka & Bob Griese, Sept. 17, 1973

Miami All The Way

Miami All The Way
Bob Griese, Jan. 22, 1973

It's Miami and Washington

It's Miami and Washington
Mercury Morris Speeds Past The Steelers, Jan. 8, 1973

Kiick and Csonka, Miami's Dynamic Duo

Kiick and Csonka, Miami's Dynamic Duo
Larry Csonka & Jim Kiick, Aug. 7, 1972

Sudden Death at Kansas City

Sudden Death at Kansas City
Miami's Garo Yepremian Ends the Longest Game; (kneeling) placekick holder Karl Noonan, Jan. 3, 1972

New Pro in a New Town

New Pro in a New Town
Miami's Frank Emanuel, Aug. 8, 1966

Old-style "Obie" the Orange Bowl Committee mascot

Old-style "Obie" the Orange Bowl Committee mascot
The iconic image I grew-up with in Miami, before FedEx got into the picture