Saturday, May 31, 2008

South Florida transit issues and govt. agencies relative usefulness

It's been mentioned more than a few times to South Beach Hoosier by recipients of his emails, that he ought to strongly consider using parts of those past emails as building blocks to buttress certain public policy points he's tried to make in the past on the blog.

Up 'till now, I've largely resisted the urge, but today, I thought this one might actually be of enough interest to you all to make posting it worthwhile, so that you might learn what I've learned about some Florida government agencies that are part of the planning process governing transit, but which rather than taking a pro-active approach and being an example of good management -aren't.
It's an excerpt of an email to Gabriel Lopez-Bernal over at Transit Miami, one of the most influential blogs in South Florida for a reason, even if I don't necessarily share their political viewpoint on an everyday basis. But even when I disagree with what they say, there's usually something to be learned.
Dear Gabriel:

Started this email last weekend but decided to wait 'till after Memorial Day to send it along.
Earlier this week, I watched the WGN-TV noon newscast and saw their up-close camera shots of the CTA derailment the same day it happened, and also saw how damn impressive the neighborhood Chicago Fire/EMT response was -one minute.

People living in the immediate neighborhood said that in riding the El the day before the accident, the track seemed "loose" in the same exact spot as where the derailment took place. Can't vouch for whether that's a fact or someone saying something provocative to get attention.
(Temps were in the mid-50's, so unlikely a joint/heat expansion problem.)

The top CTA administrators are really angry because this is the third one since April 21st, and it occurred while the CTA is waiting to hear how much money the state legislature in Springfield is going to give the CTA.

Saturday May 30th, 2008

Dear Gabriel:

From my perspective, long story short of this latest Minneapolis Star-Tribune account of policy and process under a legal microscope after a disaster: there but for the grace of God goes the Sunshine State.

I strongly suggest you run a link to this story at your Transit Miami blog so that folks around the state, with an interest in transit and public policy, might be able to read this for themselves and imagine how this'd be handled here.

Frankly, though I've written about transit issues, esp. as they apply to Broward County and the SFECC, as well as the Broward County Charter Review Comm., it just seems a much more natural fit for your blog than mine at South Beach Hoosier or Hallandale Beach Blog.

The insightful Star-Tribune reader comment below about the DFL-friendly law firm being brought in by the MN state legislature to try to undermine NTSB results, sounds 100% plausible to some savvy, politically-connected Dem friends of mine up there, who are rarely wrong about this sort of thing. (As opposed to their sports analysis and predictions!)

Maybe it's just me, playing the role of cynic, but I can totally picture both Dan Gelber and Steve Geller trying pull something like that off here, too, perhaps with Ron L. Book involved for good measure, too.
You know him, he likes to be a 'party' to everything important -sometimes against even himself.
Just something to think about.

(Also, in case you've forgotten, the Republican Nat'l. Convention will be at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul the first week of September, exactly one week after the DNC is held in Denver.
Do per the article below, expect a spate of stories on the 35 W bridge come August, right after the Olympics in Beijing.)

As I mentioned to you recently when you gave me a call, in the near future, I'm planning on querying the FDOT Secretary, Stephanie Kopelousos, and find out whether or not she's EVER planning on being somewhere in South Florida where citizens, esp. those with an interest in transit, like you and me, can actually ask her some non-softball questions, rather than the sort of convivial industry forums, govt. official-only chat fests or ASCE events that her agency seems to prefer.

For instance, take a look at what I found when I checked the archives of the Gold Coast Chapter of the Institute of Transportation Engineers at

Curious what you'd find when you go to the link at the bottom, titled, The State of Transportation in Broward County? I was.
(The URL is in case the link below is dead when you go to it.)

Answer: An invitation to their New Year's Eve Italian Dinner Party!
On January 12th.

To her credit, in a new and very fair-minded Florida Trend profile of her by Cynthia Barnett, Kopelousos claims that she's anxious to change the way things are done at FDOT, and bring them firmly into the 21st century.

(But the article also points out her weaknesses, the most obvious being her non-engineering background, which, apparently, has always been a predicate for the top FDOT job.)

Those positive qualities notwithstanding, where's the proof that this is resulting in any tangible positive changes for South Florida?

While I appreciate that more than most state agencies, FDOT is, necessarily, decentralized, in my opinion, despite her short tenure and clear aptitude for hard work and long hours, given
the sheer amount of hard work that's required down here, I think she's got a lot to answer for. Not least of all, being practically M.I.A. for South Floridians like you and me -and the folks who read our blog posts, here and around the state.

So where's the interaction with taxpayers who aren't engineers and public officials?

(As it happens, I think I actually ran into Kopelousos a few times while I was up in Washington and she was working for the late Rep. Tillie Fowler, whom I always found to be a real straight shooter, just like Rep. Charles Bennett had been earlier for the Jacksonville area when I moved to DC. )

The other day, largely as a result of the foolish actions in Miami regarding the Miami River, and the common sense of the Charles Lewis commentary, If the Miami River is really dead, why do the bridges go up?

After reading that, I decided it was about time I made plans to attend the next meeting of the South Florida Regional Planning Council.

Well, turns out that it's Monday at their Hollywood HQ.
So naturally I was curious if they'd put up an agenda for Monday on their website, since the meeting was Monday, the next day they were open.
Maybe get familiar with any staff reports in pdf., so I can better follow the proceedings while I'm there.

Do I really even have to tell you that when I pulled up the web page that was supposed to have agendas, it was largely blank. (At least as seen on my computer.)
Or that their website itself seems like it was put together by not-too-bright ninth-graders?

Call me old-fashioned, Gabriel, but that's really NOT my idea of proper planning.
It's also NOT my idea of wisely spending taxpayer dollars, either.

Trust me, I'll make a point of mentioning all these things at the meeting.

Minneapolis Star-Tribune
MnDOT missed opportunities to note bridge flaws, study finds

By Mike Kaszuba, Star Tribune
May 21, 2008

Reader comments are at:

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Sydney Pollack's Hoosier Roots

Sydney Pollack went to South Bend's Central High School, the real-life "big" school opponent that Gene Hackman's "Hickory" team had to play at the climactic end of Hoosiers, based on Milan High's famous David-over-Goliath upset of them in 1954.

As I note near the top of South Beach Hoosier, since the day I started it:
"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 Hickory basketball team before the title game against South Bend Central in Hoosiers,

Late tonight, at 3 a.m., TCM is airing one of my favorite films of his,1975's Three Days of the Condor

"A CIA researcher uncovers top secret information and finds himself marked for death," with Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway and Cliff Robertson.

Please also see John Young's remembrance of Pollack at Variety:
Sydney Pollack dies at 73, Multihyphenate won Oscar for 'Out of Africa' and
Variety's video retrospective at:

excerpt from South Bend Star-Tribune

Renowned director Pollack dies at 73, Hollywood icon grew up in South Bend, graduated from Central High School.

"...Pollack graduated from South Bend Central High School, where he developed a love of drama. Throughout his long career, he credited his director at Central High, the late James Lewis Casaday, for making an artistic life beyond his blue-collar town seem possible.

Instead of going to college, Pollack moved to New York and enrolled at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theater. He studied there for two years under Sanford Meisner, who was in charge of its acting department, and remained for five more as Meisner’s assistant. He also served 21 months in the U.S. Army.

After appearing in a handful of Broadway productions in the 1950s, Pollack turned his eye to directing. Before settling into the film industry, Pollack directed television series, including “Ben Casey” and “The Fugitive.”

Although Pollack has no relatives still living in South Bend, he occasionally visited the area.

“I didn’t dislike South Bend,” Pollack said in a 2002 Tribune interview. “I understand that it’s gotten much more culturally oriented. At the time I was there, there was really nothing outside of what Mr. Casaday did. “I want people to see things the way I did when I was a kid growing up watching movies,” Pollack said just prior to a 1977 trip to South Bend. Pollack was the guest of honor at the Indiana premier of his film “Bobby Deerfield” as part of the 1977 grand opening festivities for Century Center..."

Saturday, May 24, 2008

If BCS football format is bad, Women's NCAA Softball tourney is worse; NCAA LAX

Since everything on network TV Friday night was repeats, and I couldn't get excited about the Giants at Marlins game featuring 0-8 starter Barry Zito, I spent most of the evening watching the Penn-Duke Women's NCAA Lacrosse Semifinal game up in Towson, MD at Johnny Unitas Stadium on CBS College Sports, Channel 610.

It was the second D-1 Semifinal game of the night, following Northwestern's impressive 16-8 win over Syracuse earlier in the evening, which I caught the tail end of. Northwestern clearly deserves to be ranked number one in the country based on the three Wildcat games on TV I've seen so far this year on ESPNU.

Plus it clearly helps recruiting a bit when you win the NCAAs three years in a row and are marching towards your fourth!

I really wish NU's beautiful and cozy lacrosse stadium in Evanston, near the northern part of campus, right off Lake Michigan had been there when I was living there.

Though I could be wrong, I think it's actually located right where I used to sit at a picnic table writing colorful and impassioned letters to my friends around the country in those pre-email days of the mid-'80's, right when Kellogg (KGSM) was named by the Wall Street Journal as the #1 Business School in the country.

Those were heady days in Evanston, what with Kellogg's new found notoriety, plus the town of Evanston having recently consented to a McDonald's within township limits, but with strict provisos included, like bistro tables each with a small flower arrangement instead of the regular McDonald's tables, and NO take-out allowed.

The off-duty Chicago cops they had work there were guys with muscles on top of muscles = no funny business.

It was great to be able to go there late on a Friday night/Saturday morning with friends and not worry about somebody coming into the place and causing a scene.

During the timeouts/halftime and commercial breaks of the Penn-Duke match, I went down a number on my remote control to ESPNU and caught bits and pieces of the California-Florida NCAA Super-regional Softball tourney being hosted in Gainesville.

Having so recently heard and read so much nonsense in the area when the BCS schools met at the Westin Diplomat three weeks ago to discuss, among other things, a BCS football playoff taking too much out of the kids and them missing too much school, I heard the ESPNU commentators say that because the Cal Golden Bears don't really have a home field, per se -which is weird to contemplate- they played something like 53 of their 68 season games on the road, though obviously, most of those were games in Cali or the Left Coast.
But still...

To demonstrate that the Bears weren't afraid of playing the top-seeded Gators in Gainesville, someone even dropped a knowledge nugget that Cal's been on the road for the past four weeks. Four weeks!
Isn't someone afraid of how much the travel will take out of them and how much classroom instruction they'll miss? Guess not.

And yet those lil' factoids weren't the ones that really left me slack-jawed Friday night, something South Beach Hoosier rarely if ever is, absent the sight of one of his longtime favorites, like, well, you know who I mean.
Because of the rain situation in the Gainesville area, one of the commentators said that it was important that they get that game -Game #1 of the tourney- played and out of the way, otherwise, should all the games be washed out, Florida advances based on being the highest seed.

That being the case, in retrospect, I guess it was a good thing that the Ga. Tech basketball arena was available during the SEC basketball tourney when the tornado hit downtown Atlanta a few weeks back and caused damage to the arena where the SEC tourney was being held, so Dennis Felton's Georgia Bulldogs could show such great heart and spirit in playing and beating Arkansas, lest Arkansas have advanced due to their being the higher ranked.

For highlights of the two Semifinals, see and

Saturday the 24th at Noon on CSTV is encore telecast of Women's Semifinal game #1, Syracuse-Northwestern.
Following that game at 2 p.m. is the repeat of Women's Semifinal game #2, Penn-Duke

The way the Quakers kept their cool and came from behind to win in the second overtime on Rachel Manson's goal to beat a very talented -more talented?- Duke team was pretty damn impressive.
It was certainly not something we've seen the likes of in South Florida for quite some time, given the general ineptness of the Dolphins, Hurricanes and Heat the past two years, with few gut-check wins against very good teams to their credit.

That said, it's hard to see how Northwestern's larger and faster team won't be at quite an advantage when they play for the title on Sunday night at Stade Johnny U.
But I'll be watching anyway, hoping for a close game thru three-quarters of the match.
At that point, it's all about sheer talent and physicality.

Sunday May 25th on CSTV from 7-9 p.m. is the Women's championship game between #1 Northwestern and Penn.

The Quakers beat the Wildcats earlier this season to give them their only loss and also stop their thirty-SOMETHING match winning streak.
And didn't Michael Steadman meet Hope at Penn?
Chicago Tribune
Familiar path Northwestern lacrosse
Bowen's 6 goals put NU back in title match
By Philip Hersh, Tribune reporter
May 24, 2008,1,2050462.story
Saturday at Noon down the dial at Channel 209, ESPN2, the Men's Semifinals from Gillette Stadium in Foxborough begin.

ESPN's excellent lacrosse analyst Quint Kessenich, the former Johns Hopkins goalkeeper, comments on the NCAA tourney so far:

Lacrosse Magazine's analysis and predictions: and

Game # 1, from Noon-2 p.m. is #3 Syracuse vs. #2 Virginia, featuring two Orange-crazy teams.
ESPN's Meredith Galante's analysis of the rematch of the Konica Minolta Faceoff Classic game up at Ravens Stadium, where 11 weeks ago, I watched on ESPN as UVA prevailed 14-13, is here:

Game #2 at 2:30 p.m. is the big one, #1 Duke against defending NCAA champ and #5 seed
Johns Hopkins. I've seen the Blue Jays play about as often as I've seen the Northwestern Women's team, on ESPN,
ESPNU as well as on MASN, the Mid Atlantic Sports network.
MASN, i.e. the Orioles and the Washington Nationals Channel created for the financial benefit of Orioles owner Peter Angelos, is where I watch Tom Davis and Phil Wood every Saturday morning give me the lowdown on what's what baseball-wise in the Baltimore-DC area.

See analysis of Blue Devil-Blue Jay game by John Driscoll at

In case you didn't notice it above, both Duke and Syracuse had the unique distinction of having both their Mens and Women's team make the NCAA Lacrosse Semifinals.
That's damn impressive and something that I wish that IU or the U-M could do that in a sport I cared about, instead of, in the U-M's case, having a Women's athletic program that's light years behind Duke, North Carolina, Maryland and Wake Forest just in the ACC.

More often than not, those four schools annually compete for a national title in either basketball, field hockey, soccer or lacrosse.

A future post here will examine why that's so, and even worse, if possible, why print and TV sports reporters/columnists in South Florida never mention the feebleness of the U-M
Women's teams.

Sorry, individual titles in tennis, while nice, in Audra Cohen's case, don't compensate for being sorry and mediocre in so many team sports, especially when good men's teams had to go buh-bye to make way for Title IX.

Is it too much to hope that they'd be more than mediocre?
Maybe even be entertaining?

Not that it'll affect my rooting interests, but one of my friends back in DC played on the Duke lacrosse team in the early 1980's.

Still, nobody from IU can ever root for Duke.
It's just not done.

My oldest niece's high school in Maryland, Glenelg, just won the Maryland state lacrosse title in both Boys and Girls this past week for their division.
For Glenelg, Perfect EndingsBoys Finish Unbeaten; Girls Are Champs, Too
By Jeff Nelson

Special to The Washington Post
May 21, 2008

Since she'll be going to college this fall back in the state I used to live in, Virginia, I'm going to predict a UVA-Johns Hopkins Mens final on Monday afternoon.

That'll be on ESPN from 1-3:30 p.m.

Miami Herald
FSU president: College football playoff inevitable
Posted on Fri, May. 16, 2008
AP Sports Writer

GRAPEVINE, Texas -- Here's a ray of hope for college football fans bummed by the recent rejection of the plus-one model to determine a national champion.

The president of Florida State not only believes a playoff is coming, he thinks it'll start with four teams, then grow to eight and eventually 16.

"The bottom line is the money, unfortunately, is going to drive the train," FSU's T.K. Wetherell said. "The 12th game, right now, is solving the problem. The reason there is a 12th game in football is the money. People may not want to admit that, but that's the facts of the matter."
Wetherell's comments came Friday at the National Football Forum, during a panel discussion of the future of college football. He spoke after the playoff concept was pretty much rejected by Ohio State coach Jim Tressel, Washington coach Ty Willingham, Kansas coach Mark Mangino, TCU coach Gary Patterson, Notre Dame athletic director Kevin White and Army athletic director Kevin Anderson.

"Who is it for?" Willingham asked.

Tressel emphasized scheduling problems that would be taxing for players physically and for their studies. Mangino talked about changes spoiling the fun of bowls.

"If you go to a championship, there's first and second and that's it," Anderson said, a theme Patterson touched on, too, by noting the current system produced 32 bowl winners.

"We have a tournament - it starts the first week in September," White said.

Grant Teaff, executive director of the American Football Coaches Association, spoke up, too, crediting the BCS for record levels of attendance and television ratings.

Getting his say at the very end, Wetherell turned the discussion upside down.

"In my judgment, if you take every argument that's been made today and apply it to any other sport on a college campus, then you'd have to cancel the (College) World Series, the Final Four, the soccer tournament," he said. "If you want to do it, it can be done. ...

"Everybody's going to be sitting here - I don't know, probably not in my lifetime at Florida State - saying, 'You know, we really could move this back. And, by the way, we do play 63 baseball games and we play baseball through two final-exam periods, not one. Somehow, they all seem to graduate and do pretty good. Oh, those basketball players, we have a real problems with academics in basketball, but we seem to play right on through the tournament.'"

Once the problems are solved and the "ungodly amount of money that it will produce" starts rolling in, Wetherell expects everyone decide it's a good thing and want more of it.
"It'll start off with plus-one, then it'll go to four or eight or 16 at some point in time - just like the NCAA (basketball) tournament," he said.

Commissioners from the Bowl Championship Series leagues, plus White, met in Florida two weeks ago and opted to keep their national champion format the same at least until the 2014 season. In doing so, they rejected the plus-one model, which essentially is a four-team playoff. The No. 1 team would face No. 4 and Nos. 2 and 3 would meet, then both winners would square off in a championship game.

Only the Southeastern Conference - whose commissioner, Mike Slive, presented the plus-one plan - and the Atlantic Coast Conference, which includes Florida State, even wanted to keep talking about the new format.

According to Wetherell, schools are happy to stick with the status quo because budgets are padded with money from the 12th game, which was added for the 2006 season.
"We'll spend all that money. We're not going to bank it," Wetherell said. "Then the question will be, 'Where do I get me more money?'"

A playoff will be the logical alternative, Wetherell said.

"And the fight won't be over whether we do it or not anymore," he said during a break following the session. "The fight's going to be on the split. It's going to be a totally different discussion."

Wetherell, who played receiver at Florida State in the 1960s with Bobby Bowden as his position coach, closed his remarks with this prediction: "Now, I don't think it's going to happen this year or next year or whenever. But it is going to happen. No doubt about it."
Let's Talk This Over
Open discussions needed on plus-one model and potential playoff
April 30, 2008
By Trev Alberts
Special to

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Aaron Deslatte adroitly zeroes in on CSX and trial lawyers

There's not much that I can add to this excellent Central Florida Political Pulse blog post and Orlando Sentinel post mortem from Aaron Deslatte on the political aftermath of the Central Florida commuter rail imbroglio, other than that based on what I've read in the Orlando and Tampa Bay newspapers and blogs, there were a lot of supporters of the Central FL commuter train who wondered why there was, apparently, so little discussion among Florida Democratic legislators of pursuing the Amtrak angle months ago.
You know, a credible Plan B?

Central Florida Political Pulse
Trial lawyers and the CSX saga revisited
posted by Aaron Deslatte on May 20, 2008

When Sen. Paula Dockery needed friends to help derail Central Florida's commuter-rail deal, she did something once unthinkable for a Republican legislator: She appealed to the state's trial lawyers.

Dockery was up against a political dream team. Central Florida supporters of commuter rail and Jacksonville-based CSX Corp. had public-relations firms in Tallahassee, Orlando and Tampa. The city of Orlando employed uber-lobbyists Southern Strategy Group.
And two powerful legislators -- Senate Majority Leader Daniel Webster of Winter Garden and Rep. Dean Cannon of Winter Park, in line to be speaker in 2010 -- were leading the charge.

"I couldn't fight them all off. They were attacking from every single angle," said Dockery, who opposed the deal because it meant more freight trains running through her home city of Lakeland.

So Dockery seized on a little-noticed element of the $650 million deal...

For the rest of this story go to:
More from Deslatte on the above story along with some great graphics -and reporting of the sort that you never saw on this issue on local South Florida TV:

Cash & Threats: How trial lawyers wielded new power to help block commuter rail at,0,1130274.story

Prior Orlando Sentinel stories on the Central Florida commuter rail plan are at:,0,3785419.storygallery
and well worth checking out if you're at all interested in mass transit in Florida. _______________________________________
Also see this story on the SFECC:
Treasure Coast planners all aboard plan to draw passenger train service
By Derek Simmonsen
April 19, 2008

Monday, May 19, 2008

Why did Pellicano conviction get so little attention?

Posted this on Hallandale Beach Blog on Friday, May 16, 2008
What gives?

ABC News Nightline did an interesting segment on Anthony Pellicano and his practices back on April 4th, and yet didn't even mention the conviction in passing last night.

It seems like everyone in the national media is groggy/jet-lagged/sleepwalking, and already on summer vacation judging by their attention span.

Locally, I guarantee that nothing about the Ben Kuehne story will be mentioned by South Florida media over the weekend.
The Miami Herald has run nothing on the Kuehne situation since April 19th.

If you didn't already know it, Julie Kay of the South Florida Daily Business Review is easily one of the top ten reporters in South Florida.

Yet, sadly most people have never heard of her, even while Channel 10's Dwight Lauderdale, who is retiring next week after 32 years at WPLG, is being given huzzahs and props for simply staying put so long.

Nice guy to be sure, but nobody can point to any actual reporting he's done in eons that's made a tangible difference.

It's bewildering.

I say that as someone who grew-up down here with him and the late Ann Bishop at Channel 10, when they had the number one news program in the state -by far!_______________________________________________
Defamer gets it just right!

Remembering Anthony Pellicano: The End is as Good as it Gets

New York Observer
Vanity Fair's Burrough: 'Everyone in Hollywood Got an Advance Copy of That Article'
by Matt Haber
April 7, 2008

Los Angeles Times
Private eye to the stars is guilty
By Carla Hall and Tami Abdollah
May 16, 2008,0,5288725.story?track=ntothtml

See also:
LA Observed
Anita Busch links Pellicano and Times
By Kevin Roderick

New York Times
Investigator to the Stars Is Convicted in Wiretaps
By David M. Halbfinger

Associated Press
Hollywood Private Eye Convicted in Wiretap Scheme
By Greg Risling
May 16, 2008
The National Law Journal
Miami Criminal Defense Group Rallies to Embattled Attorney's Cause
Julie Kay
May 16, 2008

See also:

Chelsea Clinton channels 2007 Julie Hamlin -no campaigning on federal property!

Came across this small news story regarding Chelsea Clinton campaigning on federal property in Puerto Rico while scouring the Washington Post online Saturday afternoon while watching the first two games of the NCAA Men's Lacrosse tourney on ESPNU.

(I took particular note of how tenacious the UVA Cavaliers were in coming back to beat the Maryland Terps 8-7, with 31 seconds left in overtime in their quarterfinal game in Annapolis, their second game in a row won by one goal, after defeating UMBC 10-9 last weekend.

Next up for UVA, Syracuse in the Saturday 12 Noon semi-final up in Foxborough, with top-seeded Duke taking on Johns Hopkins in the 2:30 game, a rematch of the 2007 and 2005 NCAA title games, both of which the JHU Blue Jays won.
They've already sold over 40,000 tickets for next weekend's game; hope there's no rain!)

See for highlights and analysis

The story and the principle behind the Chelsea story made me recall my Hallandale Beach Blog post of March 12, 2007, below, regarding Julie Hamlin and a friend of hers campaigning for city commission votes in the U.S. Post Office branch off of Hallandale Beach Blvd. and Layne Blvd., while I was in line. If only I'd had my digital camera with me then!
Election Day picks; Julie Hamlin's campaign tactics

Hamlin went on to place third in the March 2007 Hallandale Beach City Commission race for the two seats available that went to Keith London and William Julian. London led the way with 1,077 votes, Julian placing second with 942 voyes, and Hamlin edging out Hallandale Beach native and community activist Terri Dillard for third place, 759-695.

Chelsea Clinton denied access in Vieques
The Associated Press
Wednesday, May 14, 2008

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- The U.S. Navy has denied Chelsea Clinton permission to campaign for her mother on a former bombing range on a small Puerto Rican island.

Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign wanted to use the land Wednesday as a setting to discussthe candidate's clean up plan for the region and call to give some areas to local residents.

But Navy spokeswoman Lt. Lara Bollinger said no one is allowed to campaign on federal property.Chelsea Clinton is making her second campaign visit to Puerto Rico in the last three weeks. The U.S. territory has 55 delegates at stake in its June 1 Democratic primary.

The Navy closed the range in Vieques in April 2003 following years of protests after two errant bombs killed a security guard.

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.

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