HALLANDALE BEACH - By Mayor Joy Cooper - There is so much that makes Hallandale Beach a great place to live, visit and to work in
I hope all of our readers had a great holiday weekend. It is wonderful to see many of our part-time residents arriving from up north. I know many people look at the season and only think traffic. In life, there is always some good and bad mixed. The super majority of residents know that the season marked the beginning of the prime race season and the beginning of our seasonal economy. Many of our local businesses depend on the influx of our snowbirds to come and enjoy our beaches, stores and restaurants.
My family and I have lived in Hallandale full time for 26 years and before that owned property for over 32. I, like many residents will tell you that we have always had traffic. I remember the Diplomat Mall and even the original Diplomat Hotel. I am sure many also remember “Schmatta Row” where the real deals were found. It is funny how often while there will always be change, some things remain the same.
I had a wonderful chance over the election to speak with Peter Bluesten’s daughter, Norma, who lives in Hollywood. She talked about the history of her family, our city and the “The Digest.” Her father started the paper. It was a sad day when money mismanagement and theft ruined the paper. It was amazing that a couple of employees pulled together and started a new paper. They became the South Florida Sun Times. I reassured her that even though Peter Bluesten Park will be receiving a much-needed expansion and make over history and the name will be preserved.
It is also great to still have a local newspaper, which continues to keep all of our residents informed on events and the newsmakers within our tremendous community.
Larry Blustein, Peter’s nephew, remains as a lead columnist and editor. Larry is also an icon and has created his own history and legacy. Reporting both in print, on radio and on TV he has continued to cover high school sports. Larry is very low key and does not take to the spotlight. Ask anyone within our community who has worked with Larry over the years and all will tell you what a huge asset he is to Hallandale Beach. He is easily one of the fairest media people we have - always promoting and applauding our residents and commission.
When Arnold Lanner was Mayor of the City, it was Larry who made sure that the name of City Park was changed to reflect what his uncle did in the over the 40 years that he and his family lived and worked in this community.
In all of the years that I have known Larry, I really never knew the great things that he had accomplished - here and across south Florida. I had a chance to get to know more about him recently and his other passions. He was just inducted into Broward County Sports Hall of Fame for his commitment to covering high school sports. He has personally played a large part in making sure that over 10,000 students received college scholarships - many Hallandale High students are in that group. A few weeks ago, he was recognized by our City with his very own day. Something that everyone on our commission recognized and applauded.
It did not take to long for my predictions after the elections to regretfully ring true. Which meant a bitter holiday for two of our fine professional staff, City Manager Rosemond and City Attorney Lynn Whitefield. Seconds after the installation of a new commission, Vice Mayor Keith London was appointed and then protocols for special meetings were cast away. It did not take long, but seconds after the swearing another special meeting was scheduled to discuss the City Manager and City Attorney’s contracts.
Not only was it scheduled with less than 12 hours’ notice. Not illegal, but certainly not in the best interest of public involvement. While it is obvious two commissioners attained their third vote to fire and make sweeping changes, the question arises for what end? For power or for the people? Being on the commission and having experience with over 5 City Manager separations. The majority on good terms and all equitable. I understand the issues clearly on litigation between employees.
Litigation as most business minded people know is the worst position. In most cases, the attorneys are the winners and in the City’s case, any costs and settlements will cost our taxpayers. I had asked that the commission at best reconsider taking immediate action. They did not take my advice and I guess at the possible peril of the themselves and the City.
The City Attorney and the City Manager do serve at the pleasure of majority vote of the commission. They have contracts. These contracts are established for both the protection of the employees and employer. In the past, typically these agreements are honored since there needs to be legally sufficient proof “for cause.” Grandstanding and intimidation are not the way to save the City money. In my observations during these employee’s tenures, I have yet to see a finding “for cause.” This is the other reason for a contract. As professionals, they can be fired due to politics, not performance.
I will continue to keep all of our readers updated!
Please remember to shop local!!
As always please feel free to contact me anytime with your questions/concerns and ideas at my office: (954) 457-1318. On my cell/text at: (954) 632-5700. Or e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.