What's At Stake? This Election Many Issues Are On The Ballot For Hallandale Beach

October 13, 2022

I wrote about the upcoming election a few weeks ago and received many inquiries to what the November election will look like. Many new and long time residents may not be aware of all that is at stake this election, so here is some information to help you. As always, I am available for your questions, concerns and ideas to help make our City a better place, e-mail me at: jcooper@cohb.org.

Here in Hallandale Beach, we have Elections for Commission Seats 1 and 2 and for Charter Amendments. A committee of appointed citizens proposed the Charter Amendments. The Commission approved and supported them with a 5-0 Vote to be placed on the Ballot. Voters should support all these Amendments that improve the governance and operations of our City.

I typically do not get very political in these articles, but Voters really need to understand what is at stake in our City this Election Year. I have already heard many Voters are being misled. Hallandale Beach now has a system of seats. The Commission seats are 1 – 4 and the Mayor's Seat. This year two seats are on the Ballot are: Seat 1 and 2.

Vice Mayor Mike Butler is running for Re-Election in Seat 1. That is not the news. The alarming news is that Keith London is running against him. I will not call it shocking even though Mike was at one time his friend and Former Running Mate. This is the type of arrogant behavior that is typical to Keith. His past cruel behavior against colleagues, business owners and employees may not be known to all new residents. To those of us who know the real truth, there is a reason that London lost his appointed Mayor’s Seat.

He lost because residents had enough! I am writing about this because we all need to not forget this horrific chapter in our City’s History. This is a call to action from Vice Mayor Mike Butler, Commission Michelle Lazarow, Commissioner Anabelle Lima-Taub and myself.

It is hard to imagine that this is taking place but after years of disinformation about corruption, personal attacks against those that called him out or those burned by his reckless actions our City Commission is united in the message about the news. We are all formally and publicly denouncing his attempt to once again fleece our City and misinform Voters. It was an agonizing time for many. The residents united to Vote him out and we all need to unite once more for the wellbeing of our now vibrant Community!

Obviously, I was not on the dais for a year and half and was finally vindicated. Sadly, during that period, the arrogant power-hungry London was even worse. His attacks on Commissioner Anabelle Lima-Taub were despicable. Hallandale Beach made national headlines over anal bleaching. We were slammed with costly Lawsuits that are still hanging over the heads of our taxpayers. One with a price of $5 Million Dollars.

Over the past three years, our City has been moving forward without the shenanigans of years past. We have worked collectively to overcome the bad headlines. Correct a Budget that was fully mismanaged and in 2018 had the lowest reserves in the history of the City. Now we are all fully united to keep him out and protect our City. We need your help to continue the peace that has been brought to our City by empathic, caring and smart leadership.

In other news, it has been brought to my attention that other misinformation is out there regarding our BSO Merger. We all can agree that Public Safety is one of the most important services and duties we perform as Elected Officials. Without Health and Safety, we do not have anything!

When the City Commission Voted 3-2 on the Merger, they were put in a box due to a Pension Lawsuit and collective bargaining. It needs to be noted that the two other Unions, The International Union of Police Associations (IUPA), which is the Police, were negotiating going to FRS (Florida Retirement System) and AFSCME (American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees) already went to FRS. This change did save money all around. In my opinion, it should have and could have happened without the BSO. The BSO’s Contract was all Union and did not have to do with staffing even though the public was led to believe it.

There was a report of an incident with a female Firefighter going into a house during a kitchen fire on her own. What has been left out of this story is there was another Firefighter and the Chief was on the scene. In Fire Response, there are typically multiple trucks responding. She claimed she was told to go in on her own. This is totally against protocol but after a thorough review it became a point of “she said, he said.” As the Chief said, he was behind her while the other officer was running the hose. This Fire Incident created the push to have three Personnel on a truck.

The other incident that has been pointed out from what I can gather, I was not on the dais at the time, was a response to a Heart Attack by a Single Responder. I do not know if the Fire Truck Personnel only had a Certified Driver and one Paramedic. While we do not want any of these types of incidents occurring, they are outliers. There is not one single perfect Department in Broward County and human error is always possible.

Even with the BSO Merger, we had a tragic Incident due to BSO Protocols. There was a call for an Asthma Attack that turned tragic due to the fact the response could not go in. Ironically, people are not sharing this story. Since I have been on the dais, I have only heard good comments and accolades for our wonderful First Responders. It was my understanding our City was to work on Certifications.

I have heard debates over staffing levels for years. We have three on EMS and three on Fire only because of a SAFER Grant. This had nothing to do with the Merger. I also need to share that in a four-square mile City, we have more coverage than other cities with 3 Fire Stations housing Fire and EMS at the Beach, Main Stations and EMS on Three Islands. We still pay for all other related expenses, trucks, stations, equipment for trucks and life saving apparatuses.

The other issue is training. Due to staffing, training hours were interrupted. I am not saying this is not an issue. Training is important. Currently, our Grant is over. We will be losing a position. We will still be in the BSO Contract, while spending $1.2 Million Dollars. If lost, we will go to three on a Fire Truck and two on EMS. I firmly stand with getting out of the contract and stop wasting money on upper management and focus on boots on the ground.

As always, I am available for your questions, concerns and ideas to help make our City a better place. Please feel free to reach out at my office: (954) 457-1318. On my cell/text at: (954) 632-5700. Or E-mail me at: jcooper@cohb.org.