Video-on-demand finally comes to Broward County Commission meetings

A screen shot of archived video of last week's Broward commission  meeting.

By Dan Christensen
Broward County took a step toward greater government transparency last month with the start-up of a new system of on-demand video for commission meetings and public hearings.

Hallandale city manager’s going away gift of public money to departing commissioner

Hallandale Beach City Manager Renee Miller, ex-Vice Mayor Alexander Lewy

By William Gjebre
Thanks to Hallandale Beach City Manager Renee Miller’s generosity, former Vice Mayor Alexander Lewy collected a tidy gift of taxpayer cash after he quit the city commission last May before his term was finished.

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9/11 “cover up” could collapse as Saudi Arabia restored to victims’ lawsuit, says Bob Graham


By Dan Christensen
With an unusual acknowledgment of a mistake in a high-profile case, a federal appeals court in New York City has restored Saudi Arabia as a defendant in a lawsuit brought by thousands of 9/11 victims, their families and others.

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Broward Commission skips bids, awards 15-year airport food contract to Delaware North


By William Hladky
Bypassing the county’s bidding process, the Broward County Commission earlier this month approved an Aviation Department recommendation to extend for 15 years Delaware North’s grip on food and beverage concessions in terminals three and four at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. The deal means Delaware North could remain in place until as long as 2032.

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Peter Deutsch’s Ben Gamla charter schools win nod for new Hollywood high/middle school


By William Gjebre
Update: Dec. 20 – Former U.S. Representative Peter Deutsch won conditional approval early Friday morning from a key Hollywood board to build a controversial Ben Gamla middle and senior charter high school in a traffic congested neighborhood near City Hall.

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Broward Health commissioner upgrades unpaid post to well-paid lobbyist for hospital district

Clarence McKee, center, with  Gov. Rick Scott and former U.S. Rep. Allen West. Photo: McKee Communications

By Dan Christensen
When Clarence V. McKee quit his commissioner’s seat on the governing board of Broward Health in January, records show he urged his colleagues to keep an eye on consulting contracts doled out by the tax supported public health care system. But less than a month later and without any public discussion by his former colleagues, McKee upgraded his unpaid position to a lobbying contract worth $65,000.

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New push to release censored pages in Congressional report that detail 9/11 link to Saudi Arabia

The skyline of New York's Lower Manhattan and One World Trade Center.

By Jamie Reno
International Business Times
Since terrorists attacked the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, victims’ loved ones, injured survivors, and members of the media have all tried without much success to discover the true nature of the relationship between the 19 hijackers – 15 of them Saudi nationals – and the Saudi Arabian government.

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The nation’s state supreme court judges reveal scant financial information


By Reity O’Brien, Kytja Weir and Chris Young
Center for Public Integrity
Last December, the California Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal filed by a couple who had accused financial giant Wells Fargo & Co. of predatory lending. One justice, who owned stock in the bank, recused himself from the case. But Justice Kathryn Werdegar, who owned as much as $1 million of Wells Fargo stock, participated — and shouldn’t have.

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Leisure parks chain looks to buy Miami Seaquarium, South Florida’s iconic attraction


By John Dorschner
The owner of South Florida’s iconic tourist attraction, the Miami Seaquarium, has had “discussions” about selling to a California-based subsidiary of a Spanish parks operator, but said no final deal has been struck.

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The ‘lobbyist’ is dead; Long live the ‘government relations professional’


By Dave Levinthal
Center for Public Integrity
The lobbyist, like Philip Morris, ValuJet and the World Wrestling Federation before him, died today.
He was 150 years old, give or take a decade, the victim of relentless pejorativation and transmogrification. Naysayers who believed he too often abused the right to petition his government for a redress of grievances hastened his demise.

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Two senators short-circuit Legislature’s plan to audit troubled Hallandale Beach CRA

State Sen. Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood and State Sen. Oscar Braynon II, D-Miami Gardens

By William Gjebre
A Florida Legislature’s joint auditing committee is dropping its inquiry of Hallandale Beach’s questionable use of local redevelopment funds at the urging of two area state senators, one a long-time acquaintance of Mayor Joy Cooper.

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