The Only Mayoral Candidate Who's

NOT Under Criminal Investigation

Friday, June 22, 2012

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10 Ways in 10 Days
to Make Hallandale  Beach Government
Better and More Responsive

1.   Create a citizens’ oversight committee to oversee City Commission

The Citizen’s Oversight Committee will provide an important legislative check and balance on the commission.  The committee, in consultation with city residents, will have the power to overturn commission enactments, limit spending, approve land development projects, and weigh in on other issues under consideration by the commission.

This is truly democracy in action.

Committee composition:  Hallandale citizens – including laypeople and professionals spanning a CPA, lawyer, businesspeople, and other citizens who can bring their professional and common sense to bear on the economic, business, budgetary, political, and other areas crucial to proper governance.

2.   Cut city spending by 10% across the board, saving millions of taxpayer dollars.

The budget cuts will come as a result of conducting a line-by-line budget audit to create a lean, not obscene, budget.  We must pare down the over-bloated $100 million budget to make it compatible with the needs of a city the size of H.B.’s 40,000 citizens, residing within its 4.2 square-mile boundary.

3.  Cut tax/millage rate – made possible in part by budget cuts.

4.   Redefine Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) map to realistically reflect CRA’s purpose of redeveloping/rebuilding blighted areas and business districts– and save millions of taxpayer dollars.

The CRA board will consist of Hallandale citizens – culled from each of the city's four geographical sections - who will serve on a rotating basis.  Repeal the ordinance allowing commissioners to sit on the board.

5.   Establish a ‘No-Lobbyist’ policy in City Hall to afford equal access to, and influence on, commissioners for all Hallandale Beach citizens.

Restrict direct contact between commissioners and land development companies and other big ticket vendors who want to do business with the city - including their attorneys, agents, etc.  All direct contacts between the aforementioned development companies and the city shall be in consultation with the Citizen’s Oversight Committee.

6.   Amend the City Charter to allow for term limits to do away with career politicians.

Rather than a limit on the exercise of democratic rights, term limits is the ultimate expression of the people’s right to set and define the form and operational structure of its government.

7.   Sell nine city-owned properties, purchased for almost $30 million without any specific use in mind, to get these properties back on the tax rolls.

Include restrictive covenants that would preclude any land use detrimental to the city’s environment and other quality of life variables.

8.   Work with Comcast/interactive communications companies to develop interactive voting and other remote city forums to encourage citizen participation in city affairs.

9.  Develop and re-develop the city’s blighted business districts with the help of corporate sponsors.

Employing CRA funds, along with state grants and private corporate funding, transform the long-dormant corridors of ‘Shmata Row’ and other former business districts to into thriving commercial centers.  Pattern the development along the S. Dixie corridor after Winter Park’s Park Avenue area.
10.Create a Hallandale Beach Ethics Law, as allowed by the City Charter.

More than just echoing state ethics laws, draft an ethics law custom tailored for Hallandale Beach’s goverance needs.   Let’s make our elected officials really accountable for their actions and/or inactions. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

If Hallandale officials go to jail, who will run the city?

If they all go to jail, who’s going to run the city?

That’s the question many Hallandale Beach residents are asking as the city’s entire city commission, former city managers and other city officials are facing an investigation by the Broward Inspector General’s Office (BIG) for possibly misspending millions of taxpayer dollars. The investigation could result in criminal charges being filed.

At the core of the investigation are millions of dollars in Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) funds – a taxpayer-funded reserve that is supposed to be used to redevelop and improve Hallandale’s blighted and impoverished areas.

Over the past five years, the commission spent more than $28.1 million in CRA funds to purchase nine properties for the city, yet has not enacted plans for how to use eight of the parcels - properties which have since depreciated a staggering $9.1 million. CRA funds also were used to fund a $50,000 low interest, long-term loan to a local newspaper in which Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper writes a weekly column and whose owners each earn six-figure salaries. BIG also is investigating the city’s shoddy bookkeeping practices and other questionable loans made to private businesses.

Commission foes Mayor Joy Cooper and Commissioner Keith London, two of three candidates running for mayor in the November election, are once again pointing fingers at one another. But this time, BIG is looking at the hands of both Cooper and London to see if they were illegally in the city’s cookie jar.

“There are a lot of serious questions that need answering; questions that could lead to criminal charges against the mayor and commissioners,” said Bill Singletary, a Hallandale Beach resident.

While London has pledged to fully cooperate with BIG investigators, Hallandale Beach write-in mayoral candidate, Jay Schorr, says London is as culpable as other commission members who were present and participated in votes to spend CRA monies.

“London thinks that just voting ‘No’ on some of the deals under investigation is a manifestation of his innocence. But if he thought the deals were shady and illegal to begin with, why didn’t he report it to BIG or the State Attorney’s office? When you witness a crime, it’s not enough to say, ‘That’s wrong.’ You’re under an ethical and moral obligation to report it to the proper authorities.”

Other Hallandale Beach residents think there’s plenty of blame to go around for the mayor and each of the commissioners.

“Cooper is knee-deep in the corruption,” said Beverly Bounders, who has lived in the city for 10 years. “There’s always been allegations about her shadowy deeds, but this is the first time an outside investigative agency is actually following up on the allegations.”

Todd Kensington, a former Hallandale Beach resident who now lives in Gainesville, says the commission’s antics are at best, troublesome.

“Just look at Commissioner Anthony Sanders who knew that the city erroneously forgave an extra $7,500 on a property improvement loan he obtained before joining the commission. When apprised of the error, Sanders didn’t offer to give back the money … he asked for an apology from the city for making the error!”

Commissioner Alexander Lewy seemed to take exception at BIG's investigation, saying it was "fishing for information." Apparently someone forgot to tell the commissioner that's what investigative agencies do - investigate.

If criminal indictments are handed down against the mayor and commissioners, this November’s elections – in which the mayoral and two city commission seats are up for grabs – will be thrown into tumultuous uncertainty.

“If any and all of Hallandale’s elected officials are indicted and removed from office, the election takes on a whole new complexity,” said Diane Archer, a Broward political observer. “Eligibility will have to be reassessed and the proverbial can of worms opened.”


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Joy Cooper and Keith London asked to resign immediately from Hallandale city government

‘Their presence is an impediment to effectively running the city,’ says write-in mayoral candidate

HALLANDALE BEACH - Facing possible criminal indictments for illegally spending millions of taxpayer dollars, Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper and Commissioner Keith London have been asked to resign their seats immediately by write-in mayoral candidate, Jay Schorr, and to withdraw from the upcoming mayoral election.

Schorr says that both officials have brought shame to the city, betrayed their constituents, and a cast a pall upon city hall.

“The Broward Inspector General’s Office (BIG) is conducting a major investigation into the entire Hallandale Beach city commission, as well as other city officials past and present, for misusing Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) monies. The investigation could very well result in criminal prosecutions,” he said. “Some of the commissioners are reportedly retaining counsel.”

While London has pledged to fully cooperate with BIG investigators, Schorr says London is as culpable as other commission members who were present and participated in votes to spend CRA monies.

“London thinks that just voting ‘No’ on some of the deals under investigation is a manifestation of his innocence," said Schorr. "But if he thought the deals were shady and illegal to begin with, why didn’t he report it to BIG or the State Attorney’s office? When you witness a crime, it’s not enough to say, ‘That’s wrong.’ You’re under an ethical and moral obligation to report it to the proper authorities.”

Other Hallandale Beach residents agree with Schorr that there’s plenty of blame to go around for the mayor and each of the commissioners.

“Cooper is knee-deep in the corruption,” said one city resident who has lived in the city for 10 years. “There’s always been allegations about her shadowy deeds, but this is the first time an outside investigative agency is actually following up on the allegations.”

“The people deserve better than the morass of lies, cover-ups and excuses that have come to exemplify Hallandale Beach City Hall,” Schorr proffered. “If Cooper and London have one ounce of dignity, they’ll resign immediately for the good of the city.”



Sunday, May 13, 2012

Petition drive seeks to halt Hallandale Beachwalk project

By Tonya Alanez, Sun Sentinel

8:19 p.m. EDT, August 13, 2012

A mayoral write-in candidate is behind a newly launched petition to halt a 31-story hotel/condo overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway that could result in a $65,000 special election.

Beachwalk, a $90 million project with 84 residential units, 216 hotel suites, a small restaurant and a five-story parking garage on Hallandale Beach Boulevard at the southwestern base of the Intracoastal drawbridge, was approved by the city commission in June.

"It's going to be a nightmare on this postage-stamp-sized lot," said Jay Schorr, the write-in candidate who lives on nearby Golden Isles Drive. "Citizens need to know, to be educated, that they have a say in what's being done by their elected officials ... they don't need to sit back and take it."
Video: Watch Broward court TV on live stream video

Schorr, his wife, their 21-year-old son, an 87-year-old aunt and a friend complete the team of five registered Hallandale Beach voters required to set in motion a petition to put a referendum on the ballot. They submitted paperwork to the City Clerk on Thursday to repeal the commission's approval.

They now have until Aug. 21 to gather 2,072 signatures. If successful, it could require a special election that would cost Hallandale taxpayers about $65,000, city spokesman Peter Dobens said.

Although the site isn't zoned for it, commissioners gave special approval for 84 residential units and agreed to let the project move forward with 167 fewer parking spaces than city code requires.

At a June 6 public hearing, residents rooting for the jobs and infusion of money the project would bring outnumbered those bemoaning the anticipated parking woes and congestion.

"I don't have any objections to people exercising the democratic processes afforded to them at all," Mayor Joy Cooper said Monday. "But we've had numerous, numerous public hearings on this item and he's never come forward. I didn't even know he had an issue with it."

Cooper and Commissioner Keith London are vying in November for the center seat on the dais. Schorr, as a write-in candidate, will not appear on the ballot.

Schorr denied that the referendum petition is a political ploy.

"It's only a platform to further my campaign in that I have the interest of Hallandale voters, because I am one, to prevent a project that's going to cause a horrible inconvenience to the city," said Schorr, 54, owner of a communications company.

The "long-run deleterious effects" of the project would be more costly than a special election, Schorr said.

If Schorr gathers the required number of signatures, those names would have to be certified by the Broward County Supervisor of Elections. The City Commission then would have 30 days to repeal their approval for Beachwalk or hold an election, Dobens said.

Because June 8 was the deadline to get anything on the November ballot, it would have to go to a special election, Dobens said.

Reprinted from Sun-Sentinel

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Email from Dan Christensen - Broward Bulldog




Hi, Jay — I sent this note to Margaret this morning, but haven't heard back. Could you please ask her to get in touch asap. Thanks.

Hi, Margaret,

Your husband Jay said I could contact you with some questions I have regarding your coverage of your husband's election race. I imagine he's told you, but I am a reporter with Broward Bulldog. You can see us here:

I understand you worked for the Miami Herald for some period of time. Please tell me the dates, the department you worked for and what you did.

What other jobs with a newspaper or reporting service have you held?

How long have you and Jay been married? Do you have any kids?

How long have you worked for How long have you been writing political stories for them?

Your articles about the mayor's race not disclose to readers that you are married to one of the candidates. Please explain why you chose not to make such disclosure in those articles or in other articles in which you write about your husband.

At one point you interviewed candidate Keith London. Did you tell him Jay Schorr is your husband? If not, why?

Dan Christensen

Thursday, January 19, 2012




I’d happy to answer your questions. First, I think you should read my article from today at Additionally, I’ve got some questions for you concerning your coverage of my coverage of my husband’s election race.

I’m a fan of yours and respect the work you’ve done in the Jenne and court disclosures matters. It is therefore disheartening to see how you’ve gone from such illustrious journalistic endeavors to querying a reporter from a hyper-local online news service about how long I've been married and the number of children, G-d bless them, I've output.

But I guess whatever spins your mouse …

It seems a bit incredulous that you’ve not yet queried London concerning really important matters; matters that have real meaning to the voting public of Hallandale Beach. Issues such as:

Why has London refused to sign the referendum petition after having publicly opposed the Beachwalk project?

Why did London tell his constituents that there “was no option” left for residents to oppose the Beachwalk project when in fact there was a referendum option?

Why did London not report his allegations of wrongdoing by Cooper regarding CRA expenditures to the Broward Inspector General or Broward State Attorney’s Office rather than ask me if I knew anyone who could do it for him?

There are many other issues London needs to clear up. Perhaps you could get him to answer these and other important questions. He obviously talks to you.



Thursday, January 12, 2012

Keith London whines about his negative media coverage; cries to watchdog agency

By Margaret Kessler

What is it about politics that brings out the worst in people? Take Hallandale Commissioner and mayoral candidate Keith London (please!).

Apparently, London is none-too-pleased that his opponent’s wife, yours truly, has the unmitigated gall to write objective, fact–based articles about him. It seems that London, his girlfriend/publicist, or one of his devotees let our friends at know just how displeased Mr. London is with the coverage he’s been receiving from me. Why? Because I’m the wife of his opponent, Jay Schorr, write-in candidate for mayor of Hallandale Beach. After all, everybody knows that a wife can’t be objective about her husband. Hypercritical yes, but never objective.

So when my husband received a call this weekend from Bulldog reporter Bill Gjebre asking him if he thought it was a conflict for his wife to write articles about London, Schorr replied, “As long as the articles are factual and objective, there is no problem unless someone's looking to create one.” (Wink-wink, Keith.) My husband continued, “Last time I read the AP Stylebook, there was no prohibition against nepotistic journalism as long as it's honest and straightforward.”

Sure, my articles about London have been none-too-flattering, but the stories do reflect a factual reality about the ponytailed wonder boy who has all the female hearts aflutter.

When I reported that London had misinformed Diana Drive residents that they had no recourse to repeal the ordinance approving the development deal for the Beachwalk project, it was because he did in fact misinform them, as I learned from eyewitness accounts. London never advised those residents – either out of ignorance or just plain neglect - that a referendum petition could solve their problem.

When I reported that Keith went ‘berserk’ during a phone call with my husband, ranting and raving non-stop for two minutes about how we were “slamming him all over the place,” Mr. London did in fact lose his cool in a most unstatesman-like manner. For that instant, London took on the cantankerous demeanor of his archrival Mayor Joy Cooper, who’s well known for her emotional meltdowns.

And of course, there was the time I reported on London’s calculated move not to report what he thought was criminal wrongdoing by Cooper involving Community Redevelopment Agency expenditures because he feared the allegations would look like they were politically motivated. So instead of following through on his convictions, London asked me if I knew anyone who could file the complaint with the State Attorney’s Office.

The London List goes on and on, much like London. Perhaps if he would answer email inquires from this reporter, which he said he would not do for fear his words could be used against him, we could get his side of the story … any story … with which he takes umbrage (and there are many).

Okay, Keith, here it is: Put up or shut-up. Email me whatever comments you want to make and, provided they’re not obscene or otherwise inappropriate, I will print them in toto. It doesn’t get any fairer or more objective than that.

Like many professional women, I use my maiden name during the course of doing business. It’s an established, accepted practice in the work world that affords women a sense of professional self, apart from their spouses whose surnames they may carry legally. Perhaps London objects to women using their maiden names professionally. Maybe the object of lust of so many of Hallandale Beach’s female voters is a passive-aggressive misogynist.

London has known all along that I am Jay Schorr’s wife. He didn’t seem to mind that fact when I wrote a positive piece about him back in March after he announced his candidacy for mayor. He even sent me a thank you note. Suddenly, now that London’s being called to account for his own actions or lack thereof as a city commissioner, he’s crying foul. Grow up, Keith. Whining is not going to win you the election.

As for the Broward Bulldog, I hope that their reporting is as factual, well-researched, and objective as my stories have been about London. I’ve read Gjebre’s reports regarding the Broward Inspector General's Office investigation of the Hallandale Beach City Commission and city staffers. Bill seems to be an excellent investigative journalist with a fair and balanced approach. He does, however, seem to structure his stories in a way that paint London as the lone White Hat-wearing good guy in Hallandale Beach government. When asked about this by my husband, Gjebre responded, “We have no agenda.”

Let’s hope not. There are already too many agendas in Hallandale Beach. Now how about an agenda of civility?