Keith London to Challenge Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper in November

Categories: Politics
The next mayor?
Hallandale Beach City Commissioner Keith London, who just might be Mayor Joy Cooper's least-favorite person in the world political arena, is set to challenge her in the November mayoral election.

London has previously called out the mayor for spending wastefully, ignoring residents, and avoiding transparency. The two were involved in a somewhat personal spat over public records, in which London dug up records of Cooper and her son getting into car accidents, and she requested to see all of his emails.

"People have been asking me to run for four years," says London, who has taken up the position of the perennial "no" vote on many issues the mayor brings to the table and who says he'll have no problem fashioning his history of dissent into a leadership role.

Cooper, who has served on the City Commission since 1999, is a past president of the Broward League of Cities and the current president of the Florida League of Cities, from which office she's taken on the quixotic task of publicly lobbying for the increased use of red-light cameras.

London says that these positions, which have allowed Cooper to travel across the state and the country representing Hallandale Beach, actually distract from the task of running city government. "We have a mayor that likes to travel all around the country and the state and go to all these meetings and come back with different ideas and suggestions every two to three weeks but never sees anything to fruition. We need to prioritize three, four, or five goals and work on them."

With any luck, we'll get that quote on the record when Cooper yells at London about it at the next commission meeting. Pressed for specific priorities, London is reluctant to identify any so early in the game but floats the example of a mangrove-planting project he's been advocating for the city's waterways.

Does he anticipate any difficulty translating his role as watchdog and contrarian into positive leadership? "No. Not in any way," London says. "The reason is that we would have a plan, and it wouldn't just be Keith London's plan; it would be a plan amongst the commission that represents the people."

Adds the 50-year-old, ponytailed commissioner: "The only time in my life when I've had so much difficulty with somebody that you can't bridge the gaps is with Mayor Cooper."

While the internal workings and seedy allegations in the city would be legendary if only they were better-known, long and boring proceedings -- which London also says he'd like to change -- have discouraged citizens and media outlets from being as involved as they could be. Given the two characters in this mayoral race, though -- and the stable of citizen activists and bloggers that London has rallied to his side over the years -- means this will be one of the county's more exciting races this year.

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Mr. Markoff, to say all that you have about Commissioner London paints his supporters in somewhat of an unflattering light. If he is nothing more than a mere "rabble- rouser" lacking any merit or susbtance, then I guess those of us who support him must be fools. On different occasions, I have met with both the Commissioner and the Mayor. What I garnered from London was an honest answer, albeit not the one I wanted, but honest and straight foward. Cooper, on the other hand, smiled her big tooth grin and promised the moon and stars, but of course, never delivered. She is the true definition of shady politician. Her laughing and snorting  from the dais while kibbitzing with Lewy is juvenile and just flat out annoying. Over the past four years, Commissioner London has fought for transparent fiduciary responsibilty while Cooper and others would prefer to give Antonio a 10,000-15,000 bonus behind closed doors at midnight with no agenda item. She has been managing a 100 million dollar budget for four or more years and I do not see changes worth 10 million let alone 400 million. It is outrageous that with all of that money squandered we are now considering a 50 million dollar bond for new parks. As Commissioner London has said, the parks should have been done already. Where did all of that money go? As he pointed out yet again, to buy over-priced land with no money left to develop on. Over-priced land much of it with no documentation.I would rather be cut off of someone's email list for disagreeing with them than sued. What a message she sent to the residents. Challenge or disagree with me and I will make an example out of you. Her use of the Sun Times as her personal propaganda rag to manufacture the consent of residents is disgusting. Why will they not print anything that challenges or criticizes her? Why is no other elected official allowed to write a column? Who does she think that she is? People are starting to catch on. London has opened our eyes. I am not duped or a lemming over the cliff. I am a taxpaying, long time resident of Hallandale Beach. To keep reducing all criticisms of Cooper as misogyny is ludicrous. She is not disliked because she is a female. She is disliked because she is incompetent. Winning an election because you ran "unopposed" doesn't make you a winner. It only means that no one ran against you."When you trash our commissioners, you trash the residents who put them there." And what exactly is it that you are doing here? "Keith London's supporters as well as his appointments who I have met and worked with are too often exceedingly negative people who too often choose not to be respectful of others." Talk about stereotyping. How many of his supporters have you met and worked with? We can't ALL be bad. I think that I play fair in the school yard.Answer me this. Why must the Mayor talk SO much? Doesn't she realize that she is only one of five votes and not the "boss of anyone"? The meetings would be half the time if she didn't feel the need to show everyone how smart she is speaking EVERY time after someone comments. Keith asks a question to the city attorney and she answers. When London points out that he would like the "attorney to answer". She quips back "Well, he hasn't been here for years".  I didn't know that there was a time limit that makes an attorney more or less qualified to answer a question. She always answers everyone's questions. She accuses him of interrupting when it is she who does that constantly. Anytime anyone asks a question, she needs to answer it. She does feel the need to talk, as he says, "Third, fifth, seventh, ninth..." She loves to hear herself, but we do not feel the same. Who wants to sit in those meetings listening to her drone on an on? No wonder residents aren't more proactive in this community. Who can take her? She needs to go, and once his supporters spread the word to all HB residents, she will be going. Why is it that he is the difficult one because he is the dissenting voice? I like that he is willing to stand alone on so many issues. Why are they automatically right and he wrong? Why would someone subject themselves to that torture if they didn't believe they were right? Is he some kind of Manson-figure who needs a cult of followers to touch the hem of his garment? Really? I doubt it. Besides I like his ponytail and from what I hear the female voters are going to vote for him because he is "hot". That is good enough for me. I will take a "hot" Mayor over a "cold" Mayor any day.

Andrew Markoff
Andrew Markoff

Mr. Kamph, please stop believing anything that you hear or what Commissioner London tells you just because you think it might make a better story. The constant whiff of sexism I read in blog and news column postings I read about Mayor Cooper should be astonishing to anyone. Everyone has their faults, and most city leaders could do better in some areas, but the portrayal of Mayor Cooper in our local papers and on-line postings has been disdainful and disrespectful. She is to blame for allowing some of that without a pro-active ability to get the truth out a lot better, but like much in Hallandale Beach government, I expect that to improve in the near future if she knows what's best for her and city staff can do better in countering the continual negativity fostered by local writers such as yourself in regards to Hallandale Beach. Every male writer for a local blog or paper who addresses Hallandale Beach takes each and every cue from our pony-tailed plunderer of positivity who despises having a woman in charge of the dais instead of him.

London has fancied himself a master at the political attack. He does not care about the Hallandale Beach community and all of its residents. All he cares about is POLITICS. When it comes to environmental reforms and changes in governance and management, his style would be far more appropriate as an ACTIVIST, not a paid city employee elected to represent the city and its better interests and its reputation to investors and to those who wish to move in and purchase property. According to London, everyone should abandon ship and stay away. He's succeeded over the years in getting local reporters and bloggers such as yourself to aid him in that effort.

While you portray Mayor Cooper as yelling at Commissioner London and London acting as a watchdog, you have failed to investigate on your own a little deeper. The reformations that have occurred in the most recent years were at the behest of motions made on the commission dais by those other than Keith London. That includes taking decisive action in replacing the former city manager who London had basically harassed on the dais but against whom London had never taken any decisive action. No real action is ever taken other than his disdain continually emanating from his seat on the dais during meetings and his sullen, lone "no" votes even on items he had previously purported to champion, such as each and every ethics protocol the rest of the commission had implemented.  That is because the constant stirring of dissent is all that he is willing to master as an elected official.

Keith London is an extraordinarily rude man who will not even say 'hello' to either his fellow commissioners or to residents who he has decided he doesn't like, let alone haven't worshiped him the way those who read his emails do. Those who believe he is championing their interests because of the often falsely-portrayed commission meetings as described in his emails too often never actually take the time to watch the meetings he writes to them about. If anyone questions Commissioner London's emails, the he simply cuts those individuals off of his email list and stops even acknowledging them. His rudeness during commission meetings can be stunning. At least the police officers who are assigned to the chambers since he had attempted to filibuster meetings are grateful for the entertainment London provides at each meeting when he throws his inevitable hissy fit, which often involves him getting up and leaving. There has yet to be another commissioner who voices or exhibits any problem with Mayor Cooper as Chair.

What any city needs is a Mayor as well as commissioners who know how to be respectful and to be polite. Keith London continually dwells on mistakes made by the commission and the former city manager years ago, but Mayor Cooper, the rest of the commission and the current city manager continually focus on how our government is improving its operations, how it intends to do so in the near future, and they focus on our city's continuing potential. Hallandale Beach has plenty of that, as well as relatively sound financial footing.

The city has found an excellent CRA director, has a new city clerk and is continuing to add to city staff for improved operations and a continually improving reputation. While the commission and the manager had found some staff positions to be needing improvement as well as the need to create a new position here and there, London and his "no" votes have been absolutely determined to portray the city as FIXED in position from times past before specific improvements had been implemented. Such improvements are and should be continual. London would rather that you didn't notice them.

Hallandale Beach as well as anywhere else needs a Mayor who knows how to be polite, who can care about others- even those unlike themselves- and who can demonstrate respect- even for those with differing views. Mayor Cooper's failures in those regards have at times been laughable, though for the vast majority of the time she strives to be professional. But I'll take laughably inappropriate behavior on a few occasions over creepy, witheringly disdainful and nothing-but-negative behavior anytime.

I had voted for Keith London the first time he ran to be elected. Mayor Cooper had before that nominated him to be appointed to the commission when there had been a vacancy. What a mistake. A lot of us had thought we were dealing with not only a very smart man, but a normal person.

Those who champion the cause of making Keith London mayor should certainly dig a little deeper and think at least twice. I just wish that at least local reporters would try to do that.

Andrew Markoff
Andrew Markoff

I agree with everything that you wrote, Mr./Ms. Steinberg. So there. 

The only thing I will clarify is that the misogyny matter has only to do with the local columnists and bloggers, such as Michael Mayo, Bob Norman, Stefan Kamph, Broward Bulldog and David Smith of HallandaleBeachBlog along with Keith London. They insult the Mayor in their writings and Keith London does so with his behavior during meetings in ways that are very dissimilar to the ways they address men.

There are problems on all sides, but the crux of the matter is that Keith London could have been a solution to several problems that need to be corrected if only his personality and his respect for others matched his intellect. I do not see and I have never seen Keith London as caring at all about the city of Hallandale Beach and its residents. It has long been my distinct impression that Keith London would be behaving the way that he does and making the kind of insinuations that he does about government staff and elected individuals no matter where he had ended up. I do not believe that he has any love or any particular concern for the city's residents. His concern rests only with his own ego. I have seen him be so dishonest and so disingenuous that it has continually upset me that so many residents have continued to believe and trust in him.

Certainly there are several people in town who have their own personality problems, and some of those problems seem quite severe. But too many people want to believe that everything is black or white. It's never that simple. If we find one choice to be untenable, that does not mean that the other choices are the best. We have to work with what can be worked with. Because you and some others find Keith London to be amenable to working with certain individuals does not mean that he is at all willing to even acknowledge so many others in town, let alone to have a dialogue. I find him to be a disturbing and menacing presence around town- but he's only rarely anywhere but in Golden Isles or at city hall. The only occasions during which he demonstrated any presence or concern about other neighborhoods in town was prior to his first election. 

Describing London's supporters as "too often exceedingly negative people who too often choose not to be respectful of others" is not trashing them or stereotyping. I didn't say that they're always like that. I said that I just see that "too often." I am very friendly with some London supporters, including the Dr.s Selz and Csaba Kulin, who I think couldn't be nicer people who I think genuinely care about their community. Mr. Kulin's concern is less about people and more about principals, and the Selz's concerns have focused a lot more on youth and the disadvantaged and on families, but they are all far more concerned about this particular town than is the man they have chosen to trust, Keith London. To see Commissioner London leave the dais during commission meetings or advisory committee meetings and leaning over to confer with David Smith in the audience with Smith's tripod and camera - for which nobody knows why he feels the need to record anything in addition to what's already being recorded-  and his plastic bags scattered around him is very disturbing. No commissioner should be conferring with a man who lives steps from city hall in a trailer and yet declines to participate in his government but instead viciously insults his elected representatives and city staff with petty insults on an entirely unreadable far right-wing blog while living off of something other than a job. A vat of continual negativity and perpetual disrespect is not a legitimate source of counsel for a commissioner. Commissioner London should stay out of the audience, as they are only their to observe, and participate instead and counsel and take counsel from his cohorts on the dais. 

There are certainly a lot of STRANGE individuals in Hallandale Beach, let alone in S. Florida, and knowing how to navigate some personalities while trying to be a good citizen has been exceedingly challenging, but Keith London has been no help at all in that regard.  We can do the same or do better with our leadership, but I genuinely fear that Keith London as chair of the meetings and leader of the community would only be worse. We need someone who cares about government and our quality of life, not about charging at windmills and expecting cheers from acolytes to follow behind him. 

The disasters London's supporters perceive in Hallandale Beach are bizarre. It's not the Roman Empire. There are an awful lot of communities in S. Florida and in the state that are disasters. There are things that I would do very differently in Hallandale if I had my way, especially in on the West side of town and in regards to enhancing some small businesses, but we are not slogging through disaster a la Lauderdale Lakes or North Bay Village or other communities in the state where the menacing individuals often wear a badge and skin color and religion can put residents at risk of experiencing open disdain even from officials. Hallandale isn't so awful, so I really never understand what people sometimes get so upset about. There are no guards at the gates. People can come and they can go. 

Things could be better, but the only thing to do about that is to look forward and plan ahead. From what I've seen, our current Mayor does a hell of a better job at doing that then has Keith London. If some residents want less concrete installed in some areas, that shouldn't engender hate and disrespect. If some residents believe that the city government lacks transparency, then specific incidents that highlight that lack of transparency should be brought forward rather than only very generalized complaining- and I don't mean specifics from years ago. We could all do better, we could do the same or we could do worse. I'm only trying to avoid the latter.

Chaz Stevens, Genius
Chaz Stevens, Genius


First, I would like to thank for you helping the Market Cap Value for Duracell...  It seems your lithium needs are driving up the share price...

Next, let's talk about London.

So, whose wrong here?  The 7,000 or so folks who followed him or you?  And exactly what are your qualifications? If they were listed in your Unabomber Like Manifesto, I apologize for getting lost right after "Mr. Kamph"...

To be fair, both London and Cooper get press. Keith for his efforts to bring transparency and accountability. Cooper for banging her car off the bumper of a firetruck. Not to mention her other family members -- all shoe-ins for a summer stock revival of the Ozzie Osbourne Show.

Let's talk HB.

Ross is gone. Goode is good. Antonio is gone.  Whatever the fuck the name of that hack lawyer is done.  Also the propeller on the top of his baseball hat wearing douche nozzle vice majordomo weanie is gone.

And good fucking riddance to that turd burgler. Listening to his logic is as painful as having gout in my crotch.

I don't even live in Hallandale and I know London is good for the town.  So what does that say about Cooper?  Someone 30 miles away can easily see how fucked up she is?

Finally this...

I look forward to the day I can watch the video of HB meetings and not have to wince everytime I see the Vice President of Fisting (her title, not mine) chew on her gum like a cow chews it cud.

Maybe when she retires, she can get in business with her son in the ID making business.

Or another idea.  She could be the Mickeys Malt Liquor Ambassador to the World.

Frustrated in Hallandale
Frustrated in Hallandale

 Mr. Markoff:

If not for COMMISSIONER London (and yes he deserves the respect of his title) and his passion to represent the fine citizens of Hallandale you would still have that degenerate City Manager, Mike Good, barely attempting to run the City.  Who are you kidding when you say or even think that Cooper had anything to do with it.  She protected him for years because led her to believe she was in power and she let him do and get away with everything but actual murder.  The underhanded and backdoor deals are disgusting and disturbing.  And they still continue!  It was London who brought to light the multitude of indiscretions taking place.  Cooper had no choice or else she would've committed real political suicide.

Many strides the City of Hallandale Beach has experienced in the last several years can be attributed to directly to Commissioner London.  Most every beneficial reformation and movement forward was engineered by him.  Check your facts and review tapes to meetings. Just because he may have not made the actual Motion, he had been researching and discussing these things for years......AND finally they moved through because someone else decided they wanted to look good.  Who are you kidding?  The remaining commissioners are her puppets and are endowed to her in one way or another.  They are fearful of her.....isn't that wonderful. They barely can make a singular decision to save their lives.  Yet, he does not seek the credit or even ask for it.  He's an individual who would rather have the benefit to the City and its residents than take the credit for his ego unlike Cooper.

And yes, we the people are glad Commissioner London watches out for over development in Hallandale. Yes, "over" development NOT development although you'd like to spin it that way. Prior to London, the City Commission voted in favor of every inch of cement being built in this City without anything being negotiated in favor of the residents (ie, parks, better roads, accessibility, etc)

Regarding politeness, you must be kidding.  Cooper berates people constantly who disagree with her.  She doesn't represent the people; she represents herself and she is an egomaniac power hungry shrill.  She sounds like a hyena when she doesn't get her way and she will NEVER let anyone speak whether she's in a commission meeting, in person or on the phone.  As I can quote from quite an impressive individual "her voice sounds like nails on a chalk board.  I honestly believe she's truly chemically unbalanced and a vile individual.

Commissioner London receives nasty and vicious comments from a small percentage of Cooper's Cronies and if he decides not to respond or say hello to can you blame him.  I find him always respectful and as most of our parents have said to us while growing up "if you have nothing nice to say....say nothing at all".  I'm sorry your feelings are hurt because he does not say hi to you....YOU are obviously one of the cronies.


Mr. Markoff, given the length and tone of your posts leads me to believe that there is something more personal at play. I despise the Mayor, to the point of nausea, but I could never spend this much time or energy writing about her. Matter of fact, I don't want to think about her anymore than I have to. Maybe you need to work out some sort of a resentment that you feel toward London. Maybe not. In any case, your points might be better made if shorter. It is a lot of information to process or respond to. You might want to leave comments about "trailer parks" out of it. It sounds biased. Maybe he confers with Smith because he has no Levy, Ross or Sanders to giggle with. More than one person has made comments about him leaving the dais at different times for whatever reasons they speculate (hissy fits, conferring with audience members, anger), but I know that for a while he had a serious back problem and couldn't sit for long periods of time. Maybe people need to ASK him instead of assuming why he leaves the dais. Maybe he leaves out of frustration from trying to get a word in edge-wise without being interrupted. Maybe he leaves because he can't get anything accomplished being one vote and no one willing to second anything because they are afraid to go against her. He is not the only HB politician to go against her and have problems. History has shown that anyone who challenges her like Tony Musto or Joe Gibbons are labeled "difficult". As I said, my experience with London, was never anything but straight-forward. But then again, I wasn't looking to hang out with him. I don't take his behavior personally. I would rather him be arrogant than a phony liar. For some, she might be pleasant and charming, but she is incompetent and dishonest. She can keep all of that for her ladies who lunch and let the real politicians run the city.

Andrew Markoff
Andrew Markoff

 Well, I could probably very well rest my case with that one. Thanks, genius.

Andrew Markoff
Andrew Markoff

You have been duped.

In his emails, Commissioner London has portrayed himself as asking questions of the Manager and of the commission which have gone unanswered. If you were to watch the meetings, however, and I have watched or sat in on every one of them for several years now, you would see that city staff, the Mayor and other commissioners have consistently taken lots of time to patiently answer his questions, his allegations and his insinuations. In his emails summarizing meetings, however, Commissioner London leaves those answers out, thus riling up his followers into a state of constant suspicion and negativity.

London had NOTHING to do with the removal of the former manager. It was Mayor Cooper who had called a special meeting to address the former manager's lack of performance, and it was the former Vice Mayor who had researched and brought into the chambers the former manager's attendance record over the prior four months. That information had been available, but Commissioner London had ignored it because having a continual nemesis is his continual political tactic. Residents and city employees of all stripes had lauded Mike Goode's performance and accomplishments until his latter years, but it wasn't London who took any decisive action on anything other than to portray the entire city as negatively as possible.

As management has improved more recently, Commissioner London can only sit and stew until during just about each and every meeting when he ultimately blows up and causes a ridiculous scene before getting up and leaving before the meetings are adjourned. Unprofessional, petty and embarrassing.

Commissioner London votes "no" at every single meeting when a vote is taken to approve minutes only because the commission had rightly and legally decided to utilize "action" minutes rather than "summary" minutes, since meetings are recorded and on-line as well as on local TV. It's emblematic of how, if he doesn't get his way, Commissioner London stews. When the majority votes one way, however, then the entire commission has spoken.  Commissioner London wants to believe that his lone voice will forever be heard. It won't. He even sued the city. That was NOT London suing Hallandale. That was the commission suing the commission. And then he lost. The commission acts as one body. It's not London vs. the commission. The commission's majority vote is an action that is to be portrayed as moving forward in a positive fashion, because every city is much like a business with a public that will hopefully perceive the city's potential and wish to invest. Each elected representative should be representing our city, not an individual ego.

Your portrayal of Mayor Cooper just falls into the trap of misogyny set by Keith London- the same trap that local pundits- all of them male- have fallen into. There are things about the Mayor that some people don't care for- but she won multiple elections and her last one went unopposed. When you trash our commissioners, you trash the residents who put them there. Keith London's supporters as well as his appointments who I have met and worked with are too often exceedingly negative people who too often choose not to be respectful of others. One of his appointments has been extraordinarily hostile and racist for years and is notorious for harassing the neighborhood, and yet Commissioner London takes no action. Negativity, hostility, attacks and suspicion are all that the city has achieved with London's presence on the dais. He has had so much potential to bring forward his ideas and all that he has learned about business, government and the environment and persuade his cohorts, but he has no interest in doing so. He uses what he learns only to aggrandize himself and to belittle others.

Hallandale Beach could always do better, but when it comes to Keith London, it really couldn't do much worse than the poisonous environment he has engendered with his meetings, his emails, his phone calls to bloggers and his disdain for all who know better than to trust his every word. I suggest to his supporters that they stop simply reading his emails and instead watch the meetings and follow the narrative over time and then they'll see that when ethics rules are implemented and departments are audited and vulnerable residents are attended to, Keith London is there to say "no," to imply the worst and to ignore those who just want to live their lives without being involved in a lot of political muck.

Andrew Markoff
Andrew Markoff

I write very fast, so length comes easily.

For me, it's the opposite. I don't find her "pleasant and charming," but I do find her competent. She's very competent at government. As far as honesty, we all have to tread very carefully. I wouldn't trust a single one of them.

Because I have been stunned by London's behavior, as have many others, that does not mean that I automatically believe that everyone else is wonderful. It's a matter of degrees. If we had more competition for those seats, we'd all be better off, but there are very few people who want to get involved in politics, let alone slogging through municipal muck in long meetings, and this is a compact city with a lot of transitory residents.

Our commission like any other should only be a matter of residents stepping up to serve so that the city manager is under resident supervision via their elected representatives. Instead, it's all political scheming all the time, political attacks, personal agendas and money, money, money.

At least I can petition the commission and the manager for what I think should be addressed... everyone but Commissioner London, that is. I can also volunteer to serve where I hope to be of help. Keith London only appoints those who are his acolytes, however, not those who are necessarily qualified for an advisory vacancy.

I have been to London's meetings. I have read his emails. I have had him to my house. I have been out with him for civic functions. I've ridden in his car. I have tried to listen to him and to observe and to advise. I have come away so disturbed that I put my name out there to provide my observations.

The Mayor has never conferred with me. She has never given me inside information or been a close friend or enlightened me personally and separately from other residents. I have had to press and press her at times to get an opinion on things. I so rarely read what she writes in the Sun Times that I can't even proclaim to really read it. But when it comes to providing an opportunity to serve, she has nominated me to the commission for an appointment for an advisory seat. When I attend meetings, I can voice my opinion to her and she listens. Issues that have concerned me have over time been addressed specifically by Mayor Cooper eventually bringing them up at commission meetings. I can understand all of the complaints about Mayor Cooper, but overall, I think she is a professional at government.

Keith London is an activist. There is no reason that I have ever been able to see that he should be on the city payroll and be on the commission. All that he says and does is better suited to a disgruntled activist, not to a managerial supervisor. His communications are less a source of information than a source of his cult of personality. He should stand on a plastic crate with bullhorn, not fume at the end of that dais.

I appreciate your comments, Mr./Ms. Steinberg (I know there's a Eustice, but I don't know who "H" is), and I fully understand your perspective, but there is a big difference between being an activist and being an elected representative.

Chaz Stevens, Genius
Chaz Stevens, Genius

I might suggest a couple nights at a Holiday Inn Express to sharpen your JD skills...

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