Monday January 16, 2006

City of Miami vs. Jimbo's? (updated)

Bocce ball at Jimbo's

An ominous article in New Times celebrates Jimbo’s while suggesting that its days may be numbered. Seems that a master plan is in the works for Virginia Key, and city officials are not too keen on including Jimbo’s in it. They’re not threatening to come in with bulldozers just yet, but they clearly want to keep their options open:

[T]he pending Virginia Key master plan — with its stated goal of introducing land use policies and developing public open spaces, including possible ball fields in the area of Jimbo’s — has put a question mark over the bar’s future. What some consider Jimbo’s charm — a raft of code violations, from rambling roosters and rotting mattresses to rusting car hulks and rank outhouses — doesn’t help its case with the city.

“You can’t enforce code in Little Havana and not out there,” said Miami City Manager Joe Arriola. “Places like that don’t belong in the City of Miami.” Despite his own opinion, Arriola said he is open to feedback by way of planned public forums on the master plan. “There’s no hidden agenda,” Arriola said. “Jimbo’s is on the table like everything out there is on the table.”

Introduce Arriola’s e-mail at this point (it’s jarriola [at], if you must know . . . ) would be beside the point – there is going to be this master planning process, and only through that official vehicle will we (the people) have any say. Rob Burr, who runs Jimbo’s website, sent out an e-mail to mobilize the troops:

Every once in a while, someone in local government wonders aloud why we should not get rid of Jimbo’s. They say he has no lease, you can’t consume beer on the premises, smoking fish is not allowed, etc.

It may be time for all those that understand and appreciate Jimbo’s to pay attention to what’s going on. James Luznar is one of the nicest, most personal persons on this earth and he deserves our support. He deserves to operate his business, as he has for decades, without the interference of of those that would try to remove him from his enclave on Virginia Key.

I urge everyone to sit up and take notice. Let’s hope it’s all talk and no action. If not, the time to stand up and be counted may be near.

There you have it folks. Jimbo’s is one of those places that shouldn’t exist, but does. It’s one of the Miami secrets (like how to get from going south on Biscayne Blvd. to west on I-395) that locals know about and visitors rarely figure out. It seems unlikely that it’ll survive another fifty years, but then it’s pretty unreasonable that it’s survived the first fifty.

Are the quasi-vagrants that frequent the place going to show up for citizen feedback master-planning sessions? How would a place like Jimbo’s get formalized in zoning ordinances, anyway? And what’s going to happen when Jimbo Luznar, who is 78, is no longer with us?

Update: Rob says:

Some of Jimbo’s friends are meeting at Jimbo’s at noon Saturday to discuss his current problem with the city. If you are interested, and your schedule permits, come to Jimbo’s Saturday at noon for a discussion with Jimbo.

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  1. john    Tue Jan 17, 04:15 PM #  

    Okay, the government ran Jimbo off the bayfront whatever years ago, and sent him off to his present location where he is somewhat succesfully operating a business. The business has quietly been a lure for fahion shoots, filming, tourism and cross class/cultural relations without upsetting anyone or thing. Problem?

    Rules are rules though and Jimbo does not have clear title to that land. So we can give Black Grovites land that was taken away from them in the 1980’s after a few families with long time land claims along eastern Grand Ave property rights were trampled; give the Seminoles their Little River and Alapattah land they were kicked off in the 1960’s and the Overtown residents their land they were kicked off in the 1960’s. Or we can let Jimbo stay and get a liquor license and stop screwing over all the rest of the aforementioned folks nowadays.

  2. nick    Mon Jan 23, 03:09 PM #  

    Keep JIMBO’S ALIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!