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Thursday September 13, 2007

Rebecca Wakefield on Florida government budget cuts. “According to the gloom and doom projections of financial analysts, the consequences of years of mortgage fraud and ill-considered sub-prime loans have just begun to hit. In other words, we ain’t seen nothing yet. The budget reductions could last several years. .  . It won’t surprise you that Florida ranks 44th out of the 50 states in benefits for workers, such as health-care coverage, and 50th in the percent of private sector workers with pension/retirement plans.”

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Tuesday June 5, 2007

Best of New Times best of listings

Best way to end up a millionaire in the restaurant business - Karu & Y - 71 NW 14th Street - Miami 33136 - 305-403-7850 - Just do like the owners of Karu & Y: Start with $25 million. Then spend close to that amount, and three years, to open a 25,000-suare-foot indoor/outdoor restaurant (42,000 square feet including special event spaces) in a desolate and dangerous 'downtown arts district' that doesn't yet exist. Give your dining establishment a name no one can understand, feature a cutting-edge cooking style that appeals only to a small cadre of foodie enthusiasts, and charge $18 for a cocktail, $24 for an appetizer, and more then $40 for en entree. If your're lucky, when all is said and done you'll still have a million of your dollars left.

How do I love this? Let me count the ways:

  1. It’s so true: every time I convince myself I need to splurge and try Karu & Y just to see for myself, I hear another horror story about it.
  2. Fucking hilarious: I can’t verify the 25-24=1 math, but even if remotely true it’s one for the record books.
  3. Just plain good: I read most of the best-of issue, and while it’s full of solid, sometime unexpected, choices and good writing, this stands out as particularly insightful. Yet . . .
  4. Manages to insult the entire city: see, we just don’t have enough “foodie enthusiasts” to enjoy this place’s “cutting-edge cooking style.”
  5. Exposes a certain meta-ness of the “best of” issue: you know some of their categories are custom-made for someone they just want to shout-out to. This is the best of all possible examples of that phenomena.
  6. It’s written in a style I can relate to: lots of punctuation, lots of linguistic asides, and lots of numbers.
  7. Exposes discrepancies between the print edition and the online edition: it’s right there on page 137. But online? No está aquí. Numerous discrepancies between the online and print editions have been spotted, but an entire missing category takes the cake.

Bonus reason: I love the way we get a partial line right before the column break where a weird box juts part of the way into the column (between “cooking” and “style”). Whazzup to my crack New Times layout department, slapping it together and getting it out there! Previously on “Let me count the ways:” What’s up with the Art Miami ad? and What’s up with the Sunguide ads? Also, let me point out that the entire text of the above listing is in the scan’s alt-tag, just to make this legit and accessible.

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Wednesday January 10, 2007

Here we go again with the Marlins stadium

The Miami Orange Bowl Oh my God, here we go again: Plans for a new Florida Marlins baseball stadium in Miami include the use of community redevelopment money. Let me quote the first few paragraphs:

The latest plan to build the cash-strapped Florida Marlins a new stadium in downtown Miami involves using millions of dollars of money meant to improve blighted neighborhoods.

It also calls for the city of Miami to deed property to Miami-Dade County so the Marlins — which would lease the stadium — could receive a tax break. And it requires money, once again, from the state Legislature.

“They’re looking at the Park West/Overtown CRA boundary that stops a block from where the site is,” said Miami-Dade tax collector Ian Yorty, the county’s point man for stadium negotiations. “The city has plans to expand the boundary.”

Money from a Community Redevelopment Agency, by law, must be used to spur economic development in “blighted” neighborhoods. Tax money created from a CRA stays inside the district.

Word of the new stadium plan infuriated some community members, such as Overtown’s Irby McKnight, who said the CRA has yet to build a single home in Overtown.

“I’m just looking at this in amazement,” he said. “We’ll remember this on Election Day.”

Miami Commissioner and CRA Chairwoman Michelle Spence-Jones declined to comment.

But Miami Mayor Manny Diaz described using CRA money to build a new ballpark as money well spent. He believes a baseball stadium would anchor redevelopment on the downtown’s western flank, much like the Carnival Center for the Performing Arts, which receives $1.43 million yearly from the CRA, has spurred development on the city’s eastern edge.

I have to say that I share McKnight’s amazement. The nerve of these people — and then the head of the CRA has “no comment” when the newspaper asks her about it? How’s that for a big middle finger to the taxpayers?

Let’s review. Baseball is a business; the government has no more business supporting it then they do paying McDonalds to build restaurants. Plus, they’re cynically bending the whole point of the CRA by expanding the boundary to include their chosen site! And if we didn’t have ample local proof that sports stadiums in fact don’t “anchor redevelopment” for jack shit (Hello Miami Arena? And the Orange Bowl was built in the 1940’s . . . last time I drove by it was located in a nice quiet residential neighborhood?), we could turn to the research, which shows overwhelmingly that government spending on stadiums is a big waste of money.

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Tuesday January 9, 2007

Foreclosure filings in the Southeast were up 37 percent last year from the year before, but Florida no longer held the top national spot.”

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Wednesday January 3, 2007

OK, another question. True/false: Sylvester Stallone once donated $1 million for a renovation that kept the Gusman from closing. Forget google — if it happened, the internets don’t know about it; the best I found was $75,000 for the Miami Film Festival back in ’98. But I’m sure someone told me this in all seriousness once. Were they talking out their ass?

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Wednesday December 27, 2006

Johnny Rockets pads the bill. Oh, and charging for a slice of lemon? That shit is wack, yo. And now it can be told: you never, ever tip on the tax. $28 for lunch for two at a burger joint . . . I just threw up a little bit in my mouth.

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Wednesday November 22, 2006

Conspicuous Consumption

Conspicuous consumption on Palm Island. Parked perpendicular to the shore for extra conspicuousness. Not sure the exact address, but around here. Seriously, though, it’s a nice boat. Anyone have a make or model on this thing?

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