Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Carlton Skewers Seminole Heights

Sue Carlton of Times wrote a column today that skewers Seminole Heights based on the Alex Zayas article.

It's unfortunate that Carlton used as her source only the article and not the various blog articles and comments, so she would have had a more accurate picture of the issue.

This is the neighborhood with the Taco Bus. We take pride in the Taco Bus.

What we want is food. Good food. Good service. Good atmosphere. Okay, Actually we'd settle for adequate food, service and atmosphere. All in the same restaurant. We'd settle for adequate since a lot of times we get get poor. We'd like places wer ca nfeel comfortable. And we'd like some variety. If this neighborhood had an influx of English pubs serving bangers and mash, replacing most of the restaurants, we'd complain.

Another thing is that Seminole Heights is a neighborhood of tensions, where there are many different things pulling different ways. It is a neighborhood in transitions. many transitions. Often a microcosm of what is occurring elsewhere in the City and State. The Creative Loafing just did an article about Bartlett Park and gentrification tensions. The English language thing is is one of those issues/tensions. One thing good is that Seminole Heights is a neighborhood where on a blog some honest conversation (punctuated by trolls) can occur about some issues.

Sometimes the problem with newspapers is that can only give you a partial picture, a limited voice. Hence State of Sunshine opinion that "
You see, the power that Kelly, Kate, Robert, and I all have is the one thing the big media companies can not take away. As Big Media chases the almighty dollar, as they cut staff left and right, as their advertising revenue disappears to the Internet (thank you Google). As they fail to understand the changes around them. They will falter.

And people like Kelly, Kate, Robert, and I will be there to take their place. We can and will offer the world more voices, more choices. Big Media may hold tight to the dying media platforms. But technology has advanced to the point that anyone … and I do mean anyone… can join the ranks of the media.

Blogs. Podcasts. Vlogs. YouTube videos. And much more. These are the future of media. And there is virtually nothing that NewsCorp, ClearChannel, Entercom, Disney, NBC-Univesal, Viacom, or AOL Time Warner can do about it."


IFly said...

It's a classic case of sensationalizing a topic by focusing on "hot button" issues instead of doing due diligence and gathering all the facts for an accurate representation of the truth. The title of the column itself says culture requires spice, implying diversity is the goal. Just because the homogenization consists of Latin restaurants doesn't make it any more diverse than a suburban corridor of McD's and Starbucks. Armenia Avenue is slowly becoming a Latin version of Fowler. While it's fine and actually desirable for the city to have districts with a predominance of one culture or another(San Francisco's Chinatown, Boston's Little Italy), does anyone really want to see an entire urban center become singularly cultured?
It is most unfortunate that, first, the original article pulled Randy's comment out of context, and then this columnist pulls it even further out of context in an effort to throw literary darts instead of seeking the truth.

David said...

I read the back and forth on this issue. Sue Carlton has it right. I can't believe the language that dominates on this blog on this issue. This neighborhood was largely hispanic, black and poor white from the time the interstate came through until just recently. We natives know enough spanish to get by. Tampa is here because of Cubans, Italians and African Americans. One blogger wrote, let the money talk. Is that what kept Frida's going? How about the overall restaurant scene in Hillsborough County? Do we have such slim pickings in South Tampa now because of "cultural invasion?" No, the market has done that. Chillis and Starbucks and Outback. Bring on the chains. Keep up the fight for a uniform Tampa, with disneyfied historic districts. Why is it we can't find a decent deviled crab in Ybor City? Must be cultural invasion.

david jenkins said...

Can't find a decent deviled crab in Ybor? Have you been to Carmine's? That woman has been there for years and years and years and years and has been making them fresh daily ...

AngelSil said...

Personally I agree with ifly. Diversity includes a mix of all kinds, including the dominant culture. Just because a it's a minority culture that's overly represented here in Seminole Heights, doesn't mean it's any more 'diverse'.

ranbar said...

I also have to agree with IFly. The issue here is alternatives. Currently, the only full service, full bar, restaurant open after 9:00pm is The Front Porch. The FP is not open for lunch on M-Th. The closing hour on the website is listed as late, which is a euphemism for as long as there are customers, so it being open for a late night snack is not guaranteed. And just last week, when we took John Brinkmann there after his lecture (around 9:30ish) we were told we had to hurry up and order because the kitchen was closing.

I mention this not to slight the FP (I went twice last week and the food was pretty good), but only to illustrate that there is no non-ethnic restaurant in the largest neighborhood in Tampa that I absolutely know will have the kitchen open late. That is the point I was trying to illustrate when, during the course of a 20 minute phone interview with Alex Zaya, wherein I stressed the neighborhood’s inclusiveness, diversity and desire for variety, I said that we needed something like a Chili's. I believe I also mentioned a Beef O' Bradys and Outback (ironically, both local companies, although now condemned as “chains”). I could have (and, in hindsight, should have) also mentioned Rick’s on the River, Dogwater Cafe or Proud Lion. What I was trying to explain to her is that we need the fall-back place, the place that you always know will be open, is inexpensive, has adult beverages and has enough variety on the menu that there is something for everyone in the party.

As for Sue Carlton, while jumping on the bandwagon of political correctness towards hispanics (ironically using our very desire for variety to condemn us as ethno-phobes), she overlooked the fact that the problem is not hispanic restaurants, it is that hispanic restaurants are the ONLY choice we have here in SH. No Chinese, Japanese (sushi or otherwise), Thai, Vietnamese, Indian, French, Italian (other than pizza), or German. It is this LACK of choice, in a neighborhood that more than any other embraces diversity, that has us concerned. Yes, I get a periodic desire for Spanish food (which I usually satisfy at either Taco Bus or Abuela's), but I don’t want to eat it everyday. I also enjoy every type of food listed above. Unfortunately, I need to leave the neighborhood to find such variety.

And then there are those who just don't like any ethnic food. There are those who prefer "American" food. There are those who actually like Chilis/Fridays/Benigans etc. What have we become when our food preferences subject us to claims of prejudice. Apparently it is no longer enough just to accept diversity, we must now all indulge in it. If someone doesn't enjoy hispanic food are they not fit to live in Seminole Heights?

I don’t know where Sue Carlton lives, but I am guessing that it is somewhere that has a bit more variety in restaurants than Seminole Heights. Guess what, Sue – if we had such variety, no one would care how many hispanic restaurants there are in Seminole Heights.

Bungalowlady said...

I find this whole discussion annoying.

I drive out of the hood to get Cuban food. I drive out of the 'hood to get Chinese food. I drive out of the hood to get a good steak at a reasonable price. I drive out of the 'hood to get a glass of wine at 9 PM on a week night. I drive out of the 'hood to go to lunch (unless I go to Merino's and get a super sandwich). I drive out of the hood to get a nice salad. I drive out of the 'hood whenever I have a business eating meeting.

In summary, there is no place to have a business lunch, know you can get a glass of wine after 9 PM, no place to get Cuban food.
No place! No place!

You will see me at Merino's regularly. His hours are consistent, his food is consistent, he's always pleasant and warm when you come in. I periodically go to the FP. Often it is closing just when I arrive. The food is okay but for a while the price were ridiculous (can't speak for this month as I haven't been there for a while).

I can go to So. Tampa and get it all. I can go to Fowler and get it all. But, I can't stay in MY 'hood.

I love Spanish food. BUT, not every day! I can read and write and speak enough Spanish to get by. But, sometimes I just want a nice salad. Not in MY 'hood.

I think that's the issue!

alivinghominid said...

i look at seminole heights and florida avenue like a professional sports team....maybe you like the players you have and they do okay...but if you know you aren't going to win a championship with that group or that coach, you have to make a change and you always have to make changes that lead towards your ultimate goal....
for me, the ultimate goal should be to transform Florida avenue - to try and create our own version of the area around macdill and bay to bay...good local restaurants that are destination, my point is that i tend to look at new businesses and changes on florida and in "the hood" through that lens...i have no problem with ethnic cuisine - but i do have a problem with places that don't add anything to our current state of you really think the new place will be around in 5 or 10 years? will the new place help decrease the amount of car lots and ugly chain link fences up and down the street? no, it won't...and that's why i understand where Randy Barron is coming from - a chili's is generic but it would go a long way in bringing change, in bringing unique places that have enough support to flourish. i welcome ethnic cuisine but it has to be well planned out and it has to add to my quality of life in our neighborhood.

Mike said...

This wonderful neighborhood is going through an interesting and certainly a positive transition.
I say this with full confidence as I have personally met many of the new as well as the older residents, that had the option of living anywhere in the Tampa Bay area, but ultimately chose Seminole Heights. That is definitely something to be proud of!
These people are pioneers in their own right. They bought older bungalow homes in an area that has had its questionable times in the past, but through it all, have risen to the challenge and is developing into what I believe to be the next "Best Neighborhood in Tampa"!

I for one love it here. The people are great, I feel that my business is safe, and we all have three excellent neighborhood associations to watch over our better interest.
This is what I say to everyone in Seminole Heights, both business owners as well as home owners, just keep doing what you have been doing since you arrived and I guarantee that in a matter of a few years everyone that is putting us down now will be calling for reservations at the many eating establishments that will be in the area.

My Best Regards Always
Mike Merino
Merinos Seminole Heights Deli

michelle said...

The crabs Carmine's sells are morphed versions of the authentic cuban crabs he used to sell. The restaurant changed the recipe - making the filling bland. They trippled the size and the price, appealing to the tastes of tourists and new Tampa residents unaccustomed to the real thing. Authentic Tampa Cuban style crabs used to be on almost every block in this neighborhood. That you have to travel to Ybor City to get an overpriced crab on steroids says something.
I don't see a surfeit of Latin restaurants. We used to have many more in this area. You all don't care to distinguish between Cuban, Spanish, Puerto Rican, Columbian, Honduran. It's all the same to you. I guess it is better to be ignored by the wait staff in our American restaurant/bar than to be served by spanish speaking staff at the new establishment.
As for South Tampa, it looks like everywhere else. It didn't used to , but it does now. You'll have your Chili's and your Outback (local grown don't mean much, that ain't what we're talking about) - so untwist you knickers and act like you've had some raising. show a little decency to the people who have chosen to open a business here.

IFly said...

Michelle, a major complaint has been that some of those businesses you're so quick to defend have not shown decency to people who have attempted to patronize them. Bad service is undesirable no matter what flavor it is. Call it what you will, but, to my palate, the differences you mention is like saying that having Domino's, Pizza Hut, ABC, and Cappy's is having diverse choices. They're all a little different sure, but in reality it's just case of variations on a theme.
Related to what Scott mentioned in the post, I wonder if a similar conversation would ruffle the same feathers if people were lamenting a glut of British Pubs.

Shawn-non-anonymous said...

Diversity isn't the only issue. Some of these restaurants are intended as "community centers" for the culture they're targeting. Outsiders aren't really welcome.

If a business makes the choice to staff people that cannot speak the majority language then they are really only interested in their specific community and not the greater surrounding community. That is perfectly acceptable, of course; it's their business.

When businesses like these open in Seminole Heights, an area starving for resident-serving businesses, they are a cruel tease. It wouldn't bother me as much if I had more than tacos and pizza to choose from for dinner. Oh well, South Tampa and Ybor are happy to take my cash--and we eat out at least 4 times a week.

michelle said...

likewise, I wonder if we would see the same mean spirited remarks if indeed the situation were a glut of anglo styled pubs. A variety of eating establishments is ideal. That is what I want as well. But what I am hearing is "They are taking over!" Many of us feel that way about the affluent influx with the attending focus on criminalization of code violations (no matter how small), on the "right kind" of bungalow restoration, on the "right kind" of businesses. I don't like the car lots and the fast food and the glut of pizza places anymore than the rest of you. But I encourage you all to investigate the history of this neighborhood from the 60's to the mid 90's, not just the early days. I encourage you to acknowledge that this has been a working class neighborhood for a greater number of years than it has been a middle class neighborhood, let alone an affluent one. The characterization of Seminole Heights by relative new comers has been one based on a very selective vision. What attracted many to locate hear, aside from the availability of affordable restorable houses, must have been somewhat related to the jumble of cultures, incomes, styles and general funkiness. I chose to remain here and raise my kids here because I felt the neighborhood had a richer life than that of any south Tampa neighborhood. Unlike many of you, I regret the loss of affordable rental property here because the very emphasis on home ownership creates a homogenous immitation of an imagined ideal community, one that never existed. just before and directly after WWII this neighborhood was filled with renters - over garages, doubling up in houses. The same was true of Tampa Heights. So if you want to let the market rule and craft code and historic guidelines to make this a smaller version of Hyde Park, that is fine. But the market right now is allowing new immigrants to set up shop. You can't have it both ways. The aesthetic and underlying hypocracy is typified by the overwhelming support of Starbuck's corporate muscle. We can bend our historic principles for Starbucks, but not for some poor family wanting to improve their home. Now we have congestion on Central and a fast food drive through box superficially tarted up to look mediterranean. Maybe you can have it both ways. I don't want anyone to misconstrue my complaints. I am not against code inforcement or building guidelines, but something is wrong in a society that cares enough to argue for hours - on the tax payers' bill- about what sort of window treatments going into a restored high school, but not enough to worry that the general curriculum in same school is one of the worst in the country. The same mentality results in patroling civic association members seeking out violations, no matter how small. A bit of mildew at the roofline warrants a notice from the city to scrape and paint entire structure. I could list countless cases. The neighborhood associations seem more concerned with market value than with the actual residents. It is a much colder place than it was when it truly was an impoverished area. Code enforcemnent, revitalization projects, historic preservation - while necessary and often laudable, can very easily become tools of the market. There must be a better way to bring in a variety businesses than hurling epithets at the existing ones.

michelle said...

Are you really drawing a parallel between (the differences between) Honduran, Mexican, Columbian, Cuban and Domino's, Pizza Hut, etc.?
To your taste maybe, but not to mine. Now that is like saying MacDinton's and a traditional southern style restaurant and a steak house are the same thing. Just variations on a theme. As for the restaurants you all do approve of, the one replaced by the Honduran restaurant and the one across the street, I have never received good service at either one. I dined at both almost weekly until I finally gave up. So if we're talking about service, let's keep it real.

Also, do you think the patrons of these places are coming from another neighborhood? Maybe they live here! Oh my! Maybe these places are serving the community. The community's underbelly!

IFly said...

And if all we had were MacDintons, Three coins, Nickos and a Sam Seltzer the complaint would be the same. If you need a clearer example then how about MacDonalds, Taco bell and KFC, or Cantonese, Mandarin, and Szechuan. They're all similar enough that it's not much of a choice.
Also, look back through the blog, there have been plenty of complaints about Viva La Frida's and Front Porch both. Those are not exemplary of what is desired in the neighborhood, merely what is already here. The argument is getting tiresome because folks keep wanting to make it a "racial" or cultural issue when it truly isn't for most of us. It's about choices.

IFly said...

Also, dining out is more than just a matter of food style. Using your example going to a MacDinton's, a Steakhouse or Nicko's one would find rather dramatically different experiences. If you take the "comfort food" variable out. But my experience with the minor nuances between the various Latin-flavor restaurants, or even "Chinese" food places aren't all that apparent. The experience is rather similar even if the food tastes a little different.

AngelSil said...

Michelle, you're turning this into a class warfare game and it simply isn't. Nobody here has suggested that Florida Avenue should be full of expensive chi chi wine bars and sushi joints. I don't think wishing for a more diverse selection of local establishments is elitist. Or are you implying that only Hispanic eateries are capable of serving the 'working class'? The working class I know eats a lot of fast food when they do have the funds to go out. Are you prepare to allow Krystal, Checkers, and Wendy's to open up on Central Ave?

To Randy's point, I've been loathe to admit this publicly, but I don't like Spanish food. Never have. I suppose I'll now get called a sh*tstorm of names even though I absolutely adore Indian, Korean, Chinese, Middle Eastern, Italian, and non-Sushi Japanese food. I'm a racist, though. Right? I mean, if I don't like the food from 1 culture that totally makes me an xenophobic pig.

Shawn-non-anonymous said...


I'm not a terribly big fan of the "I was here first" argument, though I have to admit I haven't until now seen the "I was here in the middle" argument. :-)

You might be surprised to discover that many of the people who are focused on the first 50 years of history in the area do support garage apartment rentals. This was a historic and natural way for families to gain needed income, it made it possible for the young and elderly to remain in the area, and it provides a more personal connection to the area someone rents in. I also like the aspect that the landlord gets to live with the problems their renters create, which tends to reduce those issues.

I'm confused by this statement of yours: "We can bend our historic principles for Starbucks, but not for some poor family wanting to improve their home."

This appears to be based on a misunderstanding of the issues related to the Starbucks lot. I don't want to rehash Starbucks, especially because it can be a logic-destroying emotional topic for some, but we didn't bend our historic principles for that business. The ARC was applying residential rules to the commercial structure (because that historic district has no commerical rules but does cover commercial property). The neighborhood would have gone to bat for any desireable business in those circumstances, as evidenced by the support for Cappy's recently.

Is there a "poor family" you had in mind when you wrote that? I know the guidelines as currently written don't take financial hardship into much consideration, but the new set being voted on this Summer have included it. The same people that focus so much on the early years in Seminole Heights are partly responsible for that addition. After all, some of those "poor families" are "us".

Also: "The same mentality results in patroling civic association members seeking out violations, no matter how small."

Can you provide an example of that? Because in my experience in Seminole Heights, the majority of patroling was to scare the hookers and drug dealers out of the area, enforce set-backs for dangerous intersections, remove illegal barbed wire, remove illegal boarding houses, and the rare instance of a yard so full of trash that rodents were an issue. Certainly these are things people of every economic class would appreciate? In addition, while code enforcement was citing retaining walls the Neighborhood Association was helping the neighbors keep their walls. This is not the behavior of an association that is "more concerned with market value than with the actual residents."

If you could, please, list those countless cases. In fact, if you know of any current ones, that would be best. Programs like "Paint Your Heart Out" and similar are, in part, sponsored or supported by the neighborhood associations and residents with a real need may be able to get some help.

Personally, I could have afforded Hyde Park but chose Seminole Heights because it was gay friendly, a bit funky, and was cleaning up and looked promising. I supported Starbucks and Cappys. I spent countless hours encouraging hookers and drug dealers to leave. I've called in a few code violations, mostly against car lots that park cars on the sidewalks and prevent motorists from making safe turns.

"There must be a better way to bring in a variety businesses than hurling epithets at the existing ones." ...or the existing base of volunteers. Some of the people you tar as "cold" and "more concerned with market value" probably agree with you more than not but have the bad luck to be "affluent".

Michelle said...

Okay, first and foremost, michelle is not the same as Michelle. We are 2 different people. Michelle (me) would be the person posting on a regular basis. I say this because I absolutely disagree with what michelle has stated and, for those of you who know me, don’t want an earful when I next see you.
With that said, michelle, I believe you are completely missing the point, so I will blatantly say it. Once a bar opens that has more than just Bud and Miller (I am a beer snob and know many of you are too), serves food until midnight and even later on the weekends, is reasonably priced and we can WALK to it, we SH drunks will not be happy. This has nothing to do with hang the Hispanics, not in my house, down with the poor, etc. We just don’t want a D.U.I and WE would be Hispanic, Anglo, African, Indian, and Asian, a rainbow of happy faces.
So michelle, please grab your soapbox and exist stage left and please find a different name to post under.
As for this Carlton chic, she really should do a little more investigation before publicly calling the residents of SH bigots. We are not a community that speaks softly. I bet her email box is FULL!!!

Jeff said...

Some of you might remember that Carlton did a hit piece on the neighborhood back when Frida's went under. She blasted us for not supporting the nice, eclectic, artsy, restaurant and prefering Starbucks. I wrote her and asked her why she wrote such a slanted article that didn't mention the very valid complaints on Frida's, such as lack of regular hours, bad service and russian roulette food. She admitted that she really felt that Angelica had lost her heart for the business...and yet, she wrote a hit piece: "'Viva' brought life to neighborhood, but not vice versa".

What this neighborhood doesn't like is any business that doesn't care about their neighbors like pawn shops and car lots. That especially includes business that seek to serve the neighborhood on their terms, like Frida's hit or miss food, bad service and inconsistent hours. We should support local businesses but not to the point where they make our experience unejoyable. I can say that I appreciate the Taco Bus and they always help with the Spanish menu. At the Copa Cobana, I got the opinion that they don't care for non-Spanish speakers. They're not going to kick you out but they don't seem to care. I can speak some Spanish, so I don't mind if I have to order in Spanish. However, like my experience at the Copa, I don't like being ignored because my Spanish isn't as good as a native speaker.

We've supported Cappy's, Mike's Deli and Starbucks. I like the Taco Bus, they're friendly and they don't mind my broken Spanglish. I haven't tried Rincon Catracho, but I will.

My suggestion with Sue Carlton is to write her and tell her how you feel:

Jeff Harmon

alivinghominid said...

1. I'm a beer snob too (although I do have this odd love for miller lite)
2. Jeff - I agree with everything you said and the quote "What this neighborhood doesn't like is any business that doesn't care about their neighbors like pawn shops and car lots" - sums everything up perfectly.
3. I will commend the ABC auto remarketing lot on Idlewild and Florida for their new white fence across from the front porch and the new shrubbery/landscaping that was installed this morning.

michelle said...

so sorry, Michelle. Toodeloo.

I am from the middle period, but my grandfatherinlaw built many of the bungalows you so adore. That puts us somewhere near the beginning.

Not to worry, you'll get what you want. If the waters don't rise first.

I know a lady who regularly drove a black suv through our section. She lives one street over. Shortly after she stopped before my neighbors' house making furious notes, they were sited. They had a bit of flaking paint on their house, on the east side where the sun hits. The paint job was less than two years old. They had a model bungalow, with all the right accoutrements. They were a young couple with a new baby. The note taking woman's neighbor informed the couple of her habit of seeking out code violations. Apparently, she'd hit them and a few others as well - for very minor things. She is with OSHNA. A similar thing happened to us in South Seminole House. We had mildew on the house my mother was living in before she died. My brother-in-law, who lives across the street, said he saw the president of the South Seminole Heights Neighborhood Association eying the house. Shortly after, we had a notice to scrape and paint entire structure. The code officer would not buy that there was mildew on the second story of our aeroplane bungalow. We had to scrape and paint - which we were planning to do anyway. The South Seminole Heights people were totally on the city's side, saying we had been told to do this for our own good. We were also told we needed to contact a supports company to investigate the structural integrity of out house. Anyone with half a brain could see that it was the long length of siding that had a warp. I invited both the person with the civic association and the city to look at the structural beam, to climb a ladder and look at how easily the mildew could be removed, to please show me where on my mother's house any paint was peeling. I again was informed that I needed to ask an expert.
I don't think I need to go on with any listing of similar occurances. It didn't matter then, and I doubt it will matter to you now.
If you are so blamed concerned about prostitution and impoverished conditions, why don't you get involved with some organizations that might make a difference instead of worrying about your bellies. You are happy when these ugly things are away from you. Shine a flashlight and make them go away. They pop up somewhere else and become someone else's problem.
We are all in it together.
I am off for a terrific Honduran meal!
Meine Gnadige Damen und Herren.

Arbeit Macht Frei. :}

ChoiceRider said...


I usually read this blog and never had much of a desire to post my thoughts , but I am confused by Michelle's ending statement "Arbeit Macht Frei". I am no stranger to the German language and for those who are let me explain "Arbeit Macht Frei". It is a phrase that is now infamous in Germany for its usage by the Nazi's, more specifically a common phrase put on the gates of concentration camps such as Dachau and Auschwitz. It means "work shall set you free" and used as a kind of torturous symbol to those held in the camps that their "work" would provide themselves freedom.

I would like to know how one comes to use that phrase as a catchy ending to their comment (let alone put a "smiley face" after it)?

Code enforcement gripes followed by a call to volunteer then a German sign off using the term "Arbeit Macht Frei"???? Hmmmm, please explain.


Lavander in Chief said...

My fellow Seminole Whiteys, Wow, aren't are dining needs important. I moved here 3 years ago from Valrico, and am thrilled to be able to walk to a restaurant of any ethnicity. I have tolerated the worlds worst service at FP and Fridas in exchange for convenience and atmosphere, and sometimes... really good food. I have to agree with some of the bloggers that you shouldn't be pigeon holed because of what kind of food you do or don't like, but it is interesting that this gets so much attention when the restaurants in question are of Hispanic cultures(yes, I'm lumping for convenience sake). I actually have eaten at Rincon and Copa, and the service, food, and price were like a breath of fresh air after hearing for the 100th time, Welcome to the FP. My name is xxx and I'm kind of new here. No kidding, I'd like a 2 hour entree please, with a side of ignore my growling stomach and empty glass. Either way, my hats off to the fabulous Americans who have brought business to our neighborhood. How do you say yuhmmm in Spanish?

Lavander in Chief said...

Sorry, should have wrote "our" instead of "are".

IFly said...


It appears to be an example of what is known as Godwin's Law.

AngelSil said...


That's giving her way too much credit. I think she's just showing off her German and being and insensitive lout at the same time.

Shawn-non-anonymous said...

Lavander, I'm unsure how refusing to speak english or be helpful to english-speaking customers is a "breath of fresh air" compared to Vivas and Front Porch. Neighbors have already reported these issues with Abuela's market and Copa's.

As was stated before, in an area with hardly any services for residents, the problem many have with the influx of one kind of business isn't that it is "latino" or anything else, but that it represents a loss of opportunity for _variety_.

The Honduran place may be short lived as they are only renting the building and it's for sale.

Michelle said...

What does this mean?:
“so sorry, Michelle. Toodeloo.
I am from the middle period, but my grandfatherinlaw built many of the bungalows you so adore. That puts us somewhere near the beginning.
Not to worry, you'll get what you want. If the waters don't rise first.”

Maybe your husband’s Pappy knew my family; because the Parrs (my Great Grandmother’s name) have been living hear for a loonnnnnnnggggggggg time.

It sounds to me like you have a serious problem with all of the “people” moving into YOUR (as you call it) neighborhood and you are also coming across as racist, not to mention whiney.
I am sick of hearing ‘poor me’ stories. What you are saying is, OSHA called code on a poor, little, old lady for peeled paint, mold, and structural security and expected her to get out on the ladder and fix it AND we whiteys are all the devil because we would like a neighborhood where people respect and restore these amazing bungalows back to their original beauty. I will be sure to tell my great neighbor, Armon (just made his last mortgage payment on a 30 yr fixed and happens to be Cuban) that the work he has done to restore his home is disgusting and I will not stand for it anymore!

IFly said...

OK, my English teachers would kill me but here goes:

Ash to dust its an elemental matter
Can't we all please cease this chatter
Each of us is made from big-bang stuff
To claim seniority is just plain fluff
Oldtimers on your horses high
Traditions here don't have to die
Embrace some change and keep what's best
And welcome those who pass your test
I'm no poet and this ain't well-versed
Still, No one here was really here first

I'm no poet and I know it.

Michelle said...

Well said IFly, I just couldn't help myself before. I admit it was a little juvienlle.

Lavander in Chief said...

Shawn, I'll try to be clearer. I'm only expressing my opinion about the service I've received. It's not for me to say what everyone should like or not. I can say that I've been to Rincon six times. Each time, the server spoke to me in English, which is a good thing because it's all I can understand. I've been to Copa's three times and had the same treatment. I realize that my sample size is not large enough to provide statistical significance, but it's what I have to go on. Not reports of reports of what others have reported. Other than Nicko's (which I love and adore) Rincon was the first time I've received good service on Florida Ave. Good service where I was communicated to in English, served in a timely manner, and charged accordingly. (To be fair, I haven't been to the new deli yet, but I'm coming soon!) I also want to be clear that I'm not against more restaurants INCLUDING CHAINS!!! I spend more money (happily) in Starbucks than the independents, so I'm not waving the anti-flag here.

As for a lack of services, I know I can walk or ride a bike to get Honduran, Mexican, Cuban, American, Chinese, Italian, and Greek food. I'm with you and I think everyone else on saying I'd still like more choices, but I can't say that I am experiencing a lack of services. Again, just my opinion. Over and out.

Torgo said...

I sent a polite but precise email to Zayas and the editors of the St. Pete Times today. I included my name and phone number.

If they have any integrity, they'll retract portions of their story and (hopefully) reprimand Zayas for poor writing.

If not, I suppose we'll see even more attacks. I wouldn't be surprised.

But seriously -- how can anyone call him/herself a professional journalist when they base all their information on a neighborhood blog filled with anonymous contributors who could be living anywhere?

Very, very lazy and sloppy fact finding and writing on the part of Zayas. What has happened to the local media?

IFly said...

Unfortunately, it's just that tabloidism is as accepted locally as it is for national "news." Perhaps it always has been, but with the Internet providing ever more outlets for information, stories we once took at face-value are now more apparent as crap than they once were.

On a different note but related to the current posting:
Because I believe in the power of information and that knowledge can often lead to understanding, this article and the column it references might help us all just a little.
Don't be turned off by it's title, it's a humorous attempt to inform about real-world issues associated with multiculturalism.

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