Category Archives: Grapewhine

Grapevine Accidentally Confirms My Suspicions

Separated at birth?

Those who follow Not Now Silly closely know how much fun I have kicking at Tom Falco, Grammarian at the Coconut Grove Grapevine.

Yes, I am still contemplating a libel lawsuit against him for a scurrilous attack upon my character. Although, he deleted the comment thread immediately after I demanded an apology, he has still not done so, nor has he retracted his lie.

He has, however, blocked my email address, which is why I now rely solely on public communication with him. [Hiya, Tom!]

I have also written about his egregious attacks on the English language many times over the years. I’m not talking about a simple typo like the example below. No, I’m talking about run-on sentences, which combine several distinct thoughts, while leaving out the punctuation that would have made it readable.

However, what bothers me the most is Falco’s total disregard for the tenets of journalism, while pretending to be one. I have suggested [devoid of real proof] how he probably posts adverts and/or advertorials in exchange for goods, services, and/or meals. Let’s be clear: There’s nothing illegal in this. In the business this is called a “contra deal” and amyone who works in the promotional field understands how this works. However, the unscrupulous will use these deals to trade in the underground barter economy. Nothing is reported. No money exchanges hands. Nothing to see here.

I have also alleged [without any proof whatsoever] that Tom Falco will take ad dollars from certain parties and then look the other way, especially if there is something disreputable that might pop up. While I was still trying to save the E.W.F. Stirrup House from Demolition by Neglect, I could not get Falco to help with that campaign.

This took place at the very same time the Grapevine was accepting advertising dollars from one of the parking concerns in the city.

I’ve also wondered whether this was part of a contra deal, but life’s too short

I have written about the Playhouse Parking Lot many times over the years and will, no doubt, have reasons to do so in the near future. I have alleged that Paradise Parking was illegally squatting on the Playhouse Parking Lot and collecting those revenues, as opposed it going into the city coffers.

Paradise Parking has a familial relationship with the developer who built The Monstrosity; the same developer who also loaned the bankrupt Coconut Grove Playhouse a sum of money (the amount of which no one has ever revealed to this reporter, ‘tho’ I’ve asked). He felt as if these parking lot revenue was his tribute for the loan. No one knows how many dollars were scraped off the top of that parking lot before the Miami Parking Authority finally claimed authority over it.

In fact, in order to evict Paradise Parking from the lot, Miami-Dade County gifted the Bicycle Shop to the developer just to get rid of him. Therefore, there’s no doubting the back-channel connection between these entities.

Did the ad revenue from Paradise Parking influence Falco to look the other way? During all that time the Grapevine ignored actual news stories about the E.W.F. Stirrup House and the Playhouse parking lots, not to mention the destruction of historic homes in West Grove.

TO BE FAIR: Falco is all over the destruction of historic homes and lot splitting now that the White areas of Coconut Grove are under threat of gentrification. His neighbourhood.

But, I digress.

I discovered this recent Grapewhine at the Grapevine. Now, tell the truth. Does this sound like a journalist or someone with their hand out? Asking for a friend.

Schmuck is as schmuck does.

Falco thinks a payoff to write a positive story is beneath him, although he doesn’t seem absolutely sure. Yet all signs point to the fact that this is what he has done in the past, whether it’s cold hard cash or something else. However, it sounds like he’d take an advert to write a positive story.

What truly cracks me up about the post from which I stole that screen grab [find your own damned link], is that Falco tells several specific stories about nasty developers, yet never names a single one. Which advertisers is he protecting now? Asking for a friend.

POST SCRIPT: After editing this article, I let it stew for a few days. I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted to take another swipe at the hapless trust fund baby. Especially after mutual friends keep begging me to leave the poor guy alone. “He’s suffered enough.”

This morning I gave this post another read-through and decided WHAT THE HELL? I may as well publish it. However, before hitting the publish button I ventured into Grapevine Country to see if there was anything worth updating. That’s when I discovered Tom’s taking the summer off and may never come back at all.

Was it something I said?

An Open Email To Tom Falco of the Coconut Grove Grapevine — UPDATED


My attempt to send this via email just now was thwarted by a coward who, after falsely attacking me in print, has banned my email address from reaching his.

No matter. I still have several options and almost 2 years in which to get this done. I can still:

  • Find someone willing to deliver this via their email address;
  • Have a hard copy delivered by registered snail mail;
  • Carry an analog version with me in case we find ourselves in the same room again; or
  • Just bite the bullet and accept the proffered help from one of the lawyers.

TO: Tom Falco, Coconut Grove Grapevine
SUBJECT: Retraction vs. Lawsuit
DATE: April 8, 2017

It was so nice seeing you the other day at the HEP Board meeting to vote on the future of the Coconut Grove Playhouse. Too bad we’re not on speaking terms. Otherwise we may have found a way to resolve this by now. But, still, it was nice seeing you take an interest in something that will negatively affect the adjacent and contiguous Black Grove. Oh, wait. You never mentioned that in your article. I guess that will be my job once again.

As you well know, Tom, through the years I’ve tried to school you on grammar — because you’re so bad at it and it’s just so much fun to point that out. Just this week you crafted another delicious paragraph, which was poorly punctuated and bracketed by two fabulous run-on sentences:

At odds all evening was the issue of whether a 300 seat playhouse or a 700 seat playhouse should be built or renovated and that was another major issue, should the whole playhouse be restored or just the front section? The current plan calls for just the front section, while the rest will be rebuilt, not restored. Richard Kiehnel, famed architect of Kiehnel & Elliott, who created the original building in 1927, built it for movies, not theater, in future years, it was retrofitted and changed to house live theater by another famed architect, Alfred Browning Parker.*

Then there’s this gem from another article:

The purpose of this meeting is to interchange ideas for the future use of the Miami Marine Stadium.

Interchange I think the word you’re looking for is AND, YOU CALL YOURSELF A WRITER

Notice you never see Mr. Softee and Tom
Falco in the same room at the same time?

You bring shame upon a profession I have spent a lifetime perfecting.

More seriously, Tom, I have also tried to teach you a little something about Journalistic Ethics over the years. Like the need to mark advertorials as such; or not bartering meals or goods in exchange for advertising and/or positive reviews; doing more than just cutting and pasting press releases you’ve received; and about making declarative accusations without a scintilla of proof.

Sadly, I have been unsuccessful at educating you on grammar or ethics. Now I’m going to try teach you a little something about Libel and Defamation law. I hope I have better results because this is only going to get uglier from here on in.

First things first: It would seem that the legal system has its own set of ethics. Whodathunkit?

One of those pesky rules (and remember, this is a learning curve for me, too, because I’ve never been defamed in print before) is that before one can sue for libel (as opposed to slander, which is spoken and for which I have only hearsay and anecdotal evidence that you’ve done that about me, too), one must take certain actions and pursue other remedies before petitioning the courts for relief. [Tom: That’s just an example of a very long sentence punctuated in such a way as to avoid being a run-on. It can be done.] Chief among them: one must make a legitimate and legal request for a retraction and apology.

Yannow what else I discovered, Tom? Making such a demand on a comment thread on a crappy blog — like I foolishly did on yours — does not rise to the level of a legitimate and legal request. Especially since you deleted the entire comment thread, sending it down the memory hole so you could pretend it never actually happened.

I also learned that my blog post of January 25th, Tom Falco Libels Me Again. Then Runs Away, does not constitute a legitimate and legal request, even tho’ it’s on the interwebs for the entire word to see. One legal argument could be that it’s entirely possible you never saw it, Tom.

I also learned a little something about contingency lawyers recently. If they smell money, they’re willing to take a flyer on a long shot libel case. One asked whether I wanted a registered letter sent to you on stationary with legal letterhead. I declined (for the time being) because I’d much rather do this myself.

We’re gentlemen, right Tom? We should be able to agree on what was over-the-line speech spewed in anger, right? We can get over this unpleasantness without resorting to the courts, right?

That’s why I am sending this to your email address [and publishing it]. It’s a substitute for a letter from a lawyer, but doesn’t preclude a letter from a lawyer in the future. Even if you were to delete this email, there’s an electronic record of it.

I was so sad when this fell
off the All Time Top Ten

Look, Tom, this could have ended in January with a simple retraction and apology. Here we are several months later and this open sore continues to fester. Yet, it’s in your power to put a stop to this, Tom.

All you need to do is post a short paragraph at the Grapevine retracting your baseless accusation of me and apologize. Or, in the alternative, prove your accusations against me. If you do the latter, then I’ll owe you an apology. See how that works?

“Some people say” that all I am really doing is making you famous beyond your piddling local readership. I suspect that’s true because for a while you were #2 post at the new Not Now Silly Newsroom. As of this writing, 155 people have read Tom Falco Libels Me Again. Then Runs Away. I suspect that number will grow after this is published.

Tom, what you don’t seem to realize is that I find this fun. Whether it amuses you — or not — it amuses me to toy with you in public like this. I can easily keep this going for almost 2 years, when the statute of limitations runs out, before I finally have to file a lawsuit.

It’s in your power to end it.

* Like I do with Emperor Trump, when I quote you, Tom, I will use Comic Sans. It just seems appropriate.

Coconut Grove Grapevine Addendum

Nothing about Tom Falco has made me laugh as hard as something I discovered this morning.

No, it’s not another run-on sentence like this:

What’s got me guffawing is that I’ve long maintained that Falco really only cares about promoting White Coconut Grove, because he’s basically an unofficial arm of the Business Improvement District, an organization that ignores West Grove. It’s my long-held opinion that the BID is racist. Otherwise why wouldn’t it mention the long and honourable history of the Black Bahamians that built Coconut Grove, and much of the rest of Miami?

In fact, the entire proud history of West Grove is left off the official BID page called The History of Coconut Grove, except for a single throwaway line: Some of the inn’s early staffers were black Bahamians who created their own settlement along Charles Avenue. That’s 17 words out of 1,529. This WHITEwashing is also evident in the tourist brochures that the BID prints and passes out at every tourist trap downtown. It’s as if they don’t want anyone to find out there are Black people in paradise.

But I digress. We were talking about Tom Falco, who I also believe is racist. [That contention is outlined in If It’s News, It’s News To The Coconut Grove Grapevine. I don’t want to get too deep into the weeds here.]

Anyhoo, dear readers, what got me laughing is that while researching this morning’s Tom Falco Libels Me Again article, I discovered this bon mot in the archives of the Miami New Times [emphasis mine]:

Best Of /// People & Places /// 2010

Tom Falco, editor, Coconut Grove Grapevine
Best Gadfly

Tom Falco’s Coconut Grove Grapevine community blog can be irritating. When he’s writing about threatening to take photos of kids “posing” as school basketball players — only to watch them “scatter like rats” — or railing against a woman in a food truck poaching customers from Grove restaurants, Falco has all the perspective of a Picasso. But Merriam-Webster’s definition of a gadfly is one who “stimulates or annoys, especially by persistent criticism,” which might as well be the Grapevine’s mission statement. There is no louder voice for a community — in his case, the Grove’s business owners — in Miami.

What’s funny is that the Miami New Times is not buying it. Not at all.

While Falco’s sycophants may have stuffed the ballot box, New Times makes it clear through snark that he’s not really a gadfly and is only concerned about the “Grove’s business owners,” which — coincidentally — also happen to be his advertisers.

TO BE FAIR: The Coconut Grove Business Improvement District Walking Tour map includes the E.W.F. Stirrup House. However, the BID stops at Margaret Street. To get a sense of the reality for people who live west of that, please read my continuing series Unpacking Grand Avenue.

Tom Falco Libels Me Again. Then Runs Away.

Lookie who ruined my King Mango Strut shot

I’ve made no secret of my total disdain for Tom Falco, Head Grammarian (and Trust Fund baby), at the typo-laden Coconut Grove Grapevine.

My contempt for Falco goes back a number of years when I had only just recently discovered the E.W.F. Stirrup House and decided to save it. However, because the blog I created (under a nom de troll) had such a small footprint, I started to reach out to people who I thought could help me save the E.W.F. Stirrup House.

Falco was among the many people I contacted, which included every media outlet I could find. Falco not only declined to help, but did so with comments that I took as racist. Unprompted he brought up the travesty of the Mariah Brown House and said that “whitey didn’t do that.” However, despite how little he cared for the E.W.F. Stirrup House back then, he said this week:

At the [Housing Summit] meeting, the Grove pioneer EWF Stirrup’s House was brought up, and people are bitter about the way the house is being rebuilt and not restored. The house is being rebuilt to look historic and is turning into a bed and breakfast (See that here). I was also curious as to why the building was being rebuilt and not restored, until I realized that the house just sat and rotted for years, termites and lack of care hurt the house (look at it here). It’s costing more to rebuild the place as being historic, than it would have been to just renovate the old house, if it has been kept up. That’s where the city should step in. In my neighborhood they come after you if you don’t mow the lawn, why are old, historic houses allowed to rot without the city fining someone? [NB: I removed all links because Falco has refused to allow me to link my articles on his facebookery and his blog.]

To be perfectly honest: I was stunned that Falco would suddenly echo what I had been saying about the DEMOLITION BY NEGLECT of the Stirrup House after blowing me off years ago when his help may have meant something. So, I decided to leave a comment on his crappy blog.

The following exchange was posted, but then removed by him. I’m glad I saved the text, but I know how slippery Falco is.


Tom, are you kidding?

I tried to interest you in helping save the E.W.F. Stirrup House years ago, before all the DEMOLITION BY NEGLECT, when it would have done some good. You specifically told me you didn’t want to get involved. But now you’ve got something to say?

Furthermore, contrary to your assertion, it actually would have cost more to bring the old house up to code than it did to recreate the house, especially after almost 10 years of DEMOLITION BY NEGLECT. Why do you think the developer allowed it to go that way?

In a run-on sentence you ask, “In my neighborhood they come after you if you don’t mow the lawn, why are old, historic houses allowed to rot without the city fining someone?”

Because I was the only one who cared. Even the Historic Preservation Office didn’t care, although I warned them many times what was happening.


Headly, I do remember at the time that you threatened me and threatened the Miami Herald into doing what you wanted. The Herald called me to ask me what they should do, you apparently scared their reporter with your threats. I don’t know what they ended up doing, but I don’t respond to threats.

At the time I explained that there was nothing I could do because unlike you, I don’t threaten people. I could not afford to buy the house, not that it was for sale, and I could not persuade anyone involved to take action. Other than that, there was nothing I could do.

I shined light on the house and Charles Avenue many times, starting in 2009. I also posted links to your story in 2012, showing the deterioration. I am not sure what else I could do. I reported and wrote about their canopy destruction a few years back. I spoke with neighbors in the area who have been living there for years. They did nothing.

I am not part of the HEP or zoning boards and I am not part of any city agencies and again, I will not threaten people. I warned the city agencies, I warned the commissioner, I warned many people, as well. Maybe I didn’t report on that, but I do a lot around here that people don’t know about.

I honestly don’t know what else you would have had me do. I write the news here. I shed light on things. I notify the authorities. I just had a conversation with someone yesterday about turning that open spigot on the roof of the Playhouse. He made one call and it was done. I helped someone find housing, I helped another find a job, I stood up to a developer trying to change easements in the neighborhood, I sat through a three hour housing summit to find out the facts, etc. I do that silently and don’t report it all.

I don’t buy houses and restore them. Sorry. And I don’t threaten people to see it my way.

PS. I didn’t want to get involved with YOU years ago, not the house.

January 24, 2017 11:16 AM



This is now the 2nd time you’ve defamed me by falsely claiming I threatened you. The last time it was in an email chain with Al Crespo. At the time I asked you to withdraw the accusation and apologize. You did neither.

Now you compound your defamation by going public with it *and* claiming I threatened an unnamed Herald reporter. Where do you get your alternate facts?

Since I have never spoken to you or any Herald reporter — and all my communication has been by email — you should be able to prove your assertion that I threatened you and a Herald reporter because there would be a paper trail.

Prove it or retract it.



She and I will not apologize for feeling threatened. That was our emotion at the time, that is why you were put on ignore and spam and I haven’t seen an email from you since.

The Herald reporter vaguely remembers it, but not clearly, she is checking her notes and also with her partner in the morning.

No more comments on this subject. Waste of time. If I get the info from her, I’ll send it to your pal Al Crespo and he can forward it on to you.



I’m not asking for an apology. I’m asking for a retraction.

You defamed me, but now are hiding behind new weasel words, that you were “feeling threatened”.

However, that’s not what you said. You said I threatened you and a Herald reporter.

That is libel. I am demanding a retraction or proof. What could I have possibly said that made the little snowflake feel threatened? Put up or shut up.

Falco also pretends to be a cartoonist

However, that comment wouldn’t go through and Snowflake Tommy posted this instead:

I deleted a couple of my own comments here because I decided long ago not to argue with readers or even read the comments.

Then a few minutes later even that little note disappeared. Now there are zero comments on that post and no comments whatsoever will be allowed.

Here’s the important thing: I was still libeled. Consequently:

I am still demanding a
retraction from Tom Falco.

Deleting a comment that remained on his site for hours doesn’t mitigate the libel.

Deleting the comment does not take the place of a retraction.

Deleting the comment doesn’t absolve Tom Falco from damages.

However, this episode does show (once again) that:

  1. Tom Falco is no journalist;
  2. Tom Falco has no ethics;
  3. Tom Falco is a coward.

This is not the first time I’ve blasted Tom Falco
for his supreme idiocy. You may also enjoy:

Go Home, Coconut Grove Grapevine, You’re Drunk!A Coconut Grove Grapevine UpdateIf It’s News, It’s News To The Coconut Grove Grapevine  • UPDATED: Coconut Grove Grapevine, Stop the Lies!

UPDATED: Coconut Grove Grapevine, Stop the Lies!

The back of Tom Falco’s head taken at the Grove 2030 charrette
I covered in Intense Intents in Tents. Oddly enough, that post
mentioned the Terra Group, the latest rapaciousdeveloper
to try to buy up and gentrify Grand Avenue. However,
Tom Falco is only concerned with gentrification in White
neighbourhoods. Stories on West Grove are few and far between.

Can you trust his reporting on development if
he’s taking “gimme caps” from developers?

Over the years I’ve had a lot of fun at the expense of Tom Falco, editor, owner, and grammarian at the Coconut Grove Grapevine.

Our enmity began when I was still using the nom de troll of Aunty Em Ericann and I tried to get him to help me save the E.W.F. Stirrup House.

When he declined I tried to get him to provide me some direction off the record, because I was new to Grove politics, and he might be able to help understand the lay of the land. In my opinion his responses were, on the whole, racist in nature and I was unsure why he’d ‘go there’ with a complete stranger like myself. We’ve pretty much been on opposite sides ever since, occasionally breaking out into public and private skirmishes.

Later he blocked me from commenting on his facebookery because I shared my Coconut Grove articles and, later, tagged him on posts, something I saw him castigate someone else for just yesterday. I’m not sure why he’s so adamant against either practice if the goal is to share information that might be of interest to his readers. However, Falco’s only goal is to protect his little fiefdom, not the free exchange of information. Therefore, any competition must be discouraged.

There was the time I wrote Go Home, Coconut Grove Grapevine, You’re Drunk, which took him to task for being a paranoid idiot after he accused me of having a “crew” that “threatened” him. I wish I were making this up.

This is my favourite part of the Coconut Grove
Grapevine. Go ahead and sue me, Tommy.

A few days after that I posted A Coconut Grove Grapevine Update, in which I slapped him around for writing a public apology to someone after he had defamed and libeled me without apology or retraction.

Then there was the time I wrote If It’s News, It’s News To The Coconut Grove Grapevine in which I admitted being jealous that he was quoted by Miami media to comment on the destruction of the trees at the E.W.F. Stirrup House and Trolleygate, even though he had a bare understanding of either story and hadn’t really written about them to any great degree. And, in another post, I admitted my jealousy of his advertisers.

None of that includes posts I’ve started to write about him because of his tortured English, and then decided not to publish because I don’t want to be known as a grammar Nazi.

However, to my credit, I also wrote Welcome Back Coconut Grove. Falco shut down for a while, saying he was quitting to concentrate on his pathetic cartoons. However, after 4 months of not being a local Coconut Grove celebrity bartering ad space, he returned to the Blogosphere.

Back in the day, I used to make fun of his slogan “Coconut Grove’s Only Daily News” because it was neither. Eventually — and I hope it was because I complained — when he returned from his self-imposed, hair-shirt hiatus he did so with a brand new slogan: Daily updates on what’s up in Coconut Grove and beyond including Brickell, Coral Gables and Midtown Miami.

I guess he was hoping to start selling advertising — or bartering more meals — all over the place. However, he must have been disappointed by the response.

When I was writing Intense Intents in Tents earlier today, I checked to see if he had said anything about the Housing for All protest. Of course not. However, he had found the time to attend and write about what’s got them roiled in Whiteville. Falco had a post on Grove 2030. And then something about mattresses. But, anything of the Housing for All protest happening in between? Of course not. Nothing. Crickets.

That’s when I happened to notice he’s changed his slogan again.  Now it’s:

The only place for Coconut Grove,
FL News, Views & Opinions

One wonders whether the UBER advert is a paid ad or part of a contra deal.
And why a plug for the mattress store? Is there some quid pro quo happening?
Falco is only concerned about news in Whiteville, also known as the Coconut Grove Business Improvement District, which doesn’t include anything west of Margaret Street on Grand Avenue.

Futhermore, I have proven over and over again that The Grapevine is *NOT* the only place for Coconut Grove News, Views & Opinions. Falco needs to remove his mendacious slogan ASAP.

UPDATE: The Coconut Grove Grapevine finally posted something on the Housing for All protest on the morning of the November 15th. While he managed to mangle a few facts, which is to be expected with Tom Falco, at least he ventured into West Grove.

Intense Intents in Tents ► Unpacking Grand Avenue

CLICK HERE for a full gallery of Housing for All protest pics

Two gatherings in Coconut Grove on Saturday morning were as different as Black and White. 

On Grand Avenue Thaddeus Scott and William Wallace were waking up in tents. This to protest a lack of affordable housing and the deplorable living conditions in West Grove. Less than 3 miles away, Grove 2030 was sponsoring a charrette on the practicality of Coconut Grove seceding from the City of Miami.

There was no breakfast waiting for Scott and Wallace in their empty lot on Grand Avenue, but Grove 2030 put out a great spread in the back of Vizcaya Garage: buckets of coffee, choice of juice, donuts, muffins, bagels and the obligatory cream cheese.

The evening prior this reporter arrived to sit on his customary bench on Grand Avenue and watch Housing for All Miami set up their meager Tent City, a show of Civil Disobedience that, theoretically, could lead to arrests. I had been hearing rumblings of this protest for a couple of weeks, but always on the downlow. I was never able to get someone on the record about it. I had less than a day’s notice when I was finally told the protest was a go. From HfA’s Facebook page:

Why Housing for All?

Some very basic facts about #coconutgrove:
There is a housing crisis. Developers buy up single family homes and apartments – some in disrepair, some not – level them, and sit on the land.

Landlords also sell their apartment buildings by the block. They refuse to sign leases with their tenants so when the buildings sell, they evict with 15 days notice. Another common practice is to let the buildings run down to unsafe and uninhabitable, at which point the city steps in and condemns them, forcing the tenants to move out with little-to-no warning. Fifteen days to find housing in one of the nations toughest housing markets.

We are talking about HUNDREDS of people. Kids, parents, grandparents whose families have lived in this neighborhood for generations. They built these houses. Many of them built this city.

This is not ok @cityofmiami @cityofmiamifl @cityofmiamigov

I turned my attention to the slow motion humanitarian crisis on Grand Avenue a little more than a month ago — soon after I gave up on the E.W.F. Stirrup House. As one of my last acts for that story I was able to score an interview with developer Peter Gardner, of Pointe Group, now called Sabal Hill. He had recently signed on — or invested in — the Stirrup House Bed & Breakfast.

By then I had already started researching Grand Avenue. During our interview on the Stirrup House, I pulled a Bait & Switch on Gardner. I whipped out a hand-drawn map of Grand Avenue on which I had the current owner of every property mapped out and colour-coded. The names of Gardner’s companies were featured predominately on many of those properties. I started quizzing him on the plans for Grand Avenue, which have been stuck in limbo for well more than a decade.

The famed model of Grand Avenue

SYNCHRONICITY ALERT: Two years ago — almost to the day — I was invited to the first Grove 2030 charrette. I went as a journalist, but I was cajoled into participating and forced to join one of the brainstorming teams. At one point (no pun intended) someone on our team brought up the upcoming development promised for Grand Avenue by Pointe Group. Having done some perfunctory research on Grand even back then, I blurted out, “That will never happen.”

Little did I know that I was talking to Margaret Nee of Pointe Group. We had a mini-argument in which she invited me to come see the architectural model any time, because it was definitely going to happen. I never went to look at the model because I wasn’t covering Grand Avenue. However, in the interest of FULL DISCLOSURE I told Peter Gardner this story at the beginning of our interview. Who knows whether Margaret had and she was the person who had facilitated this meeting.

In the last few weeks I have left more than a dozen phone messages with Margaret Nee to get Peter Gardner to confirm or deny a rumour I had been hearing about the E.W.F. Stirrup House.

However, this came at the same exact time that many of the properties along Grand Avenue were about to be flipped again, this time to Terra Group. As well, Commissioner Ken Russell had convinced the city to launch a million dollar lawsuit against several of the slumlords along Grand Avenue because of the deplorable conditions in their buildings. This lawsuit has delayed the sale of the properties until all the parties involved figure out who’s going to pay to settle this lawsuit, or whether it will be defended by lawyers for the developers, who are already suing each other.

TO BE FAIR: If I were Peter Gardner, I wouldn’t take my calls either. Not only did I change topics on him, but pretty much warned him that I was now watching Grand Avenue [and 2 lots he had acquired on Charles Avenue]. However, Margaret Nee has not even had the good manners to call me back and say, “We will have no comment.” That would be better than dodging my phone calls, but I expect no less from rapacious developers who say they want to build something wonderful for the neighbourhood, but have no empathy whatsoever for the people currently living in the slum they own.

Yesterday morning I listened to the Grove 2030 people complain about how their lily White neighbourhoods are changing in ways they cannot control. However, my mind was really on Wallace and Scott sleeping in tents on an empty lot on Grand Avenue to bring attention to gentrification in the heart of the historically Black neighbourhood in ways they cannot control. I grew so bored with the Grove 2030 meeting, I sketched out an opening paragraph (now discarded) lovingly describing all the various food and drink options at Grove 2030, wondering what Scott and Wallace had for breakfast.

IRONY ALERT: There was so much food at Grove 2030 that it was all packed up and sent to the Housing for All protest when the charrette was over. While there was something beautiful and magnanimous about the gesture, it also gave off the faint odour of more White colonialism and paternalism. To use an analogy from Canada: Bread and cheese day.

It would have been much better if the Grove 2030 people had shown up, picked up a sign, and joined the protest.

How long will the Housing for All protest continue? William Wallace says they are prepared to camp out indefinitely, or until the slumlord owner shows up and orders the police to clear the lot. Miami police would have no choice but to comply. In that eventuality, there are several contingency plans, which I won’t reveal.

However, what’s really needed is more people, more tents, more noise, and more publicity. As far as I know I have been the only media to show up and cover this story.

Where is the Miami Herald? Asleep again, me thinks. However, it did have the time to write about the Woman arrested in luxury condo protest: City and cops violated my rights. The only time the Miami Herald comes to West Grove is to cover crime.

Where are the local tee vee stations? They’ll put news choppers in the air over Douglas Road and Grand Avenue when police put the local schools and neighbourhood on lockdown. Why haven’t they covered this protest?

Where is the Coconut Grove Grapevine? Tom Falco only seems to concern himself with the West Grove to cover the opening of a new art installation at the Kroma Gallery, the opening of a new fresh fish store, or a new product at the mattress store. However, nothing about the people of West Grove.

Oh, that’s right. This is the poor Black neighbourhood. Never mind.

If It’s News, It’s News To The Coconut Grove Grapevine

Let’s have a Tomversation, Tom.

Longtime followers of Not Now Silly can attest, I have been trying to Save the E.W.F. Stirrup House for more than 5 years.

Back in 2009 I tried to get Tom Falco, publisher of the Coconut Grove Grapevine, to help me. We engaged in a series of emails that went south really quickly. I explained my background. Then I offered my early opinion (which has only grown after researching more history) that much of what happens in West Grove is informed by Systemic Racism, I received the following reply from Falco, grammar, lack of punctuation, and misspellings unretouched:

[8/31/2009] Well some of the residents on the block are to blame too.

The first house was given over $700,000 by the city in grant money to renovate and the owner painted it white and took off.

Other areas were to be an arts district, but someone involved and part of the black community bought up all the land cheap and then tried to sell it to the artist for exhorbatant prices, so they just walked away.

You were wrong to place this on the facebook page it is off topic and really if you want to be taken seriously you need to do it by not spamming places. It makes you look unprofessional and people won’t take you seriously.

I do since I have done stories on the subject, but it is best to try to spreaed your info the proper way, and spamming blogs and facebook is not the proper way.

I’m just sayin.. Also it wasn’t “Whitie” who scammed the artists, it was the black something initiative that screwed the hood.

Tom Falco

Tom Falco [L] sharing information in downtown Coconut Grove

Wait!!! What???

I was surprised that Falco was so unconcerned about Charles Avenue and the E.W.F. Stirrup House. His larger issue — one he has to this very day — is about SPAM. All links in comment threads are SPAM, as far as he is concerned. It would never have occurred to me that a post about news in Coconut
Grove would be considered Off Topic on a blog with the rubric COCONUT GROVE’S ONLY

Silly me!!!

As for professionalism: I’ve been a professional writer-journalist for more than 40 years. While it’s so easy to dismiss that experience in the cyber-world, where anyone can claim to be a writer, at least I spell words correctly and know how to use punctuation properly. Yet, Tom Falco has a sizable readership despite his grammar and run-on sentences. More’s the pity.

Clearly Tom and I have a fundamental disagreement. Falco feels sharing information through a link is SPAM. I believe information should be shared. I’m not sharing the link to get traffic to Not Now Silly. I don’t make money off web traffic, like he does. I am sharing the link in order to share the information contained within. Three days later he wrote to me because I transgressed again:

I asked you in a nice way to stop spamming my face book page.

If you do it again, I will have you blocked from the page.

Thank you.

Falco did eventually block me from his facebookery. I was never successful in recruiting him to my efforts to save the E.W.F. Stirrup House, even when I tried again in 2012, when he dismissed me with:


I really don’t want to get involved with that.

I am really trying to ease out of the Grove these days and am not taking on any more causes.


Nor was I successful in recruiting him to the other West Grove issue that cropped up a year ago, Trolleygate.

Funny story about that. Al Crespo, the great Miami muckraker and publisher of The Crespogram Report, tried to get him involved in Trolleygate. Without knowing of the enmity that had built up, Crespo made the mistake of including in his email a link to one of my blog posts and CCed me. Falco blew a gasket, which was so funny and outrageous that I wrote all about it in Go Home, Coconut Grove Grapevine, You’re Drunk! Hilarity ensued. However, Falco’s yet to apologize for the libelous statements in his email.

That’s why it was so surprising to see the Coconut Grove Grapevine recently take up the issues of both the E.W.F. Stirrup House and Trolleygate. What was not surprising is how he has continued to block my comments on his threads because I continue to link to my blog posts.

However, I recently learned that it’s not just me who is being blocked at the Coconut Grove Grapevine. I am now in email communication with someone else (with Tom Falco CCed). This person has also been trying to get comments posted on Falco’s blog. Falco not only refuses to publish the comments, but has refused the courtesy of a private reply as to why the comments have been blocked.

Let me be the first to defend Tom Falco. Only Tom Falco should decide on what gets published on the Coconut Grove Grapevine. Having said that, no one”s trying to SPAM his blog. We are trying to provide his readers more information on issues of importance to Coconut Grove. A real writer would WELCOME that kind of dialogue with its readers. Falco really should drop the pretense that he’s serving his readers; he’s serving his advertisers.

This advert was out-of-date on
March 1st when the MPA took
over the Playhouse parking lot.

When Falco falsely labels informative links SPAM, it’s a convenient excuse not to publish comments that might lead to criticism of any of his advertisers. F’rinstance: Gino Falsetto (the marauding developer I have written about extensively) has been an advertiser at the Grapevine through various companies, including his (possibly illegal) parking concession at the Playhouse and the several restaurants in the Grove Gardens Residence Condominiums.

With Aries Development Group‘s fingers in so many Coconut Grove pies, much of the reporting Falco does is compromised. His recent two-parter on the Stirrup House, spurred on by the destruction of the trees and the public outcry, is an exercise of saying almost nothing while giving the Stirrup House lip service. Laughably he says in one of those posts:

For some years now, a few people asked me to get involved but I always felt there was nothing I could do. After so many years, the Stirrup family gave up the house, which was given historic designation in 2004.

And, nothing is what Tom Falco did. He ignored the Stirrup House from the day I tried to get him to help until now.

And, nothing is what Tom Falco still does. In neither post does he really come out and criticize the rapacious, marauding developer, Gino Falsetto. Furthermore, he won’t publish comments that do.

TO BE FAIR: Falco’s absolutely right that there’s nothing he can do, unless he’s willing to piss off his advertisers. However, if he wants to serve his readers and the larger community can help me pound the drum to Save the E.W.F. Stirrup House.

Either run as the Unofficial Mayor of Coconut Grove, or do some real reporting.

Even his reporting on Trolleygate is back-asswards. He never comes out in favour of his neighbours against the non-complying Coral Gables bus garage, although he mentions the controversy almost tangentially.

What Falco actually has done is to start a petition to demand that Miami bring its fake trolleys into Grove Center. He takes no position on whether these fake trolleys should loop along Grand Avenue into West Grove. Nor does he mention the latest news in the fake trolley story, that Coral Gables has voted to loop its fake trolleys to the MacFarlane Homestead Subdivision Historical District, but not to Douglas Road, in West Grove, just one block away and where its developer sited the fake trolley maintenance garage.

The MacFarlane Homestead Subdivision Historical District has a fascinating history. I barely touched on it in No Skin In The Game ► Part Three. In short: Coral Gables hid its racism in plain sight by making its only Black enclave, where it ALLOWED its servant class to live, an entire historic district.

Once again West Grove is being frozen out while Center Grove is begging for crumbs from Miami for a fake trolley. However, for a change, Historic Black Coral Gables might finally get served. But, you’ll never learn any of the context from the Coconut Grove Grapevine.

If Falco remains true to form he will next take another wrong position. In no time at all I expect to read him call for grandfathering the illegal, non-conforming Douglas Road diesel bus garage because, with the expansion of the fake trolley lines he’s pushing for, it will be needed, despite the fact that it belongs to the next town over.

I guess what really has me irked, however, is he managed to get quoted recently by other publications who jumped on the both the E.W.F. Stirrup House and Trolleygate issues. He had to be dragged — kicking and screaming — to barely write about these Coconut Grove issues in the first place. Then Miami media quotes him as if he knows what he’s talking about.

Clearly, he’s got a much better press agent than I do and I am jealous of the attention he gets.

However, I’ll warn Falco publicly (again) that he needs to be careful who he says what to. Some of what he says actually gets back to me. In fact, people seem gleeful to repeat it. Some of it sounds suspiciously like slander. People he believes are his friends do not keep his confidences. Who knew FAM would provide so many Friends of Falco a night to unload?

On the other hand: Everything I have said to people in private about Tom Falco, I have also stated in public on my blog more than once:

The Coconut Grove Grapevine is a joke, and Tom Falco is a panoply of a parody of a journalist.