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.

About Headly Westerfield

Calling himself “A liberally progressive, sarcastically cynical, iconoclastic polymath,” Headly Westerfield has been a professional writer all his adult life.

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