Go Home, Coconut Grove Grapevine, You’re Drunk!
Tom Falco acting inconspicuous right in the middle of downtown Coconut Grove

Uh oh! I’m involved in another media bun fight with Tom Falco, writer-editor-grammarian of the Coconut Grove Grapevine. And, I didn’t start it this time. The last time we had a battle of wits, he came half-armed. This time he’s come completely unarmed — or unglued, you decide — and I almost don’t have the heart to finish this post . . . the operative word being “almost.”

Before I lay out our latest skirmish, let me first clear up one thing, because this is a discussion I refuse to have ever again:

I have always considered every email sent to me as my property to do with as I wish. Most people know that I am a journalist before they write to me. Consequently, emailing me does not automatically confer confidentiality. Having said that, there’s loads of email I receive that get and deserve confidentiality. I have several sources guaranteed anonymity, as well as a few whistle-blowers who send me documents. They all know I’d never burn a source. I have exchanged email with Tom Falco, on and off, going back to 2009. He’s always refused to join in my campaign to Save The E.W.F. Stirrup House. That he did so with several off-hand remarks that I took as racial, still rankles. [But then, if you’ve been following
Not Now Silly for any length of time, you know that I see racism in almost everything. Maybe I was wrong about why he refuses to cover West Grove issues. Maybe if the West Grove could afford advertising in the Grapevine it would be a whole different dealie, but this parenthetical is already too long, so we’ll leave that for another time.] I even offered Tom Falco the opportunity to be an off-the-record source for my Coconut Grove stories. He declined to even meet with me to discuss it over coffee. Consequently, no confidentiality for you!

Put a pair of sunglasses on Mr. Softee and you would be able to tell them apart.

Not that I feel I need any further excuse for printing Falco’s emails, but just today he chose to print an email on his joke-of-a-blog that wasn’t even addressed to him; it was an email passed to him by a 3rd party. As far as I’m concerned, that makes Falco’s emails fair game.

And, because I simply can’t resist piling on, here is grammarian Tom Falco at his run-on best from today [sic throughout]:

He wanted tot talk on the phone or in person, I wanted a typed answer that I could copy and paste, as most things I write, Ron tells people that I get incorrect, so copy and paste is the answer I would like. So I can have a written copy to verify the answer.

I apologize. Those are the worst two sentences you’ve ever read, I know, but it’s the Internet Age. Nowadays everybody thinks they are a writer, which has devalued a reputable trade I spent a lifetime learning. But, that’s also another argument for another day.

Not only is it worth quoting Falco just for the lulz alone, but also because it proves what I have been saying. I’ve accused Falco of cutting and pasting the press releases he’s sent, which he turns into blog posts that will stroke the ego of his pool of potential advertisers. “I could copy and paste, as most things I write.” It’s like he’s not even trying any more.

Here’s a news flash, Tom: If you cut and paste press releases, you aren’t writing. However, when you’re cutting and pasting, your grammar improves dramatically. You might want to stick to cut & paste. 

Slightly more context: I need to introduce you to Al Crespo, of the Crespogram Report. Crespo is one of Miami’s best muckrakers. I wish I had his guts and his investigatory skills. I tried to get Crespo involved in the E.W.F. Stirrup House too, and he also declined. I never held that against him the way I did Falco. Crespo’s reasoning, which made sense, was (paraphrasing) “the developers got their hands on the E.W.F. Stirrup House fair & square.” However, to give Al Crespo’s due credit, he recognized sheer genius and The Crespogram Report linked to my Not Now Silly post Is Marc D. Sarnoff Corrupt Or The Most Corrupt Miami Politician? That one mention was worth 422 hits, which was much appreciated. However, as I admitted to him, I cribbed some of my info from the Crespogram Report.

The Trollygate diesel bus government maintenance facility
that I’ve been writing about since January

So, now that you’re all caught up: Last week Crespo sent an email to Tom Falco and CCed me on it. Here’s our full exchange as of a few minutes ago:

FROM: Al Crespo
TO: Tom Falco, Headly Westerfield

Aug 17, 2013

——– Forward Original Message ——–
Subject:     My latest on Trolleygate
Date:     Sat, 17 Aug 2013 16:47:05 -0400
From:     Headly Westerfield
To:     undisclosed-recipients:;

West Grove Residents Lose ► Polluting Bus Garage Will Go Ahead

FROM: Headly Westerfield
TO: Al Crespo, Tom Falco
Aug 17, 2013

Tom doesn’t cover politics. He’s said so himself.

Tom doesn’t cover West Grove because I’ve tried to get him involved several times in West Grove issues and he has always declined.

BTW: Trolleygate was all Sarnoff’s doing. He screwed his own constituents by gifting them a diesel bus garage.If he were not term-limited, he’d never get another West Grove vote.
FROM: Tom Falco
TO: Al Crespo,
Headly Westerfield
Aug 24, 2013

I will not bow to threats by Headly and his crew. I don’t cover events
that I am threatened to cover. That’t how they operate.

If you check the Grapevine, you will probably see hundreds
of stories that take place in the West Grove. You probably
have never checked once to make a libelous comment like that.
I suggest you do a search in the upper left box of the Grapevine
and see every Village West event I have attended and covered.

As for this past story, I was in the hospital for 8 days with
kidney failure. That is why i did not cover it.

Tom Falco
Editor | CoconutGroveGrapevine
The Daily News of Coconut Grove

FROM: Headly Westerfield
Tom Falco, Al Crespo
Aug 24, 2013

What the hell are you babbling about?

Crew? I have no crew. I work alone. I am simply one guy, living in a different county, who found a house I wanted to save. I tried to interest you in the story. You declined to help me. To be fair, so did Al Crespo. However, that desire to save the E.W.F. Stirrup House has led to all my other reporting on Coconut Grove.

You can take the boy out of the newsroom, but you can’t take the newsroom out of the boy.

Threats? I have issued no threats.

Libelous? I suggest you first look up the word and then retract your accusation that I have issued threats.

Let me see if I have this straight: Because you have a totally whacked out conspiracy theory that I am working with some unnamed “crew” who “threatens” you to “cover events” that don’t seem to interest you, you will leave other perfectly good news items on the floor in a fit of pique because that’s how “they” operate?

Stamp your foot louder. They may not have heard it in Brickell.

I’m sorry to hear you’re not feeling well. Get better soon, so CGG can better serve the West Grove neighbourhood. It could use a voice with your readership. I do what I can, but I’m just one guy.

I doubt I will ever get an apology from Tom Falco. That’s about as likely as Falco covering issues and events of importance to West Grove residents. I alerted him to Trolleygate way back in January, so I’m not really buying his recent kidney troubles as an excuse. Falco made it clear the Coconut Grove Grapevine is no longer COCONUT GROVE’S ONLY DAILY NEWS, when he took down that rubric (after I criticized it many times) and replaced it with Daily updates on what’s up in Coconut Grove and beyond including Brickell, Coral Gables and Midtown Miami.

To be fair: Maybe Falco’s not drunk at all.  Maybe it’s the kidney meds.

About Headly Westerfield

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

3 thoughts on “Go Home, Coconut Grove Grapevine, You’re Drunk!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *