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Letter: Coral Gables officials attack messenger, but mostly ignore message


How to sound off

To submit your letter, email or write Soapbox, c/o Neighbors, 3511 NW 91st Avenue, Miami, Fla., 33172. Fax: 305-376-5287. Letters must address a specific LOCAL issue and must be signed with a name, city or neighborhood, as well as a telephone number for verification purposes. Letters more than 350 words will not be accepted, and writers are limited to one letter every four weeks. Letters will run as space allows and may be edited for length, style and clarity. The deadline for letters is noon Wednesday.

I was surprised and saddened that in reply to my opinion letter regarding the news that the city may license night clubs in downtown Coral Gables, that the current administration decided to direct two personal attacks against me. Interestingly, not much was said about night clubs in either letter.

Perhaps neither writer had read the July 25 Miami Today article titled “Heart of Gables might loosen zoning to revamp downtown,” in which the city’s partner, the Business Improvement District’s executive director, stated: “we want to be able to compete with the Design District and Brickell, but once you get out of a restaurant at 10 o’clock at night, there’s nothing else to do.” The article goes on to state “that’s partly because zoning rules ban bars within the city” and that “city leaders support plans for revisiting the zoning rules and creating a revamped downtown.”

Thus, I believe that my concerns were and are real, not imagined (nor “misrepresented” or “untrue”), and that our residents deserve a full explanation of what the city is planning. Unlike the 10 years previous to this administration there is now little notice of proposed changes, little opportunity for discussion and, apparently, an organized effort to demean those who disagree.

Almost every restaurant in Coral Gables has a bar, and many have entertainment – but they must meet the regulations that almost 50 percent of their revenues come from the sale of food. That requirement guarantees a certain sophisticated demeanor of the establishment and prevents the “Design District/Brickell” allowance for early morning drinking clubs and the inherent problems that accompany them. To allow such clubs may well put our cherished restaurant community at a competitive disadvantage.

The city’s assertion that “that City Hall would[n’t] sell out our identity” should be good news to many residents who have expressed true concern about the impending loss of our identity when confronted with the 8-by-4-foot plywood billboards erected throughout the city proclaiming the good works of the current administration – a practice that previous administrations had correctly avoided as too political and too unsightly (and, seemingly, in contradiction with the zoning code).

Don Slesnick, Coral Gables

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