Commissioner Marc Sarnoff has some very vocal enemies among business-owners in the Coconut Grove parcel of his district, thanks in large part to his unwavering support of a 3 a.m. bar curfew there. Public officials -- especially those with controversial stances -- usually expect to take a smattering of public ridicule as part of their job; Riptide would be pretty much screwed otherwise.
Instead, Sarnoff has reacted like a despot -- sending a rich-guy legal threat to a blogger ordering him to remove satire from the comments section.
Whatever happened to a nice, "Hey, it's the Commissioner. Would you mind taking that comment down?"
Last Thursday, Coconut Grove Grapevine editor Tom Falco, who has been on the side of restaurateurs and bar-owners against the early curfew, blogged about a City Hall meeting discussing the issue. Falco mentioned the point that since other districts have later curfews, Coconut Grove's early curfew doesn't do much to curb drunk driving overall, which is its primary purpose.
An anonymous commenter wrote the following below the post:
Dear City of Miami,
I fully support drinking and driving after 3am even if it claims the lives of others as long as your drunk driving does not take place in my neighborhood,
Offensive, yes, but -- let's face it -- pretty funny, especially with the Xs and the Os before the signature.
On Monday, Sarnoff got a lawyer to write one of those "GOVERN YOURSELVES ACCORDINGLY" letters that only blowhards send out, ordering Falco to remove the comment from the individual "purporting to be Commissioner Sarnoff," calling it "defamatory" and "libel[ous]", neither of which are true since he's a public official and the comment was clearly satire.
But never mind that. What's really dumb is that Sarnoff -- who didn't respond to our request for comment -- did not attempt to simply ask Falco to remove the comment, which the editor says he would have immediately done. So now Falco has removed the comment, but posted the legal letter (see below), and now the offending comment will enjoy perpetuity on this blog.
Furthermore, everybody is invited to do your best Marc Sarnoff impression in this comments section.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.