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Sunday, June 28, 2015

It's "pick on the Sailing Club' week

I'm sorry if I am going on about the Coconut Grove Sailing Club, but it really hit me the wrong way when a lady from the club asked me to remove a public meeting notice which I posted, which to be honest, was not meant to bring "outsiders" into the club meeting, but was to be a service for club members who read the Grapevine, but her simple email turned into so much more. Here's the story from 2010 about the Mooring Fields.

I think the club is run by inept people, maybe if someone with a brain ran the place, things would be different.

Many people have really been rude in the comments section and people went on and on about what the fees are and how it's a good deal. The point was that the club is a total mess and I don't care if it's $1 a year to join, it's not about that.  Jack King went on about a bunch of problems they've had over the years including embezzlement, and there are so many other things. All the planted comments, that all just happened to come in at the same time with the same tone don't fool anyone. Maybe if they paid for a liquor license that would include everyone, and allow visitors to try the place out, they wouldn't come across as not being Grove-friendly. People that come and try it out may become members.

When I suggested that the Coconut Grove Sailing Club move out, people wondered what should go there instead - I certainly wasn't thinking of development of the property; quite the opposite let it be Meyers Park, which it is part of. It's a gated section of Meyers Park, where the public is turned away. Why not just open it for anyone to come to? Or make it a community center where everyone can enjoy the waterfront.

I'm not sure why more people don't complain about this private club taking up space on city property and then complaining about things non-stop - "the parking space construction is blocking us," "the Bed Race is in the way," " the Arts Festival is a nuisance," "the 5K race is blocking our entrance," and so on. When the Coconut Grove Arts Festival or the Great Grove Bed Race close down the public areas for a day or a weekend, you never hear the end of it from residents, but the Sailing Club, which is on public property, on prime waterfront and gated so that residents cannot enter, is ok? Why do people complain when Peacock Park is gated for a beer festival for a day and just a few feet away a public park is gated 24/7 and run like a fiefdom? 

Part of the new parks master plan involved moving the club but I believe that part of the plan was changed and I believe if they moved, they would still be on city land. I say move it to private property where they can do what they want and charge what they want and be as snobby as they wanna be. That's all. 


For linking to this one story, just click on the time it was posted & just this story will open for sharing - only through social media. Not copying and pasting.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was having a conversation the other night with someone very familiar with the Sailing Club who said the restaurant operator will also be operating the new restaurants in the "Grove Harbour" development (when is that happening anyway?).

Which makes me think that because this particular restaurant operator has the support of the political establishment and gets lots of favors (more parking, ideal location), they have a market advantage which allows them to be so A-Holes that would turn off potential clients.

Being that we destroyed our waterfront convention center, eliminated up to 400 high paying jobs related to film and TV production Miami and especially Coconut Grove has a clear anti-business climate for anyone not part of the good ol' boys.

June 28, 2015 12:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can anyone clarify what is "City Property", exactly? The Major owns the land, or the Commissioners or perhaps it's property of Uncle Sam and Benjamin Franklin's Illuminati!!

If indeed the "City Property" where the exclusive Snobs at the Sailor's Club is, (masquerading as a "service community" for the Grove, but does nothing and shares nothing).. then as Tax payers, who actually pay our supposed 'public servants' salaries at City Hall,,,
why don't we send the Sailors Club to one of the "spoiled" Islands (pun intended, you bet), and have them clean it up real good (as Shake a Leg always does), so they can have their private little club there?

Later, when the Waterfront Mall is finished, all they have to do is hop on their boats from their own, exclusive little island (like the one they have now, except that's ours) and come shopping to the Grove.

June 28, 2015 2:00 PM  
Anonymous Anne M said...

There must not be anything else to write or talk about.

This whole thing seems like a tiresome diatribe.

No the sailing club isn't perfect. But it is one of the few vestiges of the old Grove.

Why bash it? Would you rather have a splashy glasshouse kind of place with everyone with the designer sunglasses and handbags?

There is not much serenity left in the Grove. Nothing is served by bashing it, unless it was replaced by a beautiful public park, which will never happen in this town.

Let's talk about public safety, the arts, community service.

June 28, 2015 3:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To me, Coconut Grove was founded on sailing. All the other sailing clubs in the Grove make it cost-prohibitive to the ordinary sailor. The CGSC makes sailing, or at least hanging with sailors, within reach economically. Sailing and Coconut Grove, you can't have one without the other. Kids learn to sail there for cheap. Coconut Grove Elementary have their grad parties there for free. I haven't been there all that much, and I really don't know how snobby the people are, but it would be another sad day and a win for the people trying to destroy the Grove if the sailors of Coconut Grove could no longer afford to do so.

June 28, 2015 4:18 PM  
Anonymous Nick C said...

Really sad to see the negativity, another mean-spirited article and comments about one of the real places of Grove community spirit.

The fact you feel you can state a club that has been part of the shaggy history of the Grove should just 'be moved' (wow, that's easy) is breathtaking. And you infer that the club members are snobby...and are constantly on about developers with 'tear down' on the mind...but now start going after one genuinely great Grove location. I for one am confused about your agenda.

More sadly you didn't take me up on my open offer to buy you a drink there, to show you the real side of it and allow better research. Instead you press send again and write "All the planted comments, that all just happened to come in at the same time with the same tone don't fool anyone."

I can assure all I wrote with no prompting, just a sense of incredulity. Just because some readers don't share your POV you see the need to infer some kind of 'them and us' scenario. Come on, it is just a lot of people love the club, just as they love the Grove.

Let's hear some things that really need sorting and, some balanced commentary.

By the way, the offer of drink is still valid...but come with an open mind and in a good mood!

June 28, 2015 4:44 PM  
Anonymous Don Riedel said...

One way to look at this is that the sailing club is basically like a boat storage facility/marina. Grove key and Grove Harbor marinas are on city property and you need to pay to join (pay for boat slip) and non members can not launch or dock a boat there or use the facilities. Just like a private club.

June 28, 2015 8:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Membership in the Sailing Club is relatively low. If you can afford a boat you should be able to pay the dues. I see no evidence of discrimination in the membership process. Has there been an issue about the latter?

There are numerous examples of private enterprises on government property across the country in parks and other entities. As long as no discrimination exists (except in terms of fees for services received) and the private enterprises follow the law I see no reason to whine about a nice place and a plus to the community.

June 29, 2015 8:40 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

1. My comment on the other post was not a "plant" either. I don't even live in the Grove anymore.

2. There is no restaurant operator at CGSC. They staff their own kitchen. I think they have 3 employees tops.

3. The sailing club DOES clean up a spoil island, Island E, just like Shake-a-Leg. They don't, however, try to kick people off that island. I've heard of instances where the same is not true of the other one.

What got you so upset about the Sailing Club? This just doesn't seem like you.

June 29, 2015 8:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After 11 years living in the Grove, and walking the "back-streets" almost everyday (from Peacock park, behind Scotty's, to Monty's, jumping over boats and forklifts, only way left to see some water), I've gotten to know lots of true Grovites, including boat owners, and/or Sailors Club members, from all walks of life, from homeless folks living in precarious little boats, to the Shrimpers, to the Shake a Leg people, the WaterSports French owners and international customers, to prominent attorneys with medium or huge boats AND high rise bay view apartments depends..

As everywhere else, "boat people" can be friendly folks and open minded, or utter uptight, snobbish jerks. Anyone who has lived around here long enough, though, knows the difference between Peers 1-4, and then "Peer 7" people.. (generalizing, of course). It's obvious that the vast majority of "sailors" or boat people and often think quite highly of themselves, or at least as a special breed, or something. And they do form close societies and niches even among themselves! Just walk around, try talking to a few, and you'll.

Here's a quick anecdote, among many.. Couple years ago I was running back there, started to rain, so I stopped for a drink of water at the Dinner Key office. There were a couple of "boat people" sitting there, quite representative of "sailing demographics" here.. One, you could tell a mile away, was a "Pier 7" type, uptight, dignified-looking, older man, avoiding eye contact, no hello or smile, as most "boat" people, who 'like to keep to themselves', as he later told me himself... The other guy was a more modest, typical boat guy, working class perhaps, also completely immersed into himself.

So I started taking some pictures in the rain of the old, rusty, colorful soda vending machines with all the workers' old bikes there, they made a nice contrast with the shining, expensive boats there around peer 6. I asked the conceited man with the fancy hat and glasses "do you know if these machines work?" (honest question, hungry for a snack bar).. "I don't know, we don't use those machines" he replied from some high horse. (who is "we", I though, him, or the other regular guy there?).

I sat down and somehow struck a conversation with the rich boat owner, as it turns out, from Peer 7, as he quickly distinguished himself, later noting that "I was totally "white", so I would understand how sailors felt about "obnoxious black people", in some story going to Bimini.. Long story short, he was clearly one of those wealthy boat owners, openly racist, proud of his superior "peer 7". We talked for about an hour of all the places he had visited in his voyages worldwide, boats, cultures, the Grove, etc. I asked him about some cool friends of mine who also had boats there, top professionals, well known in the Grove, he didn't know them.. he "doesn't talk to people, normally anyway, or know anyone on peer 4..

So there you have it, the "Sailors Club".

Charly Church.

June 29, 2015 12:23 PM  
Blogger Michelle Niemeyer said...

Wow! I am blown away by the sheer ignorance in this post and in its comments. It makes me sad to realize how hateful and divisive some of us in the Grove have become.

I have been a member of CGSC since they started social memberships in 2004. I joined to support our community sailing club at a time when it was under attack by the City, even though I wasn't sailing at the time. Since then, I have raced on CGSC boats and non-CGSC boats and volunteered my powerboat as a signal boat in races.

Anyone can join the CGSC. It is not a yacht club. There is no committee that denies membershop to people they don't like. Any Miami resident can sign up and join. Some club members are wealthy, some are barely squeaking by, some are retired, some are young. There are old timers and recent transplants. The common denominator is they like sailing or in some cases they like hanging out there. You don't have to be a sailor to join. If you just want to hang out and drink and listen to music you can join, too. The mooring field inside the islands is leased to the club by the City but the club has to allow anyone who wants to rent a mooring to rent one, even if they don't join the club. That said, why wouldn't you join if you have a sailboat on the moorings? They offer lessons, social nights, cruising opportunities. You can be as involved or uninvolved as you want. It's one of a handful of places left where you can have a small boat on land or rent a mooring at a reasonable cost.

To the person commenting about the Dinner Key "peers": SERIOUSLY? I have lived at Dinner Key for almost seven years and most of the people I have gotten to know there are really nice people who come from all sorts of different backgrounds. Just as in any neighborhood, some people are nicer than others. Perhaps I just see people in a different light -- I tend to see the good in them. You see a comment about not using a soda machine as snobbery. Most of us who live there don't use the soda machines. Why would we? We live there. If we drink soda, we have it on our boats.

I'm at a loss as to why you have this hatred for the sailing club, Tom. If I didn't know better I'd think you were being used like a tool to further someone's designs on their location.

June 29, 2015 1:28 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Having read you blog for a few years I have been entertained by your 'flip flop' commentary and 'rants' ,( I use the derogatory context for flip flop here)
Your commentary and attack on CGSC is so uninformed , and insulting to the vast majority of sailing members who are very friendly, not in anyway snobby , and members of a Sailing club, not a YACHT club . Come visit -
And I'd be happy to host you for a sail so that I can determine for myself if you are merely a vacillating pseudo intellectual commentator or a concerned grove citizen.
In the interest of inclusiveness why do you insist in only allowing those if us with Google accounts to post?

I am unsure as to whether you are

June 29, 2015 1:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, It's not just the soda machine.. you should have heard the man and many others.. and these were obligatory generalizations to address the topic, as stated, not all "boat people" are unfriendly, snobbish, of course, as as I wrote several times in several ways. But there is a culture, and even clear divisions if not alienation among peer residents. Please don't try to paint a rosy, happy-perfect picture, we all know it ain't so, or this topic would not even exist.

Just walk around, try talking to everyone from peer 1 to 7, visit the Club. I bet most Grovites hardly ever do that. Draw your own conclusions.

June 29, 2015 7:34 PM  

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