We spent Sunday afternoon talking with people heading to Miami's City Hall to vote early. Francesca and I stood between the voting precinct and Scotty's Landing, ground zero in this contentious Coconut Grove issue.
Jimmy Dawson has lived on Thomas Street for thirty-five years. As he headed to the polls I said "hello", pointed to Scotty's and asked him how he'd be voting on the Grove Bay issue. He had no idea what I was talking about.
Many voters are still unaware of the Grove Bay proposal.
When I explained that the City wanted to tear down Scotty's and build fancy restaurants and shops he was incredulous. Mr. Dawson replied, "Why would they do that? That place is filled with happy people", and it was.
Jimmy told me he'd been fishing at Dinner Key since the 1980's. He doesn't want his quiet place destroyed by development. Among other things, he thinks it will chase away the fish.
The gentleman behind us, fishing on the shrimp boat agreed. He too, had no idea the City was planning to add retail shops and more restaurants to his quiet vista. He promised he'd be telling his neighbors to vote "No".
Earlier I headed over to Scotty's restaurant. Seeing it packed with happy people and I kept wondering, "Why is the City messing with this?".
I walked around and handed out "Vote No" fliers. The people eating there Sunday afternoon had the same reaction as Jimmy and the fisherman.
The said they love Scotty's casual, outdoor, dining experience. The City of Miami's plan to replace it with a Shula's Steakhouse, said one patron, "Makes me want to gag. It's stupid. Some greedy bastard's idea of progress".
Most Miami voters don't have a clue about what they'll be voting on next Tuesday. If they knew about "Grove Bay", they'd probably gag too.
Jimmy Dawson is doing more than getting upset. He asked for fliers and when I saw him last, he was handing them out to potential voters.
Join Jimmy in this important cause. Vote "No" on Grove Bay and ask your friends to do the same.