Once hailed as an "activist", now accused of being an "elitist"


Marc Sarnoff’s next memo to himself should be a reminder to think before he speaks.

The Miami City Commissioner, who ran for office as a voice for the people, revealed that he is just as discriminatory against lower-income folks as any Miami politician who is in the pocket of developers.

The 20-year Coconut Grove resident who apparently never knew or doesn’t care about the bohemian Grove of yesteryear, stated the following, according to theMiami Herald, during a City Commission meeting where they were discussing changing the Grove’s last call for alcohol from 5 a.m to 3 a.m.

“Coconut Grove needs to start servicing the wealthy people,” Sarnoff said, complaining that affluent Grove residents are being forced to go to Coral Gables for their shopping needs.

So much for his political platform which is proudly listed on his Website:

“My motivation is to strive to attain goals that speak to all residents in Miami.”

Perhaps he should add that line to his list of memos to himself.

His most famous memo to himself so far is where he described a conversation with former City Manager Joe Arriola in which Arriola allegedly claimed that Miami City Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones was demanding $50,000 from a developer in exchange for her vote.

Not surprisingly, she ended up voting in favor of the developer, Jorge Perez of The Related Group, in December. The memo was mysteriously leaked to the media and prompted Perez to sue him for defamation.

That case is still pending, but just last week, Spence-Jones agreed to pay $8,000 to the Florida Elections Commission for “violating election laws by improperly giving cash to poll workers and failing to properly disclose her role in political ads during her 2005 campaign.”

With business as usual in the city, it’s enough to drive one to drink. Especially now that it turns out the commissioner who was described by the media as an “activist” turns out to be an “elitist”.

At least according to Coconut Grove nightclub owners, who insist they will go out of business if they are forced to stop serving alcohol at 3 a.m. Maybe they should have offered Sarnoff $50,000. That always seems to work with city officials.

Sarnoff, however, seems pretty much set against the nightclubs, according to this line from the Herald.

No longer, Sarnoff said from the dais, would the Grove serve primarily as a shopping mecca and playground for bar-hopping, loud-music-thumping college kids from the University of Miami and other schools.

Sarnoff didn’t explain exactly which rich Grove residents are being forced to shop in the Gables between the hours of 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. because of this unruly element. But perhaps it is longtime Grove resident Sue McConnell, who is described as a “strong Sarnoff backer” and stated the following:

“These are the kind of people that carry weapons with them.”

Just to prove her point, the Herald pointed out that “reputed gang member Victor ‘Magic’ Lopez” was arrested in connection with a double stabbing last year at a Coconut Grove nightclub called Vision. The incident occurred at 3:30 a.m.

The commission plans a final vote on the issue in the coming weeks. If passed, it would only affect those establishments in downtown Coconut Grove. As my clubbing days are over, I really don’t care what they end up doing.

But they better not mess with the Loggerhead’s 5 a.m. cut-off time.


Citizen Journalism