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March 2, 2006

Interesting Comment

I just received a rather hateful comment from a person that seems to be kind of upset with my entry from almost 2 years ago called Restaurants to Avoid. The post lists out restaurants that voted "no" on a survey concerning whether or not they would be in favor of a 3% tax in St. Paul to build a new Twins stadium. Here is the text of the comment:

Typical old school liberal Minnesotan… always trying to spend my money.

If you want the Twins to stay so bad why don't you and your friend’s volunteer a 3% increase in your own income taxes for the next thirty years and while you're at it, leave your entire estate to billionaire Carl Pollad. Excuse me I meant the Twins organization.

Next time you want to put someone on your McCarthy style list why don't you think first? The St. Paul restaurant list-to-avoid you posted sometime ago has several ma & pa restaurants on it that do many great things, but you don't care about that because your form of baseball communism runs over everything just like Mao did.

I won't isolate any one of them on the list. Just know this, many of these restaurants support fire fighters, police and the disadvantaged. To make a claim to boycott them because of one issue is ignorant and says volumes about you.

My question for all of you is did I really overstep my bounds here? What if the reasons for the list were different ... What if I had eaten at all of these restaurants and I found the food to be really bad, or the service to be poor? Is it OK then to list them out as "restaurants to avoid"? Or should I always keep a negative opinion to myself, regardless of the reason? I mean, even if I didn't like the food at the restaurants on this list there would still be "several ma & pa restaurants on it that do many great things."

For me, my reasons for listing them out were the same as if the food was poor. I am essentially giving them a negative review because they are doing something I don't care for (they are against a Twins stadium being built in St. Paul). Is that so bad? Don't restaurants get negative (and positive) reviews all the time? In fact, I've received many comments from people that tell me they are going to support these restaurants because of their stance. I think this is great! Why not? That is what makes democracy and freedom of speech work: having the freedom to make your own decisions for your own reasons.

These restaurants took a stand on an issue they felt strongly about. Good for them. Can I not take a stand myself? I'm really wondering ... please let me know.

Until then, let's just review what this commenter compares me to: A "typical liberal Minnesotan," McCarthy, a communist, Chairman Mao, and seemingly just a flat out ignorant person. Cool! (Not that I think I am like any of this, I am just impressed with the amount of vitriol this person could pack into one comment. Well done sir!)

Ain't freedom of speech wonderful?

Posted by snackeru at March 2, 2006 4:11 PM | Stadiums


One may certainly opt to use the list as a reference for what restaurants to patronize if they disagree with you. I suppose the knee jerk (emphasis on jerk) reaction of the commentator prohibited that kind of logic.

Posted by: Cheesehead's wife at March 2, 2006 4:57 PM

Don't forget he's gangly and uncoordinated!

A wonderful contradiction by this commentor of yours. He/she (not that I'm saying this person is a transsexual, just that the person's sex was not disclosed. Not that there is anything wrong with a transsexual... back on topic here) can do a wholesale condemnation on all liberals with the "typical old school liberal" comment (obviously he/she is a republican) as your view disagrees with his/hers, but then criticizes you for condemning a group of restaurants who has a different view than you do.

Pot, meet Kettle...

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at March 2, 2006 5:03 PM

Don't forget he doesn't know how to use apostrophes! I find it hard to take seriously the arguments of anyone who writes "why don't you and your friend’s volunteer . . .".

I think you hit the nail on the head when you pointed out that the restaurants chose to take a public stand on the issue. If they are going to do so, I don't think you are out of bounds in taking a public stand in response.

Posted by: ldfs at March 2, 2006 5:31 PM

As I understand it, you said right out why you were calling this restaurants to avoid. So what's the problem? You have a right to your opinion. As you point out, the restaurants have every right to take stands on controversial issues. You have every right to publicize and criticize those stands. Commenters, of course, have every right to criticize those criticisms, and you have every right to criticize the criticism of your criticism. If you know what I mean.

Sorry, I'm still trying to figure out how you could be both a McCarthyite and a communist. I guess he just wanted to make sure he covered all the bases.

Posted by: Jeff A at March 2, 2006 5:33 PM

Thanks for the feedback everyone. I appreciate you backing me up on this.

And Jeff, hilarious! I didn't even put the McCarthy/communist thing together until you mentioned it. A very good point!

Posted by: Shane at March 3, 2006 9:23 AM

Obviously the guy's a schmo and a poor writer, but to play schmo's advocate: that 3% tax on bars and restaurants in St. Paul is fairly steep, especially for those who champion the .15% tax since it's a drop in the bucket for most folks. St. Paul already has a smaller tax base than Hennepin County, and to place the whole burden on just bars and restaurants there with no state help (like they got for the Xcel Energy Center) would be tough.

Also, you sound kinder talking about it in retrospect, but your original post doesn't mince words: "Before you go out to eat in St. Paul again, please look over this list to make sure you don't eat at one of these establishments." All because they oppose a 3% ballpark tax levied solely on them and their customers??? What if there was a proposal to fund a new ballpark with a fee imposed only on U of M students and employees (myself included)? Would your opposition to that particular plan mean that you don't "support the Twins and keeping baseball in Minnesota"? For all we know, these businesses DO wish to support the Twins and a new ballpark, and would have been willing to deal with a more reasonable proposal, like a smaller general sales tax increase for everybody, or a plan that included matching state money, etc. I think you have to learn to separate "support for the ballpark" from "support for a particular financing plan", especially before you advocate boycotting specific businesses!

Like I said, the guy who wrote you is a schmo, but if I were you, I wouldn't have published that list without some more due diligence.

Posted by: spycake at March 3, 2006 9:51 AM

There is absolutely nothing wrong with informing your fellow consumers (or Twins fans) about this issue. Capitalism rests on the customer's ability to choose, or vote-with-their-dollars.

Each restaurant has a choice whether to support or not support a tax. Each of us has a choice about where to spend our 'eating-out' dollars.

It's funny that the guy is whining about 'liberals' and 'commies' and pretty much all things not conservative-republican... yet his entire stance is predicated on the fact that he doesn't want to give the customer a choice about where to eat. Like all restaurants should be looked at as equal, and therefore share in the profits. That's about as communist as it gets, complete bull----.

Running on here, but this is my one BIG problem with most conservative republicans... they are bigger 'commies/liberals' than most of the people they routinely slam. Recently they've inflated government budgets, while not increasing taxes which is bumping interest rates up (something not good for business growth). Like someone said above... pot, meet kettle.

Posted by: Andy at March 3, 2006 11:50 AM

I think the posting of the list was a valid piece of research, but your comments couching it might have been a little antagonistic. They assume that everyone who reads this thinks that the Saint Paul proposal for funding a ballpark was a good idea. I don't think that's an open-and-shut case.

Posted by: chapman at March 3, 2006 12:26 PM

True, chapman, very true. But it's not like I make an assumption that everyone who reads my blog is pro-stadium (or pro St. Paul stadium). However, that is my preferred audience and I certainly focus on that audience with my writing. If someone doesn't like it, then they don't have to read it.

It doesn't surprise me, though, that this commenter was put off by my post for the reasons you say. That is the drawback of taking a stand, I suppose. You are going to have people that disagree, sometimes angrily.

Posted by: Shane at March 3, 2006 12:52 PM

Shane is full of it! I know because I am married to the guy. If Snuffy's (Shane's favorite restaurant- I am not sure why)was on the list of restuarants who were against the tax hike, he would forget all about the 3% and engorge himself with milk shakes and burgers with not a care in the world. He is just trying to get people's goat and sometimes not thinking too much along the way. If he has offended anyone with his crazy banter, I apologize for him. He is a soft hearted guy who sometimes doesn't know how much his crazy comments sting.

Shane- I'll keep my comments to myself if you stop buying yourself "gifts" Love ya babe!

Posted by: Kumquat at March 3, 2006 2:09 PM

Shush pookie-bear! You are ruining my street cred!

Posted by: Shane at March 3, 2006 2:18 PM


Posted by: freealonzo at March 3, 2006 3:42 PM

Just when I was getting over the Twins snubbing St. Paul, someone has the bring up the 3% plan that was floated a couple years back. As I recall, I supplied Shane with the list which I obtained through the St. Paul Chamber of Commerce. I know that when this was a current topic in St. Paul I got into many hot discussions with proprietors regarding this plan. Many times it was when I was in their place of business just because I knew the Twins were on TV, which kind of proved my point. I found Shane's critic's remarks about these establishments supporting the police and fire departments slightly confusing. So what? Who doesn't support cops and fireman? I hope these places voted for Randy Kelly if they are so worried about paying additional taxes, since the fireman have been really soaking St. Paul on overtime. The reason the fireman were out supporting Coleman was so they could continue this practice.

Posted by: Jimnstpaul at March 3, 2006 6:09 PM

Do you ever get the sense, when you attempt to communicate with the type of individual who found your old post inflamatory, that you're not really dealing with a sane creature? That his/her logic isn't just coming from a different vantage point, but from a different reality all together?

It's like being locked in a cage with a creature that wants to kill you (not that I'm saying this person wanted to, but he was certainly opinionated and appears to be anti-communist). You could give all the reasons in the world and use all forms of logic at your disposal to try and make the creature understand why it shouldn't kill you, but it doesn't understand. To it, you're a threat, and threats need to be disposed of. It just wants to kill you. That's the logic of the creature, and it will never understand what you say.

At least, that's the sense I get when dealing with people like this.

Posted by: jclund at March 3, 2006 10:41 PM

I know what you mean, jclund. There was definitely no reasoning with this individual and that is a shame because I think there is room for healthy, respectful debate (I'm sure spycake would agree).

Truthfully, my wife wrote her comment because she was afraid this guy was going to come looking for me. That is the danger of writing about a controversial topic on a non-anonymous blog.

Anyway, thanks for your thoughts. I know I am certainly not the only person that gets comments like this.

Posted by: Shane at March 4, 2006 10:24 AM

By the way, freealonzo, yes Snuffy's. I love Snuffy's milkshakes. It is my kryptonite. If given the choice to talk with Steve Sviggum about stadiums or drink a Snuffy milkshake, I might pick Snuffy's. Hopefully I could do both ...

Posted by: Shane at March 4, 2006 12:41 PM

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