Perhaps it was a breakdown in communications?
Tampa City Council Chairman Thomas Scott began Thursday morning's discussion of Cigar City Brewing's wet-zoning application (which the Council approved on a 4-3 vote) by saying that CL had misquoted him in our recent cover story about the issue.
In the article, I reported on charges made by Carver City/Lincoln Gardens neighborhood president Dr. Maurice Harvey that the presence of Cigar City's Tasting Room had led to criminal activity in the neighborhood.
Joey Redner vehemently denied that was the case, and the Tampa Police Department agreed, saying there had been virtually no reports of crime in the area since the brewery opened in 2008.
I followed up on this issue with Council members Curtis Stokes and Chairman Scott. In the article, the story reads like this:
But opponents say the lack of a paper trail doesnt mean the neighborhood hasnt been deleteriously affected.
Tampa City Council Chair Thomas Scott has voted against Cigar City Store Brewing each time it has come before the Council and intends to do so next month as well.
He believes there are crimes being committed that arent being reported, saying, I met with the neighborhood last week. A lady said shes never called the police because it always has taken a long time to come out and theres been vandalism going on, people have thrown rocks at her house, but she never calls because it takes so long for them to come. There are times when people just get frustrated and just dont call and report it.
Such a comment infuriates Joey Redner, who says Scott simply isnt telling the truth. We havent had an incident that would make you want to call the police. We police our own property.
But City Councilman Curtis Stokes agrees with Scott, telling CL that its not surprising that the mostly black community in question doesnt report criminal activity. Generally thats a lot of time when that happens. You have to remember this is the same community where a gentleman was killed in his front yard and the police still havent found him Theres a culture of not calling the police, especially when crime happens.
But at the beginning of Thursday's meeting, Chairman Scott said this:
"Evidently there's an article in Creative Loafing, I think it is? Whatever it is. It takes my comments that I made at the last public hearing . It talks about how I met with the community. That is not accurate. I have met with no community persons on this issue. I've not met with anyone on this issue. At that public hearing, my statement was referenced to the statement that there was no police incidents, and what I was referring to was that many times police incidents do not get reported, and that in the past I met with people that have stated that they did not report the incident, so forth. So I want to be clear for the record, to satisfy the record and the attorney that I had no meeting with anyone in the community on an issue, so the paper evidently was quoting and took it out of context from the last meeting we had this issue brought up.
I met with the neighborhood last week. A lady said shes never called the police because it always has taken a long time to come out and theres been vandalism going on, people have thrown rocks at her house, but she never calls because it takes so long for them to come. There are times when people just get frustrated and just dont call and report it.
But I didn't take Scott's quote from a public hearing. I quoted from an interview with him at the grand opening of a new health care facility in East Tampa on Saturday, November 13.
I spoke with Scott again this afternoon. He said that he had not met with anybody from Carver City/Lincoln Garden before the vote, but did acknowledge the comments about crime not getting reported in some parts of the community. "In my 14 years I've never met anyone before a zoning issue, " he told us.
He added that his references to crime had nothing to do with Joe Redner or Cigar City Brewing.
Hey, I'm willing to let it go. But I have to admit to getting my dander up when hearing the accusation that I had somehow misquoted the chairman, when I absolutely quoted him verbatim from our exchange, transcribed from our recorded interview.