Miami Beach has dueling Tuesday Morning Breakfast Clubs
Will the real Tuesday Morning Breakfast Club please stand up?
After a short hiatus, the morning powwows will resume just in time for the election season. But we don’t know if they start up again this week, with former Mayor Matti Bower hosting a breakfast at Puerto Sagua Restaurant and commission candidate Joshua Levy speaking — or they if they resume April 11th with developer Russell Galbut speaking at the Bakehouse Brasserie.
Which one is the real TMBC?
Started by “Save Miami Beach” leader Charles Schwabb in 1996, the “club” — which has no real formal structure, members or fees — began as an informal chat between activists who were concerned about overdevelopment. Mike Burke, a onetime candidate for mayor, was the first moderator. When he moved to Broward, David Kelsey, president of the South Beach Hotel and Restaurant Association, volunteered to moderate. Activist Frank Del Vecchio, who was involved from the second or third meeting, continued to send out email notices.
Read related story: Miami Beach Tuesday Morning Breakfast Club could be toast
Last January, the notice announced the club would have its last meeting because the venue, Manolo’s Restaurant, was closing. Kelsey got a little send-off.
But several regulars apparently didn’t want it to end and they started shopping for a new home and a new moderator. Del Vecchio, a longtime activist and original Tuesday morning breafaster, was one of them.
“Matti Bower responded positively and called me,” DelVecchio told Ladra on Sunday. “She found a location, the Puerto Sagua restaurant, and arranged for a speaker, city commission candidate Joshua Levy, for the Tuesday, March 28 meeting. I agreed to send out notices.”
And so he did, on March 22. Three days later, Ladra got a second notice about the resumption of the meetings — on April 11th at a different location with a different speaker.
Del Vecchio and others are suspicious of what they call the “shadow” Breakfast Club.
“Russell Galbut is using his Bakehouse Restaurant as a ploy in his suit against the city,” said Del Vecchio, referring to Bakehouse lawsuit against the city’s regulations on live entertainment south of Fifth Street. The Bakehouse Brasserie at 808 First Street, which is owned by a Galbut relative, was cited for having a sax player when all that is allowed in that area is non-amplified piano and strings.
“He is trying to negate the city’s zoning power to regulate where entertainment is allowed,” Del Vecchio said. “His latest gambit is enlisting David Kelsey to set up a breakfast club at the site that is the center of his suit against the city.”
Kelsey did serve as a board member of Galbut’s now defunct Miami Beach Taxpayers Association.
Ladra says the more the merrier. There is plenty going on in Miami Beach and South Florida to sustain both meetings. Except one may have to change its name — maybe the Wednesday Morning Breakfast Club?
After all, we can’t be in two places at once on Tuesday.