September 21, 2019 at 4:28 pm #3002Dan CohenParticipant
Thanks Jim for your review of Matts restaurant and food. I personally agree with you about the quality of the food at Matts. We’ve given it a couple of chances and never really had a good experience. Unfortunately I do not believe that this is where our focus should be, because dining out is a subject experience. What is good to one person might not be the same to another, it’s all a matter of personal taste.
When it comes to a strategy of solving the very complicated issues involving Matts and Tower Shores we must focus on whether Sodel corporation (the owners) is being a good neighbor. A debate about food prep opens the “Matts” problems to a subjective opinion, while the heart of the issue with Matts and Tower Shores gets pushed aside, and that issue is that the overwhelming summer season traffic through the restaurant creates an extremely dangerous situation for Tower Shores residents and visitors. It is a catastrophic car wreck waiting to happen, tragically then – and only then will the homeowners in Tower Shores start wondering why something wasn’t done about it. When in fact we have tried. And to be fare, the management of Matts has also made an effort on many of the problems.
We have worked on the Matts issues for a number of years, slowly chiseling away the comparatively easy problems to solve. Leaky trash containers spilling spoiled smelly food runoff onto the pavement which not only causes health issue, but the smell wreaks through the neighborhood. Delivery trucks and huge trash trucks starting their runs before dawn, lights surrounding the building left on until hours after closing, and a number of other problems. Most go away, but some return year after year and we must then start over.
But the most critical problem remains, a hugely overcrowded parking lot during peak season causing cars lining up Bay road into our community waiting for parking, sometimes 8, 9, even 10 or more at a time! This can also cause a domino effect, cars turning onto Bay Rd suddenly stop, sometimes causing backups behind them out onto the 55 mph highway. Often at the same time, a car attempting to leave the community turning onto Rt. 1 is blinded by the backup as they attempt to cross the highway. I am shocked that nothing horrible has yet to happen, but stand at the intersection during the peak season and it won’t take very long for you to realize it really is just a matter of time before there is a horrible wreck. (Note that I did not say “accident”, because “accidents” are preventable).
The other really tough challenge is community support in finding solutions to this problem. Face it, if you don’t live on Bay Rd. across or next to Matts, there is a good chance you have no idea this goes on every night of the summer. So why should you care? That’s understandable. But this is one of those issues that impact not only your neighbors, but every Tower Shores homeowner.
First and foremost
* It’s about safety – it IS a life threatening situation.
* It’s about access in and out of our community, a key roadway offering a turn both north and south on Rt.1. A safe entrance and exit to Tower Shores.
* It’s about the overall quality of life in our community and ultimately property values of homes along Bay Rd and everywhere else.
* What does an overcrowded mess night after night say to visitors about the rest of Tower Shores? For some that might be a stretch, but for many it is a real concern.
To keep the pressure on Matts to focus on our continued ideas for easing the problem, and for Matts to also be proactive with solutions, it is critical that the pressure come from more than the folks who live on Bay Rd., we also need help from everyone else on Tower Shores. We are not saying “don’t eat at Matts”, we ARE saying, be aware of the problem, support your neighbors, and make sure Matts knows you are concerned and you want a solution.
So next July, take a stroll over to Matts around 6:30 or 7:00pm a see for yourself. I promise, you will be shocked and mostly likely come away saying what most people have said to me after witnessing the mess, “I had no idea this went on night after night.”
September 22, 2019 at 11:23 am #3003James CrawfordParticipant
Roger that, Dan. Everything you say is true. Problem is that focusing on safety doesn’t apply any real pressure on Matt’s. TSBA has tried this approach for years, and Matt’s has never budged an inch. In sum, the public safety argument, albeit the goal we’re all after, is a failure. What might work?
Allow me to tell you an applicable “David & Goliath” story.
Once upon a time a $30 billion industry — competitive local broadband & telecom operators — faced a crisis. In order to reach customers they relied on a provision of the 1996 Telecom Act that required Bell Monopolies like Verizon to provide local access connectivity to competitors at wholesale rates. This “last mile” of connectivity to end users is a vital niche that the Bells have dominated for nearly a century. Problem: An obscure provision of the Telecom Act allowed the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to “forbear” from applying the wholesale rate requirement after a set date. No vote by the FCC approving this drastic change would be required. When that date came, the FCC could simply look the other way, and the Bells could begin charging competitors their high retail rates for local access and drive the little guys out of business.
As that dread date loomed, the competitive industry freaked. They hired several of the Top 10 PR and ad agencies to launch campaigns that would save their companies and competition. Their message: FCC “forbearance” would drive a valuable industry broke.
Unfortunately, nobody cared. The media found the story too complex. The public didn’t get it, either. About 2 months before “forbearance” would become law, the little guys hired me. I had a different idea: Don’t focus on the pain to yourselves, focus on the pain to end users. I commissioned an independent study showing that lack of competition would drive up end user broadband & telecom bills by billions of dollars. I gave this story to the Wall Street Journal as an exclusive, and BOOM, suddenly things changed. The media went wild and covered the story nationally: “Verizon Seeks to Raise Rates by $Billions.”
All of a sudden it was the Baby Bells who found themselves on defense. Outraged business and consumer groups went on the attack. One particularly hard piece that appeared in the Washington Post — yeah, I wrote it — compared the FCC Chairman to the Emperor Nero fiddling while Rome burned.
End result: The FCC decided it needed to vote on forbearance, after all. The vote: 5 to 0 (unanimous) against the Bells. Switching the focus to consumer harms worked.
It’s time for TSBA to change it’s Matt’s strategy in similar fashion. Again, Dan, you are absolutely right that public safety is the real issue here. But in the half-decade that TSBA has harped on this theme, nothing has changed. All the dangerous practices Matt’s indulges in persist. In sum, the approach you recommend hasn’t worked yet, and probably never will. Reason: Matt’s doesn’t give a damn, and will never change until we attack on the only front they care about: profit & loss.
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