Reopening the wound…

So Mike Fitzgerald is still defending the undefendable and frankly, we’ve had enough. Not just of the Paragary’s thing, of all of his contradictory bullshit. He wants downtown to be some upscale network of cafes and family restaurants, but he also wants it to reflect Stockton’s character (because when I think Stockton, I think of people kicking it on a patio sipping green tea)…but he also supports razing the  state government building that, in this economy, is more than likely used most by Stockton’s residents.

Like we said the other day, when researching for the post that eventually became this post, we stumbled upon some hilarious quotes from the past (although not as hilarious as Pinkerton’s “I’m sure someone cheap will move in there someday, at least it’s not the 80s” sentiment from today.) and the gold didn’t stop there. So consider this one giant call of “bullshit”, because there’s a lot of it. Hopefully we don’t repeat ourselves too much.

Let’s get the obvious one out of the way, the claim we’ve disputed for pretty much ever, the subsidy boycott. Nobody’s staying away from Paragary’s because Paragary’s enjoys free rent. If we shunned everybody who recieved government assisted rent half the town wouldn’t be talking to each other because of Section 8 housing. While Fitz does finally admit that the quality in service and managerial competence was severely lacking, those issues are downplayed and seemingly thrown in at the last second. They’re downplayed to keep the focus on us and our organized yet uncoordinated protest of city spending (or, in this case, lack of charging?). He can’t see past the subsidy issue to the point where one would think that’s the only reason anybody’s ever given him for disliking Paragary’s despite the fact that multiple people spelled those reasons out 3 years ago.

Of course, we went over this the other day. Instead, let’s get to my personal favorite past time, damning somebody with their own words. From today’s blog post (emphasis ours):

“It’s a high-end investment in his view which should yield high-end returns and that is achieved through high-end prices (though Paragary’s prices are not all that high).”

And now, let’s hop into the Wayback Machine, all the way back to when the love affair first started. This line pulled from his column on Paragary’s very first day, which you should probably keep handy because we’re going to come back to it.

“Our bill, including a bar tab that reflects poorly on our character, was $183.71. A less sybaritic pair could have enjoyed their two entrees and gotten out for $50.”

Wow, a hundred dollar bar tab? Way to go Fitzy, didn’t think you had it in ya. But let’s get to that last line. Two people at $50 is $25 per person (and they say writers suck at math), is an average price of $25 really something you want to advertise? I can understand touting a $10 and under menu like Chili’s does, but for Paragary’s that would consist of tacos and the infamous $10 cheeseburger. I thought you said this place was gonna be cheap.

Plus, you said this in that “What’s the deal with Paragary’s” column to try and dissuade those subsidy apprehensions:

“Paragary’s owner reportedly says prices at his Stockton restaurant will be lower than at his Capital city counterparts.”

How did that work out?

“Randy Paragary has stated that the $2.5 million subsidy, by lowering his overhead, allowed him to cut prices. I was surprised to find food prices are generally the same as those at his restaurant on 28th Street.

They are, however, $1 to $4 cheaper per item than at the pricier Esquire Grill.

So the subsidy did not create a ‘Paragary’s Outlet.'”

He kind of glosses over this point in that column, but that’s kind of a huge fucking deal. If there are still any subsidy holdouts, they could probably be coaxed into giving Paragary’s a try if he followed through with his promise to keep his menu affordable. Thus making it a “food’s too expensive” problem, not a “this money should be spent repaving roads” problem. Hell, it’s more of a trust problem than a subsidy problem. Randy Paragary fell through on the very first promise he made.

But no, really, let’s feel sorry for him. He had to put $800,000 into the restaurant! You know how much that is? Well, it’s roughly a third of what the city put into renovating the building to fit Paragary’s needs before he even moved in there. How could he afford such a thing when nobody’s coming because of our boycott? Hey wait, what’s this part in that first day column?

“By now, the place was beginning to fill with white-collar types, most of whom normally join a hasty exodus from downtown when work ends at 5 p.m.”

Wait, people actually go there!? I thought it was supposed to be some sort of ghost town where if you listen close enough you can hear the words”free rent’ whistling in the wind! This account seems to indicate that people tried it when it first opened (when, theoretically, the subsidy backlash would be at it’s peak. Even though it would be 2 years old by then), didn’t like it, and moved on. You know, kind of like we’ve done (or attempted to do) every time the Pub Crawl rolls around.

Ok, I’m getting long winded here (and there’s a lot more we could get to, but I’ve wasted too much of my day typing this already), but bringing up subsidies (or “what is perceived as a subsidy” as Randy Paragary put it despite the fact that it’s pretty much the definition of a subsidy) really got my blood boiling. The place just sucks, plain and simple. We’re glad they found a fan in Fitzy, but one man and a few well off downtown employees aren’t representative of Stockton’s “psyche” as Fitz put it. If he’s really serious about downtown reflecting Stockton’s resident’s he’ll drop this Paragary’s thing. Paragary’s isn’t representative of our city. Our city would have banded together to cover the difference between the $4,000 wedding price and whatever Paragary’s is asking for now. The fact that Fitzy didn’t even call his pal Randy out on that shows that this whole thing is just ass-covering bullshit.

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~ by Slick Diaz on August 5, 2009.

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