North Miami Beach city council candidate Michael Casey gets personal

NORTH BEACH MIAMI, FL – Michael Casey, a retired aerospace engineer, and candidate for North Miami City Council (Group 5) appears to have taken the side of brick and mortar establishments in the area.

In a story reported on by MiamiNewTimes it appears Mr. Casey has decided to take the low road in a growing discussion which has become a constant issue in many cities across the country.

When the Slow Food Truck of Miami was spotted parked in front of North Miami Beach’s city hall, a local restaurant owner was outraged at the idea of a food truck taking away from their business. The owner of the restaurant was quoted as saying, “What do I do? Do I tell my guys to leave early? Do I close? The guy with a food truck – what’s his overhead cost? No water bills, no garbage bills, no rent, no license. It’s a dagger in my heart.”

We are sorry to report that this statement is a complete fabrication (in regards to a food truck not having bills or permitting fees to be paid) as with many arguments made against food trucks, it was made in a fit of rage without the individual taking the time to research what it takes to operate a mobile eatery.

If it wasn’t bad enough that a struggling restaurant owner was taking shots at a fully licensed and regulated gourmet food truck, Mr. Casey felt this topic was important enough to comment on.  “All of a sudden we’re going to decide who’s going to do business here? That’s socialism. They’re playing favorites with one business. And it’s incredible”.

After a failed attempt to walk in and discuss the issue with the City Manager Lyndon Bonner, Casey then went on to leave a note on the back of the Slow Food Truck,

“Did you jackasses ever consider the small shop down the street?”

Unfortunately, it appears that both Mr. Casey and the restaurant owner neglected to actually find out about the process involved that got this food truck in position to park in front of the city hall.

According to the city, several requests for proposals were sent out to local business owners to solicit them to operate the café located at the city’s preforming arts center. Along with many others, the restaurant owner which has these issues with the Slow Food Truck neglected to respond with their own submission, so the food truck operator was awarded the contract.

If you wonder how winning a bid to sell food at the preforming arts center morphed into the setting up shop in front of city hall, it’s rather simple. Currently the café is being remodeled and will re-open slated later this summer, but in the meantime, the city has asked this mobile vendor to park in front of city hall to help feed the government employees inside this building.

This was no deep seeded ploy to socialize the city, nor was it intended as a jab at local restaurants. It was the city’s attempt to provide a service for their employees while their café is out of commission and until its renovation is complete.

According to Slow Food Truck co-owner Owen Bass “We’re offering a service to the city hall complex. The reason we brought out the truck was to offer simple concession services to the employees so they don’t have to get into their cars. We won a bid with the city. We’ll never park somewhere without permission of the owner. We don’t want to get fined.”

Michael Casey is running in Group 5, against incumbent councilman Frantz Pierre, a teacher at Oak Grove Elementary.  Pierre led the race with 48 percent of the vote, Casey received 33 percent. Because neither candidate received the 50 percent of the total votes, this race will be decided in a May 17 runoff.

In the initial election of the 19, 617 registered voters, only 3,323 or 17 percent cast ballots for the North Miami Beach election. We at Mobile Cuisine magazine hope that these comments by Mr. Casey show a little light on how he may govern if elected, and get the people of North Miami Beach who support the mobile food industry to turn out en mass to vote for Mr. Pierre.