Don wants to remain "port"-able: I'd like to thank Trevor Aaronson for the great article regarding the taxi cabs on Fort Lauderdale Beach ("No Fare," July 31). I started driving a cab in 1984, left, and then came back in 1994. The gist of Aaronson's article was certainly true, although some of the drivers do turn off customers with their unprofessional manners.
This problem is much more widespread than the beach. I drive primarily in Tamarac and Coral Springs. Every condo has several private individuals who take fares to the airport. They can charge less then a taxicab as they have no weekly lease to pay. Their insurance does not cover their passengers, and their driving leaves a lot to be desired. In addition, several bars and beauty parlors call private cars to pick up their clients; again, they can charge less than taxis. Then there are the hotels in West Broward. As drivers, we have no grievance procedure when these things take place.
I consider myself lucky. I have some very good regular customers who call me directly. Without them, I would have to give up the taxi business. Many of our drivers are forced to work 80 hours a week or more just to make a living. Broward County regulates everything: hack license, vehicle inspections, meter lights, etc., but when it comes to stopping unlicensed vehicles that unfairly compete with us, it shows no interest.
There was a plan to make taxi drivers get a special pass to enter Port Everglades. This has been put on the shelf for the time being. I do not pick up at the port but was told I would need this permit to drop off passengers. I sure am not going to turn down any jobs going to the port.
Via the Internet
From the bowels of Club M: Regarding Jeff Stratton's July 31 Bandwidth. There's FREE PARKING BEHIND CLUB M! Keep your 501s warm with all that burning change and leave interacting with Hollywood's city employees to Bob Norman. I had to laugh at this week's column, as I had a similar experience early in my stay here, but honestly, I was kinda drunk. I'm now sober and not only know better but actually live in the neighborhood. For Sale: 1998 Acura 2.5 TL, best offer. Will consider trade for bike.
With that said, thanks for the otherwise kind words about Club M. I recently relocated my recording studio, Trails of Smoke, from Oakland Park to the space upstairs from Club M, and we're getting ready to relaunch with both the regular studio offering and live recording from Club M. Thanks for the grin.
A Stratton pseudonym, perhaps? Being too old for late night revelry and not having a car anyway, I nevertheless really enjoy Jeff Stratton. He writes as though he were speaking face to face and has a command of colloquialisms and man-in-the-street expressions that is very engaging. Would like to buy him a beer sometime.
From the homestead: Great job, Courtney Hambright. Her July 24 article, "Blackout.Com," was a great read, and I think she definitely described the tone of the "Hat House" well!
A star is born: I've been a visitor of Blackout.com for some five years now, and I'm glad to see the Hat Man himself get some long-overdue publicity. The site is quite unlike anything on the Net, being a hub for all kinds of multimedia and insanity. The good kind of insanity, mind you.
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During the end of 2001, the site slowed to a crawl and the creativity stopped flowing for many months. Since then, the site has grown to proportions it has never seen before. The events and ideas on the horizon are going to be some really great work. The Box is about to go supernova in creativity. That said, it's great that new people will be introduced to Blackout and the gang's little corner of the web because of this wonderful article. It's a great time to be a Blackout's Box fan right now, and I'm glad more people will be along for the ride. So, thanks.
Jeff "Ampersand" Canino
Syracuse, New York
The July 31 Dish review of Bin 595 ("Freeway Fiasco") incorrectly stated the name of the chef who spoke with reviewer Jen Karetnick. It was Eric Harmon.