MARRIOTT VERSES LAS MANITAS

Time for another Gooberhead Award [Beanie Cap Breakdown], presented periodically to people in the news who have their tongues running a hundred miles an hour – but forgot to put their brains in gear.

Time for another Gooberhead Award [Beanie Cap Breakdown], presented periodically to people in the news who have their tongues running a hundred miles an hour – but forgot to put their brains in gear.

Today’s Goober is J. Willard Marriott, the right-wing honcho of the multibillion-dollar hotel chain. J. Willard is supposed to be a smart business guy, but when it comes to understanding anything about getting along with local folks, Mr. J’s head is a clusterbomb of stupidity.

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He recently buzzed through my town of Austin, Texas, where his outfit intends to raze an entire downtown block and throw up not one, not two, but three Marriott hotels on the site. Problem is, the rubble that his bulldozers would create includes Las Manitas, a Congress Avenue eatery that is a true Austin icon. This small, funky place, owned by the Perez sisters, not only serves up bodacious, handmade Mexican food, but it is also a beloved center of political gossip and social activism.

As a result, a robust “Save Las Manitas” campaign swept the city, and both the mayor and the project developer rushed out to assure the outraged citizenry that, somehow, this Austin treasure will be accommodated. But then J. Willard bulled his way into the fray. In an explosion of ignorance and arrogance, this Gooberhead thumbed his royal nose at the Perez sisters and all of Austin. “Why should you hold up a several hundred million dollar investment because of a small little restaurant,” he asked? “The restaurant can relocate and should relocate,” he sniffed.

This is Jim Hightower saying… Attaboy, J. Willard! You might as well have climbed atop the Texas capitol dome and urinated on us as to throw that little snotty public tantrum. Besides, Marriott already has three hotels downtown – let him move. Austin now officially hates this bully. To keep track of King Marriott’s effort to shove our “small little restaurant” around, go to www.savelasmanitas.org.

Sources:
“Austin’ll love fighting this Marriott fella,” Austin American-Statesman, September 24, 2006.
“Las Manitas should move, Marriott CEO says,” Austin American-Statesman, September 22, 2006.
“My Migas, My City,” Austin Chronicle, July 21, 2006.

“Battling the bastards is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.”

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