Well, we were right. Mike Fitzgerald is the last guy who should be covering this Paragary's story. It's news, and old Fitzy is too biased to treat it objectively like any newsperson should. So, for those of you playing along at home, it's time to play....
(Insert game show theme here)
Spot! The! Bias!
Yes, it's Spot the Bias, the game show where we take somebody's article or column and pick it apart and point out where the writer displayed obvious bias against or in favor of their subject! Today's contestant is Fitzy and his column about the possible sale of Paragary's. Paragary's being Fitzy's favorite downtown restaurant he will obviously be biased in favor of anything Randy Paragary says. What constitutes bias you ask? Well, it could be an adjective, it could be ignoring other factors for the one you want to push, or it could be contradicting something said in the previous paragraph with the very next quote and not saying anything about it. Yes, this will be a glorious example of damning somebody with their own words. But first, the setup!
"Paragary's Bar & Grill, the beautiful but controversially subsidized restaurant that city leaders hoped would help catalyze downtown Stockton's revival, is up for sale.
Price: $555,000, batteries not included. Hopefully neither are the restaurant's challenges."
Here's hoping he lists all of the restaurant's challenges and not just the one he always harps on, but that's all part of the game. So let's play...
Spot! The! Bias!
Our first piece of bias is a personal favorite because it involves damning people with their own words (which I love doing) and it involves this week's Out-of-Context Quote of the Week!
"'It's not a case of sell or close,' Paragary said. 'I'm exploring all options.'"
All options? Then, what about this?
"If it doesn't sell, Paragary said, he will tweak offerings to better suit a standoffish Stockton market."
Oh, hi Out-of-Context Quote of the Week. What's that? Exploring all options includes tweaking the menu for the market before threatening to take your ball and go home? Surely that's not bias. That's just bad business practices.
The bias is in calling Stockton standoffish. We're not dating Paragary's. We're not having a fight with Paragary's where we, as a city, passive-aggressively critique its hair. We're just not eating there because we don't like the expensive food and the snooty atmosphere. That's not standoffish, that's making a business decision based on the factors I just listed. That subsidy thing is old hat, we're way past that now. Even Bris, Duke, and I; the most stubborn people I know, gave up on that subsidy thing a while back and visited Paragary's with predictable results. The reason Paragary's failed is not because of some petty subsidy-based boycott. So let's stop all that talk right now. Ok?
"(The ad) refers to the $2.7 million subsidy - five years of free rent - that generated opposition and a partial boycott"
Care to quote anybody saying they boycotted Paragary's specifically because of the subsidy? No? BIAS! And just bad journalism too. At least it's not like Fitzy fed all of this to Randy Paragary during his interview and Paragary responded with "Yeah, what you said."
"'I've been told through e-mails and letters to the editor and even to my face that certain people do not go there because of what you just described,' Paragary said."
Oh well. At least he got somebody to comment on the "boycott", even if it was Paragary himself. At least people told him how they felt to his face as opposed to sneaking an ad up on San Francisco's Craigslist two weeks ago without telling the city or even his own fucking investors. But let's move on with the game, can you give us vague examples of other subsidized businesses that aren't boycotted because apparently all subsidies are created equal?
"The public has subsidized development - sprawl - in sums that dwarf the Paragary's deal. But they don't boycott subdivisions. The city gave its sports teams a deal sweeter than chocolate covered macadamia nuts. Nobody boycotts the arena."
Again, no quotes from people who say the Arena is ok but Paragary's isn't. It just is man. That arena is always sold out, and everybody supports the Thunder 100%! Oh wait, we don't. Those games don't sell out and one of the tenants of the Arena (the Cougars) are also trying to leave. So really it's the same fucking thing. But hey, when he does get another quote about boycotts, it comes from the same fucking source, Randy Paragary.
"'We,' Paragary said, "bore the brunt of subsidy fatigue.'"
Because, as you know, we forced him to take that place rent free at gunpoint. Man, will the bias ever stop?
"Other brunts poor Paragary bears:"
Poor Paragary? Poor Paragary? How can anybody take this seriously anymore? The possible sale of Paragary's is a news story. Fucking write it with some semblance of objectivity you elitist fuck!
Sorry about that, let's continue with the plight of poor millionaire restaurateur Randy Paragary.
"Retail shops never materialized on the Hotel Stockton's ground floor, and downtown is still Skid Row to many."
Oh hey, reasons that aren't subsidy based. It's nice that this is everybody's fault but Paragary's. Fuck it, let's jump to the last piece of glaring bias so we can summarize.
"Therefore, 'in retrospect, I don't think of it as a subsidy,' Paragary said, making a good point. 'I think the deal we made was truly market. Free rent in that location is market. It's just a reality. Anybody who operated in that location will need free rent for a while.'"
Ignoring the fact that he brings up the subsidy again. Think of the last time you saw a reporter remark that the quoted subject made a "good point". Can't think of one? That's because they don't. He can make a point, but when you comment one the quality of that point you're pushing objectivity to the side.
Ok, now that we got all that journalismy bias stuff out of the way, let's get to the main issue here. Mike Fitzgerald and Randy Paragary are basically saying it's our fault for the failure of Paragary's because we don't want to eat there for whatever reasons. They're painfully wrong. Randy Paragary has one person and one person alone to blame for the failure of his Stockton restaurant, and his name is Randy Paragary.
Paragary didn't study the market he was basically paid to enter. He opened a high-class ritzy restaurant in a working-class, blue collar town. Yes, nobody likes it when rich people get financial breaks, but nobody's thinking "Oh man, that guy doesn't pay rent, fuck him" anymore. It's been a while, we've all pretty much given Paragary's a shot. It's not a fit for our town. It fits Sacramento because that place is filled with douchebags who like to pretend their cowtown is some ritzy political metropolis. Stockton doesn't have delusions of grandeur (ok, well it's citizens don't. City Council is another story). We are what we are. If Paragary had done just a simple study of the new market he was getting in to (which any good businessman should do before entering a new market), he would have seen that. But instead he chose to blame everything and everybody else. It's our fault we don't like the atmosphere, it's our fault we can't afford the prices, it's our fault the food tastes like shit, and it's our fault that the customer service is inexcusably bad. And most importantly, it's our fault we're not classy enough to "get" Paragary's. Well fuck you Randy Paragary, I'm classy as hell. At least I tell people I'm moving to their face instead of having them find out via Craigslist you classless fuck.
So yeah, it looks like we were right. The last person to write this story besides Randy Paragary was Mike Fitzgerald. And even then he got help from Paragary. Which is kind of fitting, those two are class acts.