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I really didn't want to comment on this...

...but now that it's hit the Bulletin, I'd better at least comment on the whole Baltazar's mess.

A bit of background: Last week, the local Mom2Mom group posted an entry on their site, blasting Baltazar's, a mexican seafood place in West Bend as being not-so-kid-friendly with Baltazar Chavez (the owner) being really rude. Both Jon and BOR had good reviews of the place back in the day, but they didn't bring their kids. Just the same, I was then sent versions of the e-mail (and other stories) posted on the Mom2Mom site, all slamming Chavez (14 different emails in all, all basically quoting the same source). The stories of the rudeness showed up on other local blogs, on Craigslist, and then now into the Bulletin.

But I generally avoided this whole thing for a few reasons (and you'll see a bit of my journalist background here):

  1. I've been totally slammed. The last week for me has been crazy busy, both professionally and personally, and I haven't really had the time to look at this like I'd like to. I have a job and I doubt my employer would want me spending time looking into this.
  2. I didn't know any of the people involved. While I've heard stories about the guy being a jerk over the years, everything I was reading in these blog posts and e-mails was hearsay. I didn't know the people, nor did any of the people forwarding me the emails. It was all "I got this from a friend-of-a-friend." Sorry, but don't give "friend-of-friend" stuff that much credibility, especially when I have very little time on my hands to verify claims. I have a day-job, folks.
  3. I didn't know Baltazar at all. I've never met the guy (though I have seen him in the area), so I didn't want to start spreading something around that I didn't know to be true. While I had heard stories, they hadn't happened to me, nor had I the time to verify the various stories I'd heard or even compile them all. A**hole he may totally be, I have no idea. But again, I have a day job.
  4. The point has already been made. The mess has already gotten a ton of coverage -- did I really need to contribute? I would've felt like I was just following the bandwagon and doing something that all the cool kids were doing.
  5. I didn't want to give the guy more publicity. The reality is that all this whole mess is done is given a fairly new restaurant more publicity (good, bad, or otherwise). I didn't want to contribute to that. Bad publicity it may be, but he just got his picture blown up in the Bulletin's business section, a newspaper that's read by 52,000 folks every day. Many people are going to just read the photo caption which says "He wants to make his restaurant different from other Mexican restaurants by creating an intimate and high-end setting." That'll be read by a lot of the childless folks on the West side of Bend who now know that they can go there and not be annoyed by kids. I know at least three childless couples who, even if the guy is a jerk, would probably still eat there because they like not eating with kids around. This will give them even more reason.
  6. A boycott/protest/whatever won't hurt him. I had heard a few folks say they should boycott the restaurant. And what would that accomplish? It's like when PETA sends an e-mail to all its members, asking them to boycott KFC. Do PETA members actually eat at KFC? No. So does KFC care if PETA boycotts? No. Will it hurt KFC's bottom line? No. Same deal here. My guess is that most of the people that read these posts/e-mails either a) had never been there or b) were never planning on going there or c) could never afford to go there anyway (I fall into the latter category). So you're going to boycott someplace you'd never go. All you did was make sure that kids say out of his place, which, reading the story, is exactly what he wants.
Last time the local blog world started talking about bad dining, it was about Kanpai, the sushi/sake place over on Newport. Folks were predicting the place's demise, and last I checked, they're still here over two years after that original post and debate (the Kanpai mess was another reason I avoided this one).

So long story short, I don't think this whole mess is going to really hurt him. A total jerk the guy may be, but he's probably laughing this all up right now. He's gotten a ton of PR, will be frequented by the local childless who hate kids, and will still be around for a while. All he had to do was call somebody a horrible name.

Discuss below or over at Bend Forums. I've wasted enough time on this already, so I'll probably be sitting this out.

Posted by Jake on 04/26/07 @ 10:33 AM
Posted in Local, Rants | Permalink

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