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Re: “The East Bay Today: June 3, 2008

I am headed out to the polls now, and I just changed my vote after reading Sean's op-ed about Food Security:

It's too bad that Sean has gotten so many other points right, but not this one.
I did not want to vote for Nancy, but I have no choice now.

I hate to say it, but Nancy is closer to getting the best solution. While it is unacceptable that the Mandela Food Co-op has taken 3 years to open, letting in any multinational chain, including Fresh and Easy (owned by Tesco, in Europe) is not the answer.

Big chains refused to come to West Oakland for years, but now that People's Grocery and other advocates have shown that there is buying power in West Oakland, a big chain wants to "support the community and create jobs." Within 1-5 years, chains take away as many jobs as they create.

Don't be fooled! All multinational chains (Safeway is a multinational too,) stomp out the growth of locally owned small businesses. They will set their prices low enough to make us all believe that we are saving money by shopping there. Once there is no sign of any competition, they will hike up the prices while still paying their employees a non-livable wage. They all do this, not just Wal-Mart.

For every $100 you spend at a locally owned store, like People's Grocery or Mandela coop (if they can get it together!) an average of $13-$47 is put back into the same community by that business. All locally owned business’s rely upon and use the services of other locals, farmers, artists, web designers, accountants, dry cleaners, self employed cleaning people, locally owned bakeries, and food wholesalers etc... A locally owned business is highly likely to do whatever it takes to stay open in the community.

Chain stores leave as soon as there is any trouble or downturn. Do you think Fresh & Easy will stick it out and re-build when there is a big earthquake, or other disaster? No, they won’t; they will go. Chain store profits depend upon their ability to open new stores; chain stores do not stay in the same place for 50 years, our even 10 years in many cases. Do you know of any chain store that has been in the same location for 50 years? If so please tell us which one and where?

My attempt at presenting some facts are based on data and information presented in these books:
Big Box Swindle: The true cost of mega retailers and the fight for independent businesses and Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.

Nancy and Sean please, please, please read these books. Everyone in local office should read these books.

Posted by Manisha on 06/03/2008 at 3:30 PM

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