The latest chain store fight

Dear Starchild;

By extension if Wal Mart stated they had bought property on the South Side of San Francisco on which sat abandoned buildings and were goiung to open a mega Wal-Mart the furor would be enormous.

Yet Wal Mart as most do would employ at least 400 people FT and many numerous part-timers. They would have yes hard to believe a health plan. Based on other large city openings there probably would be some 10,000 to 15,000 applicants for the positions. The stores would also provide a variety of good strong solid items from food to clothes to tools to whatever at low prices.

So we have a store which provides low income jobs and low price quality goods and in SF case would be paying a healthy payroll tax in the millions.

Yet Wal Mart and similar major store chains are considered the devil incarnate for "forcing" small business competitors out of business. Yet in analysis the businesses forced out of business were already going out and the ones who "survived" the competition were just as strong after as before.

My neighborhood has a large Safeway yet a block away is a small corner grocery store and a block away there other way is a neighborhood deli sandwich shop both are thriving despite the competition from big old Safeway.

All the people who would foam at the mouth about a Wal-Mart including all the self-serving politicians never offer an alternative store with jobs and low cost quality goods so people who need to can stretch their budget.

Ron Getty - SF Libertarian
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to be found among San Franciscans who oppose chain stores:

(1) aesthetics (e.g. they don't like the appearance or vibe of sterile, big-box style outlets like WalMart)
(2) self-interest (for existing businesses, which common sense tells us *are* hurt by the competition when a chain store moves in)
(3) alienation (chain stores are seen as symbolic of big corporations and the impersonal, alienating side of capitalism)

  There are of course sound libertarian reasons why banning chain stores is wrong, but I think we'd be wise to acknowledge the valid concerns expressed in each of the above points, and not undermine the fundamental strength of our case by venturing onto the much more dubious territory of suggesting that chain stores are not sterile and ugly, that they don't hurt small local mom and pop businesses, or that mass consumerism a la WalMart is a positive social value. Even many libertarians such as myself would reject such claims in large part, and I can tell you they are not going to resonate with typical San Franciscans. Perhaps you did not mean to imply any of that, but the sense I get from your message is that you can't fathom why anyone wouldn't want a WalMart opening in SF.

Love & Liberty,
        ((( starchild )))


I honestly can't fathom why you wouldn't want a Wal-Mart in SF.

When the non-super Wal-Mart (in a unon payback) opened in Oakland there were
what......13000 job applicants for 3-400 jobs. And the poor, middle-class
and the rich seem to shop there........

Sorry it offended your San Francisco sensibility

Maybe you would like to work at a mom and pop store with no benefits........

I reject your non-libertarian blather........


  Perhaps you are one of those people who simply lives in San Francisco because your job happens to be here, or you happen to own property here, and you would just as soon be living in a place like Stockton or Bakersfield. If so, there's probably little I can say to make you understand. No apologies for my "San Francisco sensibility" -- for all its faults, I love this town, in part because it is not filled with WalMarts, McDonalds, and strip malls.

Love & Liberty,
        ((( starchild )))


I do enjoy living in San Francisco..............but the San Franciscans who
think personal liberties are best overridden in some self righteous sense of
San Francisco value drive me a bit crazy.

I think this is a perfect example. The citizens who objected to this
particular store, and the board of planning had no right whatsoever to deny
a perfectly legitimate company the opportunity to open here. Not to mention
the dozens of people who will be once again denied the chance to work in a
decent business with benefits.

Starchild.......ever wonder why there are so few companies headquartered in
this city now................ever ponder why exactly Oakland, with its deep
water port has so few jobs, so little manufacturing...?

Don't get me started on the illegal takings in this city relating to rent
control, TIC-Condo conversions, and the fact that the sheriff has denied
every concealed weapons permit over the last 15 years.............

So what you are in essence saying is that a thriving city like Walnut Creek
with it's shops filled with business and jobs, is infinitely less preferable
than the Present Valencia Corridor filled with 25 empty storefronts,
vagrants, and gang members.................

Are these the values that supercede personal liberties in your mind...?

Did anyone else catch the startlingly Libertarian-sounding editorial on this topic published in Monday's SF Chronicle?

Headlined "Magic in the Mission"

Perhaps someone in the LPSF might want to send a nice thank-you letter to Caille Millner for pointing out that the emperors of Valencia Street who blocked the American Apparel permit should take a look in the mirror to discover they really have no clothes.



My apologies.........perhaps I just got snotty when you suggested I might be
happier in Stockton or Modesto.............

It is typically Walnut Creek that San Franciscans trot out when they are out
of intellectual firepower........

We refer to this as the Godwin's law of the Bay area. It states that a
liberal is out of bullets when they call you a racist, or suggest you'd be
happier in Walnut Creek.

Be well.


  You don't seem to have grasped my position. As I said in my last message, banning chain stores is wrong. Your comments on the reluctance of companies to headquarter here, and the illegal takings, are absolutely on point. I also said the principal *reasons* why people are motivated to support chain store bans (not the bans themselves) each have some validity. Unless you're claiming that chain stores in fact tend to be more aesthetically pleasing and less sterile than independent businesses, that they don't have a negative economic impact on locally-owned business, or that large corporations and the consumerism they represent are not alienating, your argument is with something other than what I said.

  You're certainly also right that many self-righteous people in SF (as in many other places!) have no respect for personal (and/or economic) liberties. This is evidenced not just in the support for chain store bans, but in a whole host of city policies, many of them unconstitutional, including but by no means limited to:

-bans on people sleeping in their vehicles
-curfews on young people being out past a certain time
-people using government procedures to prevent cannabis dispensaries or shelters opening in their neighborhoods
-limits on the number of head shops or liquor stores allowed to operate in a given area
-raves and dance parties with hundreds of people enjoying themselves being shut down by a single complaint about noise
-anti-skateboarding laws (mentioned in another recent thread)
-police harassment of the homeless for selling stuff on the street and confiscation of their possessions
-limits on the ability to post signs on the street
-bans on bonfires and drinking alcohol on the beach
-prohibitions on the use of fireworks
-limits on how many people can live in a house
-"blight" laws prohibiting people having unworking vehicles in their front yards, etc.
-arrests and prosecutions of sex workers
-arrests and prosecutions for drug sales and possession
-requirements for permits for parades and demonstrations
-limiting street festivals to daylight hours
-bans on sleeping in parks after dark
-the prohibition of sexual acts in public
-the prohibition of brothels
-prohibitions on gambling
-the ban on using Segway vehicles on sidewalks
-searching people who enter government buildings
-arresting people for loitering
-the prohibition on drinking in public
-injunctions against people labeled (without trial) as gang members being in certain areas
-requiring newspapers to purchase space in city-owned racks in order to be distributed in certain locations
-preventing businesses from staying open late at night by charging extra for special permits and making those permits difficult to get
-preventing people from gathering in the streets of the Castro neighborhood to celebrate Halloween
-prohibitions on houseboats
-licensing laws requiring special schooling and the purchase of special government permits to practice certain occupations
-criminalizing all unauthorized street art as graffiti
-limiting the proximity of cannabis dispensaries to schools and churches (but, tellingly, not the proximity of schools or churches to cannabis dispensaries)
-allowing people to park in the middle of Dolores Street to attend church on Sunday morning, but not in the middle of Valencia Street to go out on Friday or Saturday night
-limits on what people can paint on the fronts of their houses

  I won't dignify any of the above by calling them "San Francisco values," but it's clear that many people living here do indeed think personal liberties are best overridden by some other values that supersede them. I'm not necessarily going to call the people supporting each of these infringements on freedom "self righteous," as I do sometimes try to be tactful, but if you want to apply that term to them, I'm not objecting.

Love & Liberty,
        ((( starchild )))