Letters to the Editor

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Editor:

I note the story about the proposed land swap of AUSD-titled land at Encinal Terminal ("AUSD, City’s New Land Swap Deal," March 6). Putting aside the substance of the deal (for example, whether a third of the apparent market value is an appropriate amount, the non-public nature of the negotiations), how is this a swap?

The developer will be paying $117,000 in actual cash-on-the-barrelhead, spendable, U.S. dollars: "the deal includes swapping for money. That’s not a swap; that’s a sale. Why aren’t we calling it that?

— Jeff Mark

Editor:

In regard to "Neptune Point Mediation Underway," Feb. 27, I think we all know how this will end.

EBRPD will get the land to expand the park. The Federal government will get the higher price they could have obtained had Tim Lewis Communities gotten the land. The city of Alameda will pay the difference — your tax dollars at work.

Or perhaps Tim Lewis will be given access to obtain land on the Naval Air Station at a bargain basement price. All three sides need to win.

 

— Scott S. Sheppard

Editor:

The now-confirmed sale of Safeway to Cerberus Capital Management (the parent company of Lucky’s, Albertson’s, Jewel-Osco and many others) sounds like bad news on all levels.

Store employees at both Harbor Bay Landing and South Shore shopping centers have said they’re nervous about the prospect of possible store closures (including Radio Shack, which South Shore may very well lose), downsizing of jobs and services and more. Everyone is aware that any time a business closes or is forced to move due to rent increases at Harbor Bay Landing, they stay closed. The doctors’ office, video store, bakery, and bank venues all remain boarded up year after year.

While Safeway Inc. was headquartered in our own backyard of Pleasanton, Cerberus is based out of Boise, Idaho and will oversee more than 2,400 stores, 29 distribution centers and 20 manufacturing plants. There may be little concern for what Bay Area customers want or need when merging to maximize profit is the primary goal.

When I called Safeway’s Pleasanton headquarters, I was told their goal might indeed be "downsizing and "rebranding." Plans involve making the stores into less of the one-stop-shopping centers featuring fewer delis, pharmacies and florists.

Either way, this merger will further decrease the number of choices we have for grocery shopping versus other markets. Los Angeles has far more options in non-related chains with Vons (currently owned by Safeway), Albertson’s, Ralph’s, Krogers, Stater Brothers along with Trader Joes, Whole Foods and other upscale chains. The Bay Area has already lost Petrini’s and so many other true supermarkets over the last two decades.

Maybe it’s not too late if those interested, contact their elected officials to have their voices heard on this merger. Safeway Inc. reportedly did just have to pay millions in legal fines to Sacramento for alleged price-fixing, false advertising and not honoring Just-For-You membership price discounts at the register.

Despite some internal problems, our Safeways are still our Safeways, we rely on them, and may not enjoy the proposed changes the quest for higher profits imposes on them.

— Mike Lano

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