Letters to the Editor

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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

The Alameda Sun received a copy of this letter addressed to the city council.

 

To the Alameda City Council:

On March 3, I received a $45 parking ticket in a parking lot in the Park Street Business District. I paid the ticket under protest. I feel as a longtime Alameda resident that it is time to speak out.

Clearly the city is unclear on the concept of supporting local businesses. The big-box stores at South Shore have unlimited free parking. The Park Street merchants, on the other hand, have aggressive meter people ruining the shopping experience. This is not a level playing field and the city is to blame.

Normal people would naturally avoid such an environment and shop where they can do so at leisure with the pressure of worrying about their parking meters expiring.

City governments that attempt to fund themselves by extorting onerous, excessive, unfair and draconian fines from their electorate will find themselves un-elected. This city must put the best interests of the community front and center in every discussion and act accordingly. Discouraging shoppers on Park Street only benefits the big-box shareholders, not the people of Alameda.

The city government owes it to its residents to supports the local merchants and let the big boxes know that they will not get an unfair advantage in Alameda.

— Lee Jester

Editor:

A new mega-bar called "Capone’s" is about to open, in a historic Park Street building at the crossroads to all of the Park Street businesses, just a few blocks from Alameda High School and right next door to the children’s dance studio.

How did this happen? Who voted for this? Who is going to pay for all the extra police? Why should we pay for extra police? A mega-bar In Alameda? Outsiders would have to drive here to drink alcohol at this mega-bar, then drive off the island once they are drunk.

Where are all these people going to park? Who is going to be held responsible when someone commits a crime, or kills someone after drinking at this mega-bar? What has happened to our town? In the last two years more beer, wine and alcohol permits have been passed out in Alameda than in the last 20 years.

Drunken driving arrests are an everyday occurrence, yet where is our Chief of Police Paul Rolleri, City Manager John Russo and Mayor Marie Gilmore. This mega-bar is going to open in the heart of our town and yet no one was informed of this, we did not vote on this and yet we are all going to be, forever impacted by this. It is truly a sad time for all Alameda.

 

— Paul Little

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