Letters to the 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.
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.
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.