http://pleasantonweekly.com/print/story/print/2012/02/10/guest-opinion-wal-mart-comes-at-a-high-price-for-pleasanton


Pleasanton Weekly

Opinion - February 10, 2012

Guest opinion: Wal-Mart comes at a high price for Pleasanton

by Matt Sullivan

Your Jan. 27 editorial "Wal-Mart's Neighborhood Market good for Pleasanton" made me wonder if the Pleasanton Weekly is a newspaper or a PR mouthpiece for Wal-Mart and the Chamber of Commerce.

A newspaper should study the issues and present the facts to help educate the community. Wal-Mart has a long history of detrimental effects on both local economies and the food system in general. For instance, UC Irvine recently completed a study that demonstrates that communities with Wal-Mart stores end up with more poverty and food-stamp usage than communities where the retailer does not open, and that this increase in poverty may be due to the fact that Wal-Mart's arrival leads to a net loss of jobs and lowers wages [http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1540-6237.2006.00377.x/abstract onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1540-6237.2006.00377.x/abstract] .

In addition, a USDA analysis found that big retailers have used their market power to shortchange farmers who grow apples, lettuce and other types of produce, paying them less than what they would get in a competitive market, while also charging consumers inflated prices [http://www.ers.usda.gov/Publications/AER825/ http://www.ers.usda.gov/Publications/AER825/]. In this way, Wal-Mart has actually helped drive overall food prices up. Ironically, Wal-Mart attracts low income or fixed income customers because of "low prices" but shopping there actually exacerbates their problems in the long run.

But this just isn't about Wal-Mart. The city completed an economic study that estimated a 10%-15% loss in sales to other existing grocery stores when the second Safeway was approved last year. What effect will Wal-Mart have on our existing, and in some cases, locally owned stores such as Gene's? Raley's is closing several stores in the state and has reportedly seen a significant downturn in business at its Pleasanton store since Safeway opened. These stores -- some are union and some are not -- pay a decent middle-class wage with benefits.

The City Council just reviewed the "2011 Tri-Valley Human Services Needs Assessment" at its meeting last week. This report describes increases in unemployment, poverty and homelessness, as well as diminishing access to social services and resources for those in need in Pleasanton and the rest of the Tri-Valley, largely caused by the recession. What happens to our existing workers when their good jobs are displaced with minimum wage part time jobs with no benefits?

But what is most disturbing in the editorial is your dismissal of the public's right to participate in this decision. Wal-Mart has used this tactic in many cities to slip their projects in under the radar knowing they will be controversial. There are many people in this community who are concerned about the impacts of this project and they should be given the opportunity to participate in the democratic process at a public hearing with the ultimate decision made by their elected representatives. An independent press is essential to a functioning democracy, and the Pleasanton Weekly, as our local version of the "Fourth Estate," should be condemning these actions by Wal-Mart and calling for the democratic process to work.

In Pleasanton, Wal-Mart's "low prices" come at a high price to our local economy, our workers and, it seems, to our democracy.

--Matt Sullivan is a member of the Pleasanton City Council, first elected in 2004. He was a Planning Commissioner from 1998 to 2004.

Comments

Posted by Market Realist, a resident of Pleasanton Village
on Feb 10, 2012 at 8:00 pm

If the prices are too high at any retailer, the market will shut them down, if wages are too low the market will work too, if the prices paid for produce are too low the market will work again...if you are looking for an unsupported market premiums for pay or prices...sorry it doesn't work..wake up to reality!


Posted by Unions are terrible, really really terrible, a resident of Parkside
on Feb 10, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Boy, I've seen it all now. So, studies at UC Irvine and UC Berkeley show that Walmarts are detrimental to local economies? So what? Why should I care what Walmart does to the local economy? I only care about myself. Free markets are freedom. Union grocers are tyranny. Everybody knows this. Wake up to reality!


Posted by Steve, a resident of Parkside
on Feb 10, 2012 at 8:26 pm

If you were worried about poverty and lowering the class of our city, you should have spent more time defending us against the insurgence of low income housing about to blight our city. One store cannot have the impact of thousands of low income people moving into our town. Be honest, and state your real intention and tell us who you answer to; labor unions that are strangling the local and national economy.


Posted by justwondering, a resident of Amador Estates
on Feb 10, 2012 at 10:54 pm

Steve, one can only conclude that besides unions Matt must answer to lawyers because this is another lawsuit in the making!! What I don't understand is he spent 8 years on the Planning Commission. Certainly he understands the permit runs with the land and if the use is the same, end of discussion. Why drag this out, when the ultimate result is the City will lose in court yet again. More money to the lawyers and less money for things like the Bernal Park, etc.

What's even more concerning is his agenda to require a conditional use permit for all retail in the City. (Cook-Kallio supported him on this by the way.) This discussion took place at the end of the meeting. Do you think the retailers are going to want to come here and go through a process that could take years? What happened to free market, market choice, property rights, etc?


Posted by Tank, a resident of Parkside
on Feb 10, 2012 at 10:59 pm

Look, I realize I'm lower class and that I act classless once in a while. But I live in Pleasanton, so that makes me feel superior to the other lowlifes just like me but who can't afford to make it in this town. It doesn't matter to me that it's state law to bring in that low income housing. Nor does it matter to me that the city would accrue even larger fines were they to resist the law. What's important is my identity. How can a white trash kinda guy like me feel superior to anyone when the city encourages Walmart workers and shoppers and low income housing dwellers to come to P-Town?
p.s. Unions are really really bad. See the really really terrible quality of life in Sweden.


Posted by Stop union lies !, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2012 at 11:40 pm

FAR worse than Cholo's insame posings are the cowardly lies of poster 'Unions are terrible, really, really, terrible' and her other name of 'Unions are bad' on related union threads. When unable to win or debate on the basis of honesty or logic, losers have to stoop to pathetic mockery.
People with honorable principles don't have to stoop to childish ridicule.
Union spokesdames need to develop more adult points. Most of us are not as gullible as those who join unions.


Posted by Tank, a resident of Parkside
on Feb 11, 2012 at 12:36 am

Bravely stated. When people like Matt Sullivan present their cowardly and dishonest illogic, the best adult thing to do is to call another poster names.

I know what you mean about gullible. I have a niece who joined the union at Safeway. Now she's making almost 11 dollars an hour, with fairly decent benefits. She should have gone to work at Walmart for minimum wage, no benefits, and for a very reasonable 24 hours per week. Lordy was she ever duped!!! I tried to tell her that Walmart was all about freedom and the people, and that Safeway was all about tyrannical control, but the gullible lass just wouldn't listen to my adult points.


Posted by Robert, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 11, 2012 at 7:44 am

Why is it such a big deal to some of you where someone chooses to work. Why do you care if they are union or not.
Why do you care if they choose to work without benefits.
How do these peoples decisions on employment affect you?
I just don't understand how or why this whole Walmart thing has turned into a 'union' issue.
How many other businesses in this town are NON UNION? I don't see any of you raising such a stink about them! There are new stores opening next to the new Safeway....Do you suppose Panda Express is union?
Did you go to the council meetings trying to stop them from opening?
I, for one, will not be voting for anyone that opposes this grocery store.
Not that it matters to Safeway, or any of you here, I'm sure, but I will never shop in their store again.



Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 11, 2012 at 8:05 am

Tank, Uatrrt, Mr. Mittens, etc., If what you have to share is logical, pick a name, use it, and then actually say something that contributes to the conversation. Everyone has figured you out already. At least be honest and perhaps concise with your "sarcasm"--you could simply post: Viva Unions or Viva Socialism or Viva Sweden. It summarizes neatly everything you've had to say.

Your "niece" has a choice to work at Safeway or not, join a union shop or not, work for minimum wage or not--and it appears she made the best choice for her needs under whatever her circumstances might be.

My simple choice will be to continue shopping at Gene's. Great people and products--and when I started shopping there years ago, I had no idea if they were union or not because it didn't matter. Well, not until they were picketed by guns for hire out of towners anyway.


Posted by Tank, a resident of Parkside
on Feb 11, 2012 at 9:29 am

Boy, people sure are doing their best to avoid the topic! Instead of addressing how Walmarts are bad for local economies, suddenly this discussion board has turned into a hatefest against unions, Cholo, and some guy called Mittens. (Who's Mittens anyway?)

I gotta hand it to Kathleen Ruegsegger. Boy is she good with the ad hominum attacks! Now, back to the corrupt unions and their guns for hire. They eat through everything like termites don't they? What's good for Walmart is good for America!


Posted by registered user, Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 11, 2012 at 9:35 am

It's a grocery store replacing a grocery store. It's within walking distance of a residential neighborhood.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 11, 2012 at 9:43 am

Don't know that the union was corrupt and didn't say they were. The guns for hire is a fact though. I don't shop at WalMart for a lot of reasons, and whether it is unionized or not is not what takes me into or what keeps me out of any store. Grew up in a union household in Chicago--know a lot about unions.

Seems to me a lot of people are employed by WalMart by their choosing--yeah, WalMart isn't perfect. But let's get a union in there and force those who have chosen to work there to pay dues out of what you think are substandard wages and benefits. I'm sure things will only improve for the employees and the shoppers and the suppliers.


Posted by Tank, a resident of Parkside
on Feb 11, 2012 at 9:45 am

Walmart. So some Commie public university professors and Obama-corrupted federal agencies say it drives food prices upward and workers' wages downward, eh? Hey geniuses, what does that have to do with it being within walking distance of my residential neighborhood?


Posted by registered user, Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 11, 2012 at 9:47 am

Good point, Kathleen. The unions should focus on unionizing Walmart employees and leave us local residents out of it. Why should the local residents suffer by not having a grocery store in their neighborhood for what amounts to the unions' own failures at unionizing Walmart employees? Unions should stop opposing resident efforts to build a walkable and sustainable community.


Posted by registered user, Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 11, 2012 at 9:48 am

Tank,

It's a grocery store replacing a grocery store.


Posted by Kate, a resident of Fairlands Elementary School
on Feb 11, 2012 at 9:52 am

The bottom line is that mainly out of town union people and Safeway union employees are lined up in opposition to keep a grocery store out of my very own neighborhood for no apparent reason other than the fact that they are non-union.

They could care less about my neighborhood.

Union public school child-care workers already fight to keep private child-care centers without union workers from opening or expanding in Pleasanton. You would think the union would have better things to do with their time, but no....

But this is completely outrageous.


Posted by registered user, Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 11, 2012 at 9:55 am

Kate, I think you said it perfectly.


Posted by Tank, a resident of Parkside
on Feb 11, 2012 at 9:56 am

Yes, I've got a nephew who made the choice.

Says he'd much rather support his family working part-time hours for minimum wage than work with gun-toting union thugs for union scale wages and benefits. To each her own is what I say, and I'm a libertarian.

This IS America, after all. And one can choose: work at Walmart for the scraps they give you or let your family starve. We're talking about FREEDOM, aren't we?

So, Walmart might have a few blemishess. Big deal. It hasn't brought in any Pinkertons to bash heads -- at least not in this country, yet. Instead, it resort to good old American tactics of just threatening to use its high-priced lawyers to bring local communities to their knees.

But I digress. It gives its workers freedom, and that's what counts. If it hurts the local economy, well, so do gun-toting union thugs spreading manure all over the county. Besides, I only care about me. I'm a libertarian. I shop at Gene's.


Posted by registered user, Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 11, 2012 at 9:57 am

"The city completed an economic study that estimated a 10%-15% loss in sales to other existing grocery stores when the second Safeway was approved last year. What effect will Wal-Mart have on our existing, and in some cases, locally owned stores such as Gene's? "

Let's remember that existing stores received a positive growth in sales when Nob Hill closed. Let's also remember that the second Safeway was a new use. This is a grocery store replacing one that closed.


Posted by Kate, a resident of Fairlands Elementary School
on Feb 11, 2012 at 10:07 am

The other thing is that in my perspective, it is the high paying union wages and benefits that have in fact driven the entire manufacturing sector overseas, such as the automobile factories.

The union jobs drove manufacturing out of the U.S. in the first place. Those that yell that Wal-mart and others should buy American made products really puzzle me because there are hardly any more American made products anymore period. Why? Because the unions cost so much the factories could not afford to stay here in the first place.

Maybe Safeway counted on no one ever moving into the Nob Hill store as a way to justify building the brand new monstrosity in South Pleasanton off of Bernal. But the bottom line is that I want to shop wherever I want to and I don't care who moves into Nob Hill as long as they operate roughly the same hours Nob Hill did.

We want a grocery store back.

I worked for a little more than minimum wage in retail when I was in my 20s. Retail by its nature has always been low paying jobs. is that the types of posts you see here (Tank, etc) only amplify the mob mentality


Posted by Tank , a resident of Parkside
on Feb 11, 2012 at 10:22 am

Right. Bottom line, I don't care if Walmart is bad for the community. Just so long as I get my groceries, everyone else can just take a flying leap! I didn't read the lead article on this thread by Matt Sullivan. Well, I started to, but I didn't like what he was saying. Besides, one doesn't need to read to go shopping at Walmart!

The unionized grocery workers drove all the good grocery stores overseas. How are grocery owners supposed to get rich when they have to pay workers a fair wage?

Look, why should Walmart workers get more than minimum wage and no benefits? Retail has always paid lousy wages, but that's the way its supposed to be. If Walmart paid union wages, that would cut into the Walton family's 90 Billion dollar empire. That would be an affront to America's idea of freedom. Be free! Don't support the union mob mentality. We don't need no stinking union 10 dollar an hour workers around here. Let them eat cake!


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 11, 2012 at 11:19 am

Tank, In your world, everyone should get a high paying job with cadillac benefits and union representation. The thing you seem to keep skipping over is the people in those WalMart jobs applied for and accepted the positions knowing full well what they stepped into. Maybe they only can work part time, maybe it's close to home or public transportation, maybe they like the discounts, maybe they are seniors or students making some money for the little extras, maybe they start there and get promotions, maybe they get experience and go to better paying jobs (union or otherwise). The reality is, they took the opportunities freely and didn't need the help of a union to get it. And, truth be told, good luck getting one of those "high paying" union jobs--plenty of cronyism in unions.


Posted by Kate, a resident of Fairlands Elementary School
on Feb 11, 2012 at 11:50 am

Speaking of empires, Tank, Steve Burd, CEO of Safeway, has made $80.33 million in total compensation in the last five according to your UFCW Local 400's website Web Link

So rather than interfering with another company wanting to open a store that replaces the same place another store previously had zoning for, why don't you focus your energies on your buddy Mr. Burd rather than meddling in local neighborhood issues?

Kathleen Ruegsegger is correct.

Also, the union is not out for the workers either. They are in it for the union dues and the big bags of money coming from its dues that it pays political candidates and lobbyists for their causes.


Posted by Tank, a resident of Parkside
on Feb 11, 2012 at 1:10 pm

Since we're talking freedom here, how does Burd's 80 Million compare with Walmart's 80 Billion? If it weren't for the corrupt moneybags unions, Burd could be making 80 Billion too! Where's the freedom in this country anymore to make billions on the backs of seniors?

Now I've got this figured out. First, all the unionized grocery chains are going to pack up and leave for overseas because the unions are bilking them so. Second, none of the free companies will come into Pleasanton because they'll be chased out by the corrupt politians like Matt Sullivan who read socialist propaganda published by public union university professors. Within 3-5 years, Pleasanton will not have a single grocery store. Just like GX Arnold Motor Oil says, a tsunami of grocerylessness is going to sweep over this town, innundating us with more debt and empty stomachs. Go to tsunamicpensions.com to see what I mean.

Kathleen Reugsegger makes an excellent point, as usual. Her keen insight is that Walmart workers are free to work there. Drat! Why didn't I think of that? Brilliant, Kathleen. As millions stand in unemployment lines because of Owebama and the unions chasing all the heroic job creators overseas, we at least have freedom to work at Walmart! Walmart = freedom. Safeway = dependence on others for your wage. And if Walmart brings down local wages and drives up food prices, well, so be it. It's the price of freedom. At least we're escaping all the union violence. Because history shows that unionizing was nothing more than union infliction of violence upon police, pinkertons, military and national guard. I grew up in Chicago. I know about these things. (See numerous histories of the violent unions in John Birch Society archives.)

And once again. Let's all ignore Matt Sullivan's opinion piece because, after all, it's better just to believe what we want to believe. It's all part of what Kathleen Reugsegger calls rational and constructive dialogue. So, when Pleasanton is left groceryless, let's all blame the loony violent union left for the ghost town a tsunami of unfreedom is going to leave in its wake.


Posted by Kangaroo, a resident of another community
on Feb 11, 2012 at 1:33 pm

So glad I left in September. We sold our house in record time
and are happily living in a RED state. It's so nice not to have to support
all of the liberal insanity. California deserves nancy pelosi and all
of those pesky little unintended consequences of the idiotic liberal
agenda.


Posted by Enough already, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 11, 2012 at 1:44 pm

Really??? A Walmart grocery store will increase poverty and food-stamp usage in Pleasanton? Wait, what???

It's a grocery store replacing a grocery store.

Should we wait another year or two or three, the location stays empty, the other businesses in that shopping center slowly go out of business?? Or better yet, a Dollar Store or Big Lots or Dollar Tree moves it. That will class up the area??!!

This location has excellent visibility from Santa Rita. I don't think there should be any question of it's success. If Fresh and Easy goes down, too bad for them. They didn't pick a great location. Were the City Council planning on not approving any other stores after the gigantic Safeway they approved on Bernal?

Glad Walmart has deep pockets and are in it for a good fight.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 11, 2012 at 2:37 pm

Tank, You just run in circles. People can choose to work in a union shop or not. People can shop at unionized Safeways, and clearly they do because there are at least four in the immediate area, or they can shop in the other grocery stores, unionized or not, because (a) the products are good and (b) it's convenient to where they work or live. You think WalMart employees need a union--go ahead and organize them. Or maybe you can get WalMart to take from this pot: Web Link and put it into their employee wages and benefits.

From one of the web sites Matt posted: "Two empirical studies conducted in this project suggest retailers are able to influence prices paid to fresh produce shippers and by consumers for some of the commodities." As someone else pointed out, this isn't just WalMart--union shops like Safeway are doing this as well. What are unions doing to protect growers/shippers and consumers . . .


Posted by Kate, a resident of Fairlands Elementary School
on Feb 11, 2012 at 2:53 pm

Pleasanton left groceryless?

Ooh, I am afraid. Are the locusts going to come to? And the plague too.

Actually, I think if Wal-mart were smart it would also file an anti-trust lawsuit. With a SLAPP lawsuit against the union members.

Safeway union workers, if you wanted Safeway to try to lease the Nob Hill store, you should have gone to your management who instead seems to be spending millions of dollars building brand new strip shopping centers on the other side of town rather than re-use existing buildings.

Obviously Pleasanton will allow Wal-mart to open the store because there is already zoning for supermarkets there and one just closed down. And if they don't, the judge within about 30 days will.


Posted by Tank, a resident of Parkside
on Feb 11, 2012 at 4:01 pm

I just returned from a trip to Arkansas, West Virginny, Kentuck and Mississipp. They had Walmarts all over the place. The people love them and love to work for them. It beats having to cut off chicken heads at all the surrounding poultry farms. Pleasanton should bring in a few more Walmarts to beautify the landscape and improve the community. (Chicken farms will follow!)

Kathleen Reugsegger's genius never ceases to amaze. People can choose to work for a union shop or not. Brilliant insight. It's easy to see how all us right-wing geniuses follow her lead, isn't it? She's so rational and constructive. And she uses her own name, too.

Now, as for Safeways bringing down local communities like Walmart has been shown to do. Although Safeways aren't mentioned in the studies that indicate how Walmart drives up food prices and drives down wages, I just know that the union mobocracy has been behind that omission. Because Safeway and all other unionized companies are bad, really really bad.

At this point, please join me in saluting our freedom of choice in a Walmart world. You can choose to receive unemployment. Or if unemployment compensation isn't available, you can choose starvation for yourself and family. Or, you can pursue the great American dream and go work for Walmart. What? You claim Walmart doesn't pay enough for you to support your kids? Typical entitlement mentality. Since 1 in 4 kids are going to bed hungry in this country, why do you think your kids are so doggone special? What's important is that in your situation of "dire need" (scoff), you have the CHOICE to work at Walmart or not (assuming they'll hire you).

See, freedom has always been the hallmark of America. Even in times of slavery, the slave could always make a choice. He or she could choose to work for the master, or not. So the master would then punish the slave? Well, the question of need or effects really has no bearing when we're considering freedom. One's freedom to choose, irrespective of circumstances, is freedom to choose. That's freedom. Thanks so much to Kathleen Reugsegger for this sophisticated line of thought. I hope she runs for political office.


Posted by remember, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2012 at 5:13 pm

I remember some years ago that Wall-Mart was considering a superstore in the area. The unions released a document that said that superstores were bad (traffic, etc.) and neighborhood stores are good. Now Wal-Mart wants to open a neighborhood grocery store, to replace a grocery store that shut down, and the same unions are back. These unions supported a large superstore Safeway that came into the community but not a neighborhood grocery store. Talking out of both sides of their mouths.

Perhaps the city council wants to require all retail businesses in Pleasanton to be union shops? If you are a non-union business, you should be going after the council now before they go after your business.

Hum, wonder if the mayor and her husband's law firm only hires union personnel to help out there (admin, books, paralegal, etc.). Do all their workers have paid health insurance also? I also wonder if the mayor and other council members hire union gardeners and household help (cleaners, etc.). Also construction workers? I bet when the mayor had her special bird house built for her hunting falcons/hawks in her back yard that she did not use a union carpenter and/or did not pay prevailing wage.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 11, 2012 at 5:14 pm

Tank, Back to the rambling commentary -- can't help yourself. Those who work at WalMart, for whatever reason, agreed to take the job. By the way, that's 2 million people worldwide; 1.4 million of them in the US. They serve 200 million customers worldwide as of FY2010. Judging by your "input," that's a whole lot of people forced to take low paying jobs and even more shopping in a reprehensible store.

Bit of a stretch on the slavery, mittens. Already served, thanks.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 11, 2012 at 5:27 pm

Tank, Run through this: Web Link CalPERS carries 6,240,059 shares ($117,027,645 valuation) in WalMart. The irony.


Posted by Frances, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 11, 2012 at 7:04 pm

Some of these comments are just downright stupid!


Posted by Jake, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 11, 2012 at 7:55 pm

With labor costs so high in union stores, fewer people can be hired. That means less check out staff are on duty and the lines are longer.

Why is it the unions are going after Wal-mart and leaving Target alone? Target stores have a good portion of their stores devoted to grocery products. Can someone explain it to me? I truly do not know.


Posted by Tank, a resident of Parkside
on Feb 11, 2012 at 7:57 pm

CalPers knows a good thing when it sees it. I apologize to all you geniuses who are unwilling to stretch your minds a little bit. Guess the downright stupid sock puppet unions have gotten to all of you. So much so that no one is willing to say how. But that's okay. This is about freedom. 1.4 million Walmart workers have chosen freedom over starvation. Just like American antebellum slaves chose to work rather than endure the lash. It's the essence of freedom: choosing to work because your survival depends on it. Walmart workers of the world stay un-united! Your freedom depends on it, and all of us freedom lovers like me and Kathleen Reugsegger, and Stace and steve the sychophants, and Kate Reugsegger, and Robert have got your backs. We all support your liberty to work for minimum wage. All of socialist loonies who are downright stupid need not reply.

Now, I WAS going to tell you all how the union-dupe Matt Sullivan is full of beans. But instead, I think I'll just call out all you rambling lefties who refuse to use your real name. (Sorry, but just about anything beyond a couple of sentences strikes me as rambling.)


Posted by registered user, Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 11, 2012 at 7:58 pm

It's a grocery store replacing a grocery store that closed.


Posted by Jake, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 11, 2012 at 8:18 pm

I wonder whether all the ranting raving postings are not those that appear to have forgotten to take their medication :-), but are from the Saint Consulting Group employees or contractors? I read that they are the PR firm hired by Safeway and unions to stop Wal-mart.

So maybe "Tank" and the other aliases are some of the Saint Consulting Group political operatives?

More on Saint Consulting Group ==

"The consulting firm, Saint Consulting Group, uses tactics adapted from political campaigns. Phone banks, petitions, targeted websites, and Saint operatives who use assumed names to stir up local opposition. The company claims it has launched more than 1,500 such campaigns in 44 states, with about 500 campaigns involved with trying to block development.

Safeway, according to the Journal, hired Saint to block Wal-Mart supercenters in more than 30 locations. In some cases, grocery store unions have paid a portion of the fees for the clandestine operations. A union spokesperson said, "The work we've funded Saint to do to preserve our market share and our jobs is within our First Amendment rights."

There is nothing illegal about any of this cloak and dagger work, although companies that consistently harass developers do get more scrutiny under existing legal doctrines permitting the work. That's partly the reason that Saint staffers use aliases and other techniques to withhold client identities.

Apparently now all is fair in love and war and retailing."


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Feb 11, 2012 at 8:21 pm

I'll be searching high 'n lo for those tiny golden raisins...yum yum plenty!


Posted by Jake, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 11, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Web Link More about this Saint PR firm that Safeway hires to block Walmarts -- from the Wall Street Journal article posted here

A typical 'astroturf' fake grassroots tactics:

"For the typical anti-Wal-Mart assignment, a Saint manager will drop into town using an assumed name to create or take control of local opposition, according to former Saint employees. They flood local politicians with calls, using multiple phones to make it appear that the calls are coming from different people, the former employees say."


Posted by registered user, Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 11, 2012 at 8:50 pm

PW,

I agree with Mr. Sullivan. Your paper should present the facts. The Wal-Mart opposition has only put out disinformation: trying to say there will be overnight campers, that it's a Wal-Mart store as opposed to a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market, that there will not be any fresh produce, etc.. Such false facts leads readers to false conclusions. It is sad to see Mr. Sullivan participate in the disinformation campaign by presenting studies that are not applicable. The USDA study looks at all big retailers, including Krogers and Safeway, not just Wal-Mart. The UC Irvine study looked at Wal-Mart stores that opened in 1987 to 1988. The Wal-Mart Neighborhood Markets didn't start operation until 1998.


Posted by Tank, a resident of Parkside
on Feb 11, 2012 at 9:09 pm

This clearly shows there is a vast conspiracy to prevent Walmart's race to the bottom. Walmart markets are not the same as Walmarts. One is a Walmart store and the other is a Walmart store. They operate with entirely different logics. One attempts to squeeze workers and suppliers for every possible penny; the other attempts to squeeze workers and suppliers for every possible penny. This is just an attempt to bring down the Walton family, whose five members are among the 10 richest in the US. It is not their responsibility to lift their workers out of impoversihed food stamp status. Their only responsiblity is to themselves. If they are moving into vacant buildings, this is only because this provides them a loophole that frees them from having to provide tedious economic and, gasp, environmental statements. My nephew has a friend in Kentucky who told him that Walmart is the best loved corporation in the US. That's good enough for me, and besides, unions are bad, really really bad.


Posted by registered user, Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 11, 2012 at 9:13 pm

Tank,

What took you so long to respond? Having trouble with the concept of replacing a grocery store with a grocery store? Had to go call your boss and ask him how to respond?

Please, Tank, let us all know what you are selling that is of any benefit to the neighborhood?


Posted by clink, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2012 at 9:14 pm

I shop at Cole's.


Posted by Jake, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 11, 2012 at 9:20 pm

Maybe Kroger should buy out Safeway corporation, in doing so, get rid of all the union employees so the combined Kroger/Safeway can get its act together and compete more effectively against Walmart.

I find it disappointing that Safeway, Supervalu have been building larger and larger superstores, yet would work frantically to keep Walmart out of an existing vacant store with far less square footage.

This opens them up to anti-trust lawsuits.

For those of you disappointed that Safeway and UCFW 5 are part of this, the best way to show that you are disappointed is to shop somewhere else.


Posted by registered user, Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 11, 2012 at 9:24 pm

Jake,

Are you saying that Kroger's is not unionized?


Posted by Jake, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 11, 2012 at 9:32 pm

Kroger is unionized I believe, but what I suggested is that they combine with Safeway (merge) and become a new company that is not unionized in order to compete with Walmart.

I wonder if Tank is part of the Saint PR company. More on the WSJ series on the Safeway-funded tactics.

Web Link


Posted by Jake, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 11, 2012 at 9:37 pm

If Saint is involved, I suspect that along with all the fliers, they'll get into the newspaper business and send a 12-page newspaper around to all residents similar to this. Or ask the Pleasanton Weekly to put it as an insert.

Maybe they'll claim to see the San Joaquin Kit Fox in the arroyo next to Nob Hill even :-) Or maybe the Alameda Whipsnake!!

More from the WSJ article:

"But a group calling itself the Merced Alliance for Responsible Growth is vehemently opposed. In advance of a summer 2009 city council vote on the project, it published a 12-page newspaper with such headlines as "Wal-Mart Jobs Threaten Lives."

One article, citing a trucking magazine story about Federal Bureau of Investigation prostitution stings at public truck stops, suggested that the distribution center could be a magnet for prostitution, drugs and crime, possibly involving the local high school.

The anti-Wal-Mart newspaper was paid for by Saint using Safeway and union funds, according to two former Saint employees who were interviewed by the Journal. "


Posted by registered user, Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 11, 2012 at 9:53 pm

In the private sector, unions and management oftentimes have aligned interests since private sector unions are subject to the same market pressures as the company. They are united by their common interests and should work together, even though the disinformation can be offensive to outsiders. I found this article from 2004 though that shows that UFCW leadership really ignored the competition from Wal-Mart to their own detriment. Quite unfortunate. Web Link

"To cut labor costs, which account for 68 percent of Safeway's total costs, the company is restructuring labor contracts to give new hires lower wages and benefits than the current workforce enjoys. The move led to an ugly five-month strike at its Southern California chain, Vons."

and

"Certainly protesters from the United Food and Commercial Workers were dismissing what Safeway likes to call the "Wal-Mart threat." "Wal-Mart is the 800-pound gorilla that isn't in the room," said Matthew Hardy, a spokesman for the UFCW Bay Area Coalition"

The gorilla is in the room now.


Posted by Jake, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 11, 2012 at 10:09 pm

True, but the gorilla wants to lease a cage that was previously occupied and is now vacant. And the cage (current store footprint at Nob Hill location) is far less square footage than any of the Safeways currently in Pleasanton.

And the union/Safeway opponents have been sending out anonymous fliers not making any mention of who they are (never disclose the union and corporate sponsor) and are also attempting to influence a political decision without forming a political action committee and printing their FPPC number on their mailers.


Posted by Pete , a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2012 at 11:38 pm

What part of Councilmember Sullivan's shared information, with the Community of Pleasanton, was delusional? The Pleasanton Weekly should present the facts... they are waiting for the public process as well. That is their responsibility to the Citizens of Pleasanton as well.


Posted by Stop union lies !, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2012 at 11:51 pm

I'm puzzled by the switcheroo of the union activists. They fight against big box stores, Yet they are now defending giant Safeways, and blocking Neighborhood Markets ?....just seems a tad bit inconsistent to me......or downright hypocritical.


Posted by Tank, a resident of Parkside
on Feb 12, 2012 at 11:01 am

Safeway is showing itself to be against Walmartian freedom because Safeway is unionized. No other stores ever compete against one another in this way. The stories about Walmart closing down its operations whenever its workers vote to unionize, about surveilling its employees through wiretaps of phones and emails, about firing any employees who raise prospects of unionizing -- all those stories are myths perpetrated by Safeway which feels it has to engage in such unethical behavior in order to escape being beaten up by its union check out girl thugs. What would you rather have, bag boy employees who routinely rough up management in order to keep them in line (happens at Safeways ALL THE TIME) or the food stamp collecting, freedom bearing employees of Walmart? I rest my case!


Posted by registered user, Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 12, 2012 at 11:42 am

It bears repeating, it's a grocery store replacing a grocery store. How do residents benefit from whatever you're selling, Tank?


Posted by Jake, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 12, 2012 at 11:48 am

It's a grocery store replacing an empty grocery store that is pre-zoned for a grocery store.

The only corporations that benefit from trying to stop it are Safeway, Saint Consulting, and the unions. And the legal firms.


Posted by Tank, a resident of Parkside
on Feb 12, 2012 at 11:58 am

Obviously this is a moral question, Stacey. Something the unions and left wingnut posters on this board don't understand. Safeway is sooooo nefarious because it is run by the union inmate thugs who lord over management with threats of violence. Walmart would help put the unions in their place and send a loud message to Owebama and his Chicago strong-arm gman hit men.

Also, there's a moral issue involved re. Safeway's union tendency to depress wages in the area, raise food prices in the area, and squeeze out the ma and pa stores. The moral thing to do is to support Wally's freedom to counteract Safeway's immoral union sock puppet standing in the community. Forget all those bad things written about Wally -- the ill treatment of its workers, its inhumane wage and "benefit" structure, its bad pollution record, the numerous class action lawsuits its high-priced lawyers must continually attempt to squelch regarding women and people of color. Those are all lies. Union lies.

The moral thing to do, as you know so well, Stacy, is to think about yourself. Forget the lies and support Walmartian freedom. Because a vote for Walmart is a vote for yourself. Screw everybody else!


Posted by registered user, Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 12, 2012 at 12:03 pm

An application to operate a grocery store where one operated previously is an administrative question. Does the application conform to the original PUD?


Posted by registered user, Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 12, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Moreover, you failed to answer how whatever it is you're selling benefits the neighborhood that is impacted by the pre-approved land-use.


Posted by registered user, Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 12, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Tank,

It appears that you do take moral issue against groups of people acting in their own self-interest. I suggest you take that concern up with your union leadership the next time the contract is up. I fail though to see how your concern has any bearing on making the administrative decision on whether a grocery store can replace a grocery store that closed. If you have any information you could provide on how the administrative decision could be overturned because the application does not actually conform to the existing PUD, I'm sure everyone would be interested to hear it.


Posted by Tank, a resident of Parkside
on Feb 12, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Quoting from "Unions are bad, really really bad"

"The slave plantation was approved by the southern states. It enabled the south to profit from cotton sales. And plantation owners were acting within their own self interest. (And as Kathleen Reugsegger so eloquently argues, the slaves had the choice to either work for their masters or be whipped -- it was their free choice.) If some people had a problem with plantation owners acting in their own self interest, well that's a discussion they should've had amongst themselves and their union-influenced cronies.

Thus far, the union-paid shils on this site have been bested by Kathleen Reugsegger and 24-7 Stacey.

KR: Walmart workers can choose to work or not work. This constitutes the penultimate expression of American freedom.

Stacey: First there was a grocery, now there isn't a grocery, soon there shall be a grocery. Food stamps? Who cares? Union workers would be receiving food stamps too if they weren't so corrupt and dependent on their unions!

The rightwing moralists in Pleasanton have never had too more rational and constructive defenders. I am humbled in their presence."


Posted by Tank, a resident of Parkside
on Feb 12, 2012 at 1:26 pm

ps Stacey also warns us that Walmart will sue the city if it doesn't buckle to Walmart's desires. And Kathleen Reugsegger reminds us how Chicago unions were violent back in her day.


Posted by registered user, Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 12, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Tank,

Does the grocery store application conform to the original PUD or does it not?


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 12, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Tank, You kind of blew off the notion that both PERS and STRS have invested in WalMart (and likely many, many pension groups) and a long list of non-union shops. Happy to make your pension off these people who can't seem to think for themselves or are apparently forced into taking these jobs or the customers who have no other choices but to shop there.

If the customers or the employees or the unions have an issue with WalMart: (1) don't shop there; (2) don't work there and/or (3) go in an organize the employees (no excuses--it can be done if everyone wants the representation). Otherwise, taking some false moral high ground to keep the store out of any area despite the wishes of potential customers and employees is just baloney--trying to act on behalf of people who don't want you to act on their behalf.


Posted by Tank, a resident of Parkside
on Feb 12, 2012 at 1:55 pm

Good thinking Kate! Very rational and constructive! If northerners didn't like slavery they just shouldn't have bought cotton coming from the plantations. But they weren't able to think for themselves. Were they a rational thinker like, KR, they either (1) shouldn't have bought the cotton from the south(2) shouldn't have become slaves themselves or (3) they just should have sauntered onto the southern plantations and organized the slaves, John Brown style. Anything else is just taking "some false moral high ground". Got that? We are freedom! We are Walmart!

ps Kathleen, your twin has been up all night manning the PW barricades against the union tyrants. She's obviously very exhausted and needs to rest for a while. Can you step in for her while she gets some shut-eye? You and I can continue to defend P-town against the sock puppet union hordes until she awakens. Assuming, that is, that you and her are not the same person. I heard some union robots saying they thought your views and writing styles were identical. Mindless thugs they are, one and all.


Posted by registered user, Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 12, 2012 at 1:56 pm

I think the discussion on these threads has run their course, as Gina would put it. Tank/Unions is having a difficult time advancing the discussion that a grocery store is replacing a grocery store and if there's anything in the application that was inconsistent with the existing Conditions of Approval. The poster is now quoting themselves between threads.


Posted by Tank, a resident of Parkside
on Feb 12, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Stacey makes a very good point. I think she should start her own thread that limits discussion to only a select few, that way we'll keep the corrupt union thugs at bay.


Posted by registered user, Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 12, 2012 at 2:08 pm

There's no requirement to be non-union in order to register and comment. Neither are you restricted from starting your own thread.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 12, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Tank, pretty sure you are the one who needs the shut eye. You are reaching into the past/south/slavery -- it's 2012. Act on whatever convictions are driving you; organize the troops and then organize WalMart (some effort being made in San Ramon if you need some tips on how to get started). Nobody, except maybe WalMart's shareholders (PERS, STRS, etc.), gives a hoot if you do.


Posted by registered user, Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 12, 2012 at 2:25 pm

Tank,

Or better yet, don't register and comment. You wouldn't want to give anyone the idea that the topic of discussion is more important than your ability to abuse anonymity.


Posted by hoops, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 13, 2012 at 1:19 pm

It sounds to me that there are a whole lot of people with too much time on their hands.It is a freaking grocery store replacing another grocery store and if people who need a job choose to work there so be it.Safeway knows their competition and they chose to open a second Safeway knowing full well about Walmart.Put it to rest and quit trying to make Pleasanton into an island for elitists.The world will go in and your lives will not be changed,except you may get your groceries a little cheaper.Yoy know,you will not afford a house in Pleasanton working at Walmart but what kind of wages do all your beloved retail stores in Pleasanton pay???You ain't buying a house working at Ace Hardware or Hallmark either unless you own it.


Posted by Yet Another Elitist, a resident of Downtown
on Feb 13, 2012 at 1:41 pm

[Post removed due to excessive and/or repetitive post by same poster]


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 13, 2012 at 1:51 pm

YAE, Read the other thread. I put some links out there about WalMart and asked a couple questions. Ultimately, it is unlikely I would shop at their store; I didn't shop at the previous one either. I guess I'm wondering why there hasn't been this kind of outcry concerning WalMart employment practices in other communities or throughout the state. Do we only care because it is Pleasanton?


Posted by Dan, a resident of Bridle Creek
on Feb 13, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Wow, must be a lot of Walmarts in Oakland because of the poverty, right Matt? Hmmm, what's that you say? There is only ONE WALMART in Oakland?! The heck you say.

I wonder what's causing all that poverty over there huh?

And has the standard of living gone down in Pleasanton since Walmart has been here? Mmmmmm...probably not, at least not in my opinion.

And you say that a city study concluded a 10-15% decrease in other businesses as a result of the 2nd Safeway going in? Might that drop be attributed to lower prices at Safeway drawing people away from those businesses? Shocka!

Matt, maybe you should familiarize yourself with the word "competition" before you begin to take us all for fools and cite a meaningless "city study".

In general, and I hope this does not get deleted from the forum, I find your response to be the height of statism.

You represent EVERYTHING that is wrong with our current political class.

Sincerely,

Dan


Posted by Dan, a resident of Bridle Creek
on Feb 13, 2012 at 2:12 pm

BTW

Political class = Democrats AND Republicans.


Posted by registered user, Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 13, 2012 at 2:17 pm

It _is_ a choice Pleasanton makes and that choice is made by shoppers. It is not within the City's legal domain to make the choice for Pleasanton residents on where to shop. In many cases, shoppers tend to chose quality of product, selection, and service over simply lower prices. That's why we find those in Pleasanton who are willing to make the drive to Whole Foods or Sprouts. That's why I choose personally to make the trek to Raley's for certain produce or go to Gene's and Ranch 99 over Safeway. Safeway's produce at the Santa Rita store can be deplorable sometimes (moldy grapefruit right in the box visible to shoppers) yet they carry Golden Delicious apples while Trader Joe's does not. It's a grocery store replacing a grocery store and it should be allowed to compete with the other grocery stores in the area. If it sucks, it will fail just like Nob Hill did.


Posted by registered user, Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 13, 2012 at 2:20 pm

Dan,

Good point. Walmart has been in Pleasanton since the mid-1990s. Look at all the poverty in Pleasanton since then, caused by Walmart.


Posted by Willy, a resident of Valley Trails
on Feb 13, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Yeah, where's the poverty? I've worked there for many years now, and I live like a king in my one bedroom apartment. Hard to be impoverished when you suckers are paying for my food stamps.


Posted by Dan, a resident of Bridle Creek
on Feb 13, 2012 at 3:29 pm

Stacey,

You make a good point about diversity in shopping. My wife does the same as you.

I almost feel sorry for Matt...I don't know him personally but his op-ed sure opened my eyes. It must be something to write this tripe and then not even have the guts to debate it in an open forum like Town Hall.

Pity.

Dan


Posted by Yet Another Elitist, a resident of Bridle Creek
on Feb 13, 2012 at 4:57 pm

[Post removed due to excessive and/or repetitive post by same poster]


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 13, 2012 at 5:12 pm

YAE, Tank, Mittens, Uabrrb--Gutless wonder would be the person posting like they hold the moral high ground, yet doing absolutely nothing. If these people need your help (and actually want your help), then fix it. Otherwise, it's just bluster.


Posted by Jake, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 13, 2012 at 5:20 pm

Faux people pretending to live in Bridle Creek --

Given the CEO of Safeway's outrageous compensation, that poor man is trying to raise a family on 24 hours per week at just $10,000 per hour or something like that.

And this has nothing to do with the the workers at either Safeway or Walmart or anywhere else.

All it has to do with preserving a close to monopoly situation by Safeway in Northern California by Safeway using its union to keep out the competition.


Posted by Unions are bad, really really bad, a resident of Bridle Creek
on Feb 13, 2012 at 7:01 pm

I'm sick and tired of all this bluster from the left. If you don't like Walmart, do something about it. Go out and hold a sign, and go into stores and try to get the unions decertified, like all the gutsy anti-union people like Katleen and Stacey and Dan do. Otherwise, you're not doing anything ... except being a gutless wonder. Posting here doesn't do anything. This discussion board is for the rational ones, not the socialist sock puppets who just complain all the time.

Don't quite understand how the CEO of Safeway has any bearing on unions. Hey, so he makes 80 mill? How does that compare with each of the 5 Walton heirs making 80 BILLION? Oh, I see, it's because the fatcat union cashiers and produce workers are strong-arming him for money over and beyond the 6 bucks an hour they deserve!!!

We need to lower the wages of the workers in this town. Especially the ones that drive in from Oakland. Walmart will help do that. No mawdy-caudling union scale bagboys. Minimum wage. 24 hour weeks. No benefits. That's what they deserve, and they must like it because they choose to work there. Starvation is no excuse when you can make minimum wage and collect food stamps from the sucker liberal taxpayers who support statism. No more meaningless studies! Just action. Guts. And stay out of Bridle Creek! Indeed, sir!


Posted by Dan, a resident of Bridle Creek
on Feb 13, 2012 at 7:04 pm

Heh, Faux indeed...

Dan


Posted by Steve, a resident of Parkside
on Feb 13, 2012 at 7:59 pm

Willy, exactly which apartment complex in Valley Trails are you living in? What, there are no apts in Valley Trails? Are you just shacking up with mittens? What a sad, sad story....you're not buying any controlled substances with your food stamps are you? Just say no, willy


Posted by Unions are bad, really really bad, a resident of Bridle Creek
on Feb 13, 2012 at 8:14 pm

It doesn't surprise me at all that Walmart workers are trying to buy controlled substances with their food stamps. It's because of the unions. If unions workers got paid what they deserved -- minimum wage or less and no benefits -- the Walmart workers wouldn't feel so stressed out. The only way we can improve the Walmart workers' lot in life is to bust the unions and cut those uppitty union check-out girls down to size.


Posted by Jake, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 13, 2012 at 8:47 pm

Did you notice how the union representatives keep calling the union workers 'girls' and 'boys' instead of 'women' and 'men'? You'd think that with all the billions of dollars Big Labor has based upon the union dues of what they call 'girls' and 'boys', they'd at least be respectful enough to refer to the workers they represent as women and men (UFCW represent food, food processing and cannabis workers) instead of girls and boys.

Big Labor wants a Big Proportion of the Walmart $80 Billion in Big Labor's Already Very Big Bank Account.


Posted by Jake, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 13, 2012 at 9:38 pm

To Steve, resident of Parkside - you commented that Willy claimed to be living in a one bedroom apartment in Valley Trails when there are no actual apartments in the Valley Trails neighborhood

"Willy" isn't from Pleasanton, doesn't work in Pleasanton and may not even be in California right now.


Posted by Arroyo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 14, 2012 at 6:09 am

I think Matt needs a wake-up call...!! Let's help him retire from public office.


Posted by Jake, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 14, 2012 at 9:56 am

The Department of Labor has posted the financial reports for UFCW on their website (they are called LM-2 financial forms). You'll see the union is spending money on multiple "Walmart campaigns" to keep Walmarts out of communities. They used consultants to manipulate public perceptions as well as public officials.

From Web Link

"There is nothing that is more of a turn off to me than interests trying to manipulate the wheels of government, at any level, to secure an unfair advantage against their competitors, which is exactly what they apparently do...

According to this remarkable and troubling article in the Wall Street Journal, Pleasanton-based Safeway, "retained Saint to thwart Walmart Supercenters in more than 30 towns in California, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii in recent years, according to a Saint project list and interviews with former employees."

But wait, it gets better - apparently it wasn't just Safeway's management who engaged in this sort of activity, the article says that, "Former Saint employees say much of the work consisted of training Safeway's unionized workers to fight land-use battles, including how to speak at public hearings" - and the article says that often times Saint is actually paid, in part, by unions themselves.

So when you next read an article about local community "outrage" about a Walmart coming to town - or perhaps you get to experience it in the first person if Walmart's trying to come to your town - you'll need to understand that there is a very likely possibility that Walmart's competitors have hired Saint Consulting to make a big stink. How do they do this? Saint's company has engaged in over 500 different campaigns to stop development of one sort or another through recruiting local opposition (want to make some money by being outraged?), bringing in professional out-of-town organizers and providing financial resources for Lord-knows-what (petition printing and gathering, buses, signs, websites, mailings, newspaper ads - the list is as endless as there are ways to use money). Oh yes, they also bring in land-use professionals, attorneys, and other "hired guns" to do their work. But don't look for the proverbial men in black suits, or a lot of Saint Company business cards, as Saint tells the Wall Street Journal that, "most of their work is clandestine," - seriously."


Posted by registered user, Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 14, 2012 at 10:08 am

Interesting article. I thought this was important to highlight: "If you are [a] local official that makes land use decisions - a Supervisor, Councilmember, or a planning commissioner - or perhaps a local judge who hears cases about land-use disputes, just be aware that you may actually be an actor in a dramatic production, largely choreographed for your benefit, by competitors who simply don't want to compete."


Posted by Jake, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 14, 2012 at 10:37 am

Saint Consulting even posted a project manager position for the San Francisco Bay Area in June 2011. Here it is.

06/14/2011
Saint Consulting Seeks Project Manager in San Francisco Area
By Anna Dane, The Saint Consulting Group

If you have political campaign experience and understand what drives decision making in government and communities, Saint Consulting Group is looking for a project manager in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Saint Consulting Project Managers are primarily responsible for using grassroots political campaign techniques to win local development fights for Fortune 500 companies. Project Managers are professional consultants whose most important duties require them to use their creativity, discretion, independent judgment, political acumen and specialized knowledge to carry out major assignments for the clients of The Saint Consulting Group.

Primary campaign duties include:

Research, writing, and developing campaign plans
Coalition building
Voter identification and targeting
Door-to-door canvassing
Creating and organizing phone banks
Petition gathering and collection of support letters
Organizing public demonstrations of support for our clients' position
Grassroots organizing, advocacy and coalition building
Getting out the vote and ensuring supportive attendance at public meetings
Crisis management
Qualifications:

Ideal candidates have run a minimum of five-seven years of multiple political campaigns holding the position of campaign manager, field director, or other related political position.
Must have extensive writing experience.
CEQA training and other corporate experience a plus.
Degree in political science is preferred although exceptional candidates with backgrounds in law, planning, real estate development, journalism, and other relevant fields will be considered.
Extensive Travel Required
Please visit our website, www.tscg.biz for further information about our firm. If you feel you meet the above requirements, please send a resume to careers@tscg.biz.


Posted by Unions are bad, really really bad, a resident of Bridle Creek
on Feb 14, 2012 at 10:42 am

I am absolutely horror stricken. Imagine unions organizing to undermine the success of a wage slave operation like Walmart! Look Matt Sullivan. We all read your opinion piece. It was so bad that we chose not to address any of the points you raise.

Your piece was just bad, really really bad. It's one grocery store replacing another. Walmart is going to sue us. Unions are communists. I'd rather shop at Walmart. Why don't you retire? Your opinions are absurd, indeed, really really absurd. You're not relevant to anything or anyone. You don't have the guts to respond to my arguments here. Your piece was awful. You're probably on the union thug payroll. How much are the paying you? What a gutless wonder you are. I've just buried your claims and you're too stupid and gutless to even know it. Are you even from here? Or are you a fo-paws sock puppet brought in from the trillion-dollar fraudulent UCFW in DC? Just part of the drama is what you are.


Posted by Jake, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 14, 2012 at 10:52 am

More on the subterfuge tactics used by Saint Consulting to rile up local groups and co-opt whoever they can, this from an excerpt from Forbles magazine, using pseudonyms rather than their real names. Patrick Fox is the president of Saint Consulting quoted in the article. In the midwest, one lawsuit filed indicated a person by the name Leigh Mayo, an employee of Saint Consulting, was actually working under a fake name of Greg Olson.

Web Link

"Half its clients need help essentially to squelch a competitor's project--a supermarket chain, say, wants to keep a big box out of town. For obvious reasons clients insist on anonymity. So Saint goes "undercover," riling up neighbors, turning them against a group or company, quietly offering legal advice, as well as tips on how to organize and turn up political pressure. Fox says some neighbors are suspicious that he's an enemy plant, though he tells them, "I'm here to help you. I do this across the country." Funds to pay, say, a traffic expert are sometimes handled through attorneys so they can't be traced back to Saint or its client. Fox encourages neighbors to hold fundraisers, which further disguises Saint's fingerprints; often its agents use fake names."


Posted by Unions are bad, really really bad, a resident of Bridle Creek
on Feb 14, 2012 at 11:13 am

Saint. Hmmmmmm, mix up the letters and it spells SATIN. Employed by the genius union produce girls at Safeway? Employed by the bought off CEO of Safeway? Employed by Walmart? Who is employing them in this town? Is Matt Sullivan actually Matt Sullivan, or is he wearing a mask that contributes to the drama? Saint, or Satin, --- however you spell your name --- we're too smart for you in Pleasanton and you've really got our intellectual danders up now. Next you gutless wonders are going to try to set up a wind farm in my neighborhood. Absurd. Indeed.


Posted by Jake, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 14, 2012 at 11:20 am

After the unflattering front page article was published in the Wall Street Journal regarding corporations and unions hiring Saint Consulting to fight their land use battles on the sly, Saint Consulting then filed a lawsuit against one of the women in their firm, Crystal Litz, who denied under oath ever speaking to the WSJ reporter, for violating their "Employee Restrictive Covenant Agreement."

Here is the lawsuit

Web Link


Posted by Jake, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 14, 2012 at 11:39 am

And from the Saint Consulting website:

"We protect clients from unwanted competition.

We invented this specialty service. No company is as versed in land-use politics as The Saint Consulting Group."


Posted by Unions are bad, really really bad, a resident of Bridle Creek
on Feb 14, 2012 at 11:55 am

Let's just be thankful that there are hundreds of high-priced 'consulting firms' out there that help companies bust up unions or prevent them from being organized. These are all competitive consulting firms, however, whose fees get rolled up into Walmart's grocery prices. If it keeps Walmart workers in taxpayer financed food stamps, it's worth it to me!

Now, this outfit of Satin Consulting geniuses sounds like they're doing something illegal or even unethical. Scary stuff! Sounds Orwellian.


Posted by Jake, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 14, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Hmmmm maybe the Pleasanton Weekly could go visit the two offices Saint Consulting Group has set up and do an in-depth report it its next issue on who this Massachusetts based consulting firm is working for so that they have set up not one, but two offices in the area.

The Saint Consulting Group

39899 Balentine Dr, Suite 200, Newark, CA 94560

12647 Alcosta Blvd, San Ramon, CA 94583

(510) 770-1511 ‎


Posted by registered user, Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 14, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Unions,

I'm certainly not a fan of Mr. Sullivan's politics, but all your name-calling is uncalled for. Mr. Sullivan is no "gutless wonder" and he's written a civil opinion. Your name-calling bespeaks to your ideas lacking any merit. Was the zoning administrator wrong to approve a grocery store in a location previously approved for a grocery store and on what basis was the decision wrong?


Posted by Jake, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 14, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Or possible three offices. Wow! They must be BUSY!!!

St Consulting Group
510) 770-1511
2410 Camino Ramon, #267, San Ramon, CA 94583


Posted by Dan, a resident of Bridle Creek
on Feb 14, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Well well well...Safeway and the unions potentially colluding to keep out the competition.

Very interesting info and thanks to Jake for posting.

Dan


Posted by Dan, a resident of Bridle Creek
on Feb 14, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Stacey,

Union is, and has been, completely sarcastic in all his/her comments.

Stop feeding Union/Phil/Sarah/Dr. Gator.

Sincerely...


Posted by registered user, Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 14, 2012 at 12:23 pm

Dan,

It's not sarcasm, but disinformation.


Posted by Unions are bad, really really bad, a resident of Bridle Creek
on Feb 14, 2012 at 12:29 pm

You're right, Stacey. Since we're on the same side we shouldn't be fighting with one another. Our side doesn't call names, it's only the gutless wonders on the loony left who do that. But, yes, I got carried away. I guess I just got all pumped up after reading the extensive research done on Saint -- aka Satin -- consulting. And I figured Matt might be one of their plants. Honestly, I've never heard of two grocery stores competing with one another. And the thought of there being consulting firms out there to give one store a competitive edge over another? My word! I mean, I've heard about all the high-priced firms that help bust up unions, but that's ethical for cripe sakes.

Now, as for Matt's union-financed hit piece against Walmartian freedom, I'm just thankful that Pleasanton has so many smart people to have shot down his lies -- every single one of them.


Posted by Dan, a resident of Bridle Creek
on Feb 14, 2012 at 12:38 pm

I'd call it information if there was any, you know, information he/she was disseminating. But there isn't and he/she is being totally sarcastic.

I'm surprised you don't see it.

Sincerely,

Dan


Posted by Jake, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 14, 2012 at 12:42 pm

All union members would be extremely peeved to find out their union dues are being spent on a bunch of $300 per hour high priced consultants. In fact, one of the lawsuits with Saint Consulting said their operatives make well over $200,000 per year.

OurPleasanton.org was set up 13 months ago on January 15, 2011.

Domain ID:D161211989-LROR
Domain Name:OURPLEASANTON.ORG
Created On:15-Jan-2011 19:32:57 UTC

The Saint Consulting Group

39899 Balentine Dr, Suite 200, Newark, CA 94560

12647 Alcosta Blvd, San Ramon, CA 94583

2410 Camino Ramon, #267, San Ramon, CA 94583

Is that about when you set up the ourpleasanton@yahoo.com email account? And how about the citizenspeak.org cut and paste email you put together calling for a pedestrian bridge to be built over Santa Rita Road and for an Environmental Impact Report to be done?

In striving to meet its key objective of "We protect clients from unwanted competition," Saint Consulting should really divulge to the public who it works for and how much the operatives of this organization make from the unions and the organizations like Safeway.

Each union member should know how much their dues are being handed over to these consulting firms.


Posted by hoops, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 14, 2012 at 1:05 pm

ALL UNSKILLED retail jobs like Walmart that are not unionized like Safeway pay low wages.They are unskilled jobs that require no education so what do you expect.We can raise the minimum wage to 25 dollars an hour and that would still require 2 incomes to buy a home or raise a family and rent in Pleasanton.So it is simple... we triple the minimum wage and pay more for our products or we do what we do now.You want to pay 5 bucks for a cheeseburger at MCD pay the workers 25 an hour.Then of coure the people with more professional jobs who are making 25 or 30 bucks an hour now will be insulted and want a huge raise because they deserve more than an unskilled worker.You work hard ,sacrifice and do the best you can.Someone is going to be at the bottom.That is life.


Posted by Denise, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 14, 2012 at 1:46 pm

Dan,

OMG, thank you so very much for exposing the fraudulent "Unions are bad, really really bad." Stacey's comments usually go over my head, and so I was believing everything "Unions are bad, really really bad" was saying. I never realized it was sarcasm behind her remarks. I love your comments and hope you continue on with your intelligence and whit. I can understand you and have so much difficulty understanding the others.

Stacey, I love you my dear, but I think you should take a page out of Dan's book. There is too much at stake here. Saint is paying people $200,000.00 a year to pass out leaflets on our driveways. We can't afford to pay unskilled workers anything above poverty wages. That's life. Food stamps for Walmart workers is just part of life. I don't like paying for the food stamps, but I sure don't want to take billions away from the Walton family. They worked hard to inherit their money. It's part of the American dream. Those deadbeat Walmart workers should have done something to inherit their own fortune.


Posted by Jake, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 14, 2012 at 2:25 pm

Unlike unionized grocery store workers, non-union food and grocery retailers, like Walmart, Target, Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe's and others don't take out chunks of compulsory union dues from paychecks of its workers.

With all of this union negotiation back and forth on what jobs workers can and cannot do and tying company's hands on reducing hours like Web Link and Web Link , no wonder the prices are so high at Safeway.


Posted by hoops, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 14, 2012 at 2:40 pm

Denise ...so how much should a unskilled worker at Walmart be paid???Give us a number.Thank you....And because you are a low wage worker does not mean you are a deadbeat or anything else but someone who is working a low paying job because that is the best job you can get at that point in your life.


Posted by Denise, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 14, 2012 at 2:41 pm

[Post removed due to excessive and/or repetitive post by same poster]


Posted by Denise, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 14, 2012 at 2:49 pm

[Post removed due to excessive and/or repetitive post by same poster]


Posted by Jake, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 14, 2012 at 3:00 pm

No wonder Safeway prices are so high and pay rates are so low to cover all of those lawsuits and consulting fees and union dues.

When Safeway employees file grievances and lawsuits because they claim the Safeway Smile Policy is 'harassment' Web Link

and has union contracts with language like this

"Article 1.4 (Meat): Change second paragraph to read, "Whenever fresh meat is offered for sale, at least one (I) Journeyman Meatcutter must be employed Sunday through Saturday in each market for at least eight (8) hours, exclusive of lunchtime each day, between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.""

no wonder the cost of food is so high for the average consumer.


Posted by Denise, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 14, 2012 at 3:08 pm

[Post removed due to excessive and/or repetitive post by same poster]


Posted by hoops, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 14, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Denise...where did your cousin work because I found a thumb in my roast beef sandwich a couple years ago.


Posted by Jake, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 14, 2012 at 3:42 pm

With Meat Cutters making $26.76 per hour, no wonder Safeway prices are so high.


Posted by registered user, Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 14, 2012 at 4:02 pm

Denise,

I see. New tactic because the first one wasn't working out too well for you.

It's a grocery store replacing a grocery store.


Posted by registered user, Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 14, 2012 at 4:10 pm

Dan,

That's why it's called disinformation. It's a tactic to create noise in the conversation on purpose; to lead the conversation away from the salient points of the topic.


Posted by Jake, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 14, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Unions are a business with inefficient, rigid working contracts based only on seniority rather than an individual's skill. Unions don't produce products or services or sell them They stay in business based on workers having to pay them their hard earned money. In the 1950s 33% of the workers were unionized, but since that time, many laws have been passed to make workers safe. Now only 8% of non- government workers are unionized.

Target and Walmart taking business away from unionized grocery stores, with rigid grocery store contracts, threatens unions because this means unions may soon cease to exist.


Posted by Jake , a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 15, 2012 at 4:56 pm

Is it "Live" or "Memorex"? How many Saint Consulting operatives can you find in the East Bay organizing and training opposition to Walmart neighborhood markets?

From the Saint Consulting website:

"We protect clients from unwanted competition.

And their YouTube videos....

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link


Posted by The Definition of Insanity is ...., a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 15, 2012 at 5:03 pm

saying the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

It's a grocery store replacing a CLOSED grocery store because there isn't enough business to support all the stores! Sullivan's Op Ed points that out.

After Walmart opens, and Gene's or Lucky's is the next to close, it's not too far fetched that Walmart will then use the same tactic to move into those closed stores and further cement their control of the market. It's their business model!


Posted by Jake, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 15, 2012 at 5:06 pm

From Wikipedia Web Link

"According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, Saint Consulting has conducted about 1,500 campaigns in 44 states. Approximately 500 of those campaigns have been to block a development; many opposition campaigns have been clandestine. Many of Saint's covert projects oppose new Walmart stores, by funding local opposition groups and paid for by Walmart's competitors or unions who oppose the non-union Walmart.[7] Funding typically comes from large rival supermarket chains.[7]"


Posted by Stop union lies !, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 15, 2012 at 11:12 pm

The hourly pay comparisons are like apples vs oranges....these union bosses forget to say pay it not what it appears....they forget to mention what the mob skims off the top. Those union dues are hefty, so workers don't make what it sounds like. They must pay in additon to surrendering their rights and freedom to make their own decisions...when they sell their souls.
Sort of like the old union mobs of the 30's, selling 'protection'.


Posted by Jake, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 15, 2012 at 11:37 pm

Actually it really the union workers being used as secret pawns for corporate America: Web Link

Excerpt -

"Or if you want to stop a project from happening, they can help you with that too.

And that's where it gets interesting, because Saint has learned to apply the Harvard approach (see here for more) to development opposition battles. They call their tactics "black arts." The most important thing to remember? If you want to get a project stopped, convince everybody that you're on the side of soccer moms and Joe Sixpacks. Do not let them know that you're being bankrolled by the developer's corporate competition.

The WSJ published a fascinating profile of the company this week, and it explains just how Saint has been clandestinely fighting Wal-Mart projects on behalf of supermarkets everywhere. Basically, after the grocery store chain hires them, the Saint folks move into town, adopt fake names, start fake NIMBY groups, and then try to delay, and ultimately kill, the Wal-Mart. They'll use phone banks to make it look like lots of people are calling the mayor and city council to complain. They'll make up stories about how evil Wal-Mart is to convince neighborhood residents to join the opposition. And then of course come the lawyers and the high stakes development litigation. The funding comes from the supermarkets, but Saint employees don't tell anybody that. They just say they have connections.

There's something distasteful about all of this, with large grocery chains like Safeway and Giant paying Saint to create astroturf grassroots campaigns to trash Wal-Mart."


Posted by Florence Tarkington, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 16, 2012 at 3:01 pm

I haven't read the guest opinion essay, but I don't have to. If the lamestream media is crucifying Walmart, then let's do our part to bring more Walmarts to Pleasanton. I was talking to a meat cutter at Safeway the other day. He makes 23 dollars an hour, but the union bosses take 17 dollars right of the top, so the Safeway worker is actually making less than the Walmart worker, and the Safeway worker doesn't get to receive food stamps from the statist govt that lords over us and protects the unions. We're doomed without Walmart! The big union fatcat pay unskilled workers 200 grand a year to distribute flyers that besmirch the good name of Walmart (but the fatcats take 195 grand right off the top). I agree with Unions, that The unions are bad, really really bad. Distasteful really.


Posted by Jake, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 16, 2012 at 3:40 pm

I've talked to those around Tawny Park and the residents of Vintage Hills would welcome another Walmart Neighborhood Market to be located in Pleasanton in addition to the empty Nob Hill location. They would love a grocery store to lease the space on Bernal and Tawny vacated years ago by a neighborhood supermarket.

The trend is smaller neighborhood grocery stores so that they are walkable from surrounding neighborhoods. People are tired of going to huge grocery stores next to a freeway and having to walk the equivalent of 2 football fields back and forth to pick up groceries. It is too bad that in order to pay the high union wages, Safeways have abandoned middle of the community store locations and have chosen to locate at freeway exits in order to capture freeway traffic.


Posted by Florence Tarkington, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 16, 2012 at 3:48 pm

This idea of companies employing Saint consultants to help block land use deals smells of politics. I don't like it. It's distasteful. Doing demographic research on the community, leafletting neighborhoods. If a company comes in anonymously and wants to buy up land to do whatever they might mysteriously want to use it for, that's their business. But to attempt to oppose them? Pretty nefarious if you ask me! I love Walmart groceries, and the wages they pay their employees keep some of them out of the soup kitchens.


Posted by Jake, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 16, 2012 at 3:56 pm

Walmart opening 'anonymously' is false spin from the unions and perhaps Saint Consulting. The plans were filed as P11-0764, K. Wooley of Harris French & Associates for Walmart Neighborhood Market
Application for a Zoning Certificate to operate a supermarket as a permitted use at 3112 Santa Rita Road within the hours of operation and delivery limits as set forth in the existing Conditions of Approval for PUD 84-4 (Ordinance 1215)and Walmart was listed on the plans.

You can't check out a library book anonymously. You can't rent anything anonymously. Much less buy anything. Try going up to someone and saying Hi, I'm Mr. Question Mark. I'd like to rent or buy your shopping center. And submit plans to government entities with absolutely no names on it! Haaaa!

Florence Tarkington. Any relation to Fran? Oops, it was Fran Tarkenton, not Tarkington.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 16, 2012 at 4:27 pm

Florence, of course you agree with Unions are bad--you are Unions are bad.


Posted by Florence Tarkington, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 16, 2012 at 9:03 pm

The point is that the city is allowing the unions to lead it around by the nose. This is discrimination. It is the most severe kind of discrimination imaginable. Discrimination against the largest corporation in the USA. Its just a grocery replacing another grocery. No grocery is better or worse than another because they are all the same, except the ones that employ the stinking unions.

Why should the community care if Walmart pays poverty level wages? Let the market decide. Besides, they're all the same any way. And I only care about my groceries. Because I only care about myself. What's wrong with that? If you disagree it's because you belong to a union. They stink. The unions do, they really do and I'm not kidding, at all.

We're all smart enough to know that anyone who is against Walmart furthering its benevolent tentacles must be union influenced. Unions are bad. They are collectivists, and that's not good. They brainwash workers into thinking they're worth more than poverty wages. They take away workers individuality by making them dependent on the union. Any workers at Walmart should be able to talk person to person with any of the Walton family. But they can't because the unions won't let them. The union is depriving 1.4 million Walmartian workers the right to have a personal sit-down with the Waltons. This is a travesty.

I've seen people use different names on different threads here. It's deplorable. They must be sent by the union brainwashers.


Posted by Jake, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 16, 2012 at 9:21 pm

Florence, why don't you go unionize all workers in the retailers and restaurants up and down Main Street (are they making poverty wages too), all the shopping centers, and Stoneridge Mall. But why stop there? Why don't you unionize all of the sports league coaches. And how about everyone who works in Hacienda Business Park. Virtually everyone in Pleasanton should work for some business and pay dues to some benevolent, dues collecting entity with Local in the name or Association or Guild in its title. We should all have a union. We should also unionize all the children too (United Children of Pleasanton Local 5). After all, we need to ensure every child has a living wage allowance. And don't get overloaded with household chores.

Go for it!


Posted by Florence Tarkington, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 16, 2012 at 10:02 pm

Oh, Jake is such a kidder. With 1 in 4 kids in US going to bed hungry, let's talk about unionizing them! Ha-ha-ha. That is really really funny! Get it?

And let's unionize people working for minimum wage everywhere. With millions of workers making $12,000.00 a year, ha-ha, they might want to unionize! I'm busting a gut here!

Poverty wages are good. Everybody likes them, especially the kids of Walmart workers, because their parents get to supplement their poverty wages with govt assisted food stamps. So, get this: let's unionize them! Get it? Ha-ha-ha.

Seriously, now, Jake, what you should be stating is that the people brainwashed by unions ought to get a sense of proportion from living in this unjust world where the unions take and the poor discriminated against corporations have to give. Because unions are bad, really bad, and that's no joking matter.


Posted by Jake, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 16, 2012 at 10:32 pm

Like a virus, labor unions have been slowly sapping the lifeblood of the very industries and companies that employ their members, such as Safeway. Unionized firms are less able to compete in both the domestic or global marketplace. Unions extract higher above-market pay and benefits from employers, but more rigid union work rules reduce efficiency and hamper the ability to adapt to changing market conditions, which means prices are much higher for the average consumer. As a result, unions cripple the ability of the companies to compete in an open and dynamic economy. At the same time, the food products are not affordable in these union grocery stores, causing more of the general population that shops there having to go on food stamps.

The inevitable outcome is that unionized firms inevitably yield market share to their non-unionized rivals, whether foreign or domestic. This explains why almost all the job losses in manufacturing in the last 40 years were among unionized workers.


Posted by Florence Tarkington, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 16, 2012 at 10:50 pm

Again, Safeway food prices are lower than Walmart's because of union trickery. And if shopping at Walmart means higher food prices, that's okay, because unions are bad.

Companies like Walmart should be able to hire children to work as meat cutters, because that would beat having some union dud standing around watching people buy the meat he has cut.

Walmart should not be forced to give vacation time -- well, actually, they don't give vacation time to the majority of their workers. This is good, because then you and I won't have to go on food stamps.

Walmart should be able to hire and fire and discriminate with complete impunity -- well, actually, they do, and that's a good thing. Because then you and I won't have to go on food stamps.

Workers' rights? A fair working wage? Collective bargaining? Child labor laws? All antiquated notions brought to you by unions, which are really bad and want to put you on food stamps just like most of the Walmart workers are on food stamps.

The govt is taking away our rights. Tomorrow evening I'll write about how restaurants shouldn't have to serve black people if they don't want to. That's statism, crony socialism with the state working in cahoots with the unions, which are very bad, really really bad.


Posted by Jake, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 16, 2012 at 11:10 pm

Competition in the food product sector is good. Lower prices for food products for the consumer means fewer people will have to go on food stamps (SNAP) in the first place. High prices are food are driven by high labor costs.

Unlike the fiction you state above, in this epoch, Federal and State child labor laws and anti-discrimination laws and civil rights laws apply to all businesses whether they are unionized or not. In California, employees are presumed to be "at will." At-will employees may be terminated for any reason, so long as it's not illegal. Generally, employees that work under an employment contract can only be terminated for reasons specified in the contract.


Posted by Florence Tarkington, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 17, 2012 at 9:04 am

Walmart workers wouldn't be eligible for food stamps if they didn't shop at Safeway. SNAP

We have Walmart to thank for the Fed and State child labor laws and anti-discrimination laws and civil rights laws. The stinking unions had nothing to do with it. Neither did the state. Unions are the result of individuals organizing themselves, and that's bad. It's collectivism, and that's bad. Unions are bad, really bad.


Posted by Jake, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 17, 2012 at 9:27 am

If the price of food in this country were lower, people would not need food stamps to shop for food. Food prices are high because labor rates are over-inflated.

People should be able to advance in the workplace based upon their skills and individual talents, not merely seniority. Management should have the flexibility to actually run their companies and staff them based on demand, not shackled by handcuffs based on inflexible rules about who and what job descriptions need to work when and how that are buried in 200 page union contracts.


Posted by So , a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 17, 2012 at 2:20 pm

So its not okay to have a Walmart in the Nob Hill shopping center but we are going to approve a Dollar Store to go in next to Gold Chopsticks?
I don't mind either but I would rather have Walmart than a Dallor store.
Oh well.


Posted by Florence Tarkington, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 17, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Exactly. If Walmart workers did all their shopping at Walmart, they wouldn't need the food stamps they do to supplement their meager wages. Any idiot should be able to figure that one out. In fact, if Walmart workers did all their shopping at Walmart, they'd be living on Ruby Hill in a matter of a year or two. Thank the unions and the high-priced consultants for confusing the Walmart workers about where to shop. We need to eliminate the unions in this country so that Walmart workers won't get confused about where to purchase their groceries. It's basic Econ for Dummies.


Posted by Jake , a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 17, 2012 at 5:46 pm

This is a zoning issue where the grocery store has been a permitted use for that land and any grocery store that abides by the original site conditions can move in. That is the way it is.

If you insist everyone who works at movie theaters and restaurants and retail stores and Whole Foods and Trader Joes and Walmart and Target and Fresh and Easy and coffee shops and pet stores are all on food stamps, feel free to go out and try to unionize all these people. Why spend time posting on message boards when you can go out and unionize the entire world in solidarity? Good luck!


Posted by Florence Tarkington, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 17, 2012 at 6:01 pm

A better idea is just to bust up all the remaining unions in this country. They've contributed nothing to our standard of living. They are unconscionably guilty of setting artificial wage standards, based on collective action which should not be permitted in this country because collectivism is bad, really really bad. And when the state protects them, it is statism and then other workers like at Walmart start thinking they should get wages that might get them off food stamps. That's statism, and statism is bad, really really bad. It's all poppycock. All workers should accept poverty-level wages, just like Walmart workers do. If those Walmartian workers simply stopped shopping at union stores, they wouldn't need food stamps. We should attempt to be more like China, where unions aren't permitted because its collectivism, which is bad, really really bad. China wants to only be like us -- individualists. Instead of moaning and groaning on sites like this one, people should be sending their money to Republicans who promise to bust up unions. Power to the Republican people! And let's have more value for our consumer purchases. We no longer need worry about workers' rights in this country. The Supreme Court has said so. But you just watch all the stinking union supporters come out of the woodwork to disagree with me and call me names. It's a conspiracy, against a grocery store that doesn't have the resources to protect itself from such defamations of its good character. Walmart is really really good. What's good for Walmart is good for America!


Posted by Jake, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 17, 2012 at 8:49 pm

Due to the internet and online buying, the number of people having to be employed as retail workers in on the decline.

Retail wages from the luxury purveyors of Fifth Avenue to discount outlets in the small towns of America have always been low.

The exception is the area of retail commissions in some sales jobs that offer high dollar value items for sale.

However, competitors and their unions using 'bad mouth the retailer' strategies and scare tactics to prevent stores from being able to open up in the first place so that the public is not able to access their products just makes the competitors and their unions look pretty pathetic.


Posted by Florence Tarkington, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 17, 2012 at 10:13 pm

I am so happy someone is courageous enough to stand up against the gutless Democrat party liberals and the communist unions that support them. If only we had more brave intellects, then Walmart wouldn't be so discriminated against and prevented from being the biggest corporation in America. We all get hurt by Walmart not having a store every few blocks or so in every city in the USofA, especially the Waltons, and they're more important than any of us little people. I still can't quite figure how Safeway food prices are able to undercut Walmart's. Probably because of all that union discrimination.


Posted by Jake, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 17, 2012 at 11:27 pm

Most Democrats don't support unions. Most Republicans don't support unions. By the way, Flo, the most profitable corporation in the US is Exxon/Mobil, not Walmart.

Safeway food prices are after all higher than Walmart's food prices. Most of food processing is highly automated at the source, but because all of that union labor at Safeway, this makes the Safeway food prices much higher. Where else can a loaf of bread cost $5.49?

Safeway sells gas now. Maybe you should unionize all the Exxon/Mobil oil workers and gas station workers so you can raise the price of fuel three times the price of whatever it currently is.


Posted by Florence Tarkington, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 18, 2012 at 11:13 am

I spoke to a number of Walmartian workers last night. They were huddled together in the parking lot smoking and passing back and forth a bottle of something or other. I asked them about morale. They said that minimum wage plus taxpayer assisted food stamps was great for morale and it translated into really really good work production at Walmart. That's why you can buy a sixpack of Budweiser at Walmart for 7.99. The union workers at Safeway have bad morale -- the kind that comes from being able to support a family with a living wage and some job security. Safeway has to spend all kinds of money on extra management to keep the bad morale Safeway workers in line. I trust Walmart food products more than Safeway's because Walmart workers never sabotage their food. Only union workers do because unions are really bad.

Support the Walton family. Write your legislator to get more food stamps for Walmart workers.


Posted by Jake, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 18, 2012 at 1:21 pm

Oh yes, the Food Stamp President, President Obama -

Web Link does say entitlements have soared through the roof under President Obama so that he is indeed the 'food stamp president.'

"Food stamps. This year, more than 46 million (15% of all Americans) will get food stamps. That's 45% higher than when Obama took office, and twice as high as the average for the previous 40 years."

Are you saying that all of those 46 million food stamp recipients are people in the U.S. who work for Walmart?

Wow, I did not realize that Walmart had 46 million employees! That is huge!

Walmart employs 1 - 2 million people. So that means 44-45 million people currently on food stamps are NOT Walmart employees.







Posted by Jake, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 18, 2012 at 5:24 pm

Three weeks ago, Michelle Obama teamed up with Walmart in a healthy foods campaign to LOWER prices of fruits and vegetables to benefit consumers, help children eat healthier and provide more nutritious and affordable choices for consumers.

Web Link

Web Link


Posted by it is all the unions, a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Feb 18, 2012 at 5:53 pm

Today I come home from work and yes I work sometimes on Saturday and as i turn the corner from Stoneridge to Newton there is a big sign in the middle of one of those traffic calming islands. For the past week or so the guy and his wife who live in the house on the right had 3 signs in their front yard and now they have extended onto public property. Very gaudy and low class I might add especially when you see that nothing is growing in the yard except for weeds. Another left wing loon gone wild.


Posted by Jake, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 18, 2012 at 8:39 pm

You are correct. The owner of the house you refer to with 3 No Walmart signs is a shop steward from the UFCW Local 5 union and moved in there several weeks after Walmart announced its intention to move into the vacant Nob Hill location.

They are quoted in this publication "A-New-Era--A-New-Union-UFCW-Local-5" here Web Link in this quote:

"The merger will allow us to focus resources that we could not have taken on as separate locals. As far as politics is concerned, I know Wal-mart knows they're a lot less welcome in Northern California now. With the creation of Local 5 we will be able to take the fight to non-union operators on the street and through politics like never before."


Posted by Florence Tarkington, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 18, 2012 at 9:52 pm

According to factcheck.org:

"We asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition service for month-by-month figures going back to January 2001. And they show that under President George W. Bush the number of recipients rose by nearly 14.7 million. Nothing before comes close to that.

"And under Obama, the increase so far has been 14.2 million. To be exact, the program has so far grown by 444,574 fewer recipients during Obama's time in office than during Bush's.

"It's possible that when the figures for January 2012 are available they will show that the gain under Obama has matched or exceeded the gain under Bush. But not if the short-term trend continues. The number getting food stamps declined by 43,528 in October. And the economy has improved since then.

"Update, Feb. 5: Revised USDA data released in February showed the downward trend continued for a second straight month in November, when the number of persons getting food stamps was 134,418 fewer than it had been at the peak."

You see, Jake is not really the liar he seems to be. As factcheck.org states, Obama is indeed the "food stamp president"; only he comes in second to George W. Bush.

Walmart should be proud of its workers. Because like the millions of chronically unemployed and underemployed in this great country, Walmart's employees are also eligible for food stamps. You know, I bet the Safeway union skunk workers are green with envy. What THEY wouldn't give to receive food stamps themselves. But alas, they make too much money. What a travesty.

There's a guy who has three NO Walmart signs on his front lawn. That is really scandelous. I'm sure Jake will tell us more about him in the coming days and weeks -- for our own benefit. We're all probably paying higher grocery prices everywhere in Pleasanton because of those commie signs.

Please petition your local pols to allow another Walmart into the city. We need more food stamp receiving workers, and we in Pleasanton just love the idea of having to further supplement the Walton family's 90 Billion, too. The Waltons continue to make their billions, Walmart workers get to collect food stamps (the lucky dogs!), and we get to pay for those food stamps. Everybody wins! Walmart = freedom!