I, as I'm sure many others are, am at a loss as to what to make of the entire situation in our town. The hot-button issue is Walmart Neighborhood Market, and the proposed opening of their new store. Walmart - a giant, company, that does not pay the lower employees enough. We are all aware of this. Truth is, most companies don't. That's how we are separated. The upper-crust receives large paychecks and benefits, while the lower workers have to answer to why they were 21 seconds late clocking in from lunch and trying to negotiate a $0.50 raise. It's the way our world works, sadly.
Seeing the activity in regards to Walmart is good. People are talking. There could be any market go in there. The building is going to look better than it has in years. I see the facts presented about job-loss, and I see that could happen. Or possibly not? The surrounding stores all have their loyal followings, and I would assume they will retain them. Maybe I'm wrong. Pontlician Meat Market has their audience, as well as specialties, and I doubt that Walmart is going to cater to the Hispanic market. The national markets tend not to carry "offals" and items that are specific culturally. When was the last time anyone found tripe, brain, or an entire cows head at Vons or Ralph's? Daikon radish or onion blossom at Vons? Highly unlikely.
If the center of town is Lake Street, the great divide, how can more be done there? Parking is the problem. There is a church that has a whole open lot, that is chained off most of the time. El Patron has no parking, as well as the Rancho. The Websters land, there's parking, but for most of the spaces, there are signs posted for businesses. Erik has a lot at his property and its for his shops.
With land ownership, every owner is entitled to their space and they have the right to post a no-parking sign. The problem with our local foot-traffic is that there is no parking, and everyone has a "no parking or we will tow sign."
I'm not sure what level of jobs will be created or lost. I see the objections, however most businesses are family legacy, and family-run. I love El Patron, and I think some of their success is that they are family. I believe that two employees are family-friends. Ezz Stop, is run by 3 brothers. There aren't jobs there. Everest Burger, same. Topps family, there was a rift, but they changed names, and still have the same food. Fox's, Park Bench, Amy's all close in the afternoon. But look at Fox's. Ken has to deal with the check-cashing that won't allow parking. Coffee Gallery, I don't know why the residents haven't rallied a battle-cry yet. It is rather annoying to have park two blocks away just to get into there.
So Walmart may be some competition for Ralph's and Super King, as well as Baja. But I think the family run businesses will still have their following. Saving Altadena means shaking up the property owners that leave vacant land and buildings sitting, un-maintained and un-used. Stop renting to churches and non profits because its a tax-break. Saving Altadena means becoming a city and getting the county out of the control.
In the past few years we've lost business after business. Ronnies, Blockbuster, O'Reily, Karen's Hallmark, Ben's GATEOW, Jean's Shoe Repair, Erlanders, etc. Not that the county ever had any influence on some of these establishments, and or property owners.
Walmart shmalmart, theyre not the answer, but saving Altadena, is much larger than that.