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 IF IT'S BROKEN...FIX IT

Getting Serious about LA’s Sidewalk Repairs: A Five-Point ‘Let’s-Get-On-with-It’ Plan

Ken Alpern
FIXING LA-Last Tuesday night's City Council Board of Public Works and Budget Committees met and allowed a lot of good public input to a series of concerned and available Councilmembers and City officials. The attendance and input were both outstanding--I want to thank Councilmember Mike Bonin, in particular, for allowing the outreach and advice to…

Latino Politicians Putting Climate Change Ahead of Constituents

Joel Kotkin
POLITICS-Racial and economic inequality may be key issues facing America today, but the steps often pushed by progressives, including minority politicians, seem more likely to exacerbate these divisions than repair them. In a broad arc of policies affecting everything from housing to employment, the agenda being adopted serves to stunt upward…

Worlds Apart on Kathryn Steinle: When Political Opportunism Reigns Supreme

John Mirisch
MUSING WITH MIRISCH-The small Swedish Jewish Museum in Stockholm is tucked away on a side street. Discreet signage instructs would-be visitors to push a button which activates a camera, so they can be screened before they are granted entry. The museum's permanent exhibition fills one fairly small room. Most of the objects on display are Jewish…

Garcetti Passes, Wesson Fails

Jack Humphreville
LA WATCHDOG-Our Los Angeles Times has issued midterm letter grades for Controller Ron Galperin (B-) and City Attorney Mike Feuer (B+) and will be posting grades for City Council President Herb Wesson this Sunday and Mayor Eric Garcetti the following Sunday. Our City is facing many difficult issues, ranging from a lagging economy, relatively high…

What LA Really Needs: A Part-time City Council and a Part-time Mayor!

Dennis Zine
JUST THE FACTS-There are so many serious and pressing problems facing the City of Los Angeles and few if any real solutions are being proposed or implemented by our elected and appointed leaders at City Hall. I will start with the current city budget. Former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa had a $7.7 billion total budget in the 2013-2014 fiscal year.…

Why Don’t the City’s Women Managers Hire More Women?

Denyse Selesnick
MY TURN-Perusing the web is a little like the soap operas of yesteryear. You get suckered in! One link leads to another link and then one is exposed to a barrage both facts and idiocy. The reason for this discussion was my attending a July Valley Alliance of Neighborhood Councils (VANC) meeting with the Department of Water and Power. General…

Cleaning Up LA City Hall: ‘It’s What’s Legal That’s the Problem’

Bob Gelfand
GELFAND’S WORLD-Everyone understands that developers own our city government. Sure, there are some officials here and there who are upright and independent, but recent history shows that the developers typically get their way in spite of public opposition. Whether it is a zoning change for an office tower or the required permits for a new mall,…

Not So Fast LA! Let’s Consider the Real Costs of Hosting the Olympics before We Jump In

Greg Nelson
SPORTS POLITICS-On Monday, Boston withdrew from its offer to be the nation’s bidder for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games. In January, Los Angeles finished second to Boston when the U.S. Olympic Committee made its decision. After Boston was selected to polish up its bid before submitting it to the International Olympic Committee for a final decision,…

Party Crashing for Political Access: Schwarzenegger and My Pantsuit

Charlotte Laws
CALIFORNIA ACCESS POLITICS-Party crashing—or gate-crashing, as it is sometimes called—is an art form that I stumbled upon as a teen. I taught myself how to finagle into any event, anywhere, anytime. It required being part private eye, part actress and part chutzpah machine. I had to think outside of the box, throw myself into the role, and whip my…

 

Reynolds Rap Video: Joey has hope for the pope in Philly.





Art or Ad? LA’s mural law written in gray ink

Escape the Room-Conan goes for the record … and the laffs


LADWP Rates Overview

 

 

  

 

 

 

Grand Illusion: Walmart’s Birthday ‘Gift’ to Chinatown

OUT OF FRYING PAN - Happy Birthday, Walmart! You great big mega-marketing rascal–you turn 50 this week. You’ve come such a long way from Roger, Arkansas, the tiny town at the foot of the Ozarks where you took your first wobbly steps. Now you’re an international star! The planet’s biggest private-sector employer,  with 2.2 million “associates” throughout the world—we usually call ‘em employees, but whatever– 1.4 million in the United States. Creator of history’s most efficient global supply chain, you call the shots on production, wage and workplace standards around the world—the Walmart business model ruthlessly undercut those everywhere. Plus you have shriveled and destroyed small business communities in towns across the United States.

Star power, dudes.

Now you are here in Los Angeles celebrating the big Five Oh with a new acquisition.

It’s tasteful, not large and gaudy, like your typical 200,000 square foot megastore.  A valuable little gem.

You are establishing a small-scale grocery in Chinatown near downtown Los Angeles.

The news broke February 24, right here on Frying Pan News – City Hall sources confirmed that Walmart has gotten some of the necessary permits to establish a 33,000 square foot grocery downstairs at a mixed-use complex at Cesar Chavez and Grand that includes a senior citizens complex.

Nice touch, Walmart, the senior living thing. Of course, local Chinatown mom-and-pop shops will be hard-put to keep up with your ability to stock factory-farmed foods from all over the world. Making omelets, breaking eggs—like that—can’t be sad about it.

Oh, oops! Sorry to be sour on your birthday. You look great. Check out that firm bottom line. Is that a muscular 27 percent increase in fourth quarter income in 2011 right there? DO NOT listen to the word “sagging” in reference to your domestic sales. Not what you want to hear on your 50th, Lord knows.

The haters can be vicious.

But you know that declining domestic sales are the reason it’s so important for Walmart to move into LA’s Chinatown.

You have owned the rural and suburban areas in these United States for at least a decade now–but there’s gold in them there urban communities—maybe $100 billion to be made in ten cities, Los Angeles among them.

That’s according to Nelson Lichtenstein —who probably knows more about Walmart than anyone, including Walmart.

The historian and author of the lively book The Retail Revolution—How WalMart Created a Brave New World of Business, Lichtenstein has traveled the world–China, South Africa, Bentonville, AR– to document Walmart’s wildly successful and savvy combination of visionary technical know-how and backward, virulently anti-worker politics.

The Walmart model has re-made the global economic landscape—starting with the United States. The shoppers that make up Walmart’s base are precisely those hurt by the devastating economic downturn of the last few years, Lichtenstein told Frying Pan News, so they are spending a little less at Walmart.

Here’s the New York Times on that subject. 

Since purchase power of Walmart’s traditional market has slipped it’s more important than ever to expand into cities.

Walmart may now be desperate enough for urban markets to sustain losses to get into L.A., Lichtenstein says, the Chinatown store may be an expensive experiment to establish a beachhead.

The uber-retailer has been discouraged from locating in L.A. because of an ordinance that requires reporting on employment and community standards—such trifles as health coverage, decent wages and  neighborhood environmental health.

The local Chinatown community, labor and others are mobilized against a Chinatown Walmart. The world’s Number One retailer may be in for a costly fight.

“The point is to get it in there,” Lichtenstein says. “Economics is irrelevant to placing this first neighborhood market.”

(Bobbi Murray has reported on politics, economics, police reform and health-care issues for Los Angeles magazine, LA Weekly and The Nation. This article was posted first at fryingpannews.org) -cw

CityWatch

Vol 10 Issue 19

Pub. Mar. 6, 2012

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