November 18, 2005

The Public Forum . . . El Foro Publico

No more Wal-Mart! 

I went to watch a documentary at the Environmental Health Coalition’s offices in National City. It was called “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Lower Prices.” If you get a chance to see it, go. The funniest part was when they showed a bit from “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” where first they play a news segment of undocumented migrants being arrested at a Wal-Mart and then they cut to this woman in the parking lot who says, “I am astounded!”  Then Jon Stewart says, “Astounded?  Lady, you just bought a sweatshirt in there for 29 cents!!”

I have to tell you something: I was never much convinced about not shopping at Wal-Mart mainly because I am poor, but also because I never got it: What’s the difference between K-Mart, Wal-Mart and Target, or any department store? None of them are union, and they all pay low wages. Asking people not to shop at Wal-Mart mostly affects people who are low-income, because the rich can afford to shop anywhere and buy at any price. The people I see shopping at K-Mart, Wal-Mart and Target, are the poorest, the less poor, and the low-income, in order. To top it off, you probably heard those radio ads during the primary campaign that said don’t shop at Target because they gave a ton of money to Schwarzenegger’s prop campaign. Target is part of a chain of stores including Mervyn’s. 

So I have been thinking to myself, This is crazy. Where am I supposed to shop? I go to Wal-Mart, Target and Mervyn’s for 80% of what me and my kids need, clothing, cat food, toys, stuff for the house. I can’t buy curtains at Ralph’s Grocery Store, you know, even if they are union. And speaking of Ralph’s, I read an article in the NYTimes about turkeys, and how the turkeys you get in the grocery store are “institutional” birds and you should only buy local free-range turkeys. For crying out loud, I get a free bird from Ralph’s every year, now I feel guilty about that! Do you have any idea how much a free range turkey costs?? Of course you would say, don’t buy a turkey at all, go veggie all the way. To which I say it is unAmerican not to eat turkey on Thanksgiving, leave me one scrap of tradition to hang onto!! I am not going to munch carrots with my cranberry sauce! I already gave up Kentucky Fried Chicken after I got the literature from Peta, isn’t that enough for you people? Sheesh! 

However, after watching the documentary last night, I have been convinced: No More Wal-Mart.  They are unbelievably disgusting maggots.

Kathy Lopez
San Diego

Time for new a new city manager/council in National City?

The rejection of the sales tax is the best thing that has happened to our city in a while.

Proposition B was going to hurt our citizens financially. The city is already hitting us financially anywhere and everywhere and they want us to increase our taxes. Since when do we have to pay the city to fix our appliances?

I think that it is absurd to have to pay up to one hundred and sixty dollars for a permit to change our water heater, depending on which store you call, the permit changes prices. Should there not be one set price on a permit? The city has more required permits now than ever before.

I am surprised the city does not want to charge me everytime I have to replace my roll of toilet paper! Our utilities keep rising in cost and they still want more in taxes. We are paying more and more and getting less and less in return. Perhaps this city needs a Michael Aguirre of its own to help with our city’s finance.

The city residents want to know what is next. We read the comments made by Zapata about reducing the hours of our libraries and swimming pool because of lack of monies. The comment was also made about the city having longer grass in the parks because of lack of funds. Is he telling us that we need a new city council and city manager? Because this sounds like our current city officials are not capable of handling our money.

The city should be more careful as to where and how the money is spent. If we are smart in our city’s spending, then we would not need a one cent tax to make up for incompetence in City Hall. Perhaps if we spend less money on tamale parties for the Mayor then we would not need to raise our current taxes and still be able to mow our city parks.

Diane Salinas
National City

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