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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Dreaming of a Green Target?

In Sunday’s paper we were told that a “green Target” not only “provides affordable shopping” but it “fits Davis’ values.”

I read through the entire column written by a large number of individuals, and I did not see much that would sway my view of Target as a large business that would put local owners out of business, would bring in a number of jobs to people who could not afford to live in our community on the Target salary, who practices union-busting behavior, and I could go on.

In fact, I came away rather insulted that they thought, “The use of wood, stone and other design features to make the store unique to Davis” would make me believe that Target supported my values. My values are not based on exterior aesthetics.

The big story from last weekend is the closing of an icon in Sacramento and Davis: Tower Records. From the Sacramento Bee:

“The Tower Records legacy began on Watt Avenue in 1960, where Russ Solomon opened his first store. A store still exists on Watt Avenue, above, but not for long. Tower served as a point of pride for capital-area residents. But competition from big-box discounters and the Internet began eroding music retailers like Tower in the mid- and late 1990s.”

Tower is obviously not a locally owned business, but it was started in Sacramento. Moreover, it demonstrates once again that big-box retailers have the capability to put others out of business.

Meanwhile, we can do some math. Target brings in about 200 jobs (150-250 is the estimate). Most of those will receive Minimum wage which is currently $6.75 per hour. Even if they work a full 160 hours in a month, that is $1080. And that’s before taxes. So we’re talking about $900. No one can reasonably live in Davis on $900 per month. So we would not be bringing in 200 jobs into Davis, we would be bringing them into Woodland, West Sacramento, Dixon or wherever someone can afford to live on $900 per month.

Now imagine that we adopt Heystek’s living wage ordinance, those same people would make $1600 per month before taxes. You could in fact, rent an apartment and live in Davis on $1400-1500 per month. But of course, the council supporters of Target also oppose a Living Wage (despite their weak attempts to claim otherwise).

By the way, an excellent letter by Gene Borack on Sunday calling Souza’s rhetoric for what it is. By the end of this week, Davis residents will be able to view the exchange between Souza and Heystek from the August 1, 2006 meeting on our site and they will see that indeed as we have said and Borack stated, that council encouraged Heystek to go forward only to pillory him for bringing it out at the last minute.

Folks, this is all very basic, the pro-Target people talk about Target fitting Davis values, well it’s all about which values you hold and support. I support the concept of locally owned and operated business. I support the small business owner who resides in our community. I support unions. I support the living wage. This Target proposal goes against all of these core values of mine. If they go against yours, then you ought to oppose Target. If on the other hand, you believe we need to be able to buy socks and underwear in Davis no matter who manufactured said apparel, then by all means, support a Target. I do not wish to tell other people how to vote, but people should have the facts at their disposal.

---Doug Paul Davis reporting