A long-running debate in the West Oakland community, opponents of the discount retailer preferred to have that space devoted to the Mandela Foods Cooperative....
"We asked BRIDGE to restrict the square footage that 99 Cents devotes to the sale of produce, dairy and meat to 50 square feet," said Mandela Marketplace project manager Wells Lawson, so it wouldn't compete with the community-based fresh-food retailer.
So, to paraphrase, let's help West Oakland residents get sorely needed fresh food by preventing stores from having more than 50 sq feet of space for it.
Seriously, what the heck is wrong with these people? I have no problem with competition, and good luck to the Mandela co-op, but it's a virtual lock that prices there will be dramatically higher than at 99 Cents Only (if the co-op ever even opens).
But why do they feel the need to hamstring 99 Cents Only's ability to compete? What are they afraid of? That maybe low-income residents of the area might actually get a good deal on a product?
Think about it. The only reason to restrict 99 Cents Only's store space for produce, dairy and meat is to help the co-op succeed even if the co-op has higher prices. Because, if the co-op had lower prices, it would beat out the other store anyway. This is ridiculous, and West Oakland residents should not stand for it.
I'll never understand why Leftist groups like environmentalists and the organic food people constantly pick on poor people. Want to force a co-op into Oakland somewhere? Fine. Do it in Montclair, where at least the people can afford to fight back. But don't pick on people who have no grocery store within 2 miles and don't have the money to drive all over town looking for what they need.
This Mandela Cooperative is nothing but a scam designed to burden low-income residents of our city. Because of how they've tried to cheat to succeed, I hope they fail.
Residents of West Oakland, I call on you to boycott the Mandela Cooperative unless they agree to allow 99 Cents Only to put as much produce, meat and dairy in their store as they want!
And by the way, from visiting the new 99 Cents Only store twice today, I see that they've managed to fit quite a wide selection of produce, meat and dairy into those 50 square feet. Bravo! I hope you kick some co-op butt.