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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Home Depot Update

Yesterday the San Francisco Board of Supervisors delayed a vote on whether they will approve of Home Depot's Environmental Impact report. This vote will determine whether or not the Home Depot is allowed to open its doors in San Francisco; it has been postponed to next week. Supervisor Bevan Dufty suggested that he would support a smaller version of the Home Depot.

Of course, the size of the store is irrelevant except to Home Depot's bottom line. Big or small, once the Home Depot has moved in the floodgates will be open. No legitimate reason will exist to keep big box retailers like Walmart out of San Francisco.

The cure for this ailment is to enact a law banning big box stores from San Francisco. The ordinance would be very easy to write:

"ANTI BIG BOX ORDINANCE: If a company doing X revenue and/or with X number of workers wants to build a store of X size in San Francisco, that store will be unable to open without the direct approval of the Board of Supervisors who will consider any and all relevant factors in their determination. Since big box stores squash competition, depress wages and funnell profits out of San Francisco, the burden will be on the big box store to prove to the Board's satisfaction that the big box store will not injure San Francisco."

The Board of Supervisors needs to enact such an ordinance immediately to prevent future attempts by big box stores to hurt business in San Francisco.

Finally, I have sent the San Francisco Chronicle a letter to the editor due to their paper's deplorable coverage of The Home Depot issue. Here's an example. I doubt they will publish it, so I've reprinted it below:

The Chronicle's aggressive stance to promote the Home Depot troubles me greatly. Tuesday's pro-Home Depot editorial was the first time this paper had addressed the issue in three months. Coincidentally, the editorial came the day the Board of Supervisors voted on the project.

This is a hotly contested political issue with enormous implications for San Francisco. If the nation's #2 retailer, Home Depot, is allowed to move in, the nation's #1 retailer, Wal-Mart, will certainly be next. Further, no new jobs or tax revenues will result from this store because existing jobs and existing tax dolllars will be lost when small hardware stores are forced to close.

To fail to provide the other side on such a heated issue constitutes journalistic failure on the part of the Chronicle. Of course, considering the fact that the Home Depot is spending a lot of cash to propagandize this store, perhaps this paper just wants its share. Either way, it stinks for the people of San Francisco.

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