From DAVE SMITH
Letter to the Editors
Time was, retail jobs were called “entry level.” Jenny would have a summer job running the cash register at the mom-and-pop so owner Mrs. Simpson could work on the bookkeeping in back. Johnny would get a job after school stocking shelves at the department store. These were healthy, local, low-wage jobs where you joked with your neighbors and learned how the world works. And then you moved on to college and a profession or learned a trade skill in manufacturing. Or if you liked retail, you stayed around, learned some small-business skills… maybe saved some money and opened a store of your own.
Not any more. Retail has evolved into dead-end, exit-level, dumb jobs in Big Box chain stores where all the well-paid smart jobs — information processing, accounting, advertising, logistics — are at a distant headquarters, and the community’s money is swept up nightly and sent there too. Your slave-wage, mind-numbing, soul-killing job is to do what the computer has programmed and spit-out on screens and work sheets. Endless lines at the cash register, move ’em in, head ’em out. Endless numbers of trucks to unload, stock the shelves, clean up the mess, take a break.
The people at the top are raking in millions and living in castles. You on the bottom are living a boring nightmare, and thankful for barely making it because the manufacturing jobs are now on the other side of the world, and even the good paying, white collar jobs are heading out.
DDR is touting 700 slave-wage dumb jobs at their Monster Mall. Google “New Rules Project” and you’ll find documented research that for every retail job a Big Box brings, 1.4 current jobs are lost; that as more Big Boxes come to a community, the county-wide poverty level rises; that California taxpayers were spending $86 million a year in 2004 providing healthcare and other public assistance to the state’s 44,000 Wal-Mart employees… and there are many more of those employees now.
We have one good place left for future entrepreneurial green jobs as the consumer economy gasps its last breath, and changing the zoning of the Masonite site now will kill that opportunity.
Thank you for voting NO ON MEASURE A to preserve our unique, locally-owned businesses, neighborly small town values, and livable human-scale communities.
This post dedicated in memory of John Milder, who worked hard, with Phyllis Curtis and others, to stop the first Wal-Mart big box store in Ukiah, but failed by one vote of the Ukiah City Council. Thanks, John. You knew. We remember.