Tags >> Rohnert Park
Jul 29
2010

Wal-Mart, Again

Posted by Bruce Robinson in Rohnert Park , protest , policy , planning , news , government , food , families , economy , current events , corporate responsibiliyt , business

Bruce Robinson

Round Two in the fight over expanding Wal-Mart in Rohnert Park is on the city council agenda tonight, a debate that can be summarized as lower prices for consumers in the short term versus constraints on local economic growth in the long term.

While much of the discussion around the proposal Wal-Mart Expansion has focused on its probable impact on Pacific Market, the neighborhood grocery considered mostly likely to fail if Wal-Mart adds groceries, Ben Boyce of the Accountable Development Coalition notes that Rohnert Park’s discount grocery shoppers already have options nearby.

One of the most compelling arguments against the Wal-Mart application was an economic analysis by SSU professor Robert Eyler that detailed job losses and other negative effects. Boyce notes that it also refuted the claim that increased sales at Wal-Mart would generate additional sales taxes for Rohnert Park.

Denny Rosatti (left), Executive Director of Sonoma County Conservation Action, which also opposes the Wal-Mart application, says it would have to be changed significantly to merit their support instead.

Apr 21
2010

Wal-Mart in Rohnert Park

Posted by Bruce Robinson in unions , Rohnert Park , research , protest , policy , jobs , employment , California , business , author , activism

Bruce Robinson

Critics of Wal-Mart who oppose the retail giant’s plans to expand in Rohnert Park are fighting an uphill battle, especially on labor issues, warns a University of California historian who has studied the company.

Knowing they will face local opposition in many communities, Nelson Lichtenstein (left)  observes that Wal-Mart has recently turned to a new tactic to minimize the regulatory review they must undergo—moving into existing but empty big box buildings.

That didn’t work so smoothly for the company in Santa Rosa, but the vacated space next to the already-established Wal-Mart in Rohnert Park apparently prompted their bid to expand into it.

In his recent book, The Retail Revolution, Lichtenstein  charts the history of Wal-Mart from its  origins in Arkansas and Alabama, detailing how the attitudes of founder Sam Walton became enmeshed into the core culture of the company. And, he says, they didn’t change as the retailer expanded and grew, and now lie at the heart of many of Wal-mart’s battles with local communities.

Opposition to the  proposed Wal-Mart Supcercenter in Rohnert Park (seen here in an artist's drawing of the project as it might look)  is being led by the Living Wage Coalition. The city's planning staff has recommended approval of the Environmental Impact Report for the expansion.  Read the full staff report here. The city's original approval for the store in 1991 allowed the store to occupy up to 225,500 square feet; is it currently using just 131,500 square feet, and the proposed Supercenter would increase that to just under 178,000 square feet.

 

Dec 03
2009

Town Hall on SSU Budget

Posted by Bruce Robinson in students , speaker , Sonoma , Rohnert Park , planning , finances , events , education , economy , community , California , business , budget

Bruce Robinson

With difficulty, Sonoma State has weathered a 17% budget reduction this semester. Now they’re waiting to see how much more they will have to cut in the months ahead.

Looking ahead to the next academic year, SSU CFO and Vice president for Administration and Finance, Laurence Furukawa-Schlereth (right) , offered a silver lining of sorts, telling the campus community assembled at the midday Town Hall meeting that he hoped to avoid any further job losses in 2010-11.

Former Dean of the school of Social Services at Sonoma State, Bob Karlsrud, questions the no layoffs pledge, because it does not cover the part-time lecturers who teach the majority of courses offered at the university. Because they are rehired each year, it’s not considered a job loss when a new contract is not offered for the next semester. Karlsrud contends the campus has added too many contractual administrative positions, at the expense of keeping teachers in classrooms.

Catherine Nelson, a political science professor who represents the Sonoma campus on the statewide CSU Academic Senate, believes the current fiscal crisis also represents an opportunity for the school to clarify and redefine its core vision of itself, something she says is not yet happening here or anywhere else. But she has an idea of what it could include.

The next Town Hall meeting at the university will focus on the troubled Sonoma State University Foundation on December 16th.

 

 

 

 

Nov 20
2009

Clover Billboard Contest

Posted by Bruce Robinson in Sonoma County , Rohnert Park , Petaluma , media , Ideas , humor , food , farms , families , design , children , business , author , art

Bruce Robinson

The winner of the latest “Clo the Cow” billboard slogan contest drew from Dirty Harry to get a happy diary.

Clo the Cow will be featured on the billboard with the winning slogan, of course, but Clover-Stornetta president Marcus Benedetti says the cartoon cow is more than just a pretty face.

Daniel Judd celebrates his contest victory, sharing a high five with Clo the Cow as girlfriend Andrea Duszynski looks on.

 

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