Last Letter to the Editor--Pasadena Star-News, October 5, 2006

I wrote this letter back on September 27, and sent it to both the Star-News and Tribune.  It was written specifically in response to a Steven Ly letter, but it also addresses the perspective expressed by many Wal-Mart/Gary Taylor/Jay Imperial supporters at the last Rosemead City Council Meeting.


It appeared in the Pasadena Star-News on October 5.  It hasn't yet appeared in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.




If Mr. Ly (letters, 9/27) has had "a very long year," it is largely because his heroes on Rosemead’s city council voted repeated to keep the Wal-Mart referendum off the ballot. Then they voted repeatedly to keep the recall off the ballot. Then they sued the city to stop the recall election. They succeeded in delaying the election for seven months, and cost the city well over $400,000.


But the recall and referendum were never about Wal-Mart’s "popularity." Obviously many shoppers like Wal-Mart, or it wouldn’t be the world’s largest retailer. Save Our Community has always focused its criticism of the project on the location of the store, the process whereby it was approved, and the massive infusion of cash the company poured into our tiny city’s electoral process. And, yes, we questioned our city’s leadership over the past thirty years. How did we come to this point where all of the "American" style shops, cinemas, and trendy restaurants had left Rosemead? Why was Rosemead’s private sector employment dropping when all of its neighbors were on the upswing? Why did so many residents express concern over a perceived lack of law enforcement responsiveness, uneasiness over crime rates, and an upsurge in graffiti and vandalism?


Mr. Ly and his coterie like to talk about healing. But until they realize that the impetus for the referendum and recall was entirely home-grown and represented the serious concerns of long-time Rosemead residents, healing will never occur.