Okay, so we finally have a firm answer on whether Fresh & Easy is coming to West Oakland or not. They aren’t. At last night’s All Candidates Forum, someone brought up the issue of a lack of grocery stores in West Oakland. As you may remember, Nancy Nadel had said in her Winter newsletter that Fresh & Easy had signed a lease at the formed Eugene Market space and would be open by “mid-2008.” Afterwards, she said that lease negotiations were still underway. Although there has never been a new report confirming that they signed a lease, people still keep saying that Fresh & Easy will be opening at the end of the year.
Last night, Nancy Nadel finally confirmed that Fresh & Easy is not coming to West Oakland, explaining that they were at one point close to signing a lease, but that the deal fell through because Fresh & Easy would not agree to a “living wage.” “So, do we want a company that won’t pay not even prevailing wage, but living wage, which is not very much.”
Here are Sean Sullivan and Nancy Nadel’s answers to the question:
I find this outrageous! People want to be able to buy food. People deserve a grocery store near where they live. Now we discover that a grocery store wanted to come to West Oakland, and we said no because they pay only $10/hr (plus benefits) instead of $10.39/hr, which I believe is the current minimum according to our Living Wage law (somebody please correct me if that’s outdated). This is exceedingly upsetting to me. Fresh & Easy, as I’ve noted before, is taking a pause from opening any more US stores right now, so who knows if they would have ended up opening anyway. But to reject the possibility of a grocery store in West Oakland over thirty nine cents an hour for starting positions is unconscionable. I am very disturbed that Nadel appears to endorse this decision.
I have other video from the forum as well. I apologize for the poor quality of the video. The lighting wasn’t great, and on top of that, I have like the cheapest video camera ever. Also, I just bought it with my tax return, so last night was my very first time using it. I probably should have practiced a little bit beforehand. There was someone else with a video camera there, and I don’t know if she plans on sharing her video or not. I will be uploading all the video from the forum to YouTube as time allows, but it will probably take me a while. I will get transcripts up when I can as well. Greg Hodge and Kerry Hamill did not attend the forum, although Hodge’s wife managed to make it and ask a question. I wondered if maybe there was some kind of school board event that kept them away, but I looked at the board agendas and didn’t see anything.
You can see the At-large candidates answering the same question as well:
So far, I’ve also managed to upload introductory statements from Sean Sullivan and Nancy Nadel.
- 05.05.08 Still waiting on Mandela Foods
- 05.01.08 Mandela Foods Cooperative: Subsidizing Failure
- 04.30.08 Fresh & Easy update in the Trib. Also, shame on you, Nancy Nadel!
- 04.25.08 Who’s the developer candidate for District 3
- 04.04.08 Nancy Nadel v. Sean Sullivan: LWV District 3 Forum Recap
- 04.01.08 West Oakland is not getting a grocery store anything soon
- 02.01.08 Green jobs, Fresh & Easy
- 11.14.07 Look out Whole Foods, here comes Fresh & Easy