I strongly urge our Chapel Hill/Orange County leaders to reconsider their proposed $4 million “giveaway” to Wegmans.
They call it an incentive, but it’s clearly a giveaway. There is absolutely no need to lure a luxury grocery chain to a well-known, wealthy, “foodie” town. They’ve done their market research – they already want to come here.
And our leaders’ other rationales for the incentives are flawed as well. Why incentivize low-paying, part-time jobs that offer no benefits? Save those dollars for the businesses we really need to attract – ones that offer real living wages and benefits that support a middle-class lifestyle.
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No new business is going to be created. Don’t we already have more than enough luxury grocery stores? Within an easy drive of the Wegman’s proposed location we have Whole Foods, Southern Season, Fresh Market, and Weaver Street. Even Harris Teeter has upped their game over the years. Existing businesses who have proven to be good citizens of the community will only see their pieces of the upscale food market shrink.
If our leaders still think it’s a good idea to spend $4 million of local taxpayer dollars on a grocery store, spend them where it will actually do some good in this town. Use the money they foolishly want to give away to a store that’s probably going to build here anyway to fund incentives that will finally lure a full-service grocery store to the food desert that is downtown and slightly to its north.
Jack and Jo Vest
4 reasons to have voted no
I don’t agree with the Town Council decision.
1) Subsidizing Wegmans is not fair to the other five grocery stores (Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Harris Teeter, Food Lion, and Fresh Market) in Chapel Hill.
2) If Chapel Hill leaders are going to subsidize a business, it should be one we don’t already have and one who pays their employees a wage that permits them to actually live in Chapel Hill.
3) Money should go to things we need ... like affordable housing and building a park on the Legion Road property.
4) Wegmans built stores in Cary without subsidies from Cary.
For a grocery store?
I have long supported bribes, er, incentives because that is how the game is played.
A lack of incentives and for many years, an unwillingness to even consider them has meant no automobile plant and no aircraft plant while places like Other Carolina and Alabama plucked corporate gems like BMW, Airbus, Mercedes-Benz, Boeing and others.
Those things generate permanent economic multipliers far in excess of the original spending.
But $4 million? Or any amount of money. To lure a Wegmans? A grocery store?
An oasis of fru-fru
Can we not? The Chapel Hill-Carrboro area is already overstuffed and catered-to already. We have:
▪ 2 Weaver Street Markets
▪ 4 Harris Teeters
▪ 2 Food Lions
▪ 1 Fresh Market
▪ 1 Trader Joe’s
▪ 1 Whole Foods
▪ 1 Southern Season
▪ 1 Lowe’s Foods
▪ 1 Super Walmart
▪ several ethnic markets
▪ farmer’s markets all week long, and
▪ a Target coming to downtown Franklin in 2017
It’s not an embarrassment of riches. It’s an embarassment.
When I first got to town in 2006, I worked at the IFC Men’s Shelter & Community Kitchen as a social worker. To stay physically busy, I worked in the kitchen, as well. The fancy foods we had in that kitchen! Because shelf-space rotation required foods to be moved along to make room for EVEN fresher foods, these places were donating copious amounts of relatively fresh fine foods. Swedish rolls, star fruit, Thai larb mix, on and on and on. If foods could not be prepared for the whole meal, they didn’t work. What happened to them I don’t know and I’m sure good decisions were happening all along.
What I am describing was 10 years ago, but the dynamic hasn’t changed. Chapel Hill-Carrboro is the opposite of a food desert; it’s an oasis of fru-fru foods. Don’t get me wrong: I adore unusual foods and I know Wegmans is popular among my friends. In the end, this store makes more sense in Hillsborough where they have only Food Lion and Walmart grocery options, or Chatham County, which is the direction of growth for the western Triangle.
Our tax money’s worth?
A few weeks ago the Chapel Hill News had an ad from the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools for a New Developments in Education forum. Being new to the community I was taken aback by the fact that you had to pay to attend and that it was an hors d’oeurves and cash bar event at a country club.
The topics that were being covered were topics that should be covered in an open town forum where a talk is given and the floor then opened for comments and questions. In fact there should be several forums at schools around the district where all may participate, especially on how tax dollars are allocated and spent.
Taxes here are very high and 48 percent of that goes to the schools, yet looking at the state report card for the last two years I do not see outstanding scores. I was a teacher in a school system in Virginia for 20 years with a community very similar in makeup to the community here. Our taxes were lower with similar services you offer here. Our lowest elementary school had end of year (Standards of Learning) test scores of 72 percent. Our high schools had 84 percent in the lowest SOL and up to 96 percent in other SOLs – English, World History, American History, Algebra 1 and 2, Geometry, Biology, Earth Science and Chemistry.
I think all in this community needs to take a good look at what is happening in the schools for the amount of taxes being paid. The community has a right to know what is happening in their schools funding-wise, and it should not be a country club, pay-to-come event.
More about the bombings
Hans Wuerth’s column “Do we not hear the bombs, see the blood? (CHN, Aug. 31) invites a reaction.
Mr. Wuerth’s view of aerial bombings is certainly heartfelt, though short on he facts. Let’s, for insight, consider the Allied bombing campaign of WWII, something he experienced firsthand in Stuttgart, his hometown.
Certainly the Allied bombings of German cities were deadly and devastating. But this would not have occurred had Germany not instigated WWII by invading Poland in 1939. (Nor would Hiroshima and Nagasaki have been bombed had the Japanese not bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941.) Yes, thousands were victims in the Allied bombings, but at least 10 times more succumbed in the ground war, including those of the Holocaust and the Germans’ use of slave labor.
Another point to be made is that the Gerham fuehrer did not favor the bombing of Allied cities, thus the German Luftwaffe had no large, long-range bombers necessary for a strategic campaign. Hitler’s war strategy was to invade, conquer and occupay. And once he conquered he did not desire detsroyed cities.
What about the Blitz of London and other British cities? The Blitz, which cost the Germans in airmen and aircraft more than they gained, was simply Hitler’s being piqued at being thwarted by the British RAF Fighter Command in his plan to invade, conquer and enslave the British people. And to eliminate a powerful enemy on his western flank as he intended to invade the Soviets in the east. An enraged dictator can produce a foolish decision!
Finaly, Mr. Wuerth might well realize his hope that aircraft cease being bombers and relegated to transportng people. Ballistic rockets, perfected by Dr. Wernher von Braun for his fuehrer, are much cheaper to produce and more deadly as no defense has yet to be perfected.
Aa for the situation in Iraq and Syria, my sense is that absent aircraft bombings the savagery would continue, perhaps even increase.
Editor’s note: The writer, a combat fighter pilot in the European conflict says he never knowingly killed a civilian.