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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Grocery justice

So, we're feeling sorry for ourselves that Kroger bought out Scott's, and there will be fewer stores, less choice. And, by the way, isn't it terrible that all the Mom-and-Pop grocery stores have been driven out of business and we have to put up with buying our food at the giants like Meijer and Wal-Mart? On the other hand, this could be Detroit:

The lack of major grocery stores has long been a quality-of-life problem in Detroit and one reason some families don't want to live in the city. Now, however, the situation is getting worse as the last two Farmer Jack stores in the city prepare to close by Saturday.

If no grocery stores buy the Farmer Jack locations from the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., Detroit will be left without a single national chain supermarket, much less a Wal-Mart or Meijer superstore or a Costco-style warehouse store.

The story ends with a resident's lament: "Here we are, trying to revitalize the waterfront and make this city whole again, but people who live here can't even find something decent to eat. Where's the justice in that?" Justice is not the right word. Businesses will not locate in neighborhoods that are dangerous or otherwise not worth the effort to try to make a profit. If you make your whole city like one of those neighborhoods, lots of luck.


A J Bogle
Fri, 07/13/2007 - 9:18am

Detroits woes are nothing new, and Detroits fortunes have always risen and fallen with the cyclical nature of the auto industry. What makes this time different is that thanks to the failed economic policies of the last several administrations and the misguided race to the bottom of globalization, the Detroit auto industry and manufacturing base may never come back in any meaningful way. With that decline in the industrial economic base,comes urban flight reducing the tax roles comes the urban blight and crime that Detroit is so famous for.

Bob G.
Fri, 07/13/2007 - 10:21am

This "COULD" be Detroit??

I dunno...seems we're working darn hard to get just like them in too many of the wrong ways.


A J Bogle
Fri, 07/13/2007 - 10:39am

I here ya Bob G, just like Detroit, in part thanks to globalization and supply side economics, the Fort which was once a thriving industrial powerhouse and home to many innovations is also on a long a sad decline that can not be fixed with retail and resturant jobs alone. Its hard to have a thriving downtown and support downtown revitalization without a thriving economic base to support it.

Bob G.
Fri, 07/13/2007 - 3:38pm

Downtown Detroit is virtually a GHOST TOWN...and that's around RUSH HOUR.

And to think that THIS city was one part of the canal network, and then the fledgling railroads, both mainstays of industrial reliance. And sadly, both have fallen by the wayside.

We've all but chased away ANY hope of reclaiming production work, both here as well as the rest of the nation. ONE single GM plant will NOT sustain this city's infrastructure...look what the International Harvester closing did to the city.

Lincoln Finance bailed, and all we pretty much have left is what's left OF Lincoln finance, the governmental employees, hospital employees, LEOs and fire departments, and the FWCS...they're pretty much THE people carrying the city around (by THEIR taxes).

Everyone else is working retail or fast food (with some exceptions in technologically-related industries, but that is it!

We're but ONE step away from some serious insolvency.

Yeah, A.J. Welfare "don't ever pay the rent", so to speak.

Just be happy we're NOT Kalamazoo...(yet)!



tim zank
Fri, 07/13/2007 - 6:37pm

Jesus fella's! Take the hose out of the tailpipe and open the garage door. It ain't that bad.

All manufacturing woes aside, Detroit has been a crime ridden cesspool for half a freakin' century. As for blaming Fort Wayne's woes on supply side economics and globalization, I think not.

The majority of manufacturing is gone because of labor unions, plain and simple.

A J Bogle
Fri, 07/13/2007 - 10:37pm

Well I am afraid you are thinking wrong Mr Zank. Globalization and supply side are the root of nearly every industrial communities problems. We are rapidly becoming a country that doesn't produce anything any more. The simplistic "blame the union" argument simply does'nt cut it. Union membership is less than 10% of the work force.

A J Bogle
Sat, 07/14/2007 - 7:31am

For those quick to cite the meme of blaming workers for the loss of jobs, don't forget about the obscene salaries executives get at the same time they cut jobs, wages and benefits for regular workers and make the decisions to offshore jobs, offer products no one wants and sacrifice quality and safety in the quest for profits. Job outsourcing isn't limited to just blue collar jobs anymore either - many white collar and tech jobs are going too - and at faster rates I might add - not unusual for accounting, service, engineering, medical and other of the so called "high tech" jobs that were promised to replace those that were lost to globalization. I guess it must be one of those kinda deals fro Mr Zank - "its not my problem, till my job gets shipped to some third world country"

Sue M
Sat, 07/14/2007 - 10:48am

Boy it really ticks me off when blame for manufacturing leaving is laid on the unions. If it weren't for unions there would be no middle class today, and as it is that class is really declining. Why not blame our manufacturing woes right where they belong--corporate greed. Corporate is always looking for cheap labor so they have more money to stuff into their already overstuffed pockets. Cheap labor equals shoddy products, eg. China. After spending 30 years in a union shop, I saw it all. Unions have their hands tied in so many ways. They have seen wages and benefits drop dramatically while just trying to make fair compromises with companies. There are so many examples; Harvester, Dana, G. E. All these companies used to provide a fair wage for Ft Wayne citizens and the few who are still holding on to those jobs still face constant threats of losing their livelihood to cheap foreign labor. The unions are forced to make constant consessons to keep people working and it's never enough. Have you seen any CEO's taking consessions lately?

tim zank
Sun, 07/15/2007 - 12:05am

Here's the NON-rocket science explanation. You own a company that makes widgets. Life is good. Sales are good.

Labor union forces you to pay exhorbidant hourly wages and benefits to a workforce that prides themselves on leaning on a broom. The cost of your widgets is way up. You had to raise your prices. Life's not so good, sales are way down. Somebody else makes widgets a lot cheaper and his sales are way up.

Labor unions were beneficial and served a purpose early on, protecting workers from being taken advantage of until they became every bit as mercenary and cut throat as the factory owners they admonished.

By holding businesses hostage, they effectively forced that lucrative manufacturing labor lifestyle right out of existence.

Oh, and the CEO salary argument is ridiculous. While symbolically, a cut in one dudes pay at the top of the food chain may inspire the troops for a day or two, but it has virtually NO consequence on the bottom line in the manufacturing business.

And Sue M...after 30 freakin' years in a union shop, you should be set financially for TWO retirements, unless like a lot broom holders, you blew it all on bass boats and beer.

Sue M
Sun, 07/15/2007 - 12:54pm

Just who is life good for--the factory owner? I'm making this statement very general because I don't want to wage a war of words. But I challange anyone who is against unions to work in a factory setting for a while. We work in extremely adverse conditions, heat, dust, oil, high humidity. And you'll find some of the hardest workers you ever met there. Contrary to to some opinions, we are not a bunch of rednecks. Why shouldn't a factory worker be allowed to earn a decent living and rear a family to a middle class standard? All the years those "widgets" got more expensive, we didn't get pay raises, in fact we took cuts in both wages and benefits to keep our jobs. And since someone made this personal, my retirement is now in jeopardy because those CEOs artifically inflated the stock values while at the same time lining their pockets--in fact even the FCC has taken notice.

Sue M
Sun, 07/15/2007 - 1:01pm

One more thing Tim, I hope you have secured your future yourself and aren't relying on your company to see you through to your retirement--unless you are the owner, then you'll be spending your retirement on your yacht; otherwise you'll be lucky to have a rowboat.

Bob G.
Sun, 07/15/2007 - 4:35pm

I've got a bone to pick w/ unions...intially, they WERE good...they helped people who were being EXPLOITED tovrawl out from under the company's "thumb".

But then unions got WAY too big for their pants...decades ago, my dad's place used to strike on a regular basis...try maintaining a family on STRIKE PAY...
And all that crap STILL didn't keep the company from shipping jobs down to VENEZUELA.

I worked in a union shop for a brief time in NJ...worse time I ever wasted. strike votes bought, as well as other corruption left a BAD taste in my mouth!
I've worked in non-union shops as well...there's good and bad to both, and many similarities between them.

Hell, I've even worked for the U.S. Government...that's a whole OTHER animal!

Today all unions "seem" to want to do is pad their own pockets, and companies KNOW they themselves have the upper hand thanks to outsourcing or buyouts that will close plants down, unions not withstanding.

If unions want to be taken seriously again, they've got to adapt to the new market place and look out for the workers FIRST (and that doesn't mean price their workers' abilities out of the damn solar system). Better to hold he company's line with the "chiefs" of the tribe at the top rung of that corporate ladder.

Good points made...I agree with all of you for various reasons.

I've been on both side of "the fence".