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BevMo situation

From: RMM405 <rmm405_at_(domain_name_was_removed)>
Date: Sat, 6 Nov 2010 10:32:33 -0700


Dear Mayor and City Council Members,  

It has come to my attention that a local business has appealed the BevMo decision, already made by the planning commission, to allow BevMo to open a store on El Camino Real.  

I understand the basis of the appeal and the objection has to do with protection of local merchants and some notion of the 'character of Menlo Park'.  

I hope you will agree that these arguments are obviously self-serving, and not in the best interests of Menlo Park.  

First of all, Menlo Park citizens be able to avail themselves of the widest variety of merchant types that wish to be here. Several 'chains' (eg Safeway, Trader Joe's, Starbucks) seem to have a win/win relationship with the community, including making investments to improve their operations and store fronts (most notably Safeway). I don't think we've been hurt one bit, as citizens and consumers, by having 'chains' operate here. And, a number of locally-owned businesses seem to thrive as well, giving citizens a choice and keeping everyone, both chains and locals, 'on their toes' and constantly tuning in to the market, which is at should be.  

Second, Menlo Park needs the revenue. If someone wants to invest, and pay taxes in our town, we need to be encouraging that, period. Local tax burdens on citizens are already way too high and asking the citizens for more money when businesses are willing to invest is counterproductive to put it mildly.  

Third, the natural course of events is that our town will evolve over time. Arbitrarily trying to preserve any particular 'state', 'feel', or 'make-up' of the town is OK up to a point (I'd avoid all-night tattoo parlors, for example), but to deny BevMo (or any similar legitimate retailer) a chance to come into our town is inappropriate. Businesses will always come and go, and trying to protect the status quo too strongly smacks of over-catering to one or two business organizations at the expense of the much 'greater good'. I don't even think an all-night tattoo parlor would want to open here, given the local market conditions. Market conditions do a pretty good job on their own of getting the right mix of business types and services into any town - why don't we just let those forces operate? We'd wind up with a better-served town and maximum tax revenues from business.  

If BevMo fails, so be it, but let's let them try. If someone else fails as a result of BevMo's presence, then the citizens and market have made their choice and government should stay away from trying to "play referee" in these circumstances.  

Finally, El Camino Real, in its current state, is nothing short of a disgrace to the community. There are blocks and blocks of empty buildings, empty lots, and general blight. It doesn't look like one of the premier cities in the Bay Area, as it should. Business wishing to make new investments on El Camino Real should be especially encouraged, in my view.  

Please let any legitimate business who wants to invest here come on in. Let's start with BevMo and see where that takes us.  

Thank you,  

Richard Melnicoff

405 El Camino Real #602

Menlo Park CA 94025

650 324 8819 Received on Sat Nov 06 2010 - 10:35:27 PDT


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