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There was a rainbow before last week's Whole Foods meeting

Gretchen Van Ness was at last week's Whole Foods meltdown and provides an account.

Meanwhile, the Jamaica Plain Gazette reports Mayor Menino supports Whole Foods, blasts the old Hi-Lo owners and suggests the protesters go back to Chicago or wherever it is they're from (the three people arrested last week were all from Jamaica Plain).

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Comments

I'm all in favor of "disruptive" speech, as long as you're not assaulting police officers, as the account of Ms. Van Ness describes. It's good theater and gets the blood flowing. On the other hand, I don't want to fund this particular message - pimping for poverty and empty storefronts by opposing worthy commercial development and 100 good jobs - with my tax money.

The only way this nonsense will end is if the non-profits behind the curtain of "Whose Foods?" - Spontaneous Celebrations, JPNDC, Mass. Assoc. of CDCs, Vida Urbana, Hyde Square Task Force - are choked off from their government and private sector grant money.

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Good on Menino. It's really great that he came down on the side of reason rather than political expediency and moronical "politically correct" spoutings. Politically speaking, this is a very risky move for him if he plans to run again. His base will not care for this. His base is the same one that Arroyo and Chang-Diaz have been catering to with their reckless pandering pronouncements and it will serve them well at election time. Unless reasonable people decide to vote in the next election. Maybe that will happen? I am going to remember it at election time and I would have blindly voted for Chang-Diaz and Arroyo just a couple of months ago. I am not so sure that I would now. Or rather, I am perfectly certain that I won't unless there is some shift in their rhetoric.

Not that there will be anyone running against them.

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Hasn't it been established several times here that JPNDC has not taken a position against Whole Foods?

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When you have your staff fronting and propagandizing for "Whose Foods", people will not take your declarations of neutrality on faith.

Juan Gonzales, a community organizer with JP Neighborhood Development Corp., said he and his colleagues have been looking at what a family of four were saving by shopping at Hi-Lo, and they estimate it to be between $150 to $200 a week. JPNDC put together a price comparison between Whole Foods, Hi-Lo and Stop & Shop. It is attached as a PDF.

“Where are they going to buy food now? They can't afford any place else,” said Gonzales.

http://jamaicaplain.patch.com/articles/community-s...

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So Menino is in support of a chain over having local businesses (well, except in his neighborhood, when he blocked a Walgreens because he didn't want a chain in his neighborhood.) Since Menino is constantly on the wrong side of every issue, this is good news to those of us that support local businesses.
Whole Foods, the Tea Party's supermarket.
http://articles.latimes.com/2009/sep/03/opinion/oe...

Chains are for suburbs, not neighborhoods.

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Right, empty store-fronts are for neighborhoods.

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Before I shop anywhere I always poll incoming customers to see if they share my political beliefs, which are idiosyncratic in nature because, well, I'm an individual.

This has caused me great hardship and I have not bought anything since 1996.

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Because I can't wait to see people protesting outside DD's, Tedeschis, 7-11, Stop and Shop, Bank of America, Citizens, etc. Oh, and JP Licks, because God knows they've gotten a little big for their britches lately. Personally I miss Brighams and Woolworths...

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It surprises me that the "WhoseFoods" people made so much noise at this event. I thought clowns weren't supposed to talk.

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To post an account of "what happened" by Gretchen Van Ness, someone who has been publicly pro-WF for many months online and publicly, is not a way to give an objective perspective on what really happened. It is a complete lie for her to state that she saw someone, anyone, hitting a police officer once or repeatedly at that meeting. That did not happen. If it had, that person would have been swiftly arrested and charged.

Here are the facts:

"Three persons were arrested and will be summonsed on charges of disrupting a public assembly and trespassing, in the case of two persons, and disrupting a public assembly in the third" (JP Patch). Where in that statement is there anything about assaulting a police officer or anyone else at that meeting? It's not there because it never, ever happened. If the only people who were arrested were charged with these charges, then how would someone who allegedly hit an officer not be arrested and charged? How would a police officer have just let a person off for hitting him/her, and not for displaying a banner? This is complete nonsense for Gretchen to write. Lies, lies, lies.

And for blogger Julio Varela to congratulate Gretchen (when he knows that she can't be objective) and to use her account as one that is objective and real is completely unfair, too.

And, may I add, that displaying a banner peacefully is called freedom of speech. The folks on the balcony did it peacefully.

The folks downstairs who never got to display their banner (separate incident, which happened later) did not storm down any aisles and they did not disrespect anyone. They were standing in line waiting to speak and were trying to unfurl the banner (silently) when the cops came and grabbed it. That's unconstitutional. Period.

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for one group to "hijack" a meeting, not allowing civil and respectful discourse between all parties is wrong and not respectful. Plain and simple. If you want to hang a banner to exercise your free speech rights by all means do so - outside of the meeting hall.

And that also goes for the folks who did not get a chance to display their own banner. Too bad. Take it outside.

And for you to call someone a liar without that person present to defend herself is, well, also disrespectful.

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Is perhaps the only sane voice in this whole mess. He calls out Whose Foods for shooting itself in the foot at the meeting and changing its message when it suits them and he called out the "pro-Whole Foods" people (which still sounds odd) for ignoring some of the very legitimate concerns that have been drowned out by the yelling -- jobs for the HiLo workers (check), available Latino foods (bodega owners and JPNDC now fighting about this after proposal for new market) and displacement.

Julio Varela has posted an entry from City Feed's David Warner opposing Whole Foods and seems to have posted Gretchen Van
Ness' account mostly because of the angle (a chance for real collaboration squandered). He hasn't favored one side of the aisle over another.

I know he's from Milton, but judging by the BUR appearance, he'd make a great moderator for the next meeting. He doesn't take nonsense from anyone and speaks everyone's language (literally and figuratively). In a debate where some of the most vocal "opponents" live in Roxbury and work for Trader Joe's and some of the most vocal "supporters" sell real estate in the neighborhood, Julio may be the best chance JP has of getting a Whole Foods in without riots and having it contribute to the community without being extorted.

You may have seen the meeting differently than Gretchen -- though the video makes EVERYONE in attendance look bad by association -- but take Julio Varela's name out of your mouth before you spit vitriol.

Sincerely,

One of the 34,000 other JP residents who doesn't give a damn if this store comes or not

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I live in JP, and I don't give a damn either way whether Whole Foods comes in or not. It's a little too expensive for me to shop at, but I guess I could go there every now and then, you know, when I want fruit that is better than the garbage at my local bodega or the other garbage that is at that awful Shaw's.

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It's a blog, not the New York Times. He also asked others, including Whose Fooders to contribute and got no response. I would suggest that you and others who feel for some reason that your voices are not being heard or that you are being "silenced" either join the conversation when invited or heck--start your own blog and stop complaining about belong left out. The Internet is a free space, in case you haven't noticed.

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Please take the time to read Gretchen Van Ness's original post on Julio Varela's blog.

Gretchen describes the foolishness that went on at the community meeting at the Curley school. It also shows how at least some of the anti-WF folks are not interested in any opinion that disagrees with there own.

This confirms the arrogance of these folks who feel that they alone should have a voice and their vision of neighborhood development should prevail.

Thank you Gretchen for penning your words and Julio for posting those words.

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...of last Thursday's meeting with Whole Foods are most fairly presented as opinion pieces. Gretchen Van Ness has been leading the campaign for Whole Foods (with a small but extremely online group of people) since February. Mr. Varela, I ask you to make it clearer that this is an opinion piece from an entrenched Whole Foods activist. Thank you for reading.

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I guess the A GUEST POST BY JP RESIDENT GRETCHEN VAN NESS in green, all-caps, 18-point type above the body of text somehow escaped your notice.

To quote 10 Things I Hate About You, as a reader on the original meeting post did, "Remove head from sphincter, then speak."

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Seems perfectly reasonable to me to point out that the writer has a dog in this fight. Not everyone reading the post would know that. Now stop hyperventilating and take a pill.

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read the article, including the disclaimer in large green text above it. Of course the writer has "a dog in this fight." This isn't exactly the first time Julio's allowed commentary on this subject and none of it comes from a position of objectivity.

Julio's site is hardly a news source. It's all commentary. At some point, context has to enter the equation.

You're one to talk about hyperventilating, sir. You're not exactly the placid waters in this blog's often choppy comments fields.

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Gretchen Van Ness used her own name. You, JPLatina11/MMJP/anon, can't claim the same.

If you're going to huff and puff about something most of the rest of the neighborhood doesn't really care about, you can at least use your own name so we know who to avoid and how to plan our day around your little Sharks-vs.-Jets protest-and-meeting rumbles.

Glad I was in the Galway watching the Mavs beat the LeBrons during this one.

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If you're going to complain about people using pseudonyms, best not to use one yourself.

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Very big difference. JPLatina is taking anonymous cheap shots at Julio Varela -- a very real person. I'm speaking to her/him, which makes this anon-on-anon violence at best. But way to throw that baby out with the bathwater.

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