Jeff Smith noon, March 8
- Community Blog
"Open, Open, Open ..."
Do you remember those inane Mervyn's ads from a decade ago? (Note: I don't watch TV, and haven't in about a decade. So I'm going on memory here. Who knows? Maybe those inane ads are still running. I wouldn't doubt it a bit.) Let me refresh your memory.
Some crazed suburban woman stands in front of a Mervyn's store, her hands splayed widely at the window, her nose pressed to it. She's saying, eyes wide with consumptican lunacy: "Open, open, open ..."
Guess it's now, "Closed, closed, closed ..."
What a darn shame.
Some apathetic little teenager holding one of those arrow signs at the intersection of 16th and Palm announced the news to me yesterday as I was on my way to the trolley station. The sign announced, in addition to Mervyn's going out of business, that merchandise was "80% OFF!!!!!" Yippeee!
As the corporate-surburban bubble of unbridled greed continues deflating, we'll see a lot more of this. Big box stores folding, airlines going under, banks closing their doors. And so on. The problem with Imperial Beach has been--and probably always will be--its utter shortsightedness. For years and years and years the powers-that-be here have catered almost exclusively to the corporates--and now those corporates are dying.
Imperial Beach hates its local businesses, as evidenced by the endless shenanigans and paperwork and ridiculous license fees and foot-dragging local businessmen and -women have to go through to just open their doors here. Local businesses fail here at a clip that surprises even this cynical soul. In the time I've lived here--seven years--I've seen no fewer than three dozen businesses open and close along Seacoast and Palm--which means that the actual number of failures is probably three times that. I'm just noting those businesses I've seen. There must be many, many more.
So let's do the math. IB gives a pass to the corporates--and makes life hell for the locals. But the corporates are going under. (And rightfully so in most cases.) The locals are still getting hosed. Hmm. Quiz question, Dorothy. What do you think is gonna happen to the local economy?
A couple of years ago I and a business associate tried starting a farmer's market. We wanted to have it at the utterly unused parking lot at Palm and Seacoast once a week. Bring in the locals, maybe get some local musicians to pop in, do it up right. The City of IB, of course, was havin' none of it. Worried that their corporate "partners" (Albertson's, Von's) would feel left out, they killed the idea before it even grew hands and feet.
And so it goes.
Imperial Beach is known for its apathy, for its utter indifference to community (see: film festival [gone]; fireworks [gone]; yearly parade [gone]; advertising community events on its webpage [laugh]; updating its webpage on a regular and timely basis [double laugh]; giving local stores and businesses prime placement for the Sandcastle Competition [snort!]; the ridiculous and pathetic "Taste of IB" [bet you didn't even know there was such a thing]; and on and on and on). With the return to sanity that this recession actually represents, one wonders just how much more apathy the City can afford. Like Mervyn's, it too may be going out of business. And soon.