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What Can City Heights Residents Do In Response To Albertsons Store Closure?

Above: Albertsons in the City Heights Urban Village

Evening Edition

Aired 1/28/14 on KPBS Midday Edition.

GUESTS:

Marti Emerald, City Councilwoman, District 9

Ricardo Moran, President of the Azalea Park Neighborhood Association

Jeanette Neeley, co-chair, Mid-City CAN Coordinating Council and City Heights resident

Transcript

When the Albertsons in City Heights closes its doors next month, it will likely put another obstacle between residents and healthy food options.

City Heights has been described as a food desert: those are mostly low-income neighborhoods where the number of full-service supermarkets are few and far between.

Jeanette Neeley has lived in City Heights since 1989. She said, "It's one step forward two steps back, it’s a never ending social-justice, food-equality fight in City Heights."

"There are seven quality food distribution places in City Heights but that’s not enough," Neeley said. "We need more for the size of the community."

City Councilwoman Marti Emerald represents the ninth district, which includes City Heights. She said in a press release the grocery store closure is a major blow to the community.

Ricardo Moran is president of the Azalea Park Neighborhood Association. He said when his husband buys groceries, he drives to Hillcrest to shop at stores that have a better selection of fresh produce.

"He started out going to Albertsons, but it's more expensive," Moran said.

He said he feels badly for his neighbors who don't have that option. Nearly a quarter of City Heights residents don't have cars, according to a 2011 study by Walk San Diego and the City Heights Community Development Corporation.

Moran said the community should have a say selecting the store that replaces the Albertsons.

That decision is up to New York-based Kimco Realty Corp, which bought the City Heights Urban Village where the Albertsons store is located in 2012 for $35.6 million.

Albertsons said the closure is part of a cost-cutting move aimed at closing under-producing stores. Another Albertsons in Chula Vista is also being closed.

Comments

Avatar for user 'dialyn'

dialyn | January 28, 2014 at 12:37 p.m. ― 6 months ago

I don't know anything about the Albertsons in City Heights but something dreadful is happening in the East County which is caused by lame brained tax laws politicians have passed. There is a person (or his corporation) that bought up a lot of land, grocery stores were leased the property, then he pulled the leases on the property and has never replaced the stores because it is more profitable for him to leave the stores empty (as a tax write off) than it is for him to have the leases or sell the property. This is great for this fellow (or his corporation) because they are sucking in tax breaks, but it stinks for the communities that are left abandoned and no politician cares about the problems they caused by creating this tax break for a corporation that favors a millionaire over the general population. I realize this is an East County problem and no one on the San Diego City Council cares about this, but I find it infuriating.

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Avatar for user 'veganda'

veganda | January 29, 2014 at 10:39 a.m. ― 6 months ago

Something that was forgotten to include is that in CIty Heights, we also have a FARMERS' MARKET, with culturally appropriate produce.
the big picture here is that the people in City Heights don't have ACCESS to high priced food, due to income levels.
add the NO ACCESS to enough land. there are two other community spaces growing food in the area, one of those being almost 2 acres (site visited by Michelle Obama) and still not enough food can be grown here.
whatever the next business may be, let's keep aware of the gentrification process...

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Avatar for user 'mstar'

mstar | January 29, 2014 at 11:42 a.m. ― 6 months ago

Whenever I have been in that Albertson's, it has always been busy. I think the closing of this Albertson's is just indicative of Albertson's in general now. They have been losing sales over the years. I admit that I get most of my produce from the 99 cent store and Sprouts now, here in Lemon Grove and only use Albertson's for soda and or toilet paper. Those two items I usually get from Food 4 Less because it's closer and cheaper, and they have a really nice selection of produce too, by the way. I feel bad for the people who are going to lose their jobs and that bargained with the unions last session to keep their jobs but lowered the incoming employees pay. Who do you think they will keep? High prices and not so much customer service. Those self serving lines didn't help keep the store open after all.

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