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What Can City Heights Residents Do In Response To Albertsons Store Closure?
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Aired 1/28/14 on KPBS Midday Edition.
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
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.