Letters to the Editor
Thanking Thompson for service to Cotati
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The Community Voice:
I have learned that our Cotati City Manager, Dianne Thompson, is resigning before the end of this year, and I just want to thank her for all she has done for our city.
Dianne came here over eight years ago as assistant city manager; soon after that the city manager left, and Dianne was asked to move up to fill the position.
During the years she has coped with a number of complicated and difficult situations, including the worldwide recession that drastically changed our city's ability to cope with providing appropriate services to the citizens.
Dianne has risen to the occasions repeatedly, including working hard to help Cotati pass sales tax measures that kept us able to support our own police department and provide many other services that help make Cotati the pleasant place it is.
Among other things, Dianne was a big help to the Cotati Historical Society in introducing us to contractors who were willing and able to assist us free or at little charge with remodeling the old police department into the Cotati Historical Museum five years ago.
She also approved our non-profit society's permission from the city to use the museum, requiring only that we pay for our insurance and telephone service.
Her architectural expertise has resulted in numerous attractive additions to our city, including benches and trash containers in the downtown area, musical notes on the freeway overpasses and color details on our new railroad depot.
I believe Dianne deserves some well-earned leisure, and when she begins a new career I wish her great success and happiness.
Costco is not the answer for everyone
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The Community Voice:
I thought the job of a newspaper was to present non-biased news. Costco is a good alternative to Walmart if you can afford to shop in bulk and don’t need to use food stamps, cash aid or WIC to do your shopping.
Until Costco stops discriminating against low-income people, shopping there is not a viable alternative for a large portion of the population in Sonoma County.
I also seriously doubt Mr. Luttman has ever shopped at the Grocery Outlet. If he had, he would know that most of the food products sold there are set to expire shortly.
So based on his logic, a person who can’t afford to shop at Safeway or Raley’s should shop at a store that sells substandard products.
Mr. Luttman does a fairly good, though biased, job of presenting his opinions until he attacks Walmart supporters by saying, “Certain near-sighted, self-centered shoppers come out to whine about being entitled to get their low prices regardless of the high cost to the community.”
I'm quite certain Walmart supporters don't feel like they are “whining” when they express their opinions. Making personal attacks against those that don’t necessarily agree with you is not a good way to get people to change their minds.
Walmart manager responds to Luttman letter
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As a long time Walmart associate who has had a successful career with the company, it’s frustrating to read opinion articles written by people who don’t know my company or have any real base of experience to speak from (“Citizens get another chance to say no to Walmart in RP” by Rick Luttman, Aug. 8, 2014).
On behalf of my store associates and our customers, I want to correct the record.
Walmart provides more opportunities for employment and advancement than other companies in America. We provide people the opportunity to start at entry-level positions and advance. I’m a good example of this as I started with Walmart 12 years ago as a holiday weekend cashier and worked my way up to Store Manager. My story is not unique throughout the company. Approximately 75 percent of our store management teams started in hourly positions just like me and every year we promote more than 170,000 people, which means our associates have the ability to climb the ladder from a stocker or a cashier to a department manager to a store manager and beyond.
Walmart pays competitive wages and offers benefits. Our average hourly wage for full-time associates in California is $13.13 and we offer a variety of benefits, including quality healthcare starting at $18 per pay period for associate-only coverage, company-funded 401(k), 10 percent merchandise discount, education assistance and bonuses based on store performance.
Walmart creates jobs in California. We employ more than 81,000 associates in California and we’re on track to create approximately 3,000 jobs this year in communities throughout the state. In Rohnert Park, we’ve opened a hiring center for the new Walmart Neighborhood Market set to open in the fall and expect to hire approximately 65 associates to staff it. As for my store, an expansion would mean an additional 85 jobs created. Additionally, we spent more than $23 billion with California suppliers last year supporting more than 168,000 supplier jobs.
The bottom line, though, is that expanding the Rohnert Park Walmart is good for our customers who currently shop in our store want to save time and money. By expanding the store, we’ll be able to offer them the convenience of shopping for general merchandise as well as groceries. They also tell us they want to make their family budget go farther and need more affordable grocery options closer to home. Ultimately, this is what our store expansion is all about and we hope the community will support our plan to provide families in the Rohnert Park area with the grocery and retail services they want and deserve.