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Groovy growth - anywhere but here?

An article in the Business Journal's June 7-13 edition was all ga-ga over Amazon's business prospects. In the article, entitled "Amazon Finds Its Growth Groove Again", author Mark Anderson wrote that Amazon told its shareholders that the company would be boosting its retail operations, including its Amazon Fresh brick-and-mortar grocery stores. Amazon Fresh is that techie concept for un-staffed retail grocery sales that has never seen the light of day at the fairly new - and still unoccupied - building Amazon has at the east end of Country Club Center. The Business Journal says the paint scheme at the Country Club site must mean something. The article speculates that soon the Sacramento region will have several Amazon Fresh stores. However, the article adds that Roseville,  Elk Grove and Citrus Heights are the likely locations. There is no confirmation about the Country Club Center site; it might remain a ghost store.

A building with Amazon Fresh color scheme, indicating expansion in Sacramento.
Photo credit: Sacramento Business Journal, June 8, 2024.

Amazon is one of those tech companies that has more money than God. We cannot explain why they put  a grab-it-and-walk-out grocery store across the street from a very large, cheap-o Winco Foods in an area with no shortage of homeless people. Having so much money that they can build a brand new building and then leave it empty without blinking an eye doesn't make sense. Or does it? Could it be a lucrative tax write-off for a global company that made $575B in worldwide sales last year, a company with an effective US tax rate less than that imposed on individuals who annually make between $45K-$95K.?

As far as the County is concerned, Amazon was entitled to have a go at Country Club Center. And, now that Amazon has built the facility, the County doesn't seem to care that it has been empty for so long. Kind of like how the County doesn't seem to care about the ruins of the Saving Center on Watt, or the closed and weedy gas station on El Camino and Howe, or the old Mike's Market on Mission, or the mostly vacant Country Club Plaza, or any of the other "Your Name Here" excess commercial spaces in our community. An inadequate economic development strategy here is interconnected with the County's lack of vision for the community.  The County doesn't seem to understand how to achieve a sustainable local economy, one driven by local small businesses. As a result, out-of-area investors, national chains, global corporations and fly-by-night developers get to have their way with where we live. And they are all about short-term return on investment for their companies and shareholders that have little or no connection with our community. As the saying goes, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Yet that's the status quo here. It is why we cannot have nice things.

There is no guarantee that our community would be better off if it was incorporated. But one thing for sure, it would be a different ball game. If Arden Arcade (or some combination of Arden Arcade plus other unincorporated communities) was a city, the elected officials and city administrators would all be trying to figure out how to make the city better.  If they neglected to do that - if they let the community deteriorate - they would lose their positions. Our region's newest cities - Citrus Heights, Elk Grove, Rancho Cordova and West Sacramento - have all demonstrated that becoming a city makes a difference. Their success stories can be replicated here, but only if local people and businesses want that. Do you want our community to be better? If so, please let us know if you are willing to do something about it.

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