To the Editor:
Councilor Cathy Clark’s guest column (Keizertimes, Aug. 27) was titled “A big box ban has consequences.” Thank you, Councilor Clark, for making that point. That’s exactly what Keep Keizer Livable (KKL) has been trying to say. There are, indeed, consequences, and those consequences are in the best interest of Keizer neighborhoods.
However, for clarity’s sake, please know that signing an initiative does not make it so. All one’s signature does, along with 2,799 others, is to allow the initiative to come before the voters for a community decisiion. Even if KKL gets the required 2,800 legitimate signatures, only the voters, not one’s signature on the initiative, can determine the outcome.
What the initiative does is limit the size of a retail building to 65,000 square feet in the mixed used areas. For instance, Safeway is a pretty good sized store. Would you want anything larger that that in your neighborhood? All KKL is saying is keep the big box stores in Area A of Keizer Station, not in the middle of our neighborhoods. If you look at the mixed use areas in Keizer, most are surrounded by residential neighborhoods.
Both Councilor Clark and Mayor Lore Chrisotpher seem to believe that banning a big box store anywhere in Keizer would stifle business growth and opportunity. I think we have to understand that what a big box store does is provide greater revenue to the city coffers. As far as providing jobs, most of the jobs in big box stores are mnimum wage with no benefits that could hardly support a family of four, even with both parents working. That, in and of itself, does not sustain the livable part of what KKL advocates, not to mention the issue of traffic. If you look across the country at small communities that have been invaded by Walmart, Kmart, or any of the marts for that matter, the downtown eventually dies and all that is left is the big box store.
Keep Keizer Livable believes strongly in the sustainability and livability of our neighborhoods. A big box store in mixed used areas does not do that.
As Councilor Clark concluded, “I hope everyone asks many questions and considers all th consequences, intended and unintended before signing the initiative…” I ditto that request, and once you have, I invite you to sign the initiative.