Thursday, December 10, 1998
Being Tabitha's best friend, I am enraged with your portrayal of her and her family's life painted by Coast Weekly ("Living on the Edge," Nov. 25. )
I would also like to dispute the "direct quotes," supposedly stated by Tabitha and family. I have been in the motor home on numerous occasions and it does not smell like urine or pet food. Also Tabitha was misquoted as saying "My biggest fear is that people might be able to look at me and know I'm homeless". She worries about other things like getting her education and pursuing a career. Her biggest worry is for her mom, who is very sick, as previously stated.
"Sarah" and "Tabitha" are two of the strongest women I have ever met. In your article you said they were homeless, they live in a motor home, a home with a motor. What makes it a home isn't the sink, stove or toilet that are built in, but the love they have for each other and life. There is more love in that motor home than most other "homes" I have been in. Tabitha revels in the sanctity and peace she finds in the motor home. Unfortunately, with the picture of the motor home, her mom and the overly descriptive look at her life and at her, that this has been taken away from her. Tabitha may not have all the extra frills or extras in her life but she is all heart as is her mom. I love them both and I hope some of your readers now have a little better view of their life--the positive, beautiful side you erroneously left out in your article.
Missing the Point
Whole Foods' paid promotional consultant, Todd Loomis, avoids a discussion of Whole Foods' "social responsibility" toward its own employees by inaccurately summarizing Eric Bates' article, "Minding The Store" (CW, Nov. 12). In his Nov. 25 Public Forum article, Loomis claims Mr. Bates decided Whole Foods is a union-busting company because of their lack of support for turtles and strawberry pickers. Wrong. Mr. Bates devoted as much space recounting how Whole Foods treats its own workers as he did to discussing turtles and the UFW. Perhaps Loomis missed the big, bold subheadings, "Union Busting and Whole Paychecks?," that comprised the entire second half of Bates' article, and were the actual basis for Bates concluding Whole Foods busts unions.
I disagree with Mr. Loomis' claim that customers are more concerned about how employees treat them and how employees "feel," than about how socially responsible the company is. I'm equally concerned about both, because they're both issues of social responsibility - particularly in a small community like ours where Whole Foods employees are sure to know or be related to the customers.
I'm just as concerned about Whole Foods' social irresponsibility toward Watsonville strawberry workers who work under conditions Mr. Loomis would never subject himself to, though he certainly profits from the pesticide-laden berries they toil to provide to Whole Foods. (Funny, I don't recall Mr. Loomis selling commercial strawberries at the Granary, or encouraging people to buy commercial produce before his multi-million dollar sellout to Whole Foods.)
Loomis' final two paragraphs tell the "whole story"--the employees work their butts off and Whole Foods promises nothing in return. Why not give the workers a say in how Whole Foods chooses to support "whole foods, whole people and the whole planet?" After all, they're the ones making all the money for Mr. Mackey and stock-holders like Mr. Loomis.
If Mr. Loomis is going to be a local mouthpiece for Whole Foods, he ought to at least present the facts accurately--that is, if he has any hope of gaining our respect for his anti-activist, union-busting bosses.
Thank you for publishing the article on Margaret Owings, "Call of the Wild." She is an inspiration to everyone that finds strength and vitality on our California Coast and have the privilege of knowing this great lady. One of her favorite quotes is from Laurens van der Post: "Great things begin in the tiny seed of the small change in the troubled individual heart"...may we always be stewards of Margarets great changes and be individuals that continue to make a difference."
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA
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Clarifications and Corrections
Mike Weaver called to say he is not the founder of the Highway 68 Coalition, as stated in a CW article last week. The organization was actually founded more than 20 years ago.