Monday, June 20, 2016

Beyond parody

Couldn't make this up if you tried.
NEW ORLEANS – On Tuesday, June 21, 2016, Mayor Mitch Landrieu will deliver the 2016 State of the City Address.

The speech is open to the public. Those who are not able to attend are encouraged to follow @mayorlandrieu on Twitter for live tweeting of the event using the hashtag #NOLASOTC.

WHO:              Mayor Mitch Landrieu

WHEN:            Tuesday, June 21, 2016                        9 a.m.
                        Doors open at 8 a.m.
                        Media will be permitted to set-up at 7:30 a.m.
                        Media RSVP to communications@nola.gov by 4 p.m. Friday, June 17,                                  2016

WHERE:         The Refresh Project Rooftop
                       300 N. Broad. St.
                        New Orleans, LA 70119
Just to translate that, the Refresh Project Rooftop at 300 N. Broad means the mayor will speak to us from atop the roof of a Whole Foods.  Some of you might remember that Whole Foods was built a few years ago when the giant corporation famous for overcharging yuppies for groceries was given "Fresh Food Retailer" funds.

Ostensibly, Fresh Food Retailer Funds are supposed to alleviate so-called "food deserts" by subsidizing more grocery stores in under-served neighborhoods. In other words, it's exactly the sort of trickle-down bank shot corporate welfare scheme neoliberals like Mitch Landrieu absolutely adore.
This supply-side solution of building supermarkets does not fix the underlying social ills that cause food deserts. The HHFI assumes that certain demographics are unhealthy because of the environments they live in — long commutes in rural areas, few parks or recreational outlets in urban ones, and, of course, no supermarkets in either. But does proximity to supermarkets correspond with low BMI because access to its foods diminishes obesity? Or, on the contrary, do people with higher incomes demand supermarkets in their neighborhoods? Food writer Julie Guthman argues that if the latter is the case, then a new grocery store in a low-income neighborhood could actually lead to gentrification, and therefore have adverse effects on the population it was seeking to help.
In fact, Whole Foods is well aware of this. Thus its national strategy of collecting these grants as it targets "up and coming" urban neighborhoods in which to open new stores just before they gentrify.

Anyway, we all look forward to hearing the mayor's speech tomorrow. I wonder what the theme will be.

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