The man behind the curtain is exposed, again:
Outside, protesters were in a far less festive mood. They accused the owner of the discount chain, Art Pope, the state budget director, of bankrolling conservative candidates and supporting policies that hurt the store’s poor and minority shoppers.
“It may appear he’s contributing to the community because he has a business,” the Rev. Kojo Nantambu, the local N.A.A.C.P. president, said on Wednesday. “But those are only vehicles to be used to destroy the community.”
And Pope's explanation for why he targets poor neighborhoods does not hold water:
Mr. Pope is chairman of Variety Wholesalers, which owns about 70 Roses, Maxway and other stores in North Carolina, and some 400 stores in total, primarily in the Southeast. The privately held company selects neighborhoods with at least a 25 percent African-American population and a median household income below $40,000, according to its website.
He said the business model for his company, originating with his father in 1949, was to locate in areas often abandoned by other retailers. “We go into the communities that have food deserts, shopping centers that are empty, and we revitalize those centers,” he said. “We try to provide great value to customers of limited means.”
The last thing you want to do is "revitalize" those neighborhoods. Almost any other commercial growth would compete with you, from auto parts stores to clothing shops, so don't give us any crap about "lifting" up the community. If you really want to lift the community, you would push for the expansion of Medicaid, the extension of unemployment, and you would stop trying to siphon off resources for traditional public schools.