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Opinion Piece By Samuel Strait – September 17, 2016 –
[cincopa AQEATvNtCp6F]Apparently the Triplicate’s editor, Robin Fornoff and what appears to be their only reporter now, Tony Reed, didn’t score the political points from their first story about Safeway and Roger Gitlin’s efforts to clean up that store’s frontage in a front page story, “Gitlin, Safeway dispute rekindled” (Sept. 8th, 2016).  As a result, we have a new story by the self same Tony Reed titled “Public sounds off on Gitlin, Safeway squabble”, in what I can only assume is yet another effort to squeeze out at least some political points to aid their struggling candidate, Kathryn Murray.   The biggest problem being of course that the local Democrats have used the same people on speed dial for so long to come and orchestrate a false narrative that the usual suspects and their circus no longer resonates.  Bill Lonsdale, Elizabeth Henry, Patricia Black, Kathryn Murray, and others have appeared so many times in front of the Board of Supervisors that they may as well have their own private entrance to the chambers and reserved seats.  For them it is all about politics not substance, and any effort by Roger Gitlin to actually make some positive improvements to the community is a call to arms to appear before the board and pretend to represent the public in the community.

One only has to read the two articles in the Triplicate to come up with Lonsdale and company’s plan to use the false narrative published in the first Reed story about Supervisor Gitlin’s efforts to get Brian Ridgley’s store to clean up its act to see that Mr. Gitlin is cast as the “bad guy” and “pure as the driven snow” is Mr. Ridgely.  Safeway may close, Gitlin is a Cyber Bully”, there is not a blight problem at Safeway, the Homeless are people too, the State should clean up the surrounding land, Roger “manufacture’s problems”, panhandlers do not exist in front of Safeway, Safeway “has a target on its back”, are all statements that try to shift the blame for Mr. Ridgely’s inability to maintain a clean and orderly area at the South wall of the store he manages. If a person were to walk from the Coming Attraction Theaters, north on the sidewalk of the mall and cross fifth street following the store frontages to the vacant Ray’s store frontage it is clearly obvious to anyone that only one store frontage has a problem, Safeway.  The remaining stores all exist in the same climate and do not have the issues that are allowed at Safeway. There are no other large commercial enterprises in the city that have failed to the degree Safeway’s manager has in presenting an inviting face to his business.

The problem that Supervisor Gitlin identified with Safeway’s frontage is not a new thing and it has a long history of being in the condition of a sorry state, often a hang out place for people who are not shopping in Safeway.  While recently Mr. Ridgely, recognizing that even he has a problem with the appearance of his store, has made a token attempt to clean that area, it is highly doubtful those efforts will continue unless the continued prodding of Mr. Ridgely occurs.  If Mr. Ridgely’s current call before the executives in Santa Rosa results in his reprimand or termination by that group it is unlikely to have been from Rodger Gitlin’s efforts to clean Safeway up, but rather from Mr. Ridgely’s job performance.  If the higher ups from Safeway did not look at all the facts surrounding this particular issue they would be guilty of creating a false narrative from a single issue, not grounds for termination.

I can not fault people who shop at Safeway and are oblivious to the conditions that Supervisor Gitlin has identified, as we each have our own set of standards, and the mere fact that certain members of the community have chosen to “hang out” in that particular location and leave it not exactly tidy or pan handle in the immediate area.  It does represent a problem for many people who wish to shop at Safeway and end up else where.  For that reason alone it would seem that Mr. Ridgely as a competent store manager would wish that the property’s owners and the City’s police would come together and eliminate the issue.  Barring that he would assume the task as important to the financial health of his business and his continued employment.  That has not happened in Mr. Ridgely’s case and it has resulted in the offender, Mr. Ridgely’s store, becoming a political football, something executives in Santa Rosa are not going to like.  If it comes to the unfortunate result of Mr. Ridgely being either reprimanded or terminated, he only has himself and politics by the local Democrats on speed dial to blame.  All he really had to do is make an effort at keeping his house in order, both inside and out.

So I say to the Triplicate, Editor Fornoff, Reporter Tony Reed, and the pretenders of the Public on speed dial at the Board of Supervisors Meeting on September 13,2016, look in the mirror and you will see the BAD Guys in this manufactured state of outrage. To Brian Ridgely, the message would be “Stop playing at Politics” clean up your mess, and maintain the front of Safeway for longer than a few days, that is if you still have a job.

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