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home : opinions : columns February 6, 2016


5/30/2013 5:00:00 PM
GUEST EDITORIAL: Money must be spent in the community for it to grow
Blythe Vice-Mayor Sam Patel
Blythe Vice-Mayor Sam Patel
Sam Patel
Vice-Mayor of Blythe

In response to my guest column, "What Went Wrong" published April 5, I received a few phone calls from local residents. I also received a few from people not living in Blythe but who have an economic interest in Blythe, plus one eight-page letter from Mr. Jack Shahan Ward of Verona, Mo., who grew up in Blythe.

My callers gave many reasons why Blythe did not prosper during the past decades, as those around us, most notably those cities in Arizona, were moving forward. A common thread is perhaps, "Nothing went wrong, but things did not go right the way they should have and/or were expected." Most callers agreed with me that things are poised to start to happen and were optimistic about the future of Blythe once the general economy improves.

For example, we did not realize the full economic benefit from two correctional institutions located just outside of Blythe when they opened over 18 years ago. We were not ready in that we did not have affordable housing available for the many new employees who came to work in our area. We had plenty of low income housing but not the affordable housing as well as slightly upscale apartment housing, which many correctional officers were seeking. Thus a good share of the CO's were commuting from neighboring cities and continue to do so today.

For families who wanted to settle in Blythe, they did not find adequate supplemental employment opportunities for spouse or their teenage children. In addition, a common complaint was a lack of things to do such as shopping and a small choice of restaurants or entertainment. Even today, that is the most common complaint we often hear from those within and those considering relocating to our community.

A few years back our city, in partnership with the Community Improvement Fund, hired a consultant, Buxton Group, to find businesses who may like to locate in Blythe. The public had chance to name the business of their liking to the list. Unfortunately, no business from that list was willing to locate in Blythe. Question - why not?

The answer is not that simple. Motivation to open a business in a particular location is to make money by selling goods or services to that community with large enough population with modest per capita income. Blythe fell short of those criteria. Our population was considered too small in size and a large share of our population are low wage earners or dependent on government assistance programs. That is also the reason many of our local businesses have closed their doors lacking sufficient demand for goods or services.

The economic history of Blythe is not all doom and gloom. We may not have Wal-Mart or Target, Applebee's or IHop, but for our population we still have enough businesses that can provide goods and services we need. In the latest economic downturn, our community actually is doing better than a good share of the rest of the country. Two years ago, thanks in large part to the Community Improvement Fund, a brand new hotel and Subway restaurant were opened on the south side of I-10. It has been followed by a new upscale restaurant, the Red Cactus Bar and Grill. This represents employment opportunities for about 80 young people in Blythe. Dobbs TV and Appliance has expanded their store size and added Ashley Furniture store. Rite Aid has built and moved into a new store. More good news, Dollar General Store will soon break ground for their new store on Hobsonway, as well as a new 81-room, up-scale Hampton Inn on Intake Blvd.

Have you noticed line of concrete trucks on Neighbors Blvd at I-10 from the new mixing plant? I have not even mentioned the construction at Palo Verde College or the solar projects near our community, which have had a definite positive economic effect.

Each one of these additions has added jobs within our community, and provided badly needed sales tax revenue for the city of Blythe, while the rest of the country is struggling, often not showing any growth.

Question - are you ready and willing to support those local businesses and help them to succeed and grow? We all have the freedom to go on line and purchase goods from merchants who have no connection with our community. Each individual has the freedom to travel out of town and spend their money there, but there is a cost of doing so. No, I am not simply talking about the gas money you spend at the pump, but more importantly, doing so costs our local community the needed economic activity to survive, thrive and succeed.

If we want our city and our community to grow and prosper, we need to start supporting each other. When you make purchases at local business, you are creating a chain reaction of events. Your purchase of goods or services creates revenue for the local business owner. From that revenue, the business owner pays salaries of local employees, rent to the landlord, electricians, plumbers, utilities, property tax, not to mention sales taxes to the city. All of that money is now circulating within our local community enabling others to pay their rent, buy groceries, other things for the family as well as enjoying a night out at a local restaurant. If we repeat these actions over and over what kind of effect can we generate for our community?

We often complain about the conditions of our streets, the need for additional police and firemen for our local community. The cycle described above is what generates the needed sales tax and gas tax revenue needed by your city to provide these services. Economist say that every dollar you spend locally has a triple positive impact. Money does not grow on trees, it just circulates.

Think for a minute. Who are those business owners, employees, plumbers, electricians, restaurant servers, firemen, police officers, educators, etc.? They are our neighbors, your friends, and/or family members. Supporting local businesses means more jobs for your sons and daughters and for your neighbors. Before you push that button on your computer keyboard for that on-line purchase or jump in a car to drive out of town for a tank of gas or shopping trip or night out, please stop and think what the negative collateral effect is upon the local economy and your community. The few dollars you may save by taking your purchases out of our community is not worth the cost to your local community of friends, neighbors and family members if they are without a job and the city does not have the tax revenue to provide those services you desire.

As a community we need to grow or we will gradually die. We need to find our own unique answers to our economic future and ensure a history of self-determination for a better future. Please call me, Sam Patel, (760) 285-2858 with your comments and ideas.

Related Links:
• GUEST EDITORIAL: The rise and fall of Blythe: Will it rise once again?


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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Article comment by: EL PICA BUYAS

@ The person that is going by @el pica & c.v. No, not swing at the successful and the well to do, or the hard working business owner. Only at some people that want you to shop here in town. When they themselves shop outside the Cities Limits. As you just wrote here. You have to have a product that people want. Most of the stores here do not cater to low income people. Let's see if you can understand, where I'm coming from. When I used to do all of my shopping here In Blythe, I did not have money left for food or medicines( it was one or the other) that I need, and much less to go to the Doctor. Now that I shop out of town. I have money for the little things in life. Just like that song say's I got 20 dollars in my pocket. I hit the thrift shops once every 4 months. Look, I shop out of town because of necessity. Not because I love long drives. But I take advantage of these trips to see a movie and eat out. I would go to the Red light District on dollar nite, but I do not have a passport to go into Mexico. OK, So, why is everyone ragging on the people that receive assistance and SSI and the working poor. Then some business people get mad, when baby's daddy or daddy's sugarmama does not shop there. Some people rag on them, but they will still take their money with a smile. The power of green. My bank called me,and told me. That if I use my debit card 20 times a month, I could win a prize. I'm lucky if I have enough money to use it 5 times.

Posted: Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Article comment by: @ el pica @c v

The Community Improvement Fund (CIF) AKA as "water money" was established to fund retraining/education programs for the community for lost jobs because of selling water rights. These funds are for GRANTS TO NONPROFIT orgs (CWA, Jcee’s, easter seals) & low interest LOANS for business start up, expansion, etc. These loans need to be paid back. Grants from the government or anywhere are mostly for nonprofit organizations ONLY (PVC, CIF, red cross). Yes, farmers get subsidized, yes they get richer, along with uber wealty wall street. At least I can benefit on wall street by saving & investing. @CV If you have goods to sell (supply) that people want to buy (demand), there is no magical money that appears. This is America, land of hard work & while you work hard, you might realize you have a product people want (opportunity) YOU save, fine tune the product until people are standing in line for it (mcdonalds, iphone, groceries, gas). When u have something that good, go to the BANK or investor & sell your plan for a LOAN OR you dig in to your savings & start your business (like I did). I worked 30 years, then became a business owner. Scrimped, saved, went without Elpica, u aren't telling me about being poor. I paid 35 years of taxes for the takers, but never qualify for any program to get any benefit of my tax money. Actually I don't qualify for anything because I wasn't poor ENOUGH, wasn’t disabled, didn't have 10 illegitimate children & a baby daddy. I did everything right, nothing given to me I bought my clothes from Goodwill for years. I EARNED it, like many successful people who create jobs. We shouldn’t be criticizing successful people for any reason, they earned it.

Posted: Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Article comment by: EL PICA BUYAS

@Christ.V. I guess the poor are not the only ones that know how to game the system. So what is new. The poor want more. And the well todo want even more. OK. This might make me sound more crazy, than I Am. I see Blythe like a Big Ship in the middle of the ocean. That is sinking. The well todo, they have no worries because they have a life raft. They can jump ship anytime. But they won't because there are still supplies in this ship. They will first bleed it dry, and then they will leave. Case in point the Hospital. Then you have some other people, that want to do the same to the people in the lower class. Just like in that movie. Sorry but the only voice, that the poor have is to shop where the prices are low. Is it wrong or immoral to want to make ends meet? Or are we morally obligated to shop here, as the vice mayor wrote in this article? What would you Mr. Business owners do? If you were in my shoes or in the working poor's shoes? Don't get mad, just think about it. What is your answer. In the end it's about wanting your cake and eating it too. (by making ends meet) My pension went up by 25 dollars. But my Medical Insurance also went up by 20 dollars, this year. In October. Well we will just have to see, said my Insurance Carrier. I also pay taxes on my pension Mr. Business owners.

Posted: Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Article comment by: EL PICA BUYAS

@ el pica business owner. I apologize for lumping all business owners together. Here, but just look if you (not you personally) have money. You can take advantage of grants and loans, that other people can't. The thing is that so many poor working or not can't afford to be anymore fugal. I know,what you mean about the takers. I remember back then, before I went out of town to shop.

I was at a grocery store buying food, trying not to spend all of my money, because I still need to buy my medicine. so I was buying the cheapest cut's of meat. At the checkout line There was this young couple buying most of the pieces of meat, That I had passed up because they were just too expensive. And they were paying with food stamps. (ok no meat jokes)

In the end, If I invested in a tank of gas. I found out, that I could buy more out of town and still have money left, Not much but still for dinner and a movie. My case a buffet and a matinee, will have to do once a month.


Posted: Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Article comment by: Chris Vindhurst

@ el pica. I seriously wonder how they were able to recieve grant money to start the new Subway and Hotel when they already own a business. I thought the grants were intended for first time business starters , but I guess by putting the business in a different family members name it doesn't count. I've looked into business start up grants and found many dead ends. You can't get them from the government or state , they give monies to each city and the city allocates those funds as they see fit. I agree that we need more young business owners and there are some young people with drive out there we are just lacking the resources or knowledge of resources I suppose. Honestly what type of business what Blythe sustain that we don't already have? A huge risk of opening a business is what scares most away when your not sure whether or not you will be sustained. Too often I have heard people talk about how much they would love a certain type of store and someone opens it and it falls flat on it's face. Now whether that is because of poor management or lack of business I am unsure.

Posted: Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Article comment by: @ el pica

I am the working poor, even tho I own a business, I barely make ends meet, however I know how to live frugally. You cannot lump all business owners together any more than u can lump all poor people together. Small business contributes much to a community: we hire employees who make money, spend local, pay taxes business pays for rent, electricity, phone, water, garbage to local business. we buy a product locally to turn around and sell locally, keeps more people working we pay sales tax, payroll tax, state tax, IRS tax, county tax, city tax, property tax we pay for inspectors to inspect our business, more jobs we use the post office, UPS, fed ex, more jobs contribute to locals: rec center, high school athletics, Calpal, scholarships, fireworks, fair, 4h, festivals, etc. We pay for advertising, uniforms, general liability insurance, vehicle insurance, workers comp insurance, more jobs. We buy/maintain homes, food, clothing, cars, bank locally, own animals, more jobs. Business buys furniture, computers, phones, equipment, office supplies, have local internet service, security service, etc. The value of small business is priceless. I know el pica is in a certain situation due to good or bad life choices - BUT there is no excuse NOT to open a business if you have any brains at all - that is what will help Blythe and all of us. Imagine the benefit of 10 stores opening up in the next year - think of all the money those 10 stores will generate. I know poor people who give a lot to Blythe by volunteering – why can’t more poor give their time to the community at the senior center, library, rest home, hospital, the parks, etc? Personal responsibility, poor or rich, stop taking from Blythe.

Posted: Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Article comment by: @ el pica

I'm a small business owner in town, & usually a fan of yours. I do offer the lowest price possible, I make a very small profit. I know the economy is fragile, working people don't have alot of extra money, but u have to pay for certain things in life. What u forget is personal responsibility of all members of this community, including the poor. Life is what u make it, too many people take advantage of the system, that I work & pay for. It's your choice to have babies at a young age instead of getting educated enough to raise a child & have a good paying career for life. This is America and the land of opportunity for ALL to get the good life, or NOT. Our leaders make it too easy to sit on your butt and get fed, have the government pay for your children, be clothed, housed, educated, scam the ssi, etc. There is no incentive to work, one reason why Blythe won't grow, where are all the youthful entrepeneurs? Why aren't our youth actually starting businesses & contributing to our society? Why R so many people scamming food stamps, MediCal paying for babies, cashing checks at casino's, u know what i mean. Welfare & charity is designed to help the truly needy & there are those, I'm not talking about them. I'm not talking about people who worked all their lives for social security. I am talking about the so called "disabled" and “needy” who are taking from the coffers, never paid in a dime & are NOT disabled nor needy - u know what I mean.

Posted: Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Article comment by: Wow So smart

Money must be spent in the community for it to grow! Now we are getting focused on our problems. Any other answers?

Posted: Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Article comment by: EL PICA BUYAS

@Christ.V. Yes you are right about these jobs. That were created By these new businesses. I was not going to write anything about that. But it was hard to miss since the vice mayor was tooting his horn about the jobs that were created by his and his family's businesses. Regardless of these jobs he will to spend that 1.2 million dollars out of town. I guess, if you have money, you also get money at a lower loan rate. And people if you do not like the stores here, then open your own store here. I wounder how many people applied for that grant money. To open a business, and were refused. Just because they were not rich.

Posted: Monday, June 10, 2013
Article comment by: Chris Vindhurst

@el pica , You just hit the nail on the head. None of his hotels or Subway were built by locals with all locally bought materials. For the same reason we don't shop here he does not shop here , prices are out of touch. However he did create local jobs by building those I can say that.

Posted: Monday, June 10, 2013
Article comment by: EL PICA BUYAS

Vice Mayor excused himself from the meeting due to potential conflict of interest. Does that mean that the vice mayor and family want to open a new hotel? That 81 room hotel? Please enlighten me Mr. vice mayor. Will you buy the Furniture and carpet from the local stores here Ashley's and Dobbs floor. So what about Fernando's Store that sale almost the same items? What about the linien will the Big K benefit also? Local contractors what about them will you hire locally? Mr vice mayor. This is what you will do. You will make them bid for these jobs and items that are need to set up and run this hotel. The lowest bidder will get your money and they your business. Is this not hypocritical in a way? You tell us to shop and do our business here. Even if the prices are high. But in the end you will go with the lowest bidder. You will justify it by saying that you are a business man and that you need to save as much cost as you can. I think you know where this is leading too.

Posted: Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Article comment by: Covered Parking

Instead of a visitors center, how about some covered parking in the center of town. Put some solar panels on top of it to recoup some of the cost. Then people might want to spend sometime and money.

Posted: Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Article comment by: EL PICA BUYAS

@B. Pratt. So how long have the residents of this Community have been asking the local merchants for competitive and fair prices? Do they care? I think not, if they did they would have lowered their prices. When a person has money it's easy for him to assume others also have the same amount of money. So it's easy for them to say it's an obligation and a duty to shop here. So what happens to that persons obligation to provide for his family. Being a good samaritan to Blythe will not feed or clothes his family. I bet some if not many business owners shop out of town. Do you think that they want to wear the same clothes that the locals buy here. Do you think that a lady business owner would wear a dress that a welfare mama bought here at the k or the Y. The same for that business man. They will justify it by saying appearance is 90% in a business. I could go on and on with examples.

@ The other pica b. I already blog about the migrant workers. With the Simply Frijole bill we had an influx of migrant workers they came from San luis,Mex and mexicali, Mex. The Yuma and El Centro area in the 80's


Posted: Monday, June 3, 2013
Article comment by: @ el pica buyas

Blythe is dying because of bad decisions made over the last twenty or thirty years by our community and state. Those migrant workers you speak of moved well before any water deal. They moved to Yuma, the Imperial Valley, Wenden, Salome, Maricopa and other areas like the ones I mentioned where laws and regulations were easier and where there was more infrastructure to help them grow and prosper. You, I am sure are old enough to remember when Blythe and Yuma were not much different. Then in the 80's and early 90's the produce companies that use to be here built big coolers and processing facilities in Yuma. Multiple large melon companies started up in the arizona desert and pushed many local companies out of business. All of these things led to great growth in those areas and took away from our town Their gain was our pain. Unfortunately our city leaders keep looking for that make Blythe boom industry whether it is solar, the prison, or any other flash in the pan industry that has tromped thru Blythe. The biggest resources Blythe has here is fertile soil and an abundance of usable water yet you never hear any of our city leaders say that we need to promote that area of our economy that can bring jobs back to Blythe. The poor, the rich, the farmers, or any one group are not responsible for the demise of Blythe. The blame goes to everyone from the residents of the community, to our city leaders, to our regional leaders and most importantly to our state leaders. Always trying to be the leader in "how to protect ourselves from ourselves" legislating has destroyed this town and this state.

Posted: Monday, June 3, 2013
Article comment by: Bob Pratt

As a business person, former public service employee, and a consumer I have seen, heard and have the same complaints about Blythe. It's true, we should shop and home and support local businesses. It is an obligation we should accept and without it our existing and new business will not survive. Blythe will dry up as surely as if the river ceased to flow through the valley. Finally, Sam has tried to identify a problem and offer a solution. Let me say this. If businesses don't clean up, stock their shelves, have competitive pricing and DEMAND of them self and their employees that customers be given professional, knowledgeable, friendly and courteous service, survival will not be possible.
The City of Blythe needs to do the same. Take a ride around town and see if your proud to be here. Deferred maintenance can be an incurable virus. Ripley is starting to look better than the city and it's nearly a ghost town.
service



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