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home : opinions : opinions October 4, 2015

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.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, June 3, 2013
Article comment by: I'm just saying

Let the Mayor and council do their jobs! They r doing an OK job for what was left on the table. Someone has to clean it up before they get started! As for the hospital that is a another story! They need HELP!!!!

Posted: Monday, June 3, 2013
Article comment by: To EL PICA BUYAS

GREED and POWER the Hospital is a perfect example!

Posted: Monday, June 3, 2013
Article comment by: Been there done that`

Sam why oh why did you let that police chief smith have his job back after he wrote letter saying God have mercy on blythe...that was your first mistake the second is the do nothing mayor and money man d lane town manager as long as their there nothing will get better

Posted: Sunday, June 2, 2013
Article comment by: EL PICA BUYAS

@ el pica guy. I don't drink alcohol or go to restaurants here. I treat myself once a month, when I do my shopping out of town. The farmers never fired anyone that is true. They would hire a contractor to employ field workers on a seasonal basics for crops. So when they stopped growing the crops there was no need to employ these people. But what I wrote are just examples of what is going on here. The Businesses here target high end clients. When these people, that have money will also shop out of town or also go to restaurants out of town. You say that they have a 6 million dollar fund to help business start. OK! Then who decides who gets the seed money? Let me guess. Other business owners? Right or am I wrong. I'm just tired of hearing it's because of the poor people, that Blythe can't get ahead, or any new chain stores will come. So what should the City of Blythe do? Deport all of the people that make under 30,000 dollars, also with SSI, and welfare? Let me tell you even if you got rid of, of us poor people here. The people with the big pay checks would still not shop if they could help it. So you have to ask. Why not. Maybe when you find the answer. Blythe will have a chance of growing. Love or hate me. Ask why is Blythe dying is it because of the poor people or because of bad management and greed.

Posted: Sunday, June 2, 2013
Article comment by: @ el pica buyas

There seems to only be one business owner here complaining and that is Mr. Patel himself. Got to love how a "man of the people" promoted hotels, a fast food joint, and a restaurant the he or his family members own and operate. Pica, you really need to get out of town more if you think the bars and restaurants here charge high prices. I lived in the LA area for two years and was shocked the first time I ordered a drink at a bar there and the bartender told me that my drink was 8 bucks for the same drink I got in blythe bars for 4 bucks. Finally people like you want to blame the farmers for "selling their water rights" but why don't you find out first how many people got let go thanks to the water deal. Most farmers laid nobody off and are constantly looking for more help. You also seem to forget about the businesses that have been given assistance in their start up from the six million dollar fund. How many jobs has that helped create that I am sure are better jobs than working in the field. Think about all that for a little bit.

Posted: Sunday, June 2, 2013
Article comment by: EL PICA BUYAS

@ Eye am. You people, that are the BUSINESS OWNERS. So may I ask who is the one that brought race into this discussion? So in your mind you see someone from the Middle East, and that means Motel or 7-11 to you. Give me a break lady. You just showed your true colors.

Posted: Saturday, June 1, 2013
Article comment by: EL PICA BUYAS

Now I guess the new new whiners are the business owners here in town. It's not my fault, that I'm not selling much in my store or that no other New businesses want to come to Blythe. So now they point the finger at the poor people of this community. Yes, blame it on the unfortunate that have to live off Social Security and welfare, or the hard working people that work hard in their low paying jobs. Maybe you businesses owners should pay your employees more. What about the people that lost their jobs through no fault of their own, Like the City workers, The people at Albertsons that were replaced by out side workers, and the migrant workers that also lost their jobs due to the selling of the water rights. So you people want to sell Gucci,and Rolex Watches to the poor, and then you get mad because no one is buying your merchandise. So what is the use of another store or restaurant opening here if it's just going to be another high price place. So what's the price of a beer at a Bar now? the last time I drank it was one dollar, Mix Drink two dollars. Now? Maybe this will give you and idea why no one is buying much. At those high price Bars and restaurants.

Posted: Saturday, June 1, 2013
Article comment by: From Someone Who Cares

Sam, I want to point out that your recent articles are written because you either are reporting your view point as a councilman’s final year or a future candidate for re-election. Maybe your articles should come out quarterly. Mike Evans told us his goals in the beginning and he has proven to have met some of them. I know you have supported him.
We are in an environment of a poor economy and it is global. I hear that we are getting another cheap $ store in East Blythe to add to the two we already have. Have you noticed the hurt it did to the first dollar store? Did you care when Subway mobilized next to Love kin Liquor Deli? Have you wondered how, Halby’s, Yellow mart and Diva’s have stayed open? The new Rite Aid is too small and leaving the Albertsons building empty was not cool. Parking was sure better and the convenience of going to both places without having to re- park was better for me. Have you noticed how many law enforcement agencies we have around here?
As for my suggestion, set 5 year future goals to make what we have a better place, that are realistic, attainable, and do your very best to meet them. What we need is a leader that is willing to listen to everyone not just the rich who will support their campaign.
This town use to get by with simple pleasures. Poverty, drugs, dust and whiteflies are trying to take over.

Posted: Saturday, June 1, 2013
Article comment by: Why Not

I am going on my 11th year working for the prison, just like many of my peers and now constructions personnel too, we don't really called Blythe home!! At one point Blythe was my home but after years and years of no sign of progress it was time to pick up and leave. I have spent my money locally and out of town. The local politic here are just out of this world, enough have been said but I will mention it one more time, the deal breaker for many residents local or not, was when we saw the tail lights of Walmart heading down the 95 and stopping at Parker. How many off you make that trip every week? And where do you get gas while you're there? We can't even get an am/pm !!! It's not the location or the weather that keeps people from coming here, but the lack of progress and no hope for better businesses that keeps families from joining this community.

Posted: Saturday, June 1, 2013
Article comment by: Eye Am

El-Pica What do you mean by "you people" ? Are you talking about hotel owners or are you being flat out racist ? - Here's the deal , in case it hasn't penetrated your thick scull . - Sam is a shameless supporter of Blythe and asks for nothing in return. Have you been on the City council lately ? When a Committee to clean up the area was created do you know who showed up - Sam Patel , When Countless car washes to benefit the untimely deceased are run , do you know who shows up ? Probably not anyone we know by the name of El Pica whatever. You need to keep your negative comments to yourself, you never know, it may be Sam Patel who's rooting for you in the future.

Posted: Saturday, June 1, 2013
Article comment by: From Afar

I spent almost 15 years in Blythe and I too thought it had potential and watched as positive things that would have benefited Blythe slip away. Blythe continued on its decline. You have a few things that are negative and keep pulling you further down and one of those is your Hospital. It has sucked money and resources out of your town and has not and will not give back in a real way.
Walmart would of been very beneficial to the economy of Blythe and assisted those who can not drive to obtain goods at a fair price. Lawsuits and bad talk left you with nothing again!
You need to let what is bad for your community "die" and work to bring positive back to Blythe.

Posted: Friday, May 31, 2013
Article comment by: I'm just saying

Sam support hotels because he is a owner of one! For the most part I think the Mayor and council r doing a decent job for what is/was presented to them when they took over. Times r tough! Like I told El Pica this is a welfare town its hard to support when the majority is broke. Back in the day the people in Blythe had pride in themselves by working and not collecting welfare. If/when we ever get nice restaurants you can't get good help these days. The new generation of kids r lazy. They want a hand out. I know that the Mayor and council do a lot of extra and donate time and money to get this city somewhat together.

Posted: Friday, May 31, 2013
Article comment by: Joe Willy

Sam I wished we had more like you running our little town but as long as you have lane and smith and the do nothing mayor we have, nothing will change! They have the power and money to keep Blythe in the good ol boy club!

Posted: Thursday, May 30, 2013
Article comment by: Confused ...

With a substantial number of the population of Blythe living with some form of help from the govt. how is it that their money is to be spent in Blythe? Albertson's is absurdly overpriced and gas prices are ridiculous. What growth are you talking about? 5 schools, an emergency Medical Center and 20+ new businesses have opened in the short 5 yrs I've lived in MY community. Yes, the monopoly system still exists my friends and you are living under it.

Posted: Thursday, May 30, 2013
Article comment by: Been here a long time Gal

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