Westfield Is A Small Business?!

Anthony Pignataro:

In addition to voting today, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger also asked the U.S. Small Business Administration to declare Placer County a “disaster area.” His reason: the Oct. 21 fire that damaged the Westfield Galleria in Roseville.

“[T]here will be an overwhelming economic impact to many businesses in the mall, as well as in the surrounding community,” Schwarzenegger wrote to SBA Field Operations Center West Director Alfred E. Judd. “In light of this information, I request you declare Placer County a disaster area in order to provide assistance in the form of disaster loans for those adversely affected by this incident.”

Um, wha? Since when is Westfield Galleria — part of the Westfield Group, which is an international conglomerate worth $61 billion — a “small business” deserving of special assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration? Since when is a fire at a shopping mall (that didn’t even injure anyone) a “disaster” that will plague an entire county?

And since when… oh, why bother. Arnold is just being Arnold: if there’s a free handout from the fed out there, he’ll grab at it. Also, Westfield helped him out during his 2006 reelection campaign (to the tune of $44,600 according to this California Secretary of State campaign finance chart), so I guess he’s just returning a little of that love.

Of course, the ironic truth is that the Roseville mall’s damage and partial closure actually helps local small businesses — people gotta shop somewhere, you know, so if they can’t go the mall, they’ll just have to go elsewhere, perhaps even to some mom & pop store that’s somehow still open…

NOV. 2, 2010

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