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

3 comments

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  1. Mike Hardy
    Mike Hardy 2 November, 2010, 14:52

    Is it not possible that the majority of businesses in the mall were small businesses, all using the maximum they could on credit cards and lines of credit to stock extra inventory – in their stores – for Christmas sales. This is for them a real disaster, I’m sure.

    But it is a better story to bust on the mall operator without thinking much about it, for sure.

    Honestly, as a small business person who had just read an inventory stocking story that afternoon, my first thought when I read about the mall burning down was that there were going to be a lot of mom-n-pop shops that had just gotten stocked up before the building got hosed down. No fun.

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  2. Anthony Pignataro
    Anthony Pignataro 2 November, 2010, 15:17

    Oh yes, mom & pop stores like Sears, JC Penny’s, Victoria’s Secret, Hallmark, Louis Vuitton…

    Reply this comment
  3. Metaspan
    Metaspan 2 November, 2010, 17:42

    Anyone receiving help by way of disaster assistance qualifies on several levels, not the least of which are the number of employees without jobs, and the loss of business income over a recovery period that could last several months. It does not go to profit recovery.

    The fact that federal disaster assistance comes via SBA has NOTHING to do with how big or small the affected business happens to be. It is because this assistance is a LOAN and that is part of what Congress set up the SBA to do.

    I wonder if Mr Pignataro has ever been affected by a disaster that took away his ability to provide for his family?

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