Thursday, July 16, 2009

Lennie "The Heckler" Chism Debates The Fate Of "Uncle Bill's"

Image Forwarded By Lennie Chism

As reported in a previous blog post, click here, Lennie "The Heckler" Chism says he has a plan to save the Uncle Bill's store, a notorious building which appears mere moments away from demolition. Though my good friend Don Allen is in favor of Lenny's grand plan, I have my own opinion and I oppose it. My position is that if some developer with a good history and plenty resources came into the picture, any plan might be worth considering but (please!) Lenny Chism?

His talk is much bigger than his walk.

All the same, both Don Allen and I believe in a free and open debate. Lennie emailed me over this issue and I'm happy to share the picture he sent and his communication in that regard, as follows...


If there is a need for a grocery store in the community, if my solution is opposed, what is the solution to the grocery store problem?

Mississippi Market has assisted in the revitalization of the Rondo Community on Selby and Dale. Mississippi Market provides 60-70 full and part-time jobs, brings revenue to the community, and promotes the livability of the community.

Again I ask, if there is a need for a grocery store in the community, if my solution is opposed, what is the solution to the grocery store problem?

I want to be one the people in the picture enjoying a cup of coffee, a sandwich, and visiting with the community like they do at Cuppa Java (there is not an outside eating spot on the Northside).

Lennie Chism

Executive Director/Founder


1901 Glenwood Ave North

Minneapolis, MN 55405

JNS responds as follows:

Lennie, Lennie, Lennie. Are you really trying that old and tired rhetorical trick of "if my solution isn't the right one, then tell me your solution or quit opposing mine"?

Lennie, if we were trapped on a desert island, running out of food and drinkable water, and you suggested committing suicide by jumping off a coconut tree, I'd be opposed to your lame solution. That doesn't mean, however, that I'd have an idea how to get rescued or provide resources right at that moment. All the same, the fact I couldn't come up with a viable counter-proposal to your idea off suicide-by-coconut tree DOES NOT OBLIGATE ME to become part of your scheme. I might even try to talk you out of YOUR plan.


Lennie, the old "suggest a better idea or quit opposing mine" argument is inherently stupid. If good and workable plans were so easy to come by, would we have so many difficult, lingering problems in this world? Clearly, we would not.

But, Lennie, can I really expect complex intellectual debate from somebody who heckles a public official and just shouts the same stuff over and over, as you did during the Fifth Ward DFL Convention?

No, it appears, I can't.

The very same plan in the hands of a different person might actually get me excited. But what does this remind me of? 

Oh, gee, Ben Myers and Jerry Moore trying to save the Big Stop Store.


Katie said...

Co-ops are usually so underfunded that they can't support that many full time jobs. I think those statistics are taken from the combined total of both stores. And there is a lot of competition for grocery managers and the like.

A friend of mine recently competed for a produce manager position in DC. Competition is stiff - just because a co-op is in NoMi doesn't mean that the people working there will live in Nomi.

Co-ops, and the organic business in general, isn't the walk in the park that people think. It's cutthroat. You pay through the nose for product that you can get conventionally for half the price, and you can't have a huge mark-up.. or your customers will drive the extra two miles to Cub.

Anonymous said...

Uncle Bills is dead... Next time to move on on. UP WITH SRPINGBOARD!!!!

Anonymous said...

I don't think Lennie has looked into Mississippi market more than driving past it. They struggled for a long time, pretty much cannibalized their first location to support the second one, which by, the way isn't in Rondo, it's pretty much in the Cathedral Hill neighborhood, blocks from Summit Ave, which totally gentrified in the 90s, with many other subsidized and unsubsidized businesses and shops around it. The uncle bill's neighborhood isn't anything even remotely like that.

JNS Reader said...

OMG, who put that mockup together? Lolz...

veg*nation said...

thank you, JNS, for being able to see this hastily put-together, pie-in-the-sky, and potentially extremely damaging "plan" for what it is.

the northside isn't going to move forward until we start demanding more than a few pretty words that we want to hear.

the proposed location is completely inappropriate for a grocery store, and lennie chism is breaking the neighbors hearts by trying to shove it down our throats. shame on him.