Readers debate Asian influence on Main Street vacancies, an Alhambra Central Park, and Valley Boulevard construction

Readers discussed Alhambra businesses closing their doors, responding to Nathan Solis’s story about Main Street vacancies with a particularly heated exchange about whether Asian residents are at fault. Another hot-button item was the proposition that the vacancies should be turned into green space. And the state budget crisis's effect on public schools triggered criticism of the Valley Boulevard construction.

One reader blamed Alhambra's Asian population for business closures, claiming they don’t support businesses that aren’t owned by other Asians. “My wife & I were at the ‘Diner on Main’ for breakfast and saw one Asian family eating there,” wrote Tommy Wilson-O’Brien. “But several of the Asian restaurants on Valley Blvd. had lines of people waiting to get in…All the places that were mentioned in this article were NOT supported by the local Asian community… There is your problem, open your eyes and you'll see it on a daily basis.”

“I can tell you it comes down to preferences in taste and price,” countered Robert Kim. “Taste, because believe it or not, some people find non-Asian food to be exotic and bizarre, like some people find Asian food to be exotic and bizarre. It's what people are accustomed to eating, and old habits die hard.”

Dan Bednarski agreed. “Customers are not entirely to blame. Businesses need to adjust to the marketplace," he wrote. "Those that don't will have a tougher time. Certain businesses have been very good at attracting less assimilated Asians by catering to their tastes.”

To which Wilson-O’Brien replied, “Dan… these are the exceptions and not the norm.”

Some readers asked for more green spaces, calling for the city to focus on parks and outdoor gathering places rather than urban development. “Rather than another huge development at the old Mervin's [sic] shopping center,” wrote guillermo martinez, “the city should condemn the property, take it over by eminent domain, and plant grass, palm trees, running streams, walkways, etc,. Why allow a developer to build another huge commercial, residential building which will increase traffic, pollution, and unneeded businesses…A park would beautify Main Street, a new huge development would just be more of the same.”

“I support this idea!” wrote Jesse Chang. “Central Park in Alhambra please!”

But reader John Gacis believes the city’s large-scale development will improve Main Street. “The main downtown areas on Main St. is still in transition,” he wrote. “Placing residential units there is important because it places residents within walking range of many business establishments.”

Nathan’s story wasn’t the only one that caused readers to question Alhambra’s construction projects. Reader Jose Garcia criticized the road developments on Valley Boulevard in a response to Jennifer Smith’s story about the city’s school budget cuts. His comment suggested that the city take road construction funding and put it into the school system. “Come on council members, get your head out of you know where and think about the kids and the teachers of our communities. After all, they're the real heroes!”

Adam Bray-Ali explained that the city couldn’t simply switch over the funds. “One thing to consider is that the way government spending works now is that it is split into silos. The budgets for the road construction probably come from a variety of sources including the federal or state government and are specifically targeted at road construction.”

He continued by suggesting a solution. “As a parent of a 1st grader in Alhambra,” he wrote, “I know that these budget cuts will impact my son and his educational opportunities. My family contributes money directly to the schools here in Alhambra and if you want to make a positive impact it's up to us as parents and neighbors to support our school beyond the basic budgets provided by the state.”

2 thoughts on “Readers debate Asian influence on Main Street vacancies, an Alhambra Central Park, and Valley Boulevard construction”

  1. ” One reader blamed Alhambra’s Asian population for business closures, claiming they don’t support businesses that aren’t owned by other Asians. “My wife & I were at the ‘Diner on Main’ for breakfast and saw one Asian family eating there,” wrote Tommy Wilson-O’Brien. “But several of the Asian restaurants on Valley Blvd. had lines of people waiting to get in…All the places that were mentioned in this article were NOT supported by the local Asian community… There is your problem, open your eyes and you’ll see it on a daily basis.” “

    This is a completely ridiculous and fallacious comment. Maybe he should realize that Asians and Asian Americans do not frequent places like Diner on Main simply because their food does not taste good. I have been there myself and honestly, it’s not good. On the other hand, the Asian restaurants on Valley serve delicious food.

    Asians/Asian Americans do support non-Asian businesses. Just look at how well a place like 38 Degrees is doing. It comes down to the quality and the taste of food, not whether it is Asian-owned or not.

  2. To the one reader blamed Alhambra’s Asian population for business closures,consumer behavior can’t be forced. Non-asian businesses are also Alhambra businesses just the same. Now if we flip the coin, how much does he support that?

    LIKE the park idea at the Mervin’s site. However, the City Govt really has to think about the fiscal impacts of a park versus a business development project so please be diligent. Perhaps having vacancies on Main Street already signifies that supply of business spaces is already over demand for it so maybe a park is appropriate. We can always use it for festivities which in turn, will benefits all the surrounding businesses at the end.

    I think this is a worthy debate and public discussion – something good will come out of this. 🙂

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