To The Daily Sun,
I have been reluctant to weigh in on the Market Basket (MB) fiasco because I have a son who works at one of the stores. Some at the store who have read my strong opinions on other subjects have wondered why I have been reticent on this subject, so I have decided to give it a shot. I don't need to speak about the negative consequence of a buyout by the Hannaford chain since Tony Boutin has laid out that scenario very well.
The long-running feud between Arthur T. and Arthur S. has been well documented, including fisticuffs at one point. I am sure there is blame on both sides for what has transpired prior to the removal of Arthur T. What seems so suspicious recently, is just why the family member from the Arthur S. side who had been voting for Arthur T and thus giving him the controlling share, decided to flip her vote this year in order to oust Arthur T.
Now I can only speak to the current situation as I understand it. Arthur T. has developed a fine-tuned business model which has handsomely rewarded the shareholders while turning a profit and providing the 25,000 employees with pay and benefits unmatched by other grocery chains. This is an amazing accomplishment all by itself. Yet, he has also provided the customers with lower prices than are offered by the other grocery chains. Finally, he has developed and nurtured a culture that has made every employee (associate) feel like they are part of a family rather than just a faceless name on a paycheck. This in turn has engendered the kind of customer service that has produced the type of customer loyalty rarely seen in the 21st century business world.
That is why we are witnessing a Haley's comet-type rare occurrence. Management, employees (associates) and customers have joined together, throwing caution to the wind, in a no-holes-barred effort to get the person who created this business model back into his role as their leader. One college professor commented that, regardless of the outcome, this Market Basket battle will be one for the ages and will be studied in future business and economic classes.
So we know what the Arthur T. business model has been and could continue to be. What has Arthur S. showed us thus far? He hired two CEOs — Felicia Thornton and James Gooch — who were most recently in charge of failed businesses. Why were those two individuals chosen to take over a thriving business model? James Gooch was recently voted worst CEO of the year by Wealthwire.com. One of the vendors who had been in business with MB for 10 years, Boston Sword and Tuna, has washed its hands of this new MB management after it overpaid them with two checks, $83,000 and $415,000. Boston Sword and Tuna's CEO Tim Malley said the two new CEOs have made one strategic blunder after another. Tim wonders if that is because they are in over their heads or perhaps purposely trying sabotage MB. The associates and we, the customers, wonder as well.
And let's not forget that about a year ago, the board distributed $300 million in funds to its shareholders (nine Demoulas family members). Certainly legal to do, but the timing is rather curious given the subsequent removal of Arthur T. and arrival of Felicia and Jim. It would appear that this new management did not anticipate the backlash that has occurred and have had no plan of action as evidenced by the ensuing public relations disaster. One Boston newspaper columnist commented that their desperate use of intimidation has only resulted in the kind of anger and solidarity not seen since the Boston Tea Party.
In recent years there have been far too many examples of companies being milked for short term profits and then sold off to the highest bidders, loyal employees be damned. All along the parking lots and grassy knolls adjacent to the 71 MB stores, we have witnessed the faces of so many associates displaying the grit, determination and resolve of all the MB associates who are steadfastly telling the new management — "uh, uh, sorry, not gonna happen here."
Way back in 1964, Dionne Warwick sang a song, "Anyone Who Had a Heart." She lamented, "anyone who had a heart would love me too." Well, let me tell you right here and now, no one has more heart than the nearly 25,000 MB associates who are standing together so that quality, fair prices and fierce loyalty can remain alive and well as part of the marvelous Market Basket legacy under Arthur T. Demoulas.
I think I speak for most of your customers when I say we love you all and truly believe that you may actually win this war against the slow, steady erosion of the MB family values structure by this seemingly greedy and callous new management. In any event, I salute you all.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 August 2014 09:18
To The Daily Sun,
I have recently moved to Laconia to be closer to my family, and I felt it was important to register to vote. I never anticipated how difficult it would be for a senior citizen with many forms of identification to vote.
After a couple of unsuccessful attempts to register I decided to contact state Sen. Andrew Hosmer and explain my situation. He returned my call promptly and said he would look into it for me. A very short time later, he called me again with a list of documents I would need and we made plans to meet at Laconia City Hall. Sen. Hosmer met me at the City Clerk's office and the staff were very helpful.
At a time when our faith in elected leaders is low, it's nice to know that Laconia is represented by someone like Sen. Hosmer. He listens, he follows through on commitments and he goes out of his way serve people — even if it is a new resident of Laconia.
Thank you Senator Hosmer and the staff in the City Clerk's office.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 August 2014 09:10
To The Daily Sun,
Democrats have always believed the public would fall in love with Obamacare. They see it as one step closer to donkey heaven, where government pays for their health care with someone else's money
Democrats must be beside themselves with horror and frustration. The public hasn't embraced it after four years. In addition, the health law rollout last October was a three-stooges disaster of epic proportion, proving once again the bottomless pit of money supplied to government by taxpayers only ensures total incompetence, mismanagement and eventual bankruptcy for whatever government operates.
Nancy Pelosi laughingly suggested, "We need to pass Obama care to find out what's in it. Democrats did pass it without the support of a single Republican in the Senate or House. More importantly, without majority support of the American people. Democrats own the public's dislike and unhappiness with Obamacare all by themselves.
The "rubber hits the road" evidence on Obamacare is coming in fast. Exchange premiums for 2015 are set to increase on average more than three times the rate of inflation, with many states seeing double-digit percentage increases. Tens of millions of Americans are paying much higher insurance costs, handcuffed to sky-high deductibles tied to less choice and access to both doctors and hospitals. Emergency room visits for non-emergency problems are still setting records while the nation's courts keep declaring parts of Obamacare are unlawful. A potentially fatal flaw has been discovered.
The Obama administration used individual federal health subsidies as a cudgel to brow-beat states into submission. The law unambiguously states subsidies to buy health insurance can only be offered by states that set up exchanges. Thirty-six states refused to set up exchanges. The billions these 36 states have handed out in subsides are all illegal. This dispute is headed to the Supreme Court. There is an excellent chance Obama will lose there, again. No one in the current Congress or the new one in November is going to change one word of the law. Obamacare will become a dead man walking.
Here is the latest polling information from the non-partisan, nonprofit, Kaiser Family Foundation, based in ultra liberal California whose history and advocacy in health care date back to 1948: 37 percent of Americans hold a favorable view of Obamacare, while 53 percent hold an unfavorable view. When asked if Obamacare directly helped or hurt them, 15 percent of respondents said it had helped them, 28 percent said it had hurt them. Nearly twice as many were harmed as helped. Fifty-six percent said it had no effect at all. Clearly, the last group has missed the fact they are paying higher taxes and higher prices for medical products while getting nothing in return. They too have been harmed. The unfavorable polling will increase further when they figure it out.
Over the past several polls since Obamacare became a reality the increases in unfavorable and decreases in favorable are seen across both parties. The increase in unfavorable crosses all income groups, ethnicities and races. Americans have opened the " Obamacare box" that Pelosi referred to. Now most Americans are ready to bury her, Obama and Democrats in it, with no headstone. They will in November.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 August 2014 09:06
To The Daily Sun,
To suggest that Senator Shaheen supported the stimulus package in 2009 for personal financial gain is an egregious accusation that has no merit. She has always supported women's health because she knows it is the right thing to do.
As our governor, she signed into law a bill that would guarantee women could receive healthcare coverage from their employer. Now as a U.S. senator, Jeanne Shaheen continues to stand up for women's health issues. She co-sponsored legislation that would provide better access to contraceptives and family planning counseling to women in the military, and women who have family members in the military. In addition, Senator Shaheen has supported legislation that would provide preventative healthcare, like mammograms for free, to women.
So, with all of this in mind, I don't know how anyone could suggest she supported women's health issues for personal gain. I trust Sen. Shaheen to continue to support meaningful legislation and do what is best not only for women, but everyone in New Hampshire.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 August 2014 09:03
To The Daily Sun,
I would like to comment on Mr. Matthew Tetreault's letter regarding his resigning from his job as custodian with the Laconia School District. What a breath of fresh air! This gentleman is a perfect example of getting out of something what you put into it. His service was rewarded ten fold with memories and pride, and his simple few words of wisdom for the students and alumni are all that our young people need to remember: "live well, do what is right, have a good work ethic, be kind to others....".
Thanks for brightening our day with your letter.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 August 2014 10:11