At Everett Alvarez High School in Salinas, Calif., 23 students have written to the local Gannett newspaper, The Californian.com, in support of a proposal for a local flea market. The swap meet had been proposed for a site at the Salinas Sports Complex by the California Rodeo Association, who uses the site for its well-regarded rodeo. The student letters, published today, June 3, present a wide range of comments in favor of the market.
The valedictorian of the graduating class, Sam Degregori, also sent a letter to the editor on the subject of the economic benefits of the flea market. He writes, “This flea market would benefit the city because it would attract people from different places. This will increase the circulation of money in the city because they will consume products from other stores in Salinas.” Degregori, who plans to attend California State University, Long Beach, on an academic presidential scholarship, was the captain of the Everett Alvarez Highwater polo and swimming teams as well as president of the Chemistry Club, according to the Californian.
Other students had compelling points to make as well. Consider these intelligent and heartfelt arguments excerpted from the letters:
“I realize the concerns of small-business owners trying to survive in a declining economy. However, other businesses should not be denied the right to operate.” — Sienna Poudrier
“Rejecting the flea market also goes against the idea of free market and free enterprise.” — Adriana Rocha
“If the City Council members are truly looking to improve the economy and stamina of this small agricultural city, why is the idea of a flea market along North Main Street allowed to be shot down by nothing more than the inconvenience of a bit of heavy traffic and business competition?” — Megan Leonard
“Considering our poor economy, this flea market would open the opportunity for the people of Salinas to have a job.” — Aundrea Esparza
“Don’t allow the barriers of discrimination to hold back the opportunity to create a business that will open up jobs for the minorities and allow healthy competition to be expressed!” — Alexis Muñoz
Sadly, the efforts of the students are moot, seeing as the flea market proposal was voted down in March, when the Salinas City Council rejected it on a 4-2 vote, per FleaMarketZone’s report at the time. According to California Rodeo Association general manager Roger LaFountain, “this year is kind of a dead issue, since we have filled up all the dates we had set aside for the flea market.” LaFountain says that plans for next year depend on the market organizer, Lupe Campos.
Campos says he is discouraged, and he may try again in 2012, or he may try a location in a different community. Campos tells FleaMarketZone that the swap meet proposal was a no-brainer that would have given a home to the many unlicensed, untaxed, informal merchants currently selling on the street or in their home. “Open a flea market, and all these people can have a license,” he says, “and the city and state will collect sales taxes, while also helping people.” Campos was encouraged by the student letters, he adds. “I think they’re great, and very supportive.” Graduation ceremonies for the Everett Alvarez High School Class of 2011 took place yesterday.