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Live Blog: Council Approves Target on First Reading

Check our live updates of the city council meeting tonight.

We'll be posting live updates from tonight's city council meeting. This morning, we that the city council will vote on the proposed Target store for the Shoreline Center after reviewing a community impact report that looked at the store's potential effects on the area.

The agenda and the CIR are available to the right. Check back in to see what's going on.

12:43 a.m. Council approves the first reading and introduced resolutions with the understanding that they will return on May 16 for a secone vote.

12:11 a.m. Mayor Al Boro says downtown San Rafael is solid. "We've received emails from all over the country and the all over the world telling us to not approve Target...To introduce ideologies to local decisions is counterproductive," he says.

"We seem to have a double standard," Boro says. "We've never required this type of information of any major retailer that wants to come to this city."

Due to the sales taxes and potential jobs, Boro supports Target.

12:07 a.m. Council member Barbara Heller would be proud to welcome Target to San Rafael.

12:00 a.m. I don't believe that a Target would damage downtown or Forth Street San Rafael and I never have, Brockbank says. There are several "big box" stores through out San Rafael but I want to ask if this is good for the city. "I don't want it to be just about the money, because if it is then that's not good enough," he says.

With such a discrepancies in local hiring, Brockbank says he cannot vote for Target.

11:54 p.m. Connolly says that he ran for office with a different vision of San Rafael. That vision included local businesses that include biking to those locations and making a vibrant downtown. "I believe there is a significant risk to this vision if we allow Target," he says.

11:46 p.m. "This is not a choice between Target and nothing" but a choice between what is sustainable for the community says Connolly. According to the data, we saw as much as a 50 percent differential in wages, far more part-time jobs, work less hours and have a small participation rate in healthcare benefits, he says.

11:43 p.m. "It is not inappropriate for Target to be here," Levine says. "And I think we can do something to make the public benefits make sense for San Rafael."

11:26 p.m. "The Canal used to be referred to as a 'food desert.'" Levine says. Approximately one quarter of San Rafael's population is located in the Canal neighborhood, but there are no available markets in the immediate area and Target could be valuable, according to Levine.

11:15 p.m. The best part of this process has been the community involvement, council member Marc Levine says. Diversity in sales could be helpful when facing economic issues, he says.

11:07 p.m. Public comment closed. A total of 51 people spoke during the public comment period.

10:46 p.m. Bill Carney from Sustainable San Rafael says the store's isolated location could cause serious environmental impacts that not mitigated and nothing in the CIR has addressed those concerns. Carney also says that the council should not focus too much on the increase in revenues without looking at the impact on local businesses. "Don't put all the eggs in one basket," he says.

9:55 p.m. "What we find with low-wage workers, is that they can't afford health-care," says Jennifer Rienks, the Marin Healthcare District director. She urges council members to reject a Target in San Rafael.

9:40 p.m. Crossing guard Jan Gaye lives in the Canal neighborhood and wants the council to approve the Target to provide inexpensive products to low-income workers who can't afford those products at current stores now. "You've allowed a whole Canal area to move in and now you're going to say 'Opps! You're not going to let them shop in a store they like," she says.

"Some of you are very out of touch with low-income people," she says.

9:35 p.m. Jeff Roades says if the council votes yes, they vote for consumer choice for the community and they vote yes for entry level jobs for young workers.

9:30 p.m. Each Target location gives an average of $80,000 each year. "I'm a philanthropist, and that's pathetic," Frieman says.

9:25 p.m. Jonathan Frieman from Keep It Local San Rafael explains that Target is similar to Wal-Mart. "California is one of the toughest for small business, why hurt them more," he says. No Marin County supervisors support the store.

9:20 p.m. Public comment begins.

8:45 p.m. Meeting adjourns for a 15 minute break and then public comment will begin.

8:29 p.m. We have a whole lot of people who can't afford to pay for the health plan, Brockbank says. The AECOM report states five percent of the Target employees live in their communities. AECOM gets data from the Internal Revenue Service. Treber says 85 percent of Target employees live within two miles of the store, according to Target headquarters. "What are we to believe? Everything is dependent on this," Brockbank says. "It all crumbles and falls apart if [the employees] are coming in from somewhere else."

8:20 p.m. It is of interest to us how many employees can afford to participate in the health care plan, Connolly repeated to the Target officials. None of the Target representatives did not have the information. 

8:10 p.m. "A Target would help begin to reverse the current negative trend of job loss in Marin County," says Jamie Tajii, the Bay Area human relations manager for Target. The store would add 250 temporary local construction jobs and 200 permanent jobs and would add $3.6 million in payroll. By 2015, the net jobs would be 164 and the net payroll would be $2.4 million.

7:55 p.m. Treber says that Target plans to add some community benefits. Target will give $25,000 a year to San Rafael Public Library for the next 10 years.

7:48 p.m. "This report represents the most conservative impacts possible," says Brian Treber, Senior Regional Real Estate Manager for Target. "There is already sales that are leaving San Rafael right now and going to Novato." Last year, 380,000 transactions were recorded in the Novato store.

7: 40 p.m. Mayor Al Boro comments on the increase in drug stores and groceries, like CVS Pharmacy, Trader Joe's and Whole Foods, in the area since Target first proposed the a store, and the trend toward combining food stores and other merchandise. "This is apparently is a trend," Mayor AL Boro said. "This is a change nationwide."

7:34 p.m. "One of the things that I think about San Rafael is the density of the downtown with workplaces and residences," Levine says. "I wonder if that played into the economic vitality of those downtowns" when AECOM conducted their analysis on the case studies in the report. AECOM used Davis, Livermore, Napa, Novato, San Mateo and Walnut Creek as case studies for the possible effects of introducing a Target. 

7:28 p.m. Quinn, responding to council member Marc Levine's questions, says that there weren't many changes in demand of services in cities where Target opened. 

7:15 p.m. Donnolly questions the grocery component in Target. Is it safe to say that Target's business plan wants to get people in there for groceries and then steer them toward clothes and other products, he asked. Quinn agreed that that is a goal of Target.

7:10 p.m. Quinn is not aware of how many employees actually opt for benefits. "Eligibility is by far different from participation," Connolly says.

7:05 p.m. Council member Damon Connolly says the average pay for someone in San Rafael working in food and beverage retail stores is $36, 699, roughly 50 percent more than the average salary Target offers. The community impact report states that there is an eight percent difference.

6:57 p.m. Council member Greg Brockbank asks how does the data explain Target's claims that 85 percent of their employees live within two miles of the city their store is in, when the community impact report shows that many of the employees commute to the store.

6:50 p.m. Quinn says there would be a $646,000 net fiscal impact on the General Fund and a net impact of 164 employees. Annual salary of retail employees would be $18,000. The average retail annual salary is $20,000, he said.

6:45 p.m  Quinn says that it could happen that when shoppers go into a Target, they might pick up some items on impulse, but most grocery stores offer a much wider selection of products. "When you decide to go to those places, it different when you go to Target," he said. After taking out the sales lost due to competition, the net gain would be $44.5 million in sales, he said.

6:40 p.m. Quinn explains that there is a demand for general merchandise and clothing stores in downtown San Rafael that is currently not being met by the current businesses.

6:35 p.m. Alexander Quinn, director of sustainable economics from AECOM, said the new Target store would result in 200 new jobs, and add $54 million in sales, which would be a net sales increase of 3.6 percent. And groceries and drug stores would experience the most competition.

6:30 p.m. The environmental impact report that previously analyzed the effects of a Target says there were four impacts linked to traffic that cannot be mitigated, Jensen said.

 6:25 p.m. City Planning Manager Paul Jensen says the Target would be built on a  closed landfill that is regulated by the county health department. The proposed store includes a large entrance plaza, an outdoor sitting area and a parking lot.

6:20 p.m. City Manager Nancy Mackle asks the public comment be limited to the community impact report, the staff report or the presentation from Target's representatives.

6:12 p.m. Council Chambers are full. The meeting is about to begin.

Jane Gray April 22, 2011 at 06:04 PM
I noted back when the big earthquake barely harmed Marin County, that it was BECAUSE WE ARE built ON UNDERGROUND WATER, THIS HELPED SAVE US FROM DAMAGES. If that is the case, then that wet land fill is a great place to build in earthquake territory! I myself am amazed at what the city of San Rafael got from the Target folks, like a glass wall, to see the bay from inside the Target eating area,,,,,,, this is just like the IKEA across the bay with their sweeping views. And at the last midnight hour, some of the nay sayers were also wanting Target to front another eighty thousand for a park near the store,,,,, LOL, I had never seen such BARGAIN hunting in a long long time! jan Gay
WAB April 23, 2011 at 01:15 AM
I believe the minimum wage in CA is $8/hr. People who have not had a paycheck in a year will not turn that down; and I don't think they would thank anyone for denying them even that paycheck-that's the reality of the economy. As for San Rafael being a sanctuary city: yes it is whether you like it or not; the people that it's helped need to work to have some self esteem and get their lives on track. Is it really better for that population to depend on programs and charity rather than entering a work force? They can become part of society. People without jobs often turn to lives of crime. Becoming a Target employee can be a stepping stone to better jobs. This whole dog and pony show has put doing business in San Rafael in a bad light. Target is to be commended for even putting up with the conditions that have been forced upon them. They must really want to be in our community to endure everything short of funding the pensions and salaries of the city. Any company will think twice about moving to San Rafael after watching what hoops Target has had to jump through to even be deemed worthy of locating in this city. Judging by the many vacancies in the downtown shopping area, San Rafael should be welcoming any kind of business wanting to move in.
P April 23, 2011 at 02:48 AM
what on earth is Mark Levine talking about when he says there are no available markets in the area of the canal? Has he been here at all any time within the last year? Exactly what would he call the huge Mi Pueblo if it's not a market? And while I'm thrilled that people in the canal district have a close and possibly less expensive place to shop, it has definitely impacted traffic which will happen much more if the Target is allowed-
Edwin Drake April 23, 2011 at 05:13 AM
Target is not all that cheap in any area but, maybe, clothing, and what they're willing to pay.
Stewart Ross April 28, 2011 at 06:08 PM
It appears that a good percentage of nay sayers on the target proposal are either strong unionists or people who in general oppose all innovation. Pretty soon they'll find a lizard that needs protection on the site and fight it on ecological grounds. As a 45 year resident of San Rafael, I support building the store. I am tired of driving to Novato to buy my vitamins at a reasonable price!!

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