Letter: Whole Foods debate should not be silenced

July 22, 2011

Heartfelt thanks to the editor of the JP Gazette for the editorial in the June 10 issue (“Whole Foods arrests a bad sign of the times”).

We attended the June 2 Whole Foods meeting and were immediately surprised at the heavy police presence. We watched as the Whole Foods management team put on their slick PowerPoint presentation, arrogantly ignoring that the community had been hotly debating their planned arrival since January. This added to the insult of postponing any public meeting until June 2.

But more insulting was the use of Boston police, hired by Whole Foods, who intimidated dissenters, arrested peaceful protesters and finally shut down the meeting.

No one thinks that Whole Foods’ arrival will decrease property values or increase diversity. The question is, what kind of neighborhood do we want to live in: One where we value and protect the small amounts of remaining affordable housing and cultural diversity, or one where personal convenience and economic self-interest come first? Vigorous discussion about these issues is essential to a healthy democracy.

One more question: Do we want to live in a country where a corporation can underwrite the silencing of public debate?

Laura Foner and David J. Weinstein

Jamaica Plain


  • Momahr

    I find this piece to be pretty far from the truth.  The only ones doing any silencing were the folks from the Whose Food group.  Whole Foods had a presentation and invited questions and commentary.  Nothing they did was about shutting people up.  If you actually think a corporation was or is undermining a silencing of public debate, then you were at a very different meeting than the one I was at.

  • Hyde Square Resident

    Great letter.  Agreed.

  • Helen

    Fantastic, thank you brave souls for standing up on this issue.   And no, I don’t want to live in a country or a JP where a corporation can underwrite the silencing of public debate.  No doubt it was deeply frightening scenario.

  • Anonymous

    “Affordable housing and cultural diversity” is code for ghetto. And we don’t want our neighborhood to be a ghetto. We want a nice neighborhood with personal convenience and higher property rates.