Charlestown Cafe: Not expecting to close any time soon

chaztowncafe.jpgChecked in with Charlestown Cafe owner Larry Mellum today, after a few recent e-mails from WSB readers who had heard reports of a lease extension. He says they’re still officially month-to-month, but not expecting to be leaving any time soon, since the proposal to tear down the building and build a new Petco store seems to be moving slowly, with no official action since the August public meeting at which the Design Review Board turned thumbs-down on the design for a second time (detailed WSB coverage here). Meanwhile, we received an e-mail comment on the subject of Charlestown’s fate and West Seattle’s direction in general, and wanted to include it in our next followup, so here it is:

From West Seattle writer Georgie Bright Kunkel:

Those who own and lease property follow the money. They are not in business to nurture old people having breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the neighborhood with their friends. They are looking to get the highest return on their investment. Many of the corporate businesses in Seattle send their profits back to a headquarters across the country or in California somewhere. They are not run by Seattle owners. West Seattle is fast becoming owned by corporations not based in our area. Their loyalty is to stockholders from around the world. The fact that PETCO is a corporation large enough to outbid The Charlestown for a lease is a fact of the corporate world where West Seattle is now feeling the pressure.

The only relief from huge corporate pressure would be for Congress to scale back the legislation that over the years made corporations so powerful. Who has the nerve to take on this issue?

12 Replies to "Charlestown Cafe: Not expecting to close any time soon"

  • The House December 14, 2007 (8:50 pm)

    Ms. Kunkel, although I am a HUGE fan of Charlestown Cafe and would never want to see them leave, your rant about WS becoming overrun with Corporations not based in WS and the only relief would come from Congress scaling back their legislation is unfounded and flat out wrong.

    Let me clearly state that I am no fan of Petco either, but Petco simply wants to move their business 1 mile up the road. They are an existing establishment that has served our community for MANY years. If people did not patron them, they would leave this area.

    You’re also blaming “corporations” then this is a simple issue with the landlord. My first question to you would be, “If you owned the shopping center, would you want the government dictating who and how much you could sell your property”? The answer is probably not. The landlord does value maximizing profits over community, but I want him to have the right to make this decision.

  • Erik December 14, 2007 (11:20 pm)

    Georgie –
    Hate to break it to you but the United States is a corporate entity too, with global stockholders. Sure we’re taught that we have a say in our so-called democracy (they throw us a bone with voting and the occasional protest) but the reality is that our representatives are more prone to help those that help them financially. Many, including presidents, have lost their lives challenging this setup….so good luck! and merry christmas…lol.

  • Brandon December 15, 2007 (9:30 am)

    And if it wasn’t for those foreign currencies buying up US assets, our economy would really be in the toilet!

  • Anne December 15, 2007 (9:44 am)

    I’d still like to know-why -during all these years the owners of the Charlestown did not try to purchase the land themselves?Or maybe they did try and the landowner just held out for more money?

  • KT December 15, 2007 (9:56 am)

    It is truly unfortunate that this isn’t West Seattle of 1970 but things change.

  • Herman December 15, 2007 (10:21 am)

    I own some lots next to where The House lives. I’ve decided to raze those homes and build an industrial hogfat rendering facility there. The stench is bad, but I think he’ll get used to it.

    It’s perfect for me, because I’ll make some nice money on this and The House supports my right to do so. I can finally build that addition to my ranch home in Aspen.

  • willow December 15, 2007 (1:39 pm)

    Herman – House lives in WS, and I seriously doubt that you own “some lots” in WS. Perhaps, the one you live on (if you own).

    HOWEVER, I live on Alki Ave, And we would welcome your rendering plant, provided of course, it does not contain a hotel, and that you bury the electrical wiring. OH, and no parking on the street, or “Planting Strips”, AND, no noise after 11:00 PM.

    AND, absolutely no bars or live music.

    Welcome, neighbor.

  • The House December 15, 2007 (2:21 pm)

    Herman, your analogy of a Pet Store and an industrial hogfat makes a lot of sense. Good luck selling your “lots” and keep your day job as lead singer of the Hermits.

  • Tom Parsons December 15, 2007 (3:12 pm)

    I am tired of complaints against corporations…where would the Seattle area be without Boeing? Without Microsoft? Without those tiny corporations that line our streets and provide goods and services to us while paying wages to their employees? The largest expenses these large corporations have are salaries and employee benefits….that puts their revenue right back in our state as these employees spend their paychecks……

    I love Charlestown Cafe too but he had to make his decision whether to buy or not….obviously he had to decide against it because he couldn’t make enough to survive. If its survival is so important to the neighborhood, let’s donate money to make it happen.

  • WSB December 15, 2007 (3:13 pm)

    Just FYI all who care, I have cut House’s last two comments short because of gender-based criticism. Our comment policy (on the second half of our recently revised “About” page though it needs a better home soon) very clearly states that while things can get zingy here on factors and facets that are choices, such as religion and politics, comments addressing aspects of people and their lives that are NOT choices, such as gender, race, sexual orientation, and size, are subject to editing. Sometimes we think we should perhaps patrol comments of all kinds more closely – among other things, readers’ comments have cost us potential advertisers, even though the comment format is no longer unique to blogs (most major “old media” sites enable comments after articles, in this town, most notably, the P-I), and some readers too (even though it’s very easy to read the site without ever clicking on the “comment” link and seeing what’s there) – but instead we have decided to err on the side of free-flowing dialogue in most matters because that’s ultimately what “news, information and discussion” is all about — however, we will lean toward that side while also choosing a spot for a line and drawing it, and that’s where we’ve chosen to draw it. – TR, WSB editor

  • willow December 15, 2007 (3:26 pm)

    Thank you – BUT, maybe, BUT, BUT, maybe, thank you.

    You are now, a COMMERCIAL, site.

    Thank you.

  • Georgie Bright Kunkel December 28, 2007 (5:13 pm)

    We could talk about corporations all day. The fact is that the first incorporation was to build what only a group of citizens working together could not build on their own. At that time the corporation had to serve all citizens.

    Legislation over the years has allowed corporations to be people with all the rights of people but not required to take responsibility as people. They serve the stockholders first and foremost.

    This subject cannot be explored in this venue but I urge you to read the history of corporations and how their power has incrased and their responsibility to society decreased.

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