Saturday, March 01, 2008
The Berkeley Boycott
Having a business in Berkeley has its ups and downs. Thursday night, we lost a sale due to the city. There has been an ongoing tussle over a marine recruiting station which is in downtown Berkeley. I haven't followed the issue and, being a believer in free speech, wouldn't want to see the Marines go nor have Code Pink stop picketing the station. That said, I am not sure the boycott against Berkeley businesses is going to have its intended impact.
In reality, we sell out of wine. This person's decision won't impact our sales (though I would still love to have him as a customer).
I did do some rough math on what the impact would be if we were not able to sell the wine:
The direct impact on the City of Berkeley would be about $.06. Since this was an out of state sale, sales tax (much more direct impact) isn't a factor. I doubt the Berkeley City Council' will be taking a penny pay cut for this.
If we couldn't sell the wine, eventually we would have to stop purchasing grapes from the growers. In this case, half was Chardonnay which comes from Jon Brosseau's vineyard. Jon has worked for the defense industry his whole life. He designs rockets (or something to that effect) for Lockheed Martin. Good thing to punish him for the Berkeley City Council's decisions.
Our other growers are all farmers. If I remember correctly, two of them are vets. They clearly need to be punished as well.
On our end, we live in Oakland. While the business is in Berkeley, our political choices are not reflected in Berkeley. I guess we could move the winery but that isn't very realistic. Perhaps we should just lose our entrepreneurial spirit, give up the business and just work for large corporations or the government...
Tom Bates, the Berkeley Mayor, was a Captain in the US Army. He has specific reasons for support the anti-war effort. Bill O'Reilly whose show led to the canceled order did not attempt to present Tom Bates side. (Bill O'Reilly is not a veteran according to Wikipedia.)
Melanie Morgan, who seemed to be pro anti Berkeley stated on the show that she hadn't endorsed the boycott. She did state:
In fact, I'm in contact with over 150 Fortune 500 companies that have been put together in a list. These people are seeing that their service vendors and their people are not going to participate financially with Berkeley anymore. Millions of dollars have been taken off the table. Show TranscriptI would love to see the list and talk to a few of the 150 people. Melanie does have Google Ads on her blog. Google has a research lab in Berkeley. I assume, if she changes her opinion and explicitly supports the boycott that those ads will go.
The new Bay Bridge will use steel cables made in Berkeley. I guess the right thing to do is punish the state and drive around.
And lastly, I wonder if they realized the connection between UC Berkeley, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Probably not..