Re: Big Deal Big Compromise

Virginia Sellner (
Sat, 14 Feb 1998 16:59:33 -0800

>Return-Path: <>
>Date: Sat, 14 Feb 1998 15:20:53 -0800
>Organization: MAKING CHANGE
>To: Virginia Sellner <>
>Subject: Re: Big Deal Big Compromise
>References: <>
>X-UIDL: cc59b837e9aeebfd3b3e4ad38551728d
>This is about more than just some company moving in.  This is more than
>just about competition.  Street papers should not be "competing", nor
>placed in that position.  Homelessness is not about competition or
>competitiveness, our goals have to be aligned in a few areas and there
>must be some few key truths that we can all mutually respect and smile
>about.  I'm not telling the Big Issue what to do, but no one has
>answered a few important questions.  Are they, or are they not breaking
>their charter by coming into Los Angeles?
>I'm a bit of a performance artist, I do not love drama, but I can use it
>to convey vital messages that are always interpreted as a bit
>ego-centric until you get the focus on the universal implications in the
>type of information we are talking about.  I am forwarding some of
>Shawn's e-mail to get some perspective.
>OLD, perhaps, but really what does it take to get NASNA to respond? 
>What did it take for you to respond Virginia?  You had a genuine
>interest in the issue.  When an issue gets no immediate response, it
>escalates the interaction.  We are wondering what is not intelligent
>about our discussion here?  The ends, or the means?
>We are talking about an issue and so far have gotten two people outside
>of the Executive Committee to discuss this.  I feel that your input is
>important.  I agree that you have feelings about not wanting to be a
>member of NASNA.  I would hope though at some point we can all be
>members and all have different opinions and different roles, but I
>respect your decision.  I would like to know how you feel about what you
>have heard about BI coming into Los Angeles and how you feel that two
>papers can co-exist, if one is a fledgling with few resources to
>advertise, and one has "a lot" and can generate the media attention that
>may drown out the other existing paper.  
>If everyone hears about Big Issue, only buy from people who have badges
>etc, they'll see Making Change and say, wait, that isn't the Big Issue,
>this person doesn't have the badge I remember and therefore I'm afraid
>to buy this paper.  It has nothing to do with quality or content at this
>point.  It defeats the common goal of helping the homeless doesn't it? 
>What about police officers?  Do you think they'll pick on a smaller
>papers vendors before they pick on the bigger ones, who will have a
>better day in court and would recuperate from a governmental
>investigation?  i.e. the issue of vendor reported taxes, taxing the
>sales of the paper, does the vendor need a Department of Public and
>Social Services verification ID, etc.  
>There's more.  Like, are there homeless papers that currently coexist
>successfully in areas where the Big Issue sells.  According to John
>Bird, they all fail.
>Where does that leave me?  Why should we not be discussing what this
>will mean to our movement at large?
>Thanks Virginia!
>Virginia Sellner wrote:
>> First of all I want to say that I agree with Tim and Anitra and what they
>> have said about the Big Issue issue.
>> However, this entire thing is beginning to be beyond belief OLD.
>> The Big Issue came to LA at the invitation of some people in the LA area,
>> who apparently felt that there was/is a need for BI there as well as Making
>> Change.
>> I am wondering why MC is spending so much energy attacking TBI instead of
>> going about the business of running their paper.
>> Surely in a metro area of more than 8 million people there is room for more
>> than one publication, and an opportunity for people to make a choice about
>> which one (or both for that matter) they want to work with.
>> A lot of negative energy spent calling people names is a waste of time.
>> Why panic?  If you have a good paper, and it is supported by an aspect of
>> the millions in the LA area then it will continue, no matter who comes into
>> the city -- spend energies making a good paper, and giving people an
>> opportunity to express themselves and earn some money.
>> Get about your business.
>> Let BI and those that invited them to LA get about ehri business.
>> All this arguing is not going to solve anything -- and all it is doing is
>> splitting NASNA and other groups.
>> Virginia Sellner