Re: Big Issue Cleveland

Virginia Sellner (
Tue, 17 Feb 1998 17:42:17 -0800

You know after the last post tha Robert sent me I went back and read ALL of
the information sent from NASNA and I do not see where anyplace says that
the majority of NASNA members oppose TBI.  I see instead a response of
reason, and reasonablness -- and I think that Antira outlines it to a T
below.   Virginia Sellner

At 07:53 AM 2/17/98 -0800, Anitra Freeman wrote:
>Brian, I like your editorial very much.  That probably comes as no surprise
>to anyone.
>Robert, I agree that more concrete information from The Big Issue is needed
>and wanted, and it would help all sides in this discussion if they would
>publish it.
>The INSP charter, a detailed description of vendor services, and a source
>for sample copies do not seem difficult to provide or unreasonable to
>But it would help the discussion immensely if you could stop implying that
>everyone who disagrees with you on this -- with the possible exception of
>Brian Davis -- is hoping to somehow make money by supporting The Big Issue,
>or has otherwise low motives.  In case you want to know what specific
>statements I am referring to, I'll quote from this latest post, "... some
>in NASNA, eager to emulate and [sic] TBI's commercial success and gain it
>as a powerful ally ..."
>Everybody that I know personally who has been involved in this discussion,
>including myself, Tim Harris, and Virginia Sellner -- as well as yourself
>and Jennafer -- are sincerely concerned for the welfare and
>self-determination of the poor (which in the case of many of us is also us
>-- I don't think of myself as working "for" the poor, but as working
>"with", and I think most of us feel the same way).
>It is not even true that Tim Harris or the NASNA Executive Committee has
>just done an about-face and from opposing TBI unconditionally now
>unconditionally supports TBI.  The way I understood the position expressed
>by Tim Harris was that the Executive Committee decided not to take any
>further action to stop TBI until they see how the negotiations go.  That is
>a far cry from saying, "hey,
>don't let a NASNA resolution stand in your way.  Now that we know
>you're determined to come in despite what NASNA says, oh well!"  The reason
>NASNA opposed TBI's attempts to enter NYC and SF were because those were
>attempts to actually take over the existing papers, or supplant them, and
>would have established a mutually destructive relationship between TBI and
>existing North American papers.  The outcome that I, at least, hope for in
>the negotiations is that  NASNA and TBI work out a relationship whereby
>TBI's presence in LA -- and almost certainly elsewhere, eventually -- would
>encourage the growth of North American street newspapers.
>Personally, I think that the statistics of 90 street newspapers in Europe
>and 40 in North America speak for themselves as far as The Big Issue's
>effect.  Expecting the kind of analysis of TBI's effect on competition that
>you have repeatedly demanded is, I feel, unrealistic.  There is controversy
>over Microsoft's effect on competition in the computer market, and that's
>easier to analyze than "does TBI encopurage or discourage competition among
>What can be clearly established, though, are such things as: Will TBI
>support the continued independent existence of Making Change (as opposed to
>buying them out?)  They have.  Will TBI provide material assistance to help
>Making Change survive and grow?  They have.  Will TBI help improve
>conditions in North America, for all street newspapers?  By helping to stop
>the move in LA tward licensing street-paper vendors, they have done so.
>Now what else can they do to help improve conditions?  What else can they
>do to assist other independent street newspapers, while leaving them
>independent?  What else can they do for Making Change?
>Robert, I am sure that you believe you are arguing effectively when every
>time you make a response you bring it back to your original points.  Do you
>understand what I mean when I say that this is not real dialogue?  In
>dialogue, each side reflects an understanding of the other's points, so
>that we can at least agree on what we are disagreeing about.  I would also
>expect of a dialogue between people who share a basic purpose and are
>seeking a constructive outcome that they look for common ground that they
>can agree on, and be willing to "think outside the box" of their original
>stand for a mutually agreeable solution.
>Is it possible for you to imagine an outcome to this matter that seems
>constructive to the folks in LA that support The Big Issue, and to
>Jennafer, and to everyone else involved?
>Write On!
>-- Anitra
>PS: There does not seem to be any interest in using the website forum for
>this discussion, and I see that you have dropped the mailing list addresses
>from your cc list.  I have added the HPN adress to my reply in order to
>have at least one archive where this discussion can be followed by all
>interested parties.  I do not notice an email address labeled "Brian Davis"
>-- is he getting this response?  If not, would you ask him if i may forward
>his editorial to HPN?  I will include or exclude your comments as you wish.
>I also notice that your cc list fluctuates, and I do not know on what
>basis.  For instance, I did not see Shawn Ewald's address on this post, and
>he has been actively contributing to the discussion.  Art Kunkin
>specifically asked to be included in the discussion, yet I did not find his
>address either.  I have added those two addresses to my reply.
> gets me an error-bounce whenever I send to it, so I
>have taken that address out of my reply.