When I first opened for business, making the transition from designing in my spare time to being an Iddentity brander full time, I spent many, many hours over the course of a couple of years trying to break into the existing business circles here in Alameda. I offered my services in many capacities: as consultant, as vendor, in support of the Chamber of Commerce, in support of the Park Street Business Association and so on.
Not a nibble.
I came to understand that the power network was pretty well buttoned up. West Advertising, Aviso and PSBA had built up Park Street into what it is today, and were so thick with each other and all the merchants that there was no real opportunity for me. In fact, steps were taken to keep me from succeeding! I shifted gears, and went over to help Webster Street. The power block made sure to tell me that they were a bunch of losers over at that end of town, and I should stick to not working with the "winners."
As if I didn't know the power of graphic design, clear intention, and a bright personality.
Anyway, Webster Street is going through its renaissance, I've got several excellent clients, and I suppose I'm feeling very secure, because I've barked in the face of the Big Dog. Here's the letter to the editor regarding this multiplex fiasco which I sent in to our locally owned paper:
"I can't help it if the people in this town who are opposed to (the theater plan) haven't been paying attention."
--Rob Ratto, as reported in the Alameda Sun June 9 2005
Excuse me? I think Alamedans pay very much attention, and specifically, to what makes our town great. We welcome the best of the new, while working to keep the best of the old. Alamedans are keenly aware that our town is the antidote to Sprawl. Multiplexes and parking garages, dwarfing the surrounding architecture, are two of the very symbols of Sprawl. As much as I want to honor the effort Mr. Robb Ratto has spent on this plan, I must point out that this plan does not pay attention to what Alamedans want. Other than him and the deal promoter who will get the no-bid contract for all the furniture and fixtures, I have yet to speak with a single person who thinks the "plan" is appropriately sized for Alameda. I can’t help it that Mr. Robb Ratto has worked so hard to introduce a cancer into the heart of our town. If only he’d worked on a plan more of us could get excited about, one that included a strong Civic Center, for example, or at the very least, a rooftop garden in the parking structure similar to that of the Kaiser Center in Oakland.
To conclude, at no time in the last four years have I ever heard anyone support more than 5 screens. Who has Robb Ratto been listening to? I respectfully submit that it is you, who in characteristic fashion, hasn't been paying attention.
I suppose I'm not that worried about upsetting the apple cart.