The streets looked like a war zone, full of burned and looted buildings. As we walked, I noticed a grocery store that appeared to be intact. When I asked Maxine about it, she said the store had been 'protected' by people from the neighborhood, including gang members, because its owner, a white businessman named Ron Burkle, had been good to the community. He hired local people, all the employees were union members with health insurance, and the food was of the same quality as that in Beverly Hills groceries and sold at the same prices. At the time, that was unusual: because inner-city residents are less mobile, their stores often had inferior food at higher prices. I had met Burkle for the first time just a few hours earlier, and I resolved to get to know him better. He became one of my best friends and strongest supporters.
A couple of points:
1) The NYT's story (and Quintero's) actually differs from Clinton's account in non-trivial ways. a) Clinton only says that a single store was "intact," having been protected (he was told) by neighborhood people. The NYT and Quintero say "stores," and the Times gullibly implied that Burkle's whole chain was protected because he was such a good employer (when in fact Burkle's stores sustained "extreme damage from looting, fire, and water," according to the chain's own VP of corporate communications as paraphrased in Supermarket News of May 11, 1992). b) Clinton says he'd already met Burkle, and merely "resolved to get to know him better" after hearing Waters' story. But the NYT omits the prior meeting, recounting a juiced-up, take-me-to-this-wise-man version of the anecdote in which, after Waters' explanation, "Mr. Clinton asked to meet [Burkle]" and "[a] meeting was quickly set up at the Burbank airport ...."
2) Was Maxine Waters' explanation of why that one store was still intact accurate? I don't know. There's some evidence in the clips that the Alpha Beta chain of stores, one of several chains owned by Burkle, was highly valued in the community. Alpha Beta stores were more upscale than other local Burkle emporiums, such as Boys Markets (which were subject to "criticism by some residents over the pricing," according to John Mack, the president of the L.A. Urban League). One writer for Drug Store News reported: "Near my home, residents formed a barrier to protect an Alpha Beta market and turned away a mob of looters." On the other hand, a) Alpha Beta had been acquired by Burkle less than a year before the riot. It seems unlikely that it was Burkle's business reputation, as opposed to the market's pre-Burkle history of service, that customers would have been protecting; b) Maxine Waters, as Clinton himself notes,had a "long friendship with Jesse Jackson." Burkle, the L.A. Times has noted, has been "a frequent contributor to Jackson's causes." Was Waters giving Clinton a ... dramatized pol's version of events that cast a glowing light on an ally, a big Democratic fundraiser, and a potential future supporter of her favorite projects?
I emailed Mr. Quintero last night and asked him to confirm Burkle's support of Jackson's activities and give "an approximate idea of the amount" of money involved, but I've yet to receive a reply. Maybe it's in his spam folder! 4:22 P.M. link
Bloggingheads--Bob Wright's videoblog project. Gearbox--Searching for the Semi-Orgasmic Lock-in. Drudge Report--80 % true. Close enough! Instapundit--All-powerful hit king. Joshua Marshall--He reports! And decides! Wonkette--Makes Jack Shafer feel guilty. Salon--Survives! kf gloating on hold. Andrew Sullivan--He asks, he tells. He sells! David Corn--Trustworthy reporting from the left. Washington Monthly--Includes Charlie Peters' proto-blog. Lucianne.com--Stirs the drink. Virginia Postrel--Friend of the future! Peggy Noonan--Gold in every column. Matt Miller--Savvy rad-centrism. WaPo--Waking from post-Bradlee snooze. Keller's Calmer Times--Registration required. NY Observer--Read it before the good writers are all hired away. New Republic--Left on welfare, right on warfare! Jim Pinkerton--Quality ideas come from quantity ideas. Tom Tomorrow--Everyone's favorite leftish cartoonists' blog. Ann "Too Far" Coulter--Sometimes it's just far enough. Bull Moose--National Greatness Central. John Ellis--Forget that Florida business! The cuz knows politics, and he has, ah, sources. "The Note"--How the pros start their day. Romenesko--O.K. they actually start it here. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities--Money Liberal Central. Steve Chapman--Ornery-but-lovable libertarian. Rich Galen--Sophisticated GOP insider. Man Without Qualities--Seems to know a lot about white collar crime. Hmmm. Overlawyered.com--Daily horror stories. Eugene Volokh--Smart, packin' prof, and not Instapundit! Eve Tushnet--Queer, Catholic, conservative and not Andrew Sullivan! WSJ's Best of the Web--James Taranto's excellent obsessions. Walter Shapiro--Politics and (don't laugh) neoliberal humor! Eric Alterman--Born to blog. Joe Conason--Bush-bashing, free most days. Lloyd Grove--Don't let him write about you. Arianna's Huffosphere--Now a whole fleet of hybrid vehicles. TomPaine.com--Web-lib populists. Take on the News--TomPaine's blog. B-Log--Blog of spirituality! Hit & Run--Reason gone wild! Daniel Weintraub--Beeblogger and Davis Recall Central. Eduwonk--You'll never have to read another mind-numbing education story again. Nonzero--Bob Wright explains it all. John Leo--If you've got political correctness, he's got a column ... [More tk]