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McDonald's Has Right to Build Altadena Restaurant

February 18, 1990

I am writing in response to Michael J. Head's letter (Times, Feb. 11) regarding the proposed McDonald's restaurant in Altadena.

McDonald's has no obligation to consult with Mr. Head or with any other Altadena resident before building this restaurant. If they own the land, they have the right to develop it as they see fit. Mr. Head asks why Altadena should accept this restaurant without resistence. I respond that he has absolutely no choice in the matter.

How would Mr. Head like it if he wanted to build a new porch on his house, but 100 neighbors held a meeting to tell him he couldn't do it? He would tell them where to go, which is what McDonald's should tell Mr. Head.

Obviously McDonald's has done a market survey of some kind to show that this location will give them enough business to make a profit. If Mr. Head really opposes this restaurant, he should wait for it to open and then urge Altadena residents to boycott it. Then the marketplace will decide. If no one will eat there, then it will close. Considering the food is garbage anyway, Altadenans won't be missing much by staying away.

One thing Mr. Head fails to note is that a new business will provide new jobs for the community. There are a lot of people in Altadena living below the poverty level. Perhaps some of them can find some work at the new McDonald's.

Mr. Head is guilty of thinking that he has the right to live somewhere and stop anyone else from coming there to alter his specially crafted environment. He refers to "the small town of Altadena." Well, Altadena is really an easily accessible part of a county with over 9 million people in it.

If Mr. Head wants to live in an area with no growth and no development, he can move to West Virginia (my home state) and suffer through massive unemployment, abject poverty and stifling social attitudes. If he wants to live in Southern California, he has to recognize that he isn't alone, that other people want to live and pursue their ventures here as well. And if he wants to live in America, he has to recognize that people in this country fought a revolution to protect private property rights.



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