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The issue seemed to come out of nowhere and was quickly voted down amid much angst and comment throughout the politically active parts of the city.
That experience clearly had an effect on Anne Pacheco, Nancy Ryan, Denise Thompson and other members of Fair Trade La Mesa.
Thursday evening the organization was back in action at Cosmos Coffee Cafe, presenting a DVD explanation of "fair trade'' practices and building local support one constituent at a time.
"All the coffee here at Cosmos is fair trade,'' Ryan explained to a gathering of 30 or so local residents who were eating "fair trade'' chocolate and learning about the movement Ryan and her partners hoped to demystify.
"It is simply about knowing that the things you purchase are made by people who are being paid a living wage, allowed to work in safe conditions and in a way that is respectful of the environment,'' Thompson explained.
Ryan and Pacheco, both educators in their work lives, admitted they were a bit bruised by their first attempt to convince the City Council to express the city's support for the movement and they don't plan on racing back to that forum. Critics convinced a majority of the council that the city would be dabbling in an issue beyond its authority and, in some views, tainting the free market with government interference.
"We won't go back until the council is better informed,'' Ryan said. "They need to understand this more fully.''
In the meantime, the local fair trade movement is winning the support of local organizations and individual businesses, trying to build a city-wide concensus that this city should express its support to the rest of the country and the world.
"Wouldn't it be a good thing for La Mesa to stand out on this?'' Pacheco asked in explaining why the council imprimatur is still important.
The group's pamphlets list more than 26 local businesses that have begun offering products that are certified to meet fair trade requirements, including big stores like Albertson's and smaller operations like Marcella June's Coffee Lounge.
"Every time you shop, the choices you make can make a statement about social justice,'' a spokesman on the DVD explained.
And from a taste tasting of "fair trade'' British KitKats being enjoyed this evening, the "fair trade'' KitKats taste just like the original.
The group plans regular events every third Thursday evening at Cosmos as they continue to meet with individual business owners and community groups.