November 14, 2011
By Adam Bink
Late last week, my colleague Howie Klein over at Down With Tyranny posted on Peter Lassen and Lassen’s Natural Foods taking over his health food mart in Los Angeles. Lassen isn’t just anyone — he was one of the lead donors to Prop 8. Howie explains:
My hill isn’t zoned for stores but I can hike down to Hillhurst in Los Feliz Village to do some shopping at the local healthfood store if I want to. I’ve been shopping at Nature Mart since I moved to L.A. two decades ago. Last month the owner sold it but there was a big hush-hush mystery about who bought it. I went over there yesterday, the first day of the new operation, to check it out. The Nature Mart signs are all still up and the store looks pretty much the same. But then I saw the bags– Lassen’s Natural Foods. Oh, God, no!
I recognized the name immediately. Lassen’s is owned by a vicious hate-monger and Mormon militant, Peter Lassen, who helped finance the Mormon attack on Prop 8 here in California. Rural, backward Lassen County, the reddest county in California, is named for his great grandfather, also Peter Lassen. The county voted 71.3 % for Proposition 8, amending the state constitution to ban same-sex marriages. Lassen’s store in Ventura alone contributed $27,500 to the anti-gay jihad. His store in Camarillo ponied up another $3,000 and his store in Simi Valley gave more. In the end, Lassen gave tens of thousands of dollars towards institutionalizing bigotry and hatred in our communities. The Los Feliz/Silverlake area is one of the most gay-friendly parts of Los Angeles. What a stupid decision for him to buy a store in an area where everyone is going to hear about what he did and look for alternative places to shop!
In fact, yesterday I met my new neighbors– a screen writer and a viola player. They just bought the house across the street. I have to remember to warn them. And Cynthia will be so excited. She thinks the store is dirty and when I get her about the bigotry part, I bet she’ll really get on her husband to stop buying vitamins there. Thing is, if you walk in and buy some organic Swiss chard, you’re helping to finance hatred and bigotry against our neighbors. There’s no place for people like Peter Lassen around here. He should go back to Lassen County.
And this isn’t the problem:
Lassen’s niece, who personally donated anti-gay money herself and manages the store in Camarillo (owned by her father, John Lassen), defended the idea that the stores gave money to defeat Prop 8. “We have a lot a gay and lesbian customers. We have nothing against them. To us, it is a moral issue, not a civil issue… Sadly, people feel like they have to blame somebody. It’s not just Mormons who voted for this. It was passed by a majority of Californians. We love our gay and lesbian customers. If they don’t want to shop at our store, then that’s their choice. I can respect that, but they should respect my family’s beliefs, too. It’s pretty sad how mean people can be.”
So if you live in the area, spread the word. The dollars you spend at Lassen’s go to support hate.
And this new boycott is brewing. More here.