LOS ANGELES — A blue-ribbon commission convened by the Alliance for Healthy and Responsible Grocery Stores here is expected to draft a report for city leaders designed to incentivize major chains to expand into underserved communities. “The latest trends in the highly competitive supermarket industry, coupled with rising food prices and our city's chronic 'food desert' problem, may conspire to actually harm communities," Amanda Shaffer, director of communications for the Urban and Environmental Policy Institute at Occidental College, said at an event last week soliciting community testimony. “In the face of that perfect storm, it's critical city leaders take notice and, if necessary, act aggressively." The Alliance is a citywide coalition of 25 community, faith-based, labor and environmental organizations that has previously worked to eliminate two-tier labor contracts and to keep Wal-Mart from building a store in Inglewood, Calif.; it is currently engaged in an effort to get Tesco-owned Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets to sign a community benefits agreement.
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