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The New York Times has a piece about how Whole Foods' attempt to stifle a shareholder proposal to nominate directors has created a backlash against the company - enough so that management decided to postpone its annual meeting so it could decide how to proceed. The Times describes Whole Foods efforts as "ham-handed," suggesting that it was a "perfectly reasonable proposal."

The story suggests that Whole Foods' desire to establish five percent as the threshold for ownership if shareholders are to make proposals is being seen as "cynical."

KC's View: To some of us, this all seems like an complicated, inside-baseball argument ... and if you want to read more about it, click here.

But I think there is a larger issue to think about here ... and that is the desire, at least in some circles, for greater participation in how companies are run and the decisions that management makes. Somehow, it seems ironic that Whole Foods, of all companies, is accused of stifling shareholder participation ... somehow, it seems out of character, or at least what we might imagine its corporate character to be.

I'm not smart enough about such things to judge whether three percent or five percent ought to be enough to get a proposal on the corporate ballot. My sense of things, though, is that there is no threshold for democracy .... and I wonder if, at some level, that is what these shareholders are looking for.
KC's View: