Stay Classy, San Diego

The Houston Chronicle reports (link) that San Diego City Council voted to ban giant retail stores.

My favorite part of the article:

Councilman Tony Young, who joined the 5-3 majority, countered, “I have a vision for San Diego and that vision is about walkable, livable communities, not big, mega-structures that inhibit people’s lives.”

I hope that the current and future Dallas City Councils take notice.

While some community and elected officials openly wish that they had a Wal-Mart in their area, I ask you to take a drive to 3155 W. Wheatland (map) and ask yourself if this is what you want in your community.

The mismanaged Wal-Mart near US-67 & Wheatland is a disaster. Their lack of selection, filthy floors and shelves, dirty parking lot, and overall lack or willingness to provide a decent shopping experience is evident. Once night falls, it simply feels unsafe. Only open for three years, the store looks like it’s been open for twenty.

I wonder if people shop there because they want to, or because they have no choice.

I’m sure this isn’t what Dallas City Council envisioned when they approved the Wal-Mart to be built.

Wal-Mart has a new urban strategy, which is called the “Wal-Mart Jobs and Opportunity Zones” initiative (link). It’s pretty simple: A little blood money gets donated to the minority Chambers of Commerce and community groups. A few contracts get doled out to keep the business community quiet. Tamp down protests, while sucking the life out of our communities. This plan has been assailed by small business groups as a PR Tactic which diverts attention from the obvious.

Austin is gearing up for a fight on December 7th. We should keep close tabs on the results. Austin’s Full Circle Group (link) aka Citizens for Responsible Corporations and Local Economies, has some interesting facts as well as a recommended list of big-box alternatives. Wake-Up Wal Mart (link) approaches Wal-Mart on a larger scale.

There will be a day that Wal-Mart comes calling to South Dallas and Pleasant Grove (although there is a Wal-Mart in Buckner Terrace at I-30 & St. Francis). I hope the residents in those neighborhoods see Wal-Mart for what they really are. A company and store that sucks the life out of communities by underpaying workers and cutting prices to the point where they have little or no competition, especially in neighborhoods where there are challenges.

I applaud anyone who wants more shopping and retail choices in their neighborhood. I’m simply asking you to aim higher in your search. Your community will benefit by looking beyond Wal-Mart to other retail alternatives.

You may think you want a Wal-Mart in your neighborhood, but you really don’t.

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