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Thread: Is denying a Wal-Mart class warfare?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    Is denying a Wal-Mart class warfare?

    This from Planetizen:
    A California town, used eminent domain to keep Wal Mart out based upon redevelopment and keeping an upscale tone.

    The area is the centerpiece of Hercules' redevelopment effort, which aims to create a destination on par with high-end Sausalito across the bay. That would complement Hercules' plan to market itself as an "anti-suburb" with new neighborhoods appealing to home buyers nostalgic for old-fashioned residential areas within cities.

    This may come off as a "keep those people out" but town officials cite a "quality of life issue" as one reason for this.

    What do you think. (I do wish the article was of a little more length, but what can you do...)
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    Suspended Bad Email Address teshadoh's avatar
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    Good question, & though I am an opponent of Walmart - I would have to agree. NIMBYism in general does have a tendancy, especially in semi-urban areas, to be very socially insensitive.

    As the case is with Avondale Estates, GA - a higher income suburb with a Tudor themed downtown as many of the homes are in that style. Avondale Estates, is on the side of a particularly lower income area along Memorial Dr - full of abandoned shopping centers. One plan, would redevelop a shopping mall into a Walmart was proposed to be annexed into the town. Overwhelmingly, citizens opposed the plan - citing similar 'quality of life' claims while the majority Black lower income residents directly outside the town supported Walmart. Not only for shopping - which was a rarity for new retail being built in a low income area, but for jobs.

    The end result was the wealthy suburban citizens, who could afford anyways to drive 10 miles to another shopping mall, won their case. But the mall is still being built - as it would have provided Avondale Estates with tax revenue, the mall redevelopment will stay in unincorporated Dekalb County.

    Nonetheless, the anti-capitalist arguements opposing Walmart, though in my opinion are mostly warrented, do result in an unintentional elitism by the middle / upper class.

  3. #3
    There's a middle ground between having a Wal-Mart and no Wal-Mart. If the town wanted a to create an urban character they could have defined under what conditions the Wal-Mart was going to be built. Most likely though this would have been hijacked by anti-wal-marters politics.
    Quote Originally posted by teshadoh
    Nonetheless, the anti-capitalist arguements opposing Walmart, though in my opinion are mostly warrented, do result in an unintentional elitism by the middle / upper class.
    Anti-capitalism has always been a middle class phenomenon.

  4. #4
         
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    Means justifies the ends

    While it may be class warfare to keep the Wal-Mart out on these grounds, it still comes to a good ends. Using integrated work-live buildings or just more diversified buisness would employ more people to the lower class neighborhood. Wal-Mart would bring in a set of outsiders for upper management in the store, probably people from the rich area in middle management and supervisor positions, and only use the low-income (and thus probably poorly educated individuals) for low level cashier and stock jobs. Investing in a locally centered economy would do much better. It would also look better

  5. #5
    Keeping Wal-Mart out of a city can only help to improve the chances of the small-business owner. Perhaps these sorts are more likely to be middle-class, but while the Wal-Mart is surely a good source of jobs for low-income people, the spin-offs from having *x* number of small-businesses remain viable surely somewhat counterbalances the effect of having no Wal-Mart jobs.

    And, low-income people aren't going to pull themselves out of poverty by working at Wal-Mart. They could do so by owning / co-owning a business.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    Couldn't this be motivated for aesthetic/design reasons? Wal-Mart is sloppy and doesn't care about its appearance, much less about complying with local landscape codes, etc. Isn't Hercules justified in fearing that Wal-Mart could jeapordize its redevelopment plan?

  7. #7

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    Most of the people I know here and elsewhere who refuse to shop at Wal-Mart are not wealthy. In fact, the richest folks I talk to on a regular basis buy lots of stuff at Wal-Mart. I suppose that's why they have more money than I - who shop with local merchants I know - do.

  8. #8
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    class warfare

    why try to make it more than it is.the people simply don't want wal-mart in their town and it's as simple as that.some of you talk about nut liking the business BUT.but nothing you either want them or you don't.what's so hard to understand about that.this isn't rocket science folks.

  9. #9
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by tcidda
    why try to make it more than it is.the people simply don't want wal-mart in their town and it's as simple as that.some of you talk about nut liking the business BUT.but nothing you either want them or you don't.what's so hard to understand about that.this isn't rocket science folks.
    Well, not exactly. Hercules will have to be careful because if they prevented WalMart from coming simply because they don't like the company or the 'class' of the business, that could easily be construed as discrimination. Although, it may be more palatable discrimination than other forms of discrimiation, it could still be discrimination, which would most likely be illegal. Therefore, Hercules will need to be sure they are ready to meet in the potential strong legal battle with a company that has very deep pockets.

    But if Hercules denied WalMart on defensible grounds, such as zoning, environmental impact, design guidelines, traffic, etc. than they may be safe.

    In real estate development, you cannot just deny someone because you don't like the cut of their gib, so to speak.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jaws
    Anti-capitalism has always been a middle class phenomenon.
    I'd say much more of an upper-middle / upper class phenomenon.
    Life and death of great pattern languages

  11. #11
    Cyburbian RandomPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by burnham follower
    While it may be class warfare to keep the Wal-Mart out on these grounds, it still comes to a good ends. ...
    For me, it's not a class issue. For others, maybe it is. But quite frankly, whatever reason you don't like BigBoxMart is fine with me (maybe that's the wrong attitude, but...)
    How do I know you are who you think you are?

  12. #12
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    ^-- Heh. I have to agree. These people are going to do whatever they can to keep THEM out of their community. But if that means stopping another Wally World, well, it's hard to argue with that.
    Reality does not conform to your ideology.
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  13. #13

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    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    ^-- Heh. I have to agree. These people are going to do whatever they can to keep THEM out of their community. But if that means stopping another Wally World, well, it's hard to argue with that.
    The "eastern shore" of Contra Costa County is quite "working class" in character. Hercules abuts a refinery town (Rodeo) on one side. with largely working class Pinole, Richmond, and San Pablo to the south There are ethnic issues as well, with Richmond and Rodeo being majority minority communities, and Richmond in particular experiencing farily substantial social problems (gang violence, failing schools taken over by a State Referee, etc.)

    So, an island of $850,000+ pastel colored pseudo-Victorian cottages needs to be "protected"

    Still, it's kinda neat plan, and I prefer much of the housing stock to the standard blah California tracts.

    Actually saw the colored elevations proposed for the hercules WalMart. it was definitely a step up from the standard WalMart, but still a big 'un.

  14. #14
    this is all pretty interesting because I have thinking of the very same things of late. the area where I live, suburban Portland, is a proposed site of a Wal-Mart. it would be the first Wal-Mart on the West Side of Portland. the Wal-Mart has came under heavy pressure. despite Wal-Mart making pedestrian, road, and transit concessions there is still heavy resentment and protest among residents. I think those arguments are legit but there has been a really nasty tone throughout all of these discussions. a lot of residents are speaking between the lines and using rhetoric such as "those people" and so on. so I think the arguement is not such much about the planning process, rather other issues people are hiding behind. at least from what I have seen in this case.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian
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    Wow. Some of you have limited understanding of modern economics and Walmart.

    Walmart hires extensively from local citizenry, and Walmart, more than most corporations, hires and promotes from within the store. Its managers, assistant managers and even many executives, worked their way up through the ranks. The loyalty to the business by its employees is actually quite impressive.

    Also-advocating that the poor start their own small business is close to sheer economic suicide. The failure rate for small businesses is astronomically high, and pray tell me what exact businesses the "poor" should form in lieu of welcoming a Wal-mart to their neighborhood? A mom-and-pop grocery? Hardware store? A cute shop selling scented candles? All doomed to failure within weeks as everyone, including affluent consumers, will rather drive to the nearest Target or Walmart or big box.

  16. #16
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    I have been saying this for years. By being bull-headed anti-Walmart planners we are violating our own code of ethics. We need to listen to the voiceless masses and advocate for them. When Iwas involved in one of these walmart fights, I heard from the poor because I made an effort to do that. We need to quit being so elitest and really study both sides of the issue. Instead of keeping them out, work towards getting the best store you can.
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  17. #17
    I agree!!! but I think there are a lot of hang-ups out there that is not being discussed when one of these stores is proposed for certain neighborhoods. this is what I have seen in my part of town which is one of the more afluent areas of town. I really resent how some people have hid behind planning issues in order to stop the store. I'm not a huge fan of Wal-Mart but they are there to fill a need.

  18. #18
         
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    how about trading it for a Target or Jewel/Dominicks/Piggly WIggly/whatever your local supermarket is or anyone else that has fully unionized work forces and buys from more local sources than China and Giant Mechanized farms? I understand Wal-Mart is a step up for many of these places, but it's a small step that we can outdo. There's also the fact that many new Wal-Marts go up on the fringe of poor neighborhoods, often acting as a magnet and drawing the poverty around them

  19. #19
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by burnham follower
    how about trading it for a Target or Jewel/Dominicks/Piggly WIggly/whatever your local supermarket is or anyone else that has fully unionized work forces and buys from more local sources than China and Giant Mechanized farms? I understand Wal-Mart is a step up for many of these places, but it's a small step that we can outdo. There's also the fact that many new Wal-Marts go up on the fringe of poor neighborhoods, often acting as a magnet and drawing the poverty around them
    They aren't Just supermarkets, and I don't think any of the other superstores are completely unionized or pay much better wages or benefits than Walmart. No one here has been able to prove otherwise.

    We have a Target and a Walmart, and the wages and benefits are similar. That is because the local market sets them.
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  20. #20
    Cyburbian
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    While Walmart does indeed provide low-skill jobs for the otherwise unemployed, I can hardly advocate for a firm that pays its workers as little as possible and then tells them all what welfare/public assistance programs are available to supplement the meager wages of Walmart. Also, the cases mentioned thus far - Atlanta and the Bay Area - are fairly auto-oriented, meaning that, even among the lower income strata, everyone has an automobile and can go to a Walmart further away just as more affluent citizens allegedly do. I am so tired of hearing that every place in America needs to have Walmart. Walmart is killing small businesses, making entrepreneurship in the retail sector unnecessarily difficult, and furthermore, burning down the traditional ladder of upward mobility that served so well many generations of New Americans. Walmart has few if any redeeming qualities; their stores are gaudy, overcrowded, overwhelming behemoths that transform the shopping experience into a frightening bargain basement melee.

  21. #21
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by schristmas
    While Walmart does indeed provide low-skill jobs for the otherwise unemployed, I can hardly advocate for a firm that pays its workers as little as possible and then tells them all what welfare/public assistance programs are available .......... Walmart is killing small businesses, making entrepreneurship in the retail sector unnecessarily difficult, and furthermore, burning down the traditional ladder of upward mobility that served so well many generations of New Americans. Walmart has few if any redeeming qualities; their stores are gaudy, overcrowded, overwhelming behemoths that transform the shopping experience into a frightening bargain basement melee.





    Show me a national retail chain that does not use mostly part time workers and pays them a living wage.
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  22. #22
    In the Portland area Target does have a better rep. than Wal-Mart and this was the case in the New Haven, CT area where I lived for a year. I have often wondered why Target has been able to escape a lot of the criticism Wal-Mart has faced? because, in many ways they are similiar, but Wal-Mart is often public enemy number 1!

  23. #23
         
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    I just really attach Wal-Mart to that fat lazy egotistcle American. I guess I don't know why either

  24. #24
    All things being equal (architecture, parking, landscaping, traffic impact, etc) there simply is no difference between a Wal Mart and a Target. They both pay crappy wages with minimal benefits, the both generate about the same traffic, sell similar goods. The difference is that Target is trendy and people want them in their town. Its not considered cool to want a Wal Mart in your community. I think that unless there is a compelling reason to deny Wal Mart (not wanting one is not a compelling reason) this City is going to have a hard time defending this.

    Oh, and I know it is probably not PC to say this but when people complain about the crappy low-skill, low-wage dead-end jobs provided by Wal Mart people need to realize that some people just aren't smart enough or motivated enough to have a decent paying job. The notion that everyone in this country can somehow work their way up to a decent paying job is a farce. There will always be people who will spend their whole life working in the service industry because that is all they are cut out to do.
    "I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are."

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    Quote Originally posted by Repo Man
    Oh, and I know it is probably not PC to say this but when people complain about the crappy low-skill, low-wage dead-end jobs provided by Wal Mart people need to realize that some people just aren't smart enough or motivated enough to have a decent paying job. The notion that everyone in this country can somehow work their way up to a decent paying job is a farce. There will always be people who will spend their whole life working in the service industry because that is all they are cut out to do.
    I don't think this is Entirely true. I think through the specialization that is what the American Economy and society tries to be, we SHOULD have enough extra to make any amount of improvement for anyone. But this is getting on a whole new thread and probably would need a whole new message boarding site

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