RKG concluded that Middlebury consumers are spending nearly $7 million elsewhere each year and recommended that the city stem the leakage by enticing Wal-Mart to build a supercenter. But many Middlebury residents refuse to accept the inevitability of the low-wage retailing giant. They have their own ideas about solving Middlebury’s dilemma. They want to open a community-owned department store in the center of town. Continue reading
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Three years ago, after learning that Borders Books & Music planned to open an outlet in Corvallis, Oregon, Jack Wolcott, who has owned a local bookstore, Grass Roots Books & Music, for more than thirty years, contacted Bob Baird of The Book Bin and several other local business owners whose stores were likely to be affected by the chain. They began meeting, at first discussing a possible legal challenge to Borders and ultimately deciding instead to organize local businesses and launch a public education effort. Continue reading
Taxpayers are picking up the tab for Wal-Mart’s low wages and meager benefits, according to a new congressional report.
Prepared by the Democratic staff of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce and released by Rep. George Miller in February, the report concludes that the federal government is providing an average of $2,100 annually in public assistance per Wal-Mart employee.
Under a city law adopted in March, chains seeking to locate in San Francisco could be required to undergo a public hearing and meet certain conditions before being granted a permit to open.
Sponsored by Supervisor Matt Gonzalez, the ordinance passed on an 8-3 vote by the Board of Supervisors.
After three years of debate and a voter referendum that demonstrated strong opposition to sprawling shopping centers, Carbondale, Colorado, has enacted an ordinance that requires the town’s planning staff and Board of Trustees to weigh the community and fiscal impacts of a large-scale retail proposal before deciding whether to approve or deny the project. The ordinance applies to any retail development larger than 15,000 square feet in neighborhood business districts or larger than 30,000 square feet elsewhere. Continue reading
In a stunning upset that made headlines around the globe, voters in Inglewood, California, overwhelmingly defeated a ballot measure on April 6 that would have opened the way for a massive Wal-Mart supercenter. The final tally was 7,049 against and 4,575 in favor.
The unprecedented measure would have given Wal-Mart complete control over a 60-acre site, allowing it to bypass the public process and build a supercenter and other chain retail stores without any of the normal environmental, traffic, or zoning reviews.
By a 2-to-1 margin, residents of Peterborough, New Hampshire, voted to reject a plan to build a giant Stop & Shop superstore on the outskirts of town. Peterborough is a community of 6,000 people about an hour west of Manchester.
"We’re a small, closely knit town with strong affection for our local merchants," said Jane LaPointe, one of several residents who spoke out against the development and distributed information on the impacts of big box stores in the weeks leading up to the vote.
In March, voters in Scottsdale, Arizona, overwhelmingly rejected a plan to provide a massive public subsidy for a 42-acre big box development anchored by a Wal-Mart supercenter and a Lowe’s Home Improvement store.
The plan, which was approved by the city council last year, allowed the developer to keep 49 percent of all the sales taxes generated by the shopping center over the next 40 years. Accounting for interest and inflation, the total value of the subsidy is estimated at$183 million.
Time To Think Big by David Morris Originally published on TomPaine.com, March 4, 2004 For advocates of renewable energy, these are the best of times and the worst of times. The good news is that renewable energy is growing in spectacular fashion. Wind electric production in the United States alone is up more than 200… Continue reading
Folly of running government as a business by David Morris Originally published in Minneapolis Star Tribune, March 3, 2004 Conservatives believe government should be run like a private business. They’re wrong. Now Minnesota is paying a stiff price for their mistake. By law, a private corporation must strive to maximize the economic return to a… Continue reading