|Article Overview: Wal-Mart
has taken on the local politicians of Inglewood, California.
They denied Wal-Mart the right to develop 60 acres of concrete
wasteland next to Hollywood Park, so Wal-Mart has gone directly to the
people to seek a vote that would create a Wal-Mart
"city-within-a-city," exempt from local regulations.
Does Wal-Mart have the right to be a Retailer of Vigilance?
Monday, April 5,
2004—Ground Zero Plus 936
Wal-Mart Fights To Be A "Retailer Of Vigilance!"
GROUND ZER0, New York, N.Y.--April 5, 2004 -- Wal-Mart, the
world's largest retailer, is fighting the Beast of Local Politics to
build its own community, void of local government control.
fighting The Beast of Local Politics
In a nutshell, Wal-Mart is trying to build "Wal-Mart
Communities Of Vigilance!"
And the local politicians don't like the threat
Wal-Mart is seeking to wrestle the power of prosperity from
the headlock of government regulators and put it into the hands of the
112,000 mothers, fathers, uncles, aunts, cousins, nephews, nieces and
children of the Inglewood community .
The current battle between local government and
Wal-Mart is taking place in Inglewood, California, a primarily
African-American and Latino community in the heart of Los Angeles.
is being waged between local government and Wal-Mart
At issue is 60 acres of barren concrete next to
Hollywood Park. Wal-Mart wants to build a megastore with a
complex of shops and restaurants. According to the mayor,
Roosevelt F. Dorn--the only local politician in favor of Wal-Mart's
plan--the complex will bring 1,000 permanent jobs to the depressed
community, boost tax revenues by $3-$5 million, help fund more than
$100 million in bonds, build a new police station, a new cultural and
community center, create a new park and supply funds for upgrades to
all parks in Inglewood.
But Mayor Dorn is a Voice in the political
Wal-Mart is fiercely anti-union.
Inglewood politicians are backed by union campaign funds, and have
quashed Wal-Mart's attempts to win approval by the city planning
commissions for building the complex.
Wal-Mart has elected to end-run the
The giant retail store with the friendly
face and greeters, has chosen to go directly to the voters and as the
Community of Vigilance--the moms, dads, grandparents, cousins, uncles,
aunts--to vote for or against Wal-Mart's ability to create a "city
within a city."
O-4A if passed will make Wal-Mart a "city-within-a-city"
Called Initiative O-4A,
Wal-Mart has gathered more than 10,000 signatures for a ballot
initiative, which will take the issue directly to the voters and
by-pass the approval of the local politicians. Further, Wal-Mart
is seeking exemption from any local control regarding Inglewood's
planning, zoning and environmental controls.
This would make Wal-Mart a
"city-within-a-city," subject only to its own rules. It would
mean that the city politicians could not "lord power" over Wal-Mart
and use the bully tactics of Fear, Intimidation and Complacency to
hobble its ability to serve the community.
Wal-Mart has been going to the public
to end-run local politics when pressure groups such as unions try to
keep them out. This is, however, the first time Wal-Mart
has sought to exclude all local government control and become a
The answer will remain where it
should be--in the hands of the people. One of the greatest
rules in capitalism is the principle of "highest and best use" of the
land. The "highest and best use" of barren concrete in
Inglewood is the issue the people will vote on--and, if they vote in
favor of Wal-Mart, they will exclude politics as part of the "highest
and best use" formula.
to communities throughout the world
Wal-Mart has 40 other
megacenters planned, and will probably exercise the same process of
seeking the people's vote if local communities attempt to block them.
Bottom line, Wal-Mart has become a
world leader in its field not because it attempted to serve the needs
of politics. Instead of being Fearful of, or Intimidated
by, or Complacent over issues that it face, Wal-Mart has kept its
focus on serving the needs of the community--especially the families
of the communities. Anyone who has ever entered a Wal-Mart
cannot escape the atmosphere of "family," and the idea of "community"
where people serving people perfumes the air.
Not only is the service based on this
principle, but so is the price and product selection.
Wal-Mart adds to, rather detracts from, any community.
In Mexico, it is the leading
retail organization, providing jobs and products and services that no
other comparable store can on its scale.
constructed in Jicarta, Mexico
Terrorism is not something that one can
dismiss regarding the issue in Inglewood. Politicians have
for eons attempted to use Fear, Intimidation and Complacency to twist
and force surrender to personal goals and agendas. Local
politicians are often the worst of the worst, for they feel they are
"kings" or "queens" of the community, and, using local planning and
environmental regulations like a club, they can beat those who
challenge their authority into submission or withdrawal.
Wal-Mart chose the Vigilant Path.
Instead of buckling to Fear, Wal-Mart used Courage, and rather than be
Intimidated, Wal-Mart sought to use its Conviction that it was doing
the right thing for the people of the community, and, rather than tuck
its tail in an act of Complacency and find a more friendly community,
Wal-Mart elected to do the Right Thing to the benefit of the
Children's Children's Children.
A new improved community, with better parks
and more police, plus more jobs and more taxes, can only enrich a
community not detract from it.
So, now it is in the hands of the voters.
Many local politicians shudder.
Wal-Mart is telling them that if they try to bully the growth of their
community, Wal-Mart will go right to the people.
And why not?
Dorn, Mayor of Inglewood deserves a salute
Politicians come and go. People stay.
Wal-Mart and the benefits it brings to the community will be around
for generations, long after the politicians have been caught with
their hands in the cookie jar, or compromised one too many times and
ended up in jail or voted out of office by others who promise the
world and deliver frustration.
But one politician in
Inglewood needs a salute. His name is Roosevelt F. Dorn,
the mayor of the city.
He is looking beyond local regulations.
He is looking at the power of the flower to blossom in the community.
He is looking at the increased police protection, the community
centers, the new park, the tax revenues, the funding for bonds, and
the hundreds of new jobs.
Not all politicians are Beasts of Power
Terror. Some have foresight.
And, not all Big Businesses are Bad, some
are Sentinels of Vigilance who stand above unfair and unjust attempts
to rob the people of their rights, and are willing to place their fate
in the hands of those they intend to serve.
fight the battle against Terrorism
Perhaps one day the
world's battle with Terrorism will not be won by politicians, by
armies with guns and bullets, but, ultimately, by Wal-Mart Greeters,
who, in their Cities of Vigilance, remind everyone that we don't have
to be afraid of who we are, or our differences, but instead help us
focus on our similarities.
Those similarities ultimately end up on all
of us being members of the same "family," and that our children and
their Children's Children's Children are the true consumers we need to
Wal-Mart is serving them well today in
Perhaps the next stop for Wal-Mart should
And maybe, one day, when you enter a
Wal-Mart, you'll be asked if you'd like to sign the Pledge of
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