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!"

Cliff McKenzie

 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.

Wal-Mart is 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 poses.

      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.

A battle  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 wind.
       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 politicians.
       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."

Initiative 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 "city-within-a-city."
        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.   

Wal-Mart adds 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.

Wal-Mart being 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?

Roosevelt F. 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.

 Wal-Mart Greeters 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 serve.
       Wal-Mart is serving them well today in Inglewood.
       Perhaps the next stop for Wal-Mart should be Baghdad.
       And maybe, one day, when you enter a Wal-Mart, you'll be asked if you'd like to sign the Pledge of Vigilance.

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