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San Diego's city clerk announced on Tuesday, January 25, that the petition drive sponsored by Walmart was successful in collecting the 32,741 signatures needed to hold a special election to repeal the Ordinance to Protect Small and Neighborhood Businesses.

The big-box conglomerate didn't waste any time after city councilmembers voted last November to enact an ordinance that requires super centers — 90,000 square feet or bigger with 10 percent of its revenues from groceries — to conduct economic impact studies for the neighborhoods that they choose to build in. Supporters of the ordinance claim that the impacts to local businesses after a big-box super center need to be taken into account before permits are issued. Opponents say the ordinance places a de facto ban on consumer choice.

Ever since the council's vote last November, those opposed have done all in their power to overturn the ordinance. In early December, Mayor Sanders vetoed the bill. Weeks later, during a special meeting, city councilmembers overturned Sanders's veto.

Meanwhile, Walmart officials sponsored a petition drive throughout San Diego, much as they did in Salinas and Contra Costa.

Now that the signatures have been verified, city councilmembers have an opportunity to rescind the ordinance and forgo shelling out $3 million for a special citywide election.

"Our city could use the added sales-tax revenue and the thousands of jobs super centers would bring," read a press release from councilmember Kevin Faulconer. "This council now has an opportunity to right a wrong.... Let's save our city $3 million and give consumers the choice to make their own decisions. The role of government should not involve telling San Diegans where to spend their money.”

The council is expected to debate the issue in the next few weeks.

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Comments

Ponzi Jan. 25, 2011 @ 9:27 p.m.

I don't know what to think. I hate both Sanders and Wal-Mart. They both suck. Equally.

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SurfPuppy619 Jan. 25, 2011 @ 10:06 p.m.

"Our city could use the added sales-tax revenue and the thousands of jobs super centers would bring," read a press release from councilmember Kevin Faulconer.

LOL..how many TIMES have we heard the sales tax line????

I would bet the City gives away MORE IN property tax rebates than the "super center" will bring in in sales tax.

I also question the value of a Walmart job in total compensation. I have heard and read many accounts about their wages-and they vary greatly-but I don't know what the real deal is with their employee compensation, except it is far less than gov.

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poff Jan. 26, 2011 @ 8:42 a.m.

The ordinance was clearly lobbied by the grocers union.

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Founder Jan. 26, 2011 @ 8:45 a.m.

In San Diego Money talks and our Council listens...

With the new councilmembers now aboard, it will be interesting to see if they now decide to let the voters decide or just cave-in themselves and accept Walmart's donation $...

I bet a SuperStore will never get located in LJ or Pt. Loma, so those folks that will be affected by its location should get the final say, just like any Planning Decision, since they will have to live with the noise, the traffic and its 24 hour operation!

Here's a idea, let locate it Downtown UNDER the Billion Dollar "Guacamole Bowl" stadium, that would give $D fans something to cheer about!

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Visduh Jan. 26, 2011 @ 9:14 a.m.

Walmart obviously threw a huge amount of money into this. Gathering that many signatures is hard to do, and it took a small army of paid signature-gatherers to pull it off. So, who paid them? Walmart, of course. I doubt that this local effort is really worth the cost to Walmart. But if they let it happen here, the phenomenon will spread nationwide, and then it could really cut into their dominance.

The sales tax argument is always floated. But Walmart Supercenters differ from run-of-the-mill Walmarts with their expanded offerings of food. Hellooo, the food isn't taxed. So, where does the additional sales tax revenue come from? Most of it comes from other outlets that lose business or disappear. Macroeconomics can make a strong case that all this sales-tax jockeying by cities is part of a zero-sum game. (As in, what I gain, you lose, and vice-versa.)

Walmart plays rough, as evidenced by the fact that they've never been obliged to sign a union contract. They do "whatever it takes" to get their way. Walmart got its start by going into towns and small cities that had business districts filled with locally-owned stores. Out on the edge of town, often outside city limits if there were any, they would put up their store, and soon the local stores closed. I've seen a few such places where the business district looked as if it had been hit by a neutron bomb. The buildings were there, but the people were not. Walmart hasn't had such an easy time since it headed into the big cities over a decade ago. It gets resistance and it gets union organizing pressure. So far Walmart seems to have prevailed. How much longer before they actually lose one of these battles? Probably not long, and when it happens it will be long overdue.

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Founder Jan. 26, 2011 @ 9:43 a.m.

Good Comment, especially about the food not being taxed!

In a prior Walmart story, someone from CV wrote about what opening a Walmart nearby did to their shopping district, but I don't have the time to search for that link!

Here are some I just located: http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs...



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BlueSouthPark Jan. 29, 2011 @ 4:27 p.m.

Have you seen the obnoxious TV ads about "the government running our lives" because of the possible tax on flavored water and sodas? The tax, which passed in Hawaii and is being considered again in Cali, is called the Fat Tax. Like the tobacco tax, it targets people who buy items that contribute to disease (in this case, obesity, theoretically, from sugar-laden sodas and the like; theoretically, these careless consumers contribute to our collective health-care costs, though that's being argued: http://www.sbsun.com/pointofview/ci_17187110).

The woman in the obnoxious ad appears to be in something like a Walmart and is decrying a tax on all of those things that Walmart sells lots of. I don't know where corporate America (Walmart) would stand on the tax, but the local Republican and Chamber of Commerce types now supporting Walmart would probably rail against this type of tax...which could actually be a source of the purported tax revenue...talk about zero-sum!

Caveat: I've never been in a Walmart, and never will be, and own stock in Target.

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Founder Jan. 29, 2011 @ 5:01 p.m.

I'm sure that we will start to see many more "Elite" taxes on upcoming ballots that each try and sell US on a new tax of fee that will make things better, yet are used by the Leaders for self promotion!

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BlueSouthPark Jan. 29, 2011 @ 4:30 p.m.

Oh yeah, and I hate sodas and would never be fool enough to buy flavored water.

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