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Walmart Woos; San Diego Plays Hard to Get

On Wednesday, November 3, city councilmembers met to discuss a city ordinance that would deter big-box superstores from opening in San Diego's neighborhoods.

The Small and Neighborhood Businesses Ordinance, proposed by councilmember Todd Gloria, requires superstores to obtain a site-development permit from the city. The applicant would also be required to submit an Economic and Community Impact Analysis Report on how the big-box retailer would affect neighborhood businesses.

Councilmember Carl DeMaio asked a Walmart senior manager, Aaron Rios, if the ordinance would ban the company from opening stores in San Diego.

“That's the sheep's clothing piece of this proposal,” responded Rios, suggesting that the ordinance, if adopted, would likely discourage the company from pursuing new locations within city limits.

In response to the proposed ordinance, Walmart has been sending mailers to residents and councilmembers. District 7 representative Marti Emerald asked Rios why the mailers implied that the ordinance banned supercenters.

“It's essentially a ban,” said Rios.

Emerald then followed by asking if the ordinance was passed would the company close its doors on the stores already in operation.

“It is an option to consider,” said Rios, causing those in council chambers to erupt in laughter. “I do not mean to be threatening...but this is serious legislation for us to evaluate.”

Once the public had a chance to speak, councilmember Emerald said to Rios, “I also resent the fear tactics...the fear mongering by Walmart of sending out postcards of a not-so-flattering photo of me saying I'm against big-box stores.”

The council went on to pass the ordinance 5-3, with Sherri Lightner, Kevin Faulconer, and Carl DeMaio opposed.

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On Wednesday, November 3, city councilmembers met to discuss a city ordinance that would deter big-box superstores from opening in San Diego's neighborhoods.

The Small and Neighborhood Businesses Ordinance, proposed by councilmember Todd Gloria, requires superstores to obtain a site-development permit from the city. The applicant would also be required to submit an Economic and Community Impact Analysis Report on how the big-box retailer would affect neighborhood businesses.

Councilmember Carl DeMaio asked a Walmart senior manager, Aaron Rios, if the ordinance would ban the company from opening stores in San Diego.

“That's the sheep's clothing piece of this proposal,” responded Rios, suggesting that the ordinance, if adopted, would likely discourage the company from pursuing new locations within city limits.

In response to the proposed ordinance, Walmart has been sending mailers to residents and councilmembers. District 7 representative Marti Emerald asked Rios why the mailers implied that the ordinance banned supercenters.

“It's essentially a ban,” said Rios.

Emerald then followed by asking if the ordinance was passed would the company close its doors on the stores already in operation.

“It is an option to consider,” said Rios, causing those in council chambers to erupt in laughter. “I do not mean to be threatening...but this is serious legislation for us to evaluate.”

Once the public had a chance to speak, councilmember Emerald said to Rios, “I also resent the fear tactics...the fear mongering by Walmart of sending out postcards of a not-so-flattering photo of me saying I'm against big-box stores.”

The council went on to pass the ordinance 5-3, with Sherri Lightner, Kevin Faulconer, and Carl DeMaio opposed.

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Comments
13

What is going on with San Diego public officials lately? Are they oblivious to the unemployment woes of many San Diegans and the fact that most San Diegans-except those in politics-are hurting and need, not only variety but low cost foods? Not to mention the jobs that a Wal-Mart Super Store would bring to the area and the revenue from taxes. Did they not just try to raise the sale tax because they need money?

I'm not against Mom and Pop stores but let's face it, they can't compete and because they can't they don't have the variety or the prices that people need. Most people who shop at these stores are close neighbors who either have no way to get to a super store or is just too inconvinient and therefore they are essentially a captive adudience who will continue to shop at the corner Mom and Pop.

Nov. 4, 2010

I posted this on another story, but it fits here, too: Demographics - Looks like the wealthier communities get to have the lower cost food-vending stores typically found in supercenters. Tony Young's district is wealthier than Hueso's or Gloria's. Costco on Gateway Drive probably has customers from districts 1, 3, 8, and 4, but you have to have a car to get there. Hard to imaging hauling much home from Costco on a bus or by walking a cart out of the lot.

http://profilewarehouse.sandag.org/profiles/est/council3est.pdf D3 median household income: $48.2K

http://profilewarehouse.sandag.org/profiles/est/council8est.pdf D8 median household income: $51.7K

http://profilewarehouse.sandag.org/profiles/est/council4est.pdf D4 median household income: $59.2K

Copy and paste the url and change the district number in the url, to see the other district median household incomes. D1, $108.5K D2, $64.7K D5, $99.8K D6, $68.9K D7, $68.8K

Nov. 4, 2010

Walmart perpetuates, creates, supports, and provides poverty across the board. Do your homework on this company before you get all starry-eyed love-struck with how many jobs or low-cost mass-produced "food" they can provide.

Nov. 4, 2010

Given the defeat of Proposition D, I am amused by the timing of this new ordinance. I am fairly certain that just days ago, city council members and our strong mayor were telling us how desperately San Diego needs more sales tax revenue. Are these civic leaders now saying that Walmart generates no sales tax revenues in the cities where those stores and superstores are now?

As for extremely large venues selling food items, I am wondering what an impact statement from a proposed hotdog&beer-vending NFL stadium downtown might look like...

I guess the 130,000 square feet of Horton Plaza retail space proposed to be knocked down for a one-block $35+ million park is being done to comply with the new ordinance as well?

Nov. 4, 2010

I guess the 130,000 square feet of Horton Plaza retail space proposed to be knocked down for a one-block $35+ million park is being done to comply with the new ordinance as well?

============================= What part of Horton Plaza is being knocked down for a park??

The ONLY place I can think of is the front that faces Broadway across from the US Grant Hotel.

Nov. 4, 2010

RE #5:

The story is apparently still breaking that the Westfield Group would love to knock down the entire Robinsons-May (Planet Hollywood) building, turn it into a city park, and be forgiven of some $35 million in retail and parking fee cuts to CCDC between now and 2035.

Essentially, you're right about it facing the US Grant.

Nov. 4, 2010

So a city strapped for cash doesn't want a huge job-providing, revenue-producing store within its limits.

To paraphrase Dr. Evil, why must we be governed by freaking morons?

Nov. 9, 2010

To paraphrase Dr. Evil, why must we be governed by freaking morons?

================ Oh, that is so funny b/c it is so true!

Nov. 9, 2010

Westfield Group would love to knock down the entire Robinsons-May (Planet Hollywood) building, turn it into a city park, and be forgiven of some $35 million in retail and parking fee cuts to CCDC between now and 2035.

So, the question becomes is that area worth $35 milliion? The answer is a qualified NO!

That is a ridiculous request-$35 million???? Are they nuts? When the Paladium shopping center, on the block south of Horton, was finished in 1994 it cost $32 million, it sold for just $9 million a year later as a bank REO property. The Paladium is an ENTIRE BLOCK!

Nov. 9, 2010

RE #9:

Apparently that rather expensive City SAP bookkeeping software package isn't programmed to make any of this compute, and both CCDC and Westfield Group know this.

Nov. 9, 2010

I believe it is now time to give our leaders "The Flying Fickle Finger of Fate Award*" for doing the San Diego Leadership "Three-Way":

Our Leaders are in bed with the big Unions and they are telling US that they are trying really hard to deal with our City's Fiscal problems, while at the same time they are also "feathering" and protecting their own Pension beds (+ all those of the big Unions), while at the same time they are also squandering almost a Billion Dollars on the Guacamole Bowl Stadium!

Why are our Leaders not recusing themselves, instead of being able to decide just how big their own Pensions will be?

Our Leaders are leading US all right, right into the poorhouse; so I expect to see lots of "DEAL$" given to Developers now that our Leaders have decided to NOT TOUCH THEIR OWN PENSIONS and continue with the sell off of San Diego instead!

*from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rowan_%26_Martin's_Laugh-In

Nov. 10, 2010

it is now time to give our leaders "The Flying Fickle Finger of Fate Award*" for doing the San Diego Leadership "Three-Way":

I agree 100%!!

Nov. 10, 2010

Reply #12 Maybe even with both hands!

Nov. 13, 2010

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