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2005-04-20
Benson, AZ. Wal-Mart Rezoning Goes To The Ballot

Another Wal-Mart proposal is going to the voters, this time in Benson, Arizona. According to the San Pedro Valley News-Sun, the special election will take place next September, which means the retailer now has to sit on its hands for another half year to make any progress. The Benson City Council in February approved the rezoning of a 10 acre parcel on Prickly Pear Avenue from R-2 residential to B-2 commercial. But local citizens gathered 218 signatures to put the matter before voters as a referendum. Only 64 signatures are needed in this small town to put a referendum on the ballot, which is 10 percent of the total voter turnout in the last city election. Benson Mayor George Scott said city officials are not pleased about the special election, and said it would cost the city $15,000. But the Mayor is likely unhappy that his own citizens would challenge the decision he made to rezone land for a superstore. The cost to Benson of providing public safety at the new store will make the $15,000 special election seem like pocket change.

What you can do: Residents of Benson be forewarned: Wal-Mart will open up its corporate treasury to win this special election. They have $100 million in sales at the Benson store to motivate them. They will buy full page ads in the paper, they will call voters, they will survey voters to identify who is with them. They will try to buy their way in Benson. This is Wal-Mart's corporate democracy philosphy: the corporation with the most money wins. Arizona Senator John McCain has fought for years for campaign finance reform, but here's a case in his home state in which there is no limit on what a corporation can spend on a ballot question. Fasten your seatbelts, Benson, Wal-Mart's like a drunk cowboy with a big roll of cash.











 
 
"Norman has become the guru of the anti-Wal-Mart movement" ~ 60 Minutes

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