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2005-09-14
Stoughton, WI. Wal-Mart Annexation Voted Down

Sprawl-Busters has been writing about Stoughton, Wisconsin since May of 2003, when the group "Uff-da" turned up the heat on Wal-Mart. The battle see-sawed up and down, with the opponents on top at one point, then Wal-Mart gaining some council seats at another point. But this week, we received the following report from the frontlines in Stoughton, good news for all the "Uff-da" (which means enough!) warriors: "On August 18, 2005, the city of Stoughton, Wisconsin and the surrounding communities, were ravaged by severe tornadoes causing millions of dollars in damage. Last night, Sepetember 13th, there was a "wind storm" of another kind, as the city Common Council voted on a measure to annex 183 acres of land that would have paved the way for another Wal-Mart Supercenter. The proposal was voted down, 7 in favor and 5 against, missing the required 2/3 by one vote. Stoughton's mayor, Helen Johnson, made it very clear where she stood on the issue. In the event of a tie vote, she would cast the deciding vote in favor of Wal-Mart and the land annexation. She stated at the meeting, "I support managed growth." Tom Boese representing Brave New Films and the movie "WAL-MART: The High Cost of Low Prices," which will be released November 13th, sent Mayor Johnson an e-mail telling her, "you don't manage Wal-Mart, they manage YOU!" Mayor Johnson wrote back saying: "My concern is that we have a place for our elderly or those who do not own cars to buy a pair of pajamas or a pair of socks here at home. " This is puzzling because there is a Wal-Mart in town already. The crucial vote was that of Pat Schneider, who abstained in the last vote. Had he voted the other way, the measure to annex the land would have passed. He is to be commended for taking a courageous stand. His counterpart, David Olsen in the nearby town of Jefferson, Wisconsin is now facing a recall on September 27th because he voted against a land annexation there that Wal-Mart wanted. Pat Schneider was only one of the five council members voting against the annexation issue. Some of the reservations expressed by the other members included the fact that there was no traffic impact study done, nor was there an economic impact study done. There were also concerns over increased noise and the need for additional law enforcement due to the Wal-Mart Supercenter being a 24 hour operation."

What you can do: This is a remarkable victory for anti Wal-Mart activists in Stoughton, who have watched their fortunes rise and fall over the past two and a half years. One vote victories are always nail-biters, but plenty of them have gone the other way, so we'll take the win no matter what the count. For earlier stories on Stoughton, search Newsflash by the town's name. What do you say to a Mayor who says Wal-Mart is built for pedestrians?










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

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