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2000-02-29
Glendora & Huntington Beach, CA. Campaign Bucks

Who wants to vote for a millionaire? With ballot questions facing voters in Glendora and Huntington Beach, California just a week away, the uncontrollable campaign spending by the big box retailers is going over the top. According to local sprawl-busters in both locations, Wal-Mart and Home Depot are throwing money at the problem. In Huntington Beach, CA, the Orange County Weekly reported that "despite the rhetoric from Wal-Mart supporters about "starting out behind" in the campaign, Bentonville, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart has already sent more than $227,000 west to the stop-Measure I crowd -- more than 20 times the amount raised by the residents trying to reassert control over their own neighborhood." The newspaper says that much of the Wal-Mart money has been spent on "hundreds of street signs, thousands of glossy mailers, and high-powered political consultants..." This is corporate democracy's finest hour. And in Glendora, the story is about the same. The "committee" working to pass a Wal-Mart and Home Depot project there has spent $236,000 on their political action committee. If money were votes, Wal-Mart would be President. But the residents of Glendora have been door knocking the old-fashioned way for weeks, hoping to identify the anti Wal-Mart vote and get them out to the polls on March 7th.

What you can do: By the time these two campaigns are over March 7th, the total spending in both communities by the Wal-Mart and Home Depot groups could easily reach one million dollars combined! No wonder Americans are demanding campaign finance reform. When a corporate "citizen" , which has no residential address, can outspend local residents by forty or fifty to one, its no wonder citizens want to reform how such campaigns are financed. Corporations should be limited in how much they can contribute to any one ballot question. As the rules now stand, a for-profit corporation can dig deeply into its pockets and try to blow away local residents with a staggering war chest. Wal-Mart tried to do this in Eureka, CA, but lost by a 62% to 38% vote, spending more than the average Eureka worker makes in a dozen years. By now the residents of Huntington Beach and Glendora may be wise to where all the money is coming from. But the deck is stacked in favor of the wealthy corporate special interests. Yet the citizens keep fighting. "How can somebody judge what's good for my neighborhood if they don't live here," said Huntington Beach activist Barbara Boskovich, who moved into the Crest View neighborhood 28 years ago. For more stories of outrageous campaign spending by Wal-Mart and Home Depot, see the newsflash index section.










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

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