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2001-05-16
Glendale, AZ. Wal-Mart A "Likely Loser"

"At the end of the day," former Wal-Mart CEO David Glass has said, "the only vote that really matters is the consumer's." At the end of the day in Glendale, Arizona, the voters turned on Wal-Mart.According to results published in the Arizona Republic, with a total of 13,867 votes counted, 60% (8,257) of the voters in Glendale voted "Yes" to support their City Council's vote to keep out a Wal-Mart, and 40% (5,610) voted "No" to allow rezoning of land for a Wal-Mart. The confusing ballot question (see May 7th newsflash below), was worded in such a way that a "yes" vote was against Wal-Mart. At issue was whether or not a 220,000 s.f. Wal-Mart supercenter would be built on 39 acres of land. In 1999, the City Council voted to zone the land commercial, but there was such an outcry from area residents, that the Council stipulated that the zoning for the parcel would limit store size and operating hours. Plans for the huge, 24 hour Wal-Mart could not happen as long as that City Council vote stood. So the developer and Wal-Mart decided to go around the City Council by placing a rezoning vote on the city's ballot. On May 15th. they lost their gamble -- which by some accounts cost them at least $300,000 in campaign expenses. (The developer, by the way, even went to court over the issue of the timing of the election, claiming that the City Council didn't follow proper process for putting the matter on the ballot, but a judge ruled against the developer and allowed the timing of the vote to stand.) However, the May 15th. election results are still unofficial as of today, because an estimated 3,200 "early" ballots were not counted by the machines. A spokesman for the developer said that the ballot machines "were programmed incorrectly". Some 6,000 early ballots were counted, and they favored the anti-Wal-Mart forces, but another 3,200 ballots were not tallied at all, leaving the final result up in the air. The neighbors who fought Wal-Mart claimed victory. "I think we did it," said Kathy Lewis, one of the organizers against Wal-Mart. "It's the biggest company in the world, and a grassroots organization took care of it." As part of the campaign, the developer sent 20,000 residents a 5 minute video urging people to vote "No", plus a phone call from the developer saying a video was in the mail.

What you can do: The neighbhorhood group, Glendale Citizens for Responsible Government, appear to have slam-dunked Wal-Mart, even though the developer vastly outspent the citizen's group. For more information on the Glendale campaign, contact info@sprawl-busters.com










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

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