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The Trib Gets in Bed With Wal Mart

Did anyone catch that valentine to Wal Mart from the Tribune, disguised as Sunday’s editorial????? I know that our local paper of record is supposed to be a champion of business, but this was pretty extreme, even for the Trib. They took a see-no-evil, hear-no-evil and definitely speak-no-evil approach toward the retail giant who is threatening to build a SuperCenter in Atascadero.

So let me remind you of the obvious: The Tribune loves Wal Mart because Wal Mart advertises in the Tribune. A Wal Mart SuperCenter in Atasacadero would be a direct shot in the arm to the Trib. OK, fine. They need the money, after all, to pay Sandy Duerr’s $250,000+ annual salary.

But let’s not dismiss the criticism of Wal Mart that has gathered over the years from all sources. I invite you to spend an hour skimming the Internet and let the facts speak for themselves. I remind the Tribune that Wal Mart has taken such a toll on the state economies of Wisconsin and Maryland, for example, that the governors have been forced to fight back. And the Tribune does not distinguish in its editorial between a traditional Wal Mart and a SuperCenter, a concept fought all over California, from Gilroy to Santa Maria to Inglewood.

The Tribune says that a Wal Mart in Paso Robles hasn’t killed the downtown. True, but what is downtown in Paso now? It’s all restaurants and bars. No retail. Some merchants in AG will tell you the same story there — they can’t compete with Wal Mart.

Is Wal Mart the anti-Christ? Of course not. But it is also irresponsible of the Tribune to dismiss a healthy debate any time a store that large wants to come into any community. There are arguments on both sides, but it seems like the Trib has already made up its mind.

Cha-Ching!

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  1. Mud
    July 3, 2006 at 4:40 pm

    First of all, jerrydinaz, I hope you understand by using all caps you are yelling. Yelling won’t convince anyone of anything.

    I will admit, I am not a big fan of Wal-Mart. I’m not much of a fan of any big box stores. I prefer to use the local hardware stores in lieu of Home-Depot as much as possible. When the difference is only a few cents (or even a dollar or so), I’d rather keep the money in the community and not feed the smart, corporate folks in Arkansas (or wherever WalMart’s home is based). I feel a small amount of guilt with every dollar saved at CostCo.

    And yet, saving money is just that, saving money. Saving money is a good trait, is it not? We could all use a bit of frugality in our lives. The big box stores offer a hint of the frugality I’m looking for. But are the big box stores good for the community? Some of them are, I believe. Wal-Mart … not so much.

    WalMart, brings other issues to a community. A year or so ago, a UC Berkley (2004) study showed that when Wal-Mart enters the economy of a community, retail worker’s wages drop close to 31 percent. Many Wal-Mart employees are forced to depend on food stamps and Medicare. The study shows it costs California taxpayers $86 million annually on government assistance for California Wal-Mart employees.

    So yes, jerry, it is people. You are correct when you say it is a building. I don’t oppose development. I think that specific corner lot in Atascadero is perfect for commercial development, big box or not. But I don’t think Wal-Mart is good for the people of Atascadero.

    In reality, this has little to do with either a building or the people. This is about money.

  2. Rich from Paso
    July 3, 2006 at 6:25 pm

    Mud, your point about Wal-Mart costing taxpayers $86 million is only half the story. On Wal-Mart’s “Walmartfacts.com” they have this to say about the taxes Wal-Mart pays to the state of California:

    “Wal-Mart collected on behalf of the state of California more than $783.4 million in sales taxes in 2005.
    Wal-Mart paid more than $139.7 million in state and local taxes in the state of California in 2005.”

    Add that up and Wal-Mart colected or paid almost a billion dollars last year for California alone. even if you dismiss the $783.4 million on the assumption that those dollars would have been spent elsewhere, Wal-Mart still paid more in taxes than there employees supposedly collected in state benefits. Furthermore, due to the liberal works of Maryland and Wisconsin, Wal-Mart is extending their health-care benefits to their part-time employees, which is unheard of in the retail or fast-food segments. Is McDonald’s forced to offer their part-time employees health care coverage? No. Neither is Target or K-Mart. Politicians, the labor unions, Dave, Bob, and everyone else can pile on Wal-Mart with every grievance from the petty to the major but the fact remains that Wal-Mart is the largest employer in America because they are the largest retail chain in the world.

    About Dave’s comment about downtown Paso: The biggest problem with downtown Paso is not the Wal-Mart across town, it is the Park Cinemas that sucks up all of the available parking spaces. Also, if Dave had been in downtown Paso recently, he would see the Re/Max office, the CarQuest parts, the A & R furniture and the scores of other than restaurant businesses that are there. The 2003 earthquake did more to ruin downtown businesses than Wal-Mart ever has. And that’s a fact. SLO county small businesses will survive with THREE Wal-Marts in the area and there will be, finally!, a business that is trying to make this Central Coast paradice more afordable for us working stiffs. Spend your money where you want. If you have the money, pay more at a smaller business if you choose, but let the lower income people save their money at Wal-Mart if they choose.

  3. Chuckman
    July 3, 2006 at 6:33 pm

    Rich,

    You mention A&R Furniture in downtown Paso. True, but Wal Mart doesn’t sell fine furniture. The Sears closed, as did most other retail stores. Don’t know much about Wal Mart, but Dave is right about the impact of Wally on Paso — the downtown is thriving, but not because of retail stores.

  4. Anonymous
    July 3, 2006 at 11:11 pm

    Jerry:
    Or should I say, “JERRY!”
    You probably won’t find the uppercase etiquette/yelling rule in a book anywhere…because it’s a function — or aspect — of the World Wide Web and e-mail.
    I don’t know how it got started…but it’s not a bad rule to follow. My guess is that the inventor had come to understand how difficult it can be to detect tone and volume in the written word…so he/she came up with the notion that all caps is YELLING.
    Just a friendly note (notice no caps here).
    Enjoy the beauty that is Wal-Mart.
    JB

  5. Anonymous
    July 3, 2006 at 11:37 pm

    Jerry, get with the program. Check out the CPSR site… http://www.cpsr.org/membership/policies/etiquette

    25. Except in unusual circumstances, avoid using “ALL CAPS” or “no caps”. This makes reading difficult for others and ALL CAPS often is taken as a metaphor for shouting.

    You really should pay more attention.

    WalMart did have a negative impact on my town. Good luck with that.

    Ed

  6. Rich from Paso
    July 4, 2006 at 1:35 pm

    Not because of retail, sure, but Dave said it was all restaurants which it is not. I stand by the fact that the Park Cinema taking up all of the parking keeps people out of downtown Paso, especially on the weekends.

    Look folks, a hammer is a hammer. Why pay 3 or 4 dollars more dollars a a mom and pop store when you can save those 3 dollars and get milk and toilet paper and your vitamins and save on every item? Wal-Mart deals in economies of scale that small businesses just can’t compete with. Niche marketing is how the little guy will survive the very existance of Wal-Mart. If you sell a product or service that Wal-Mart can’t provide, you will prosper. But to say that I should shop at a Mom and Pop store for no other reason than to stop Wal-Mart is not a reason to shop, it’s begging for welfare of a different sort.

  7. MysticFire
    July 5, 2006 at 9:54 pm

    #1, I thought it had been established that Jerry’s caps lock key had melted in to the on position thanks to the Arizona sun. I fear he’ll never change that.

    #2, Wal-Mart no wal-mart…who cares? I’m sorry to see the little guy go out of business but life happens. Especially in a place like this where my husband and I are struggling to get by each month. I can’t afford to shop at Spencer’s, ($3.50 for a jar of soup…no chance). Can’t we all just go our seperate ways and move along? If all of you who don’t want to shop at wal-mart DON’T, then there’s a chance the mom & pop places can stay in business. Those of you who have enough money to shop other places go for it. For those of us who can barely make the mortgage we have to do what we have to do, whether or not we agree on it.

    3, Why is it so hard for everyone to live and let live?!?

  8. Anonymous
    July 5, 2006 at 11:33 pm

    Jerry, I feel badly for your sorry ass having to live in that godforsaken place Phoenix Arizona. Oh, actually I don’t. Go solve some problems in your community and leave ours alone. Thank god you left. Now leave us alone. Brett

  9. MysticFire
    July 6, 2006 at 12:11 am

    I’m sitting here scratching my head, wondering what exactly Brett is thinking. He wants to be anonymous so he chooses that identity…yet he signs his name. That is completely lost on me.

  10. Kirk In SLO
    July 6, 2006 at 2:21 am

    Your first mistake was thinking that liberals would use logic…

  11. MysticFire
    July 6, 2006 at 2:23 am

    D’oh!

  12. Paso John
    July 6, 2006 at 4:31 am

    Rich is all screwed up about downtown Paso. The cinemas don’t keep people out — they bring people downtown. DUH! Ask the restaurant owners about how important the theaters are to business. I bet it’s #1. There’s not much retail left — it’s all out on Niblick.

  13. Anonymous
    July 6, 2006 at 6:32 am

    “MysticFire said…
    I’m sitting here scratching my head, wondering what exactly Brett is thinking. He wants to be anonymous so he chooses that identity…yet he signs his name. That is completely lost on me.”

    It’s exceptionally simple– I’m too lazy to sign up. Brett

  14. Charlie in Atascadero
    July 7, 2006 at 5:59 am

    Dave,

    Thanks for the great segment today with the Atascadero mayor. I can’t believe how he kept dodging and slipping around on your questions about Wal Mart. He wouldn’t even admit how he felt about them coming to town. Something stinks up here!

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