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Rosemead City Council Sneaks Wal-Mart In

by repost Monday, Sep. 18, 2006 at 1:55 PM

This letter was sent out a few days ago. It shows the contempt the Rosemead City Council has for its residents, to sneak a controversial proposal onto the agenda, after the opponents have left. Authored by Zebra.

Bad news.

Those Wal-Mart sock puppets are more slimey and less ethical than we gave them credit for.

So, late last night, after having stated categorically that the Wal-Mart certificate of occupancy was NOT going to be considered that night, Maggie, Gary, and Jay pulled a fast one over on the two Johns. Maggie got to play-act, and pretend she was making a completely extemporaneous suggestion that they "talk" about the Wal-Mart. Of course, this "talk" quickly turned into a motion to approve the certificate of occupancy. This, even though the city's own Planning Department told them that Wal-Mart had not yet met all of the conditions of approval.

I drove by through the parking lot of the site this evening, just to see for myself. Sure enough, there were still piles of PVC piping and potted plants laying all over the property. Clearly, the landscaping was not done. Clearly, the garden area is not completed.

No way for my amateur eye, without access to the full property, could determine if all other conditions were met. For example, are those security cameras mounted on the roof actually powered up? Are they transmitting a signal? Is the scene being videotaped? But the landscaping is obviously not complete, and it "had" to be before the certificate of occupancy could be issued. But when during our entire fight have technicalities like "the law" stopped Jay, Gary, Maggie, Little Mikey Lewis, and the rest of those Wal-Mart toadies from doing what ever they wanted to do?

It's another sad day for grassroots democracy. There is no doubt that the city council's approval of the certificate of occupancy violated their previously-mandated conditions. Now, it may be that the city council has the authority to amend the conditions of approval at their discretion, since Wal-Mart no longer has a development agreement with the city. But the city council can't adopt a change like this without first placing it on the agenda for the meeting. Or, sure they can add issues to the agenda when an "emergency" arises. But what's the emergency in granting the certificate of occupancy last night, instead of in two days, or four days, or two weeks?

Sorry, Jay and Gary: The end of your political lives does not qualify as an emergency. There will be much rejoicing when the hearst comes to haul your political cadavers away. But it will be no emergency.

And so Rosemead's Wal-Mart opened its doors this morning. A judge who had repeated postponed hearing several lawsuits against Wal-Mart could then say that it was too late for an injunction, since the store was already open.

The odds of being able to successfully shutter an already-open store are pretty long. But that doesn't mean our fight with Wal-Mart is over. We still have a duty to hold them accountable for their actions. If we can't shut them down, we'll at least be able to make them pay for their many violations of the conditions of approval. We'll be able to enforce the mitigation measures they agreed to. And we'll be able to make sure they don't switch over to 24-hour operation, with a 24-hour liquor license, and that they can not succeed in rolling back any of the other conditions of approval that they have already agreed to.

And, perhaps just as importantly, we can send a message to city councils all across the country: Bring a Wal-Mart supercenter to your community at your own peril. LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE. LET THEM VOTE. Or, face the consequences.

All of these things can still happen IF we win the recall election.

The recall election is still September 19. And the stakes are still high. We are still being out-spent by nearly six or seven to one. So we still need your support.

Phone banking continues tomorrow (there was a major snafu this evening--we should be back on track tomorrow). Info on phone banking was in my last message, on Tuesday.

[note - this was an email. The Wal-Mart situation in Rosemead is a good example of what happens when the City Council is in bed with the big corporations, against the will of the people. Not only do projects get approved -- laws are violated, politicians are bought out, and nobody is punished. It should be no surprise that the unemployment rate, growth, and economic division in Rosemead are worse than in the adjacent communities.]]

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Letter to Editor repost Monday, Sep. 18, 2006 at 1:57 PM
Recall Election Law repost Monday, Sep. 18, 2006 at 2:13 PM
More Information johnk Wednesday, Sep. 20, 2006 at 11:03 AM

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