We missed this WSJ story last week, but couldn't help but chuckle at how the poor Walmonster is miffed about the nature of its opposition: "Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is fighting back against a longtime corporate-sabotage campaign undertaken by grocery competitors to slow its growth. The Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer recently asked judges to require its opponents to disclose who is footing the legal bills in four out of the dozens of California lawsuits against Wal-Mart that have helped delay the company's expansion."
Corporate sabotage? Is that how the Journal wants to characterize grass roots coalitions against the predations of this retail giant? But, when it comes to corporate speech, the Journal is all in for corporate umbrella groups with compellingly innocuous names-and so are we; but at least we are consistent, and as we have said, there are many good reasons to dislike Walmart.
The folks who are opposed to the metastasizing retailer are legion-and include community organizations, labor unions, competing retailers and environmentalists-not to mention the small business community that gets bulldozed by the Walmonster's steamroller tactics (to mix metaphors): "Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is fighting back against a longtime corporate-sabotage campaign undertaken by grocery competitors to slow its growth. The Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer recently asked judges to require its opponents to disclose who is footing the legal bills in four out of the dozens of California lawsuits against Wal-Mart that have helped delay the company's expansion."
Well, as one of those masked men, we are delighted that the Bentonville Behemoth has its panties in a knot-and the nature of the coalitions that oppose the stores incursions into neighborhoods matters little in court where the legal issues are what they are. The work of the Saint Corporation on behalf of the Walmart opponents is meritorious (if a tad more expensive than our own John's Bargain Store rates): "Pat Fox, president of Saint, acknowledged his firm was hired to organize opposition to hundreds of Wal-Mart projects, but he declined to name his clients. "The work we do helps to level the playing field as regular citizens try to fight back against the world's largest retailer and the impact of big-box development in their communities," Mr. Fox said."
Which brings us to the Gateway bait-and switch in East NY. If Walmart is looking for dishonest representation, it needs look no farther than its developer champion Related; who unequivocally told Councilmember Barron that there was no plan for a Walmonster in the expansion of the original Gateway Mall-and how many times are we going to have to warn the council and its leader (supposedly 100% against Walmart) that they can't accede to large retail oriented mega zoning changes without a restrictive covenants against certain bad actors?
Willets Point and Flushing Commons, once they have been re-zoned, are free to tenant their sites with whatever retailers they want-and the council can simply pound salt. And as far as Gateway is concerned, get ready for a mother of all battles-since Related has an agreement in principle to lease 180,000 square feet! to Walmart. If Quinn is a serious opponent, and not simply a poseur, than she needs to really step up her game-and just as Senator Sampson's crew gave back the Walmart money, so should Quinn refund any Related contribution; as a sign of good faith.
Walmart is preparing for a Normandy Beach kind of assault on NYC and the opponents of this corporate bacillus need to really get their act together. Now more than ever, united we stand, and divided we fall, is the motto of the day.