Wednesday, February 2, 2011
The Walmart war may not be over just yet. A state lawmaker is joining the battle and he's calling out the San Diego City Council in the process.
SAN DIEGO The Walmart debate is going to Sacramento. State Sen. Juan Vargas (D-San Diego) plans to take up the fight he believes San Diego caved on. Vargas said he’ll introduce legislation that mirrors an ordinance passed in San Diego requiring an economic impact study before mega-stores can be built.
City Council overturned the ordinance this week after Walmart collected enough signatures to force a special election on the issue. Such an election could cost about $3 million. Several council members cited the expense when voting to repeal the ordinance. But Vargas said that’s just an excuse.
“It’s because of the political pressure that was placed on them. So all of a sudden a large company can come in and cause them to change their minds,” he said. “And that was disappointing. But hopefully we’ll be able to correct it from the state.”
Vargas said the true cost to the city would have been about $200,000 because San Diego could have combined the issue with a state wide special election likely to be held this summer. Councilman Todd Gloria originally authored the big box ordinance, but changed his vote in the face of a special election. He said Vargas’ position is misleading.
“We don’t have a confirmation that the state will in fact hold a special election,” he said. “The governor has made it clear that’s his intention, naturally that requires the legislature to approve that and that vote has not been taken yet.”
Gloria said the council had to consider the election cost to be between $2 million to $3 million. He said his position and the purpose of the ordinance were distorted by Walmart’s PR campaign and said he wishes Vargas luck on the state initiative.
Walmart said it plans to build 12 stores in San Diego in the next five years.