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Judge Will Not Stop Walmart Construction In Sherman Heights

Evening Edition

Above: City Councilman David Alvarez talks to KPBS about a judge's decision not to stop Walmart construction in Sherman Heights.

Aired 4/24/12 on KPBS Midday Edition.

GUEST:

Adrian Florido, KPBS Fronteras reporter

David Alvarez, San Diego City Councilmember, District 8

Bulldozers took to the historic Farmer's Market building on Imperial Avenue in San Diego six weeks after Walmart announced it would convert it into one of its stores.
Enlarge this image

Above: Bulldozers took to the historic Farmer's Market building on Imperial Avenue in San Diego six weeks after Walmart announced it would convert it into one of its stores.

Aired 4/24/12 on KPBS Midday Edition.

GUEST:

Miro Copic, SDSU Marketing Professor

A judge on Monday denied a bid for a temporary restraining order that would have stopped demolition work at the site of a Walmart store in a landmark building in Sherman Heights.

Members of neighborhood and labor-affiliated groups claimed that Walmart began demolishing the iconic Farmers Market building before issuing proper notice. They went to court last week in a bid to get the project shut down.

The retailer's lawyers said it has the necessary permits to begin work on its future Walmart Neighborhood Market, which will be smaller than the typical big-box store and focus mainly on groceries. The site is in a building that has a tower that dominates the skyline east of Interstate 5 near downtown.

City Councilman David Alvarez, who represents the district where the new Walmart is planned, spoke to KPBS.

He said residents in the area "have been asking for a long time for a grocery store," including produce and a pharmacy.

"But even better news would be that the community would be informed about what Walmart is really deciding to do in that neighborhood," he said.

A city permit calls for seismic retrofits of the structure, including the removal of the north wall, windows, roof and floor.

That demolition startled members of the community, Alvarez said. Although Walmart has put up a banner showing what the store will look like, they have not shared enough details about their plans, he added.

Alvarez said he has a letter from Walmart that states the iconic Farmers Market site "is going to be maintained and enhanced."

In his ruling, Judge Joel Pressman said the work was consistent with city-approved plans that call for maintaining the facade. He also said the building in its current condition is a safety hazard, so the plaintiffs, the Coalition for Safe and Healthy Economic Progress, should have acted sooner.

"It's good news when construction teams are back to work and residents are a step closer to getting what they have overwhelmingly said they want - more job opportunities and affordable grocery options in their own neighborhood," said Steve Restivo, the senior director of community affairs at Walmart, in a statement.

"We will continue to engage with the community as we improve the vacant Farmers Market building and create a new, vibrant destination for local customers,'' he said.

While the tower is easily visible to commuters, the structure does not meet any of the city's criteria for historic buildings.

Comments

Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | April 23, 2012 at 5:35 p.m. ― 1 year, 11 months ago

*In his ruling, Judge Joel Pressman said the building, in its current condition, was a safety hazard, so the plaintiffs - the Coalition for Safe and Healthy Economic Progress - should have acted sooner.*

Yes, judge, but you see few people knew what the plans were. Wal Mart had been politically active in squashing local ordinances that would allow community impact reports and allow public input on their projects.

*"It's good news when construction teams are back to work and residents are a step closer to getting what they have overwhelmingly said they want - more job opportunities and affordable grocery options in their own neighborhood, said Steve Restivo, the senior director of community affairs at Wal-Mart.*

Mr. Restivo, I realize you have to play the dullard (you **are** only playing, no?) in your position as Propaganda Minister for Wal Mart, but people aren't stupid. Your company sells Red China made crap, you don't give most employees proper benefits, you exploit cheap 3rd world labour, and the jobs your bosses provide are not even close to paying enough or people to live, especially in San Diego. Please spare us the talking points about what a savior Wal Mart is and go get a job with an honest company you sniveling middle-management jellyfish.

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Avatar for user 'fungshe'

fungshe | April 24, 2012 at 4:46 p.m. ― 1 year, 11 months ago

"While the tower is easily visible to commuters, the structure does not meet any of the city's criteria for historic buildings."

This is an absolutely false statement and in fact the entire building was deemed eligible for local designation by the city under criterion A & C.

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Avatar for user 'jpinpb'

jpinpb | April 24, 2012 at 5:28 p.m. ― 1 year, 11 months ago

Yeah. This a real victory alright. A victory for Walmart. Not for the people. Not for California, much less San Diego.

WAL-MART Drives Down Retail Wages $4.7 BILLION Every Year.
Since the completion of our film, the study has been finalized and published, and the published findings produced a different number for the annual loss in retail earnings than the preliminary figure we used in the film. The published study ultimately found that Wal-Mart actually reduced the take-home pay of retail workers by $4.7 BILLION dollars annually. Unfortunately for the retail workers this statistic concerns, Wal-Mart's effect on retail wages turns out to be worse than we had anticipated.

WAL-MART SUBSIDY NATIONWIDE: $1.008 BILLION

WAL-MART Imported $18 BILLION from CHINA in 2004

The WALTON FAMILY Made $3.2 MILLION in Political Contributions in 2004

The WALTON FAMILY received a federal tax cut of: $91,500.00 per HOUR in the 2004 tax year

More detailed info: http://www.walmartmovie.com/facts.php
$86 MILLION a Year to California Taxpayers
In 2004, a study released the UC Berkeley Labor Center found that "reliance by Wal-Mart workers on public assistance programs in California comes at a cost to taxpayers of an estimated $86 million annually; this is comprised of $32 million in health related expenses and $54 million in other assistance."

http://www.walmartmovie.com/facts.php

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Avatar for user 'HarryStreet'

HarryStreet | April 26, 2012 at 3:34 p.m. ― 1 year, 11 months ago

We're all doomed to a future of working for $10.70 an hour in a drabby looking, lack-of-imagination retail store. That's the future of the American worker.

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