Updated: Thu, Sep 8, 2011, 6:47 am
Uploaded: Wed, Sep 7, 2011, 8:07 am
Protestors ask council to block Wal-Mart from reopening Nob Hill grocery store
Cite retailer's low pay, inadequate health benefits, high traffic counts
Anti-Wal-Mart protestors urged the Pleasanton City Council Tuesday night to block efforts by the retailer to open one of its Neighborhood Market grocery stores in the building where the Nob Hill supermarket once was located on Santa Rita Road.
Wearing yellow badges objecting to Wal-Mart, more than 40 filled the council chamber after receiving anonymous fliers urging those who object to a Wal-Mart store at that location to voice their opinions. Many did in remarks made during the public comments session at the meeting.
Mayor Jennifer Hosterman, however, said the flier contained information that is factually incorrect, pointing out that Wal-Mart has no plans to build "a big box store" at the site or to redevelop the Nob Hill store.
City Manager Nelson Fialho acknowledged that Wal-Mart has submitted plans to occupy the Nob Hill store based on Nob Hill's approval 27 years ago of a planned unit development that allows grocery stores. If Wal-Mart or any other grocer wants to re-open the store and abides by the same operating procedures, a permit would be given.
"So far, however, the applicant has not submitted a project application that would show those operating plans. Until then, city planners have not moved forward on the permit requests.
If Wal-Mart would adhere to the same operating procedures that Nob Hill followed, permits could be issued without any review by the Planning Commission or the City Council. If, Fialho said, Wal-Mart would want to be open for 24 hours a day, which was not allowed in the Nob Hill permit, that alone would trigger a full review and likely public hearings on Wal-Mart's application.
But even if Wal-Mart's operation would be consistent with Nob Hill's, Councilman Matt Sullivan said he would still want the council to consider the impact of the Wal-Mart store. Councilwoman Cheryl Cook-Kallio agreed, citing the city's recent approval of rezoning changes that will allow for more high density housing throughout Pleasanton.
"I think we have to look at neighborhood retails centers such as this one to see if they meet the needs of a larger population that is coming," she said.
After hearing more than an hour of public protests against Wal-Mart, Councilwoman Cindy McGovern questioned if the applicant to re-open the Nob Hill store was a Fresh & Easy or Trader Joe's, if there would be such negativity.
"I have received many emails from people who live near the old Nob Hill store and they want a grocery store there," she said.
Wal-Mart has been building smaller grocery stores, which it calls Neighborhood Market, across the country. These stores usually are 40,000 square feet and include a pharmacy. The Nob Hill building has less space. Nob Hill also did not have a pharmacy.
Objectors to the Wal-Mart plan cited the non-union retailer's low wages compared to other unionized stores and what they said is the company's failure to provide adequate health care coverage for its employees.
Objectors also complained about increasingly heavy traffic at the Stoneridge Drive-Santa Rita Road intersection, where the Nob Hill retail center is located. They called for an environmental impact report before Wal-Mart is issued operating permits to determine if traffic, pollution and air quality would be adversely affected by re-opening the ob Hill store.
Tom Foley, who manages the retail center, said other businesses in the shopping center have lost customers since Nob Hill was closed last year by its owner Raley's, Inc. The grocery store provided an economic anchor for those businesses which, he said, want the supermarket re-opened.
Posted by s.r.
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 9, 2011 at 9:21 am
"In the United States alone, the company employs 1.4 million people. This is a staggering 1% of the U.S.'s 140 million working population.
Walmart, in other words, matters. Its payrolls, and its pay, move the needle.
The average Walmart "associate," Wake Up Walmart reports, makes $11.75 an hour. That's $20,744 per year. Those wages are slightly below the national average for retail employees, which is $12.04 an hour. They also produce annual earnings that, in a one-earner household, are below the $22,000 poverty line.
On the other hand, these wages are FAR ABOVE MINIMUM WAGE of $7.25 an hour. They also aren't THAT FAR below the national retail average (only 2.5% below). In a two-earner household, moreover, these wages would produce a household income of $40,000+, which, in some areas of the country, is comfortably middle-class. Walmart offers benefits to some of its employees, as well as store discounts and profit-sharing plans.
Read more: Web Link
So all you Walmart haters, find jobs for some of the over 1 million people you want to put out of work. I'm sure if they didn't work at the evil Walmart they could get jobs that pay $15 an hour easily. I know a credentialed teacher with a master's degree that can't find a teaching job and is working for $16 an hour as a pre-school teacher and is grateful to have it. Everytime I go to one of our shopping areas it is packed with most people carrying bags of their purchases. Local restaurants are also usually busy. So many of you have no idea living in this bubble of the tri-valley what is going on in most of the country where many people vie for those jobs you deem horrible. Even most of the lower income families here apparently never visit Ohio or West Virginia or many of the other state in the middle of the country and see the way people are forced to live because there are not jobs to be had. I have family in some of these areas and do go there and see the devastation.
But lets band together to boycott Walmart, plummet their sales and put more people out of work. WAKE UP!! And maybe some of you who own your own business or are the upper management of a company could quit putting all your profits into your huge executive salaries and use some of them to hire the people you put out of work at a high salary, including benefits. What a concept!
And by the way, yes, my family is in the highest tax bracket and although I don't love giving local, state and federal governments 50% of what we earn I know that even doing that we are still so much more fortunate than so many. The people who yell about taxes never say how they are going to pay for schools, infrastructure, national security, etc. If there are no jobs, there is no money. No matter what the tax rate, if the top 1% make all the money they are going to be supporting the country at the highest level. This is simple. If you don't have a job, you don't pay taxes. If a large segment of the population doesn't pay anything and the huge corporations, with huge profits don't pay anything, and the extremely wealthy pay as little as they can get away with, where is the money going to come from. If the government doesn't pay for this stuff somebody still has to. We need bridges that don't fall down, roads without potholes, safe air traffic etc. We The only way to solve our problems is with a working middle class that is also paying taxes, not getting unemployment. If some of the companies with many, many top exec. living in this area were to start hiring, it sure would help.
Oh, in my opinion though, we could save some money by cutting out some of these unending expensive studies that people are always demanding before anything is done. Geesh.