Wal-Mart's Neighborhood Market good for Pleasanton | January 27, 2012 | Pleasanton Weekly | PleasantonWeekly.com |


Pleasanton Weekly

Opinion - January 27, 2012

Wal-Mart's Neighborhood Market good for Pleasanton

Wal-Mart, the retailing giant that city politicians, unions and business critics love to hate, is seeking an occupancy permit to reopen the long-closed Nob Hill supermarket as a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market, similar to those it now has in operation across the country. Wal-Mart currently operates over 180 Neighborhood Markets that sell only groceries, but none exists yet in California.

Unlike its full-size Wal-Mart at 4501 Rosewood Drive, the Neighborhood Market would be smaller, fitting into the 33,000-square-foot Nob Hill building. It would also be smaller than other supermarkets in Pleasanton. The new Safeway "Lifestyle" store that opened last November is a 55,000-square-foot facility.

The Wal-Mart grocery is a perfect fit for the site. It will sell 24,000 different products, including a wide range of groceries, pharmaceuticals, health and wellness items, and frequently purchased general merchandise consumables. It will provide jobs for 95 employees and will be open from 6 a.m. to midnight. In other words, it will virtually replace Nob Hill in size, product offerings and operating hours.

Yet Wal-Mart is facing opponents, both several on the Pleasanton City Council and others who don't like the company's nonunion policies and what they say is its inadequate health care and other employee benefits programs. In an unsigned letter being circulated to those living in neighborhoods near the old Nob Hill store, neighbors are being asked to let the council hear their protests at upcoming meetings and to urge the city "to immediately adopt a law that allows for public input and discretionary review before any decisions are made about the intensity of the use" of the store by Wal-Mart. "We hope the council hears our concerns and will take action. In the meantime, we still need you to contact the council TODAY."

The protests could hit pay dirt. Mayor Jennifer Hosterman and Councilman Matt Sullivan objected in 2004 when the full-sized Wal-Mart store sought permits to expand its garden shop and add a storage center. Since then, Councilwoman Cheryl Cook-Kallio has been elected to the council. A member of the teachers' union, she also has voiced her opposition to the larger sized Wal-Mart superstores. In fact, the council here in Pleasanton, where Safeway has its corporate headquarters, adopted an ordinance that specifically denies permits to large so-called box stores that have food as their major commodity. Target, which once considered a store in Pleasanton, chose to build its newest superstore across the freeway in Dublin, instead.

By choosing to reopen the Nob Hill store with few outside changes, Wal-Mart may have outfoxed those who want public hearings on its plans. The city code allows businesses to sell their operation to others without public review if the new business is much like the old one. Many restaurants and downtown businesses do this on a regular basis.

Knowing this, Wal-Mart revised its earlier permit application to scuttle plans to paint the old Nob Hill a better color, or reposition the poorly placed front doors and to add more powerful refrigeration units on the Nob Hill building roof, changes that could trigger a design review and possible public hearings. It now says it won't even seek a sign design approval until after it opens the store so that it can receive its occupancy permit quickly. Wal-Mart's Neighborhood Market would be good for the Santa Rita Center where it will be an anchor store, serving not only the neighborhood that has been without a major market for two years but also the retail and service shops at the center that have seen their businesses suffer since Nob Hill closed.


Posted by Susan B., a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Jan 27, 2012 at 10:10 am

Comment on Story Walmart Grocery is good for Pleasanton

The city council appears determined to try and block Walmart from opening up a grocery store where Nob Hill previously had a store for political reasons. Due to either the fact that Safeway's headquarters are located here or that the employees aren't unionized. It's true that Walmart has better prices than the other grocery stores in Pleasanton and would provide additional competition to the other stores. If the city council truly cared about what's best for the city's approximately 60,000 residents, instead of the lobbying by a local corporation or a few unionized employees - then they would stop trying to figure out ways to block Walmart from opening the store. Pleasanton residents would then benefit through more choice and convenience. A side benefit would be that the other grocery stores in Pleasanton would be forced to become more competitive which would also be a positive for residents.

Posted by steve, a resident of Parkside
on Jan 27, 2012 at 10:22 am

Union thugs organizing in mass....watch the spineless politicians in this town roll over now. They obviously don't have the interests of the majority of this city's residents in mind.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 27, 2012 at 10:47 am

Why do we need a Walmart store at that location? The Dublin Walmart is only minutes away from the former Nob Hill store. It does not make sense to have two Walmarts so close by. A Whole Foods would be better.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 27, 2012 at 10:50 am

A Whole Foods would be better because the only one around here is in San Ramon, Bollinger Road. The Dublin Walmart is essentially in Pleasanton, if you take the short cut it is not far at all (take the road by the Panda Express)
No need for another Walmart. A big need for a Whole foods.

Posted by Pete , a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 27, 2012 at 11:04 am

A public review is necessary for many reasons...

Posted by Jade, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Jan 27, 2012 at 11:33 am

Hey Resident....it's NOT a regular Walmart. It's a grocery store.
Totally different store.
One thing you CAN be sure of, the city will do everything they can possibly think of to stop this.
They do NOT care what the residents want..they DO care what Safeway has to say about it.
Whole Foods is NOT an option so no sense wishing for one. They weren't interested in the Nob Hill site. Neither was Trader Joes.
There is a big, 79 response, post about this very subject.
Some very good comments made.
How silly of us to think the city council works for us and listens to what we want. They DO listen to Safeway tho...and money talks!!!

Posted by Tom, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 27, 2012 at 1:39 pm

As a Pleasanton resident living in a neighborhood near the former Nob Hill site on Santa Rita Road, I strongly oppose the siting there of the proposed Walmart grocery store. There is far more to consider about this project than the simplistic, rosy picture painted by the Pleasanton Weekly. A “by-right” approval of this project by the Pleasanton Planning Department that makes a blatant end-run around public input will make a mockery of the potential impacts this project may have on nearby neighborhoods, streets and on the City over and above the minimal impacts generated by the old, sad sack Nob Hill store.

I do not need to remind folks of Walmart’s contempt for the planning process in other locales throughout the nation. Walmart has no hesitation to throw its weight, money and consultants around to get what it wants over the objection of residents. Thus, the long hiding of its true identity in the project’s previous submissions to the City Planning Department, just recently revealed, does not surprise me, and should give us concern. Good neighbors don’t hide who they are, or what they are about. Even though it will affect us, Walmart obviously wants Pleasanton residents and our City Council to have no say whatsoever in this project’s approval process.

Despite its clever marketing tag, this Walmart is NOT simply a replacement “neighborhood” store with just a few changed tenant improvements. Walmart’s core ethic and business model is to use predatory pricing to attract the highest number of customers possible, regardless of where they live. Near, far, wherever. Dirt cheap prices, high volume. This reportedly will be Walmart’s first attempt at this stand alone, deep discount type of grocery operation in California. So, Walmart is using Pleasanton and the proposed Nob Hill site as a guinea pig for this concept in our state. Walmart will no doubt poach customers from our local, truly “neighborhood” Pleasanton grocery and specialty stores and pharmacies, but will also work hard to draw customers to the Nob Hill site from all over the East Bay, including Dublin’s mega-sized residential projects planned for the next decade.

Nob Hill met its demise before "Fresh and Easy" and Ranch 99 and the new Bernal Safeway came to be added to the already high number of grocery alternatives in Pleasanton and in Dublin. So, with its high-volume business model and that increased level of grocery competition already operating in the Pleasanton area, it's preposterous to think this Walmart will be content to attract just a low number of "neighborhood" local customers like Nob Hill did. So, this proposed Walmart necessarily will attract far, far more traffic and related problems to this area than the former sad sack Nob Hill store. To what exact extent, we won’t know, can’t know, can’t even ask under the secret planning process trumpeted by the Pleasanton Weekly.

Do you like Santa Rita Road traffic now? How large an increase in traffic count will this Walmart bring to an already overly-congested Santa Rita from the hordes of out-of-towners to whom it will advertise to come here? How will these drivers access the site from Santa Rita Road and Stoneridge Drive, particularly at already-overloaded peak hours? How far will they back up the protected left turn from southbound Santa Rita onto Las Positas? How far will they back up the small, unprotected left turn cut on southbound Santa Rita at Navajo Ct. to cross Santa Rita's oncoming northbound traffic into the site? Will a stoplight be needed there to prevent broadside crashes resulting from the spiked number of unprotected left turns? Will Walmart customers clog the Santa Rita / Stoneridge intersection by making illegal U-turns to go back northbound on Santa Rita to access the Walmart from the curb cuts on the east side of Santa Rita? These are the types of issues that residents should be able to consider and discuss in a public planning process. Walmart says no, can’t do that.

Walmart has a standing policy to allow RV and other vehicles to overnight camp in its parking lots. Will that be allowed at the Nob Hill site? Why hasn't the Borders Books building sitting vacant across the parking lot from the existing Hacienda Walmart superstore been considered? That seems a far better site, virtually at the I-580 freeway for easy non-local customer access, not a mile into the City. It has plenty of square footage in a more modern building than the Nob Hill store, lots of parking, no needed additional street infrastructure, and in an already developed commercial area that won’t impact surrounding residential areas.

From our local businesses, shops and pharmacies, how many local, good jobs will be lost and how many sales dollars will be siphoned to this megacorporation? Profits will be shipped non-stop to Walmart headquarters in Arkansas, not re-circulated here in Pleasanton. When all is said and done, if this project is approved will the City have a net sales tax loss or gain, and what will be the overall cost/benefit to Pleasanton?

The Pleasanton Weekly agrees with Walmart that we Pleasanton residents and our City Council members should all just roll over and keep our mouths shut until yet another Walmart opens in our midst. Then, deal later with any ensuing problems it drops in our laps. I don't think so. All concerned Pleasanton residents need to contact the Mayor and all City Council members NOW. Voice your demand that this project be vetted in the light of day under the Conditional Use Permit process. We need full public review and comment, not an approval ramrodded through City Hall behind a curtain of secrecy.

Posted by Alice , a resident of Valley Trails
on Jan 27, 2012 at 4:53 pm

Tom, you said, "Why hasn't the Borders Books building sitting vacant across the parking lot from the existing Hacienda Walmart superstore been considered" It is NOT a Walmart Superstore. The city of Pleasanton shot that down. This is a stand alone 33,000 sq ft grocery store.
Even IF all the things you say is true, I am still in favor of it.
I don't think anything in this town creates as much 'discussion' as Walmart.
You want to talk about traffic, trouble and things that shouldn't be, then talk about Neo. Riots, people shot...not to mention noise and traffic.
No one writes about that.
Why does the city allow such a trouble making place.
Walmart just proposes a grocery store.

Posted by Pete , a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 27, 2012 at 4:56 pm

Thanks Tom... in the last hour, drove neighbors vehicle down to Chevron(Santa Rita/Valley Ave.) to put air in tires and fill windshield wiper water compartment. Air was ok and water didn't work... went inside and asked if it required to be turned on. They said it was working... it wasn't... we sell water. Feeling a little put out, drove over to Shell across street... no water. What are the profits of these corporations making? At $3.81 a gallon or more... my question would be, does it matter to any of you? At $.65cents per gallon, I checked their oil, washed their windows,checked tire air pressure if it appeared low and felt good about it. We receive none of those services today.
Does it not seem reasonable to want to understand what balance the largest corporation in the world... would bring to Pleasanton?

Posted by Pete , a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 27, 2012 at 7:03 pm

One way to show your support... in either way you experiance Wal-Mart, is to contact friends and family, just go to the Pleasanton Weekly, "go to message board view" and check-in to see topic that will add up the number of views this particular topic registers. Perhaps if the viewer count adds up quickly, it would provide guidance to our elected officials and Pleasanton Staff to act in an effective manner. If that effective manner is presently being provided, I'll adjust and move on. If anyone could explain what I said more clearly, I'd greatly appreciate that.

Posted by Tilly the Libertarian, a resident of The Knolls
on Jan 27, 2012 at 7:08 pm

Walmart is a person too. People need to quit bullying it/him/her. Currently faced with numerous class action law suits regarding discrimination in its/his/her workplace, I'm sure it/he/she must be feeling enormous stress. Not fair to criticize.

Posted by Steve, a resident of Parkside
on Jan 27, 2012 at 7:44 pm

Tom, you've sure been provided with lots of union supplied talking points. Just the volume of words in your post must be enough to sway most folks who are used to one sentence talking point from organized labor. You have to keep the message simple for those rank and file minions. Just keep those dues rolling in.
Nevertheless you shills are late to the process...this deal is done. See you at the grocery store......

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Jan 27, 2012 at 8:11 pm

Look ladies...all you have to do is put a curl in the girl and shop until you drop...at Wal-Mart!

If you really want quality toilet paper, for the W-Mart, shop at MACY'S.


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Jan 27, 2012 at 8:12 pm

Correction: forget W-Mart, shop at MACY"S

Posted by Tom, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 27, 2012 at 9:22 pm

Steve, not a union "shill" here. Never been in a union. Those are my own talking points, how about that? Just somebody with an interest in maintaining quality of life in this town. I work for myself, thanks. I've actually thought a lot about this issue, sorry I may have taxed your brain with too many thoughts and words. But, I do live here in Pleasanton, and for over a decade now. And, I know when we're being steamrolled by an out of town mega company. If you're not interested in getting steamrolled by Walmart, then do Email the Mayor and Council members. It is most definitely NOT too late if you don't want Walmart to sneak in under the radar. Unless you speak up, this project will get far less City and public scrutiny than your neighbor's room addition. The Council does have oversight even if the the planning department approves this without design review, which is what Walmart has up its sleeve. But, do it ASAP next week...

Posted by Tom, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 27, 2012 at 9:35 pm

BTW, here is the e-mail address to reach the Pleasanton Mayor and all City Council members. citycouncil@ci.pleasanton.ca.us

Posted by Hattie, a resident of Val Vista
on Jan 28, 2012 at 10:58 am

Thanks Tom for the email address. I just sent off an email telling them that I SUPPORT the Walmart Neighborhood Market!!!

Posted by local, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 28, 2012 at 1:41 pm

Switching out a grocery store for another one so there is no change of operation here. If it were changing from a grocery store to something completely different than I think there could be discussion but just changing vendors should not even be at the city or city council. You zone the property for a specific use and if the specific use does not change, even if the vendor does, it should not affect anything.

If you do not like the new vendor, don't shop there. Pretty simple.

By holding this store up, you are mainly hurting the owner of the property, not Wal-Mart.

This is no different than a family selling their house and the neighbors try to hold up the sale because the current homeowners hire union gardeners and the family trying to purchase the place does not hire union gardeners. The use of the house has not changed, only the occupant.

Posted by Julie, a resident of Birdland
on Jan 28, 2012 at 2:05 pm

Very well said "local"
To bad the city council doesn't think that's true.

Posted by Tank, a resident of Ironwood
on Jan 28, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Thanks for the email address, Tom. I've already sent my objections to such a cruddy company soiling our beautiful city.

Posted by Jim, a resident of Stoneridge
on Jan 28, 2012 at 4:44 pm

First, I'd like to thank Tom for the email address of the City Council. I sent the following to them:
I wanted to add my support to the Wal-Mart grocery store in the old Nob Hill site.
I realize some of you have to cater to the wants of unions, however I submit you should consider the NEEDS of the Pleasantion residents first. After all, you did seek your positions on the premise you would aid those same residents.
I find it curious that little is made of the considerable increase in traffic on Bernal and the surrounding area, while the alleged potential increase in Santa Rita traffic is championed.
You have critized Wal-Mart for hurting the 'Mom and Pop' stores. Do you really think the 55,000 sq. ft. Safeway will not hurt Raley's or Gene's Fine Foods? Or that the Home Depot just might hurt ACE Hardware or Orchard Supply?
I'm sure the stores adjacent to the Nob Hill site just might like the increase in business.
And 95 new jobs--- What's not to like??

Posted by Tilly the Libertarian, a resident of The Knolls
on Jan 28, 2012 at 5:06 pm

Yay! 95 new minimum wage 32 hour per week jobs! The private sector! That's what I'm talking about! Hallelujiah! We'd do best to turn our entire country over to the Walmart folks, because they treat their toothless employees like family. We ARE family! Now if only Pleasanton's union-thug teachers would come to their senses and agree to minimum wage. Then my taxes would go down. Freedom! That's what I'm talking about!

Posted by curious, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 28, 2012 at 8:37 pm

Too bad the Weekly, didn't include a summary of donations each council member has received from various unions as part of their editorial. I suspect that it would be pretty telling. It would be nice to hear what each council member's position is with regard to Wal-Mart, unions and their understanding of land use/ conditional use permits. I can't believe they are all union supporters!!

Posted by local, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 28, 2012 at 8:37 pm

Obviously Tily is NOT a Libertarian... If so, the government would not be involved in this at all.

I guess some feel that an empty building is the best thing for jobs, the property owner, the adjacent businesses, and the city.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Jan 28, 2012 at 9:32 pm

Does wal-mart sell small raisins?

Posted by Mario, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 29, 2012 at 7:40 pm

and tiny nuts?

Posted by Ptown Dad, a resident of Amador Estates
on Jan 29, 2012 at 11:21 pm

This is great for people who need jobs, great for the property owner, great for merchants in that shopping center who need traffic, and great for people like me who live nearby.

I do wish TJ's or Whole Foods wanted the site but they obviously passed on it.

I wonder what percentage of those opposed to Wal Mart actually live here. I suspect they have some other personal interest they are trying to protect.

Posted by Jim, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 30, 2012 at 6:53 am

Thank you for the email Tom.

I have just written the City Council showing my objection to that disgusting corporation. Hopefully it is not a done deal yet, and we can keep it away from this beautiful town.

Posted by steve, a resident of Parkside
on Jan 30, 2012 at 8:28 am

Jim--this beautiful town that you apparently don't live in. Feel free to take your union price spiking businesses elsewhere.

Posted by Jim, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 30, 2012 at 10:54 am

If the quality of Walmart Supermarket's groceries compares to the quality of the products they sell at the regular Walmarts, I would not want to subject my digestive system to it.

Posted by Tilly the Libertarian, a resident of The Knolls
on Jan 30, 2012 at 10:58 am

I am so a true libertarian, and anyone who says otherwise is ignorant. We need government out of our life. If Walmart wants to pay its employees less than minimum wage, let them. Too much government intrusion is bad for profits.

Posted by Duncan, a resident of Castlewood
on Jan 30, 2012 at 2:52 pm

I would hope the city would consult their legal department before they attempt to block a grocery store from occupying a building previously occupied by a grocery store, and allowable within the zoning laws of the location. I'm sure Safeway and Save Mart (Lucky's) will unleash their thugs to do all they can to prevent this from happening, but the city doesn't have a legal leg to stand on just because some residents don't like the "user".

Posted by resident, a resident of Amador Estates
on Jan 30, 2012 at 3:45 pm

PTown Dad writes:

I wonder what percentage of those opposed to Wal Mart actually live here. I suspect they have some other personal interest they are trying to protect.

Simple explanation - they are snobs and look down their noses at folk who do shop at walmart - they probably don't count their pennies - if they did they'd shop where they sell the same item at a cheaper price which is why most people shop at walmart. I remember a previous post about orroweat bread being sold for 2.98 at walmart and 4.99 at safeways - that is why people shop at walmart! Same bread almost twice the price....where would you buy it?

Posted by Tilly, a resident of The Knolls
on Jan 30, 2012 at 4:53 pm

Resident is soooo right on. I've got snobs as neighbors. They won't buy Nike shoes because they're all manufactured in Chinese sweatshops with child labor. The limp-wristed elitist snobs only buy New Balance which are made in the US with union labor. Go figure!

I have snobs on the other side of me who won't shop Walmart because it's not as sensitive to locally produced crops as are so many others. Why on earth should that be a reason?

I personally like going to Walmart and seeing the toothless oldsters on their hands and knees, stocking shelves for less than a week's minimum wage. It builds character, and God loves everyone in the end. Besides, I save money and that's what freedom in this country is all about.

Posted by MrsKravitsNeighbor, a resident of Mohr Park
on Jan 30, 2012 at 5:58 pm

The fact that such a vigorous debate is happening on how a property owner will make use of her property is shocking. If you don't like what wal-mart is doing...don't shop there. But, to try and prevent someone from opening their legal business via governmental coercion is tyranny. Regardless of how you feel about wal-mart, if you don't stand up for their right to open a business today, who will stand up with you when they come for your rights tomorrow. Are you a unique human created by God with free will to choose your own path, or are you domesticated cattle serving the whims of society?

This state's moral compass is broken. We have degenerated into shallow, emotional reactions. Principle and reason hae left the state long ago. The individual has been assimilated into the collective...we are now the Borg.

Is there any resistance to the "collective" left in CA?

Let the businesses open and succeed or fail on thier own merits.


Posted by Cele, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 30, 2012 at 8:33 pm

The City Council and other Wal-Mart objectors need to review their platforms. First the issue of a non-union employer is the right of every person in California. We are a right to work state and you should enforce it for what it is. As for Wal-Mart not providing benefits, remember Obamacare? That should take care of everyone. So let's listen to the residents of the neighborhood the new grocery store will service and let the free market make or brake their investment. After all, Safeway is not the only tax payer in this town.

Posted by registered user, Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 30, 2012 at 10:05 pm

Tilly brings up a good point. A ton of stuff is made by Chinese labor, even up to 30% of that New Balance shoe that's labelled "Made in USA" and the device she is using to post here. Tilly wants us to stop buying "Made in China" because our dollars are helping them to attain middle class lifestyles. Once that happens they'll start organizing and making demands of their employers like better wages, better working hours, better working conditions, and enforcement of child labor laws. Tilly doesn't like that idea.

Posted by Tilly, a resident of The Knolls
on Jan 30, 2012 at 10:25 pm

You've misunderstood me, Ms. Stacey. Buy Chinese! Buy Walmart. It's the best way to go! It saves you money, and what's more important than that? The reason why machine gunners are posted outside of the Chinese child sweatshop factories is to make sure they move themselves into the middle class. And the reason why the Chinese government is always suppressing peasant movements with disappearances and mass killings is because the peasants have gotten so many good things from their Walmart franchised sweatshops.

Now Walmart is a world leader in helping people into the middle class. 32 hour weeks at minimum wage? I mean for CripeSakes! And that's in America. In China, workers can work the sweatshops for 60+ hours a week and make nearly half that! That's why Walmart is always listed for being a leader in human rights. What have Safeway's union workers ever done for anyone except themselves? I'm against selfishness when it's done in a group, like the selfish unions. Selfishness is only good when individuals are selfish. That's free market. That's good for everyone, and especially me. Anything else is snobbery.

Posted by registered user, Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 30, 2012 at 11:36 pm

Aw Tilly, you ain't foolin' anyone. You're all about Made in the good ol' USA and sending the Chinese people back to the poverty they used to know before American demand empowered them.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Jan 31, 2012 at 10:13 am

seem to me miss tilly been had a hard way.....i seen her at wal-mart eating lots 'n lots of greeny small figs.....yum-yum plenty!

Posted by Union Made ... Lies, a resident of Heritage Valley
on Feb 2, 2012 at 12:18 am

Want even more evidence of a union conspiracy against Walmart and one of its major food suppliers? Take a look at this. I bet Eric Holder is behind this, and that he's been taking money from the union thug check-out girls, carryout boys, and shelf stockers at the tyranically corrupt Safeway.

"On January 31, HSUS filed complaints with the Securities and Exchange Commission and Federal Trade Commission against Seaboard Foods' parent company, Seaboard Corporation. The action stemmed from a 2011 HSUS probe conducted at two pig breeding facilities in Goodwell, Okla.: Prestage Farms and Seaboard Foods, a Walmart pork supplier."

"A HSUS video shows pigs in cramped gestation crates with torn ears and noses, and other wounds and abscesses."

"Seaboard Foods produces an estimated 4 million hogs each year, making them one of the largest U.S. producers. The Oklahoma facility operates at double-shift capacity, processing about 18,500 hogs per day."

"The HSUS complaint against Seaboard alleges that an estimated 2,700 sows had their movement severely restricted; dead pigs and piglets were found in pens around the facility; and sows with large sores, torn vulvas and ripped skin were left untreated."

Does anyone else smell a set up?

Posted by Lenny, a resident of Valley Trails
on Feb 5, 2012 at 10:39 am

The Pleasanton Weekly needs to do a little fact finding prior to editorializing and attempting to sway public opinion. Pleasanton has no ordiance restricting large discount centers from offering grocery products even though "Safeway has it's corporate headquarters here." If that is the case Pleasanton Weekly please cite the zoning ordinance section and the council members that passed it as your editorial claims - it does not exist, and you owe a public apology for falsly editorializing.

In fact, it is Livermore and Dublin that have restrictive ordinances on massive supercenters selling "non-taxable" merchandise because such large discount centers require substantial public safety services that would not be compensated if much of what they sold was non-taxable. Moreover, the Livermore elected officials were concerned that a 220,000 square foot Wal Mart Supercenter (3 football field in size) would cause serious harm to the efforts of attracting and retaining the many small businesses in the downtown after completing many years of redevelopment.

So, even though Dublin has a restrictive ordinance on the selling of non-taxable merchandise at big box stores, Target choose to develop in Dublin. No serious consideration was given to Pleasanton. Like most corporations, they play one city against the other to get the best deal on goodies like tax abatements, relaxed freeway signage restrictions(and Target really clean up on that one), or other special municipal services not available to the small mom and pops.
In fact business consultant and former Mayor Janet Lockhart had the Target "locked up" years ago - ask her, she will tell you Target is her client.

So it appears the Pleasanton Weekly believes that it is good public policy for businesses to "outfox" public review and discourse of controversial commercial projects. Sorry Pleasanton Weekly, but the Pleasanton I live in believes differently.

Posted by Jeff, a resident of Heritage Valley
on Feb 21, 2012 at 3:52 pm

Some of you mention a Whole Foods, well Whole Foods obviously is not interested in that site. Plus not all of us can afford to shop at Whole Foods. Why can't the free market prevail here? If Walmart opens and customers shop there and they are successful, then the market has spoken. Why do special interests, politics and unions get to tell me what store can open in Pleasanton and where I can and cannot shop? It's very simple, if Walmart Neighborhood Market opens, and you don't want to shop there, simply don't. But don't tell me what store can open in my city and where I can and cannot shop. Bring Walmart's market to Pleasanton.

Posted by Kyle, a resident of Stoneridge
on Feb 21, 2012 at 3:59 pm

I am not sure what I think of Walmart, but I don't like the idea of the city council preventing a store from opening because they don't use union employees. There are plenty of other stores in the Bay Area (grocery and otherwise) that don't use union employees. What is the real reason behind all this? I don't really understand it. Like others have said, if you don't like what wal-mart is doing...don't shop there. However trying to stop a company from opening a business because they don't have unionized employees is crazy. And all this China debate about where things are made. Have you ever read your labels on what you buy at Trader Joes and where stuff is made? maybe you should. However somthing tells me if TJs wanted this location, we would not hear so much outcry over it.

Posted by Linda, a resident of Stoneridge
on Feb 21, 2012 at 4:08 pm

PTown dad, you wrote a great comment above that I will reiterate and quote, "Simple explanation - they are snobs and look down their noses at folk who do shop at walmart - they probably don't count their pennies - if they did they'd shop where they sell the same item at a cheaper price which is why most people shop at walmart. I remember a previous post about orroweat bread being sold for 2.98 at walmart and 4.99 at safeways - that is why people shop at walmart! Same bread almost twice the price....where would you buy it?"

Yes I shop at Walmart so look down at me. I wish I had a high paying job and could afford the prices of Safeway and Whole Foods, but I don't. I have kids and need to feed them. I guess we are suppose to be glad to pay $2.01 more per loaf of that bread at Safeway so their employees can have almost free health insurance and pensions while we barely get by. How stupid of us to want to buy the same loaf of bread and other items at Walmart for two dollars less. I now shop for groceries at Walmart and Target since both have expanded their grocery sections. I buy as little as possible at Safeway because I cannot afford to.

Posted by Danny, a resident of Avila
on Feb 21, 2012 at 5:55 pm

Actually Oroweat Country Bread White at Safeway's sky high $5.49 a loaf is sold for a dollar less a loaf even at Amazon . com at Web Link.

The unions want a 'living wage' ordinance passed for all business owners in Pleasanton like was passed in Richmond and Oakland and Hayward guaranteeing much higher wages than the minimum wage. This translates into closed businesses, vacant storefronts, lost jobs, and price gouging for all consumers in Pleasanton.

Posted by Tilly the Libertarian, a resident of The Knolls
on Feb 21, 2012 at 7:07 pm

The devil is in the details. Walmart sells stale oroweat bread for 2.99. Safeway sells oroweat bread for 4.99.

Walmart sells Budweiser six-packs for 7.99; Safeway sells the same six-packs for 4.99.

It's all cherry picking. Truth be told, Walmart food prices are generally higher than many other stores, unionized or not.

If you buy at Safeway, you're supporting evil unions. And they are really really evil. I kid you not. If you buy at Walmart, you're supporting taxpayer supplements of food stamps for Walmart's impoverished workers. Impoverished workers are way better than evil union workers. And then you're also lining the pockets of the Walton family, whose billions earned on the backs of food stamp collecting impoverished workers is a thing we all can truly admire.

I don't especially like my taxes going up to pay for food stamps for Walmart's workers, but unions are really really evil, and so I'd rather support nonunion impoverishment and pay higher taxes for food stamps than support the evil unions. Because unions are really really evil and have tried to impose tyrannical totalitarian communism on us since the beginning of time. They generally support Obummer. Since I am anticommunist and a believer in God, I cannot in good conscience buy at a unionized grocery store. The Waltons believe in God, not some phony theology like Obummer and the unions.

Posted by Danny, a resident of Avila
on Feb 21, 2012 at 8:24 pm

From the Safeway.com website for the Pleasanton store,

Oroweat Bread Country White - 24 Oz


The loaf I bought at Walmart for almost HALF the price of Safeway's price on Saturday was very fresh. Maybe Walmart workers are efficient and deliver the fresh bread faster to their stores than the Safeway transportation and receiving and stocking departments.

Posted by Jason, a resident of Oak Tree Acres
on Feb 24, 2012 at 5:25 pm

Plenty of stores do not use union employees.....Targe for example does not. Also many retailers in our area do not pay more then minimum wage to their employees. The uproar over Walmart here seems to always be a few key things: 1. They are not union and supposedly have lower prices because of that. 2. They could bring in undesirable people to our community 3. They simply just don't like Walmart because its not high class enough.

I say "whatever" to those who think any or all of this. I have shopped at Walmart Neighborhood Markets in Las Vegas. They are very nice stores, and yes they have excellent prices. The other retailers still make it and compete with Walmart by the way. It is called competition and it is what American is founded on. It's also called Freedom....freedom to shop where you wish or don't wish.

Pleasanton should allow the Walmart Market in. There is nothing wrong with these stores, and I would shop there all the time and enjoy saving some of my hard earned money. Sorry Safeway and Luckys, but deal with it, you have in other communities and you are still in business. There are plenty of Walmart Supercenters in California already and Safeway and Luckys are not bankrupt. Some choose to shop there and some choose to shop Walmart. Just don't tell me where I "have" to choose to shop by not allowing them in my town.

Posted by Tilly the Libertarian, a resident of The Knolls
on Feb 24, 2012 at 6:27 pm

Our Founding Fathers gave us the concept of freedom which, in a word, means freedom to shop. That's what American freedom is about.

I personally like the way Walmart, distinct from many other grocers, assigns the majority of its minimum wage workers reduced hours so that Walmart doesn't have to cough up any benefits. That way, the minimum wage workers who are assigned 24-32 hours of work per week, can draw upon govt food stamps and then pay for their own health insurance with what's left over. All of this makes me feel superior to others who don't do as well as me. Go Walmart! Go Walton family! Your tens of billions in profits make a lot of nonWalmart workers appreciate their own life conditions. By the way, to Walmart's public relations office: You promised me $20 for every post I sent here. You're behind on your payments to me. Love, TtL

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