Letters to the Editor

Wal-Mart sneaks in

Federal Way has done it again!

Wal-Mart was let in the back door in the dark of night (May 21 news article, “Here comes another Wal-Mart”). It seems that a developer can apply for land permits for a multiple-business property and not have to reveal the tenants. And, as usual, the go-ahead is given. Did the city really not know? Are palms being greased? It makes one wonder.

The city told me it didn’t know until six weeks ago that a Wal-Mart would be one of the tenants at the Federal Way Marketplace. The newspaper stated they have known for a year. I have searched the city Web site ever since I heard the rumors, and there was nothing indicating a Wal-Mart was going to be built.

The citizens are never included in any decision. How can cities continue to kowtow to such an unscrupulous company? The following reasons by an environmental group says it all:

“Is Wal-Mart trying to muscle into your town? Here are 10 arguments to beat it back:

“1.Wal-Mart supercenters, with their big-box design, remote locations and sprawling parking lots, increase automobile pollution.

“2.Wal-Mart’s strategy of undercutting local businesses destroys traditional, walkable, transit-friendly downtowns and neighborhood shopping areas.

“3. One Wal-Mart supercenter can cover up to 1.2 million square feet with pavement. This can create major drainage problems, leading to flooding and ground subsidence. In 2001, Wal-Mart paid a $5.5 million settlement for violating stormwater-discharge laws at 17 stores.

“4. This May, Wal-Mart agreed to pay a $3.1 million settlement for violating the Clean Water Act due to shoddy construction practices at 24 stores in nine states.

“5. Wal-Mart has a history of labor-law violations, including unpaid overtime, discriminatory hiring practices and illegal use of undocumented workers.

“6. A new Wal-Mart supercenter with a grocery facility can put two area supermarkets out of business and all their employees out of work. In California, the mere threat of 40 new supercenters is driving down working conditions in the grocery industry.

“7.Wal-Mart tries to place itself above the law. Its initiative in Inglewood (Calif.) would have exempted the project from local zoning, planning and environmental rules.

“8. Wal-Mart’s tremendous buying power can force suppliers to cut costs to the point where they outsource American jobs, close factories and move abroad. Wal-Mart now imports over half of its products, up from only 6 percent in 1995.

“9. When manufacturing moves abroad, the environmental costs of shipping products to the United States can be huge.

“10.Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton said in his autobiography, ‘If some community, for whatever reason, doesn’t want us in there, we aren’t interested in going in and creating a fuss.’ In practice, however, the chain won’t take no for an answer.”

Jane Murray Balogh

Federal Way

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