Letters to the Editor

City's process dovetails with stealthy Wal-Mart

In May, the news became public that a Wal-Mart supercenter was under construction in south Federal Way. This was of concern to many citizens who do not like Wal-Mart’s business practices. We formed a group called Federal Way Citizens for Responsible Development in the hope of preventing the Wal-Mart from opening. Beyond that, our goal is to become a force for progressive land-use change in Federal Way.

When attempting to enter a community, Wal-Mart keeps its identity from the public as long as possible. Why do they do this? Because citizen reaction to Wal-Mart is becoming more and more negative.

Wal-Mart is an unwelcome neighbor across the country, as citizens learn more about the damage this company does in so many areas of society. When a business has clearly demonstrated, as Wal-Mart has, that it is harmful to the communities it profits from, we believe we should have the opportunity to refuse to allow it to profit from ours.

Unfortunately, Federal Way’s permit process dovetails perfectly with Wal-Mart’s stealthy tactics, and we never had an opportunity to stop this particular development. However, what we have learned about the development process in Federal Way makes it clear that we, as citizens, need to involve ourselves and demand more progressive planning. Federal Way has put a great deal of money into encouraging the growth of a downtown core, only to turn around and permit the building of a Wal-Mart that will make those efforts meaningless. This is a waste of our tax dollars, and demonstrates a lack of thoughtful planning. We all want a vibrant, healthy community, but the current process seems almost designed to discourage that from happening.

What can we, and you, do? As a group, Federal Way Citizens for Responsible Development will continue to call attention to Wal-Mart’s shameful business practices. We will be at the Federal Way Farmers Market, asking folks to sign a pledge that until Wal-Mart stops breaking child labor laws and stops exploiting child labor, we will not shop at Wal-Mart. Visit the national Web site www.wakeupwalmart.com to find out more about Wal-Mart and how you can help.

Without citizen input, we are concerned that our small businesses, environment and living-wage jobs will be destroyed by a company that has shown repeatedly, in town after town, that it does not care about our communities.

We will also begin calling on our City Council to adopt permitting processes that adequately allow the public to know what type of businesses are coming into our communities.

Wal-Mart’s gargantuan profits are tempting more and more businesses to copy its methods, and we need to stop such companies from doing so in our community. We invite all concerned citizens to join us in our efforts. Our next meeting will be Aug. 24 at 7 p.m. at the Federal Way Round Table Pizza restaurant. Everyone is welcome.

Together, we can stop Wal-Mart, and companies that copy its tactics, from destroying our way of life.

Sarah Bright

Federal Way Citizens for Responsible Development

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