In a letter to the Watertown Patch, nine local real estate professionals have taken a stand that a Walmart at the proposed location would not be good for Watertown.
"Walmart would ruin hundreds of now-thriving small businesses throughout the town, and this damage would cause many shops to become vacant and derelict, and inevitably seriously damage the image of the town as an established, friendly neighborhood with successful small businesses and lovely quiet residential areas."
The event celebrating the opening of the "Imagine No Big Boxes" billboard was a great success. If you're driving toward the square on Arsenal Street, look for it at the site where the proposed Walmart would be built, a little bit east of Irving Street. Find out more at http://www.nobigbox.info.
You can read more about the event on the following sites:
The Boston Golobe - Dozens protest plans for a new Walmart in Watertown
WBUR - Watertown Residents Protest Proposed Wal-Mart
WBZ - Dozens Protest Walmart’s Desire To Open Store In Watertown
The Boston Phoenix - Watertown vs. Walmart
The Watertown Tab - Anti-Walmart activists protest Watertown development
By now, you've probably heard about the New York Times article exposing evidence of bribing officials in Mexico and attempts to sweep the whole thing under the rug. These bribes would have violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), the U.S. law that makes it illegal to bribe foreign officials. There are also connections between Walmart and organizations calling for weaker anti-bribary laws. Federal lawmakers are asking for more information on that topic
Even though the US Justice Department is investigating these allegations, it's hard to say whether justice will be served, as the alleged bribery seems to have occurred over 6 years ago and there are statutes of limitations that may prevent any indictments.
And, just for fun, you can see what Tom the Dancing Bug has to say about all this.
Walmart ranked in last place according to a recent article in Consumer Reports. According to a survey of over 26,000 readers, Walmart ranked behind Costco, Target, Sears, and six other national chains for items like clothing, kitchenware, sporting goods, and toys, as well as racking up more shopper complaints than most of the other stores.
You can read more in the March 2012 issue. It's also available online. The first few paragraphs are free (along with a ratings chart), but beyond that, there's a paywall. See:http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2012/03/where-to-buy-almost-anything.html
An interesting article at Grist.org provides a round-up of studies that conclude communities with vibrant small business sectors have lower rates of mortality, obesity, and diabetes than communities that are dependent upon large corporate employers. Read More at Grist.org >>
Algemeen Burgerlijk Pensioenfonds, the largest pension fund in the Netherlands, decided to divest itself of all of its Walmart holdings due to the staggering number of lawsuits and National Labor Relations Board complaints against Walmart.
Read More at the Huffington Post
Walmart was in the news on Black Friday (which seems to start on Thursday night). Twenty patrons in Porter Ranch, CA were pepper-sprayed by a shopper vying for merchandise, according to the L.A. Times. Meanwhile, in Kinston, NC, an off-duty police officer hired as a security guard, fired pepper-spray into a crowd while trying to quell a disturbance. Story and video at WITN TV. Not all incidents involved pepper-spay. Fights broke out at the Rome, NY Walmart with one man arrested and two shoppers going to the hospital according to NBC3 in Syracuse, and the Cave Creek, AZ bomb squad removed an explosive device from an employee breakroom as reported by ABC 15
Walmart has stated they plan to open a store at Assembly Square in Somerville. The newly formed Somerville Coalition for a Responsible Walmart will be having a community meeting to discuss the matter on November 16th at 6:00 pm at the Somerville City Club, 20 Innerbelt Road in Somerville. See more details at the Somerville Local First website and at Boston.com