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Congratulations to everyone who helped make it clear that Walmart was not welcome in Watertown: those who collected signatures on petitions; those who researched and wrote letters to the editors and sent comments to the press; those who helped spread the No Walmart vibe by running for office and by designing and fundraising to make the billboard a reality; those who contributed to the billboard; local, independent businesses that put No Walmart signs in their windows; citizens who displayed the signs on their lawns and fences; those who showed up for standouts; and the religious and civic leaders who supported the No Walmart campaign.  Community-wide commitment and dedication made it clear that Walmart will not be coming to Watertown!

Now.... let's celebrate!  A “party” is in the planning phase, so watch our Update emails for the official announcement.  As soon as we have a date we'll let you know so you can put it in your calendar.  You won't want to miss what will be a very special community event.
If you are willing to part with your No Walmart signs and want to see them reused, please allow us to collect and repurpose them.  You can write to to have your sign picked up from your lawn (include your address please), or you can hang onto your sign and bring it to the party for collection. Just please don't throw them in the recycling bin without first considering that we can reuse them.
Sustainable Watertown will be embarking on other neighborhood and town-wide initiatives, such as planning and development and creating an off-leash dog park.  Meantime, summer is officially upon us.  How wonderful that we can look forward to a Walmart-free Watertown, and a summertime party to celebrate that fact!

Walmart Abandons Plans for Watertown

Walmart notified Town Council President Mark Sideris today that it will not be opening a store in Watertown, Massachusetts.  Sideris informed Sustainable Watertown that the company has abandoned its controversial plans to build in both Watertown and Somerville.

Sustainable Watertown, a year-old civic organization, has fought the arrival of the retail giant since residents discovered that a lease had been signed on an Arsenal Street property.  Nearly 300 citizens attended the first public discussion last October. Following an intense town election in November, town officials demonstrated increasing opposition to a potential Walmart store.  Sustainable Watertown effectively channeled the spirit of an overwhelming number of residents dedicated to saving the unique character and local, independent businesses of Watertown.  An organization of seven hundred members attended protests, signed petitions, published letters to local newspapers, and displayed seven hundred “No Walmart: No More Big Boxes” lawn signs across town. 

Sideris spoke out unequivocally against Walmart at a May community forum hosted by Sustainable Watertown.  Today, Sideris received a call from Walmart’s Arkansas headquarters informing him that Walmart would not be submitting a formal proposal to build here. Though Walmart has yet to make its announcement public, Sideris called the news “solid and real.” Sideris had been warned to expect news this month by Ed Nardi, of Cresset Development Company, which owns the Watertown property that Walmart had conditionally leased over a year ago.

We, the members of Sustainable Watertown, applaud the news of our campaign’s success and pledge to continue to work with town residents and members, supporting neighborhood groups, taking an early role in planning and development projects, and providing venues for discussions of sustainability.  We will continue to advocate on behalf of the town for a positive vision of a healthy, just and prosperous community.

Watertown Dog Park Task Force Meeting

Is Your Dog Begging For A Place To Run Free in Watertown?  The Watertown Dog Park Task Force is working hard to create official designated spaces for dogs to run and play off leash in Watertown!  

The task force needs your help and support.  If this initiative interests you, please attend their upcoming meeting:
Where:  Watertown Free Public Library in the  Watertown Savings Bank East Room
When:  Wednesday, June 13, 2012, 6:30pm-8:30pm

World in Watertown Opposes Walmart

Recently, in a letter to the Patch, the local organization, World in Watertown urged local officials to oppose the opening of a Walmart in Watertown.

...Walmart pays an average wage that is 12.4 percent lower than the average of other retail workers in a given community, and the company is less likely to offer health and other benefits. This results in more Walmart workers having need of public health and welfare services, which are ultimately financed by taxpayers. an organization concerned most particularly with human rights, we call your attention especially to Walmart’s track record of abysmal labor practices. We urge the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals to deny any special permits needed to build a Walmart store in Watertown.

Read more at The Watertown Patch >>

How Cheap is Cheap

An argument we frequently hear in support of Walmart is how it will bring low cost goods to Watertwon shoppers.  We've always countered that we already have Target, as well as numerous places to buy groceries that offer prices that are competitive to Walmart's.  Well, now we have proof

Watertown residents Mark Kraczkiewicz, Lois Mastrangelo, Maryann Merigan, Alison Bengel Sisk, and Amy Vachon conducted their own comparison shopping trips.  They visited Walmart stores in Framingham, MA and Salem, NH, as well as local Target, BJs, Trader Joe’s and Stop & Shop stores.  Their conclusions?  While Walmart may have some items available at a few cents less than other local stores, they are by no means the price leader on many items.  For instance, the group found that Stop & Shop had better prices on laundry detergent and paper towels, while Trader Joes and BJ's had better prices on ground beef.

Read the summary of their findings in a letter to The Watertown Tab >>

New Lawn Signs

After exhausting our first two runs with over 500 signs distributed, we're happy to announce that the red "No Walmart - No More Big Boxes" lawn signs are again available.  And, thanks to a generous donation, we are now able to provide them free of charge (at least until we run out).
If you would like a sign, please drop a line to  We'll even hand-deliver it to your door or lawn.

Letter: Wal-Mart – The Wrong Development

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."

Read more at The Watertown Patch >>

Great Turnout for Billboard and Rally

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

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

Steve Magoon: Start-ups need not look far for alternative to Kendall Square

In a recent letter to The Boston Globe, Watertown Community Development and Planning Director, Steve Magoon pointed out that, "Watertown offers many of the benefits due to our proximity to both Cambridge and Boston, but with a much more reasonable rate for office space."  We at Sustainable Watertown agree.  Read More at >>

Walmart's Mexican Bribery Exposed

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.


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