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Monday, February 13, 2006
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Green Party activists help shut down bid by Wal-Mart to build ‘Supercenter' in a small community near San Francisco
HERCULES – Retail giant Wal-Mart has withdrawn its application to build a "Supercenter" here, just a few miles east of San Francisco, after a broad coalition of community, labor and social justice activists, including Greens, rallied to oppose the big box store.
It is just the latest defeat for Wal-Mart in the Bay Area and Northern California. At the end of 2005, plans for a store in Elk Grove, a few miles south of Sacramento, were killed because of citizen complaints. And, Wal-Mart lost a $171 million judgment when a jury found the company was not allowing lunch breaks for employees.
Joseph Feller, a Green Party spokesman in Solano County, said the victory for the community was only made possible because of an "unusual coalition" known as the "Friends of Hercules" neighborhood association.
The association was supported by a regional anti-Wal-Mart coalition which includes, among others, several labor unions, the public advocacy organization ACORN, the feminist organization NOW and the Green Party.
"The Green Party of California supports efforts like this because we believe Wal-Mart is a danger to not only small businesses and working people but also the environment," said Feller.
The coalition made public recently a study – paid for by the city of Hercules - that found that Wal-Mart's proposed big box store is not a good fit for the residents of the city and will, in effect, pollute other planned retail centers in the area.
"As Greens, we agree with what the Rev. Phil Lawson, a retired minister and former local NAACP president when he says ‘Wal-Mart does not build communities, it destroys them,'" said Feller.