Help wanted at Wal-Mart


Expanded from the 10-19-00 Reno News & Review

Wal-Mart can be stopped in northwest Reno with community organization and professional analysis.

Earlier this month, by a 3-2 vote, the Reno City Council gave Wal-Mart until Nov. 28 to respond to a list of curiously unanswered questions.

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Councilmember Dave Aiazzi, in a tight race for re-election, said Wal-Mart has had plenty of time but failed to respond to the council's concerns.

Councilmember Sherrie Doyle concurred, adding "we have struggled for six years with no answers (from Wal-Mart) to fix Northtowne. We cannot inflict upon another neighborhood what we've done to Northtowne unless we are absolutely certain."

At U.S. 395 North and the northern McCarran loop, Northtowne is legendary for long traffic backups. That's already a major problem at the Interstate 80 West exit onto McCarran, which will become the gateway to the new Wal-Mart big box.

Councilmembers Pierre Hascheff and Tom Herndon, both running again, voted to give Wal-Mart another two months. Councilman David Rigdon provided the swing vote for the delay.

"Wal-Mart's traffic study underestimated Northtowne's traffic by as much as 34 percent," says Reno council candidate Mike Tracy, who lives nearby and is Aiazzi's opponent.

Wal-Mart can paint a rosy picture and win as long as it presents numbers cooked by credentialed experts. They must be countered by credible, expert rebuttal. Otherwise, Wal-Mart can go to a judge and get a denial reversed as "arbitrary and capricious."

The delay is a mixed blessing. Perhaps an outright loss could have been overturned in court at great cost to the taxpayers. However, while giving the public time to organize, the council has also helped wear down the opposition. More than 80 people showed up to a community meeting in August. Only a couple dozen attended this time.

The Arkansas-based warthog's fatal weakness lies in auto volume. Anyone qualified as a traffic or environmental expert and willing to work for the neighborhoods should call Mr. Tracy at (775) 787-8559.

Big box stores are vampires, destroying local businesses while creating an often phony image of low prices.

As this publication reported in D. Brian Burghart's Oct. 5 article, even the once-invulnerable Shelly's Hardware in Sparks now stands endangered by the big box bullies.

Monster operations destroy more jobs than they create while placing huge demands for services on everything from roads to welfare and health care for their low-wage workers.

A recent State of Nevada study blames creation of low-wage jobs for driving state and local governments to raise taxes.

The bigbox bully can be beaten if we fight back. All volunteers welcome.

Be well. Raise hell.


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copyright © 2000 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 31-year Nevadan, a member of Communications Workers of America Local 9413 and editor of NevadaLabor.com. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Sparks (Nev.) Tribune since 1988. For more detailed research, especially on Wal-Mart, use the search engine at the front page of this site.

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