We agree with those who say that Wal-Mart has been a good neighbor and good employer in Calexico since coming into the city. It has contributed much to the community and its store in north Calexico is a regional draw that brings shoppers to many surrounding stores and restaurants. Overall we like Wal-Mart.
One thing we don't like about Wal-Mart is it often crushes its competition via its sheer worldwide clout, leaving scores of empty, locally owned stores in its wake. Wal-Mart can and will do what it has to do to get what it wants, and it is spending considerable money on this campaign to do so.
Local signs around town urge Calexico voters to "help Wal-Mart" by allowing it to expand. Wal-Mart is the biggest company in the world. The businesses that need Calexico's help are the small independent grocers. In Yuma, community activists failed when they tried to oppose a Super Wal-Mart.
Let's hope the citizens of Calexico aren't hoodwinked as the residents of Yuma were by a bouncing little happy face in a construction hat. The victims, if Wal-Mart wins, would be the small, independent grocers who have served Calexico for decades and decades. They simply cannot compete price-wise with a giant like Wal-Mart, which has the advantage of pulling people into its stores with countless types of low-price items.
Yes, Calexico's grocers can compete to a degree with Wal-Mart if they offer specialty items and better service, and some stores around the nation have survived by doing so. More, though, have been trampled by the Wal-Mart machine.
Wal-Mart has been a good neighbor in Calexico, but for less than a decade. The independent grocers have been good neighbors for decade after decade.
We know we are fighting an uphill battle in advocating that Calexico voters pass Measure B, but we see it as a battle worth fighting. Voters have won similar fights against train barons, steel magnates and a telecommunication monopoly. There is a precedent for drawing the line in the sand.
Calexico voters should draw that line in the sand and take a political stand by passing Measure B.
>>Coming Sunday: Calexico City Council endorsements.