YOU ARE HERE: IVPress HomeCollections

Our Opinion: Vote yes on Measure B

February 22, 2002

We generally are not advocates of restraint of trade. We believe in survival of the fittest in the business world.

But sometimes a giant can crush even the fittest of businesses.

Wal-Mart is that giant. It forced the Calexico City Council to put Measure B on the ballot in Calexico, which will allow city voters to decide if a store with over 150,000 square feet should be allowed to devote more than 7.5 percent of its footage to groceries. The council originally passed such a measure but it was subsequently challenged by Wal-Mart with a petition that forced a revocation of the action or an election.

Wal-Mart would someday like to build a Super Wal-Mart in Calexico but has no immediate plans to do so.

A "yes" vote would allow the Calexico City Council to re-establish its original ordinance. A "no" vote would allow Wal-Mart to build a huge store with significant grocery space when it is good and ready.


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.

Imperial Valley Press Online Articles