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Wal-Mart, grocers report donations

March 04, 2002|By AARON CLAVERIE

Staff Writer

CALEXICO — Vying interests in the Measure B campaign both filed financial disclosure statements on Feb. 22.

Wal-Mart Inc. of Bentonville, Ark., pumped more than $140,000 into the "No on B" campaign. Local grocers and union representatives collected more than $60,000 for the "Yes on B" effort.

The election is Tuesday.

· The "Friends of Calexico, Yes on Measure B" committee reported $17,500 in donations between Jan. 24 and Feb. 16. The committee spent $21,639.96 in that same period. In total, the committee raised $68,500 for the campaign. It had spent $58,806.74 as of Feb. 16.

The committee received $10,000 from the United Food and Commercial Workers Union of Buena Park on Feb. 6.

A "yes" vote on Measure B will reinforce the City Council's ordinance banning stores larger than 150,000 square feet from devoting more than 7.5 percent of floor space for groceries.

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The "yes" vote is supported by Calexico resident groups, local grocers and food worker union representatives who contend "big box" super stores employing non-union labor could drive local stores out of business, costing the city jobs and a diverse shopping experience.

· The "Calexico Families Against Higher Prices, No on Measure B, a coalition of Calexico residents and Wal-Mart Stores" committee reported $155,650 in donations between Jan. 20 and Feb. 16. The committee spent $81,900 in that period. In total, the committee raised $156,200 for the campaign. It spent $133,521 as of Feb. 16.

The committee received a $49,800 donation from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of Bentonville through an intermediary, Citizens for Jobs and Economic Growth of Encinitas, on Jan. 22. The committee received a $105,000 donation from Wal-Mart Stores through the same intermediary Feb. 4. The committee received non-monetary contributions estimated at $750 in "staff time" on Feb. 16.

A "no" vote on Measure B will do away with the council's ordinance and allow corporations such as Wal-Mart to open a Super Wal-Mart in the city limits. Super Wal-Marts offer a large selection of groceries.

The "no" vote is supported by Wal-Mart employees and a coalition of Calexico business owners and residents who contend the construction of a Super Wal-Mart would create more jobs and bring more shoppers to Calexico looking for low-price goods.

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or claverie7@hotmail.com

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