Los Angeles Suburb Spurns Mega-Retailer

Voters in the Los Angeles community of Inglewood voted overwhelmingly yesterday to deny giant retailer Wal-Mart the right to build a mammoth “supercenter” on a parcel of land the size of 17 football fields without an environmental impact study or public hearings. Citizens voted by a margin of 61 to 39 percent against a ballot measure put forward by a Wal-Mart sponsored group, which poured more than $1 million into the campaign. The proposed store, which would have been the first in L.A. County, was previously blocked by the Inglewood City Council, prompting the citizen-initiative end-run. It is part of the uber-retailer’s plan to open some 40 supercenters, each including a supermarket, across California in an attempt to break into the lucrative grocery market. Citizens and small-business owners opposed the plan due to worries about sprawl, traffic congestion, threats to local businesses, and what many say are the company’s exploitative labor practices. Inglewood Assemblyperson Jerome Horton said, “Clearly, this is a test site … I think everyone should prepare for a full frontal attack from Wal-Mart.”