Byline: Penni Crabtree
Nov. 20--San Diego lawmakers are considering an ordinance that aims to stop the Wal-Mart Stores retail juggernaut from rolling its discount Supercenters into the city.
The proposed measure, similar in tone to bans imposed or considered by numerous communities in California and other states, reflects a growing flurry of anti-Wal-Mart feeling that has plagued the world's largest retailer in recent years.
Even the national magazine Business Week weighed in last month with a cover story "Is Wal-Mart Too Powerful?" that examined how suppliers, workers and communities are growing increasingly wary about how the corporation's retail dominance is shaping America.
In San Diego, Wal-Mart has become a magnet for a disparate coalition of critics who are pushing hard for restrictions on so-called "big box" retail stores: Stores that fear the Wal-Mart Supercenters could put them out of business. Community activists concerned about the preservation of neighborhoods. Smart-growth advocates who want to curb traffic congestion and retail sprawl. And labor unions and social justice organizations that contend Wal-Mart's cheap prices come at the expense of decent wages and benefits for workers.
Though Wal-Mart has not announced plans to build its Supercenters in the city of San Diego, retail analysts say the region is a prime target and it will only be a matter of time. Meanwhile, Wal-Mart critics are trying to head off the gigantic stores before they take root.
"These low Wal-Mart prices are coming at the expense of your neighbor's livelihood," said Danny Feingold, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, an opponent of a proposed Wal-Mart development in Inglewood, near Los Angeles. "It is a choice we will have to …