(This was originally published as a letter to the editor of the Redlands Daily Facts. It was published Dec. 15. I'm publishing it here, in its original form, after getting nearly a dozen compliments from people who agreed with this opinion)
I find it ironic that the so-called “Redlands Good Neighbor Coalition” is suing Walmart considering this radically left group never protested or sued a similar “big box” type store like Home Depot, located just across West Lugonia Avenue from Walmart’s proposed site.
Come to think of it, I can’t recall any liberal groups ever attacking Target, built just across Interstate 210 from the proposed Walmart location.
The real reason why Walmart is being attacked is because the chain is one of the few corporations in the USA with the wherewithal to stand up to unions. Walmart has always been a perennial target among liberals because the chain is an American success story.
Sam Walton’s biography, “Made in America,” explains how Walmart became an American icon. I recommend it as a Christmas present. Sam Walton is an inspiration because he built the better mousetrap. Walmart offers us good products at cheaper prices (“stack it high and sell it cheap,” as he loved to say). In California, Walmart offers us significantly lower prices on groceries because we won’t be forced to shop in unionized grocery stores.
The people of Redlands clearly want Walmart because voters so clearly rejected Measure O, an anti-Walmart measure, in 2010. They also apparently don’t mind that an ugly plot of dirt will become a revenue producer and job creator for the city.
Even our liberal city council voted 4-1 for the new Walmart development, known as the “Redlands Crossing Project,” on Oct. 16. Only Mayor Pete Aguilar, who has a history of cozying up to leftist groups, voted against it.
There are many legitimate reasons to protest “big box” type stores. They create traffic snarls. They impact infrastructure. They create noise for neighbors. They drain business from downtowns. They lack character.
But suing Walmart because it is Walmart is hack politics at its worst. In a Nov. 29 story in the Redlands Daily Facts, the Redlands Good Neighbor Coalition admitted that suing Walmart was their intention all along. Their tactic of stopping Walmart by suing over an inadequate environmental impact report will be laughed out of court.
I’m confident the Redlands Good Neighbor Coalition never would have murmured a peep of protest if a K-Mart or a Best Buy were proposed for the same site.