Smart Growth for Vernon, CT
Wal-Mart vs. Democracy

Robert Reich, former U.S. labor secretary, discussed Wal-Mart and anti-trust law on the April 21, 2004 edition of Marketplace. A century ago, antitrust was concerned about companies becoming so large that they distorted the political process. Wal-Mart is both large, with $256 billion in sales, and capable of distorting the political process, with the country's second largest political action committee, "doling out giant contributions to political candidates." In conclusion, Reich says, "Maybe it's time to reinstate the first principle of antitrust and what better test case than Wal-Mart."

Wal-Mart recently spent over $1 million on a campaign to support a ballot initiative that would have allowed it to build a huge shopping complex in Inglewood, California and would have exempted Wal-Mart from planning, zoning and environmental regulations! Wisely, the city of Inglewood defeated the initiative, unhappy with the way that Wal-Mart attempted to circumvent the regulatory process. ["Wal-Mart's End Run", Hartford Courant, April 13, 2004]. ["Los Angeles suburb rejects exemptions for Wal-Mart," Journal Inquirer, April 7, 2004].

Assemblyman Jerome Horton (D-Inglewood) said, "Clearly, this is a test site for Wal-Mart to determine if they can go from city to city to city, preempting state law and local building and safety codes.... I think everyone should prepare for a full frontal attack from Wal-Mart." ["Voters in Inglewood Turn Away Wal-Mart", Los Angeles Times, April 7, 2004].

Wal-Mart is about its shareholders, who hold over $200 billion in stock. Wal-Mart is not about Vernon.