Walmart Rep Hilariously Indignant that LA Community Wasn’t Consulted on Zoning Proposal, Ignoring the Retailer’s Own History of Stonewalling
Blunder Draws Fire From New Yorkers Angry About the Retailer and its Developer’s Repeated Failures to Address Community Concerns
New York- New Yorkers today are pouncing on a gaffe first reported in yesterday’s LA Times by Walmart spokesman Steve Restivo, who in response to an LA Council proposal designed to preserve the character of the Chinatown neighborhood said: “It speaks volumes that the community was not consulted in the writing of the motion.”
Walmart, and its rumored ENY developer Related Companies, has repeatedly refused to meet with New Yorkers and discuss its plans for New York City.
- Walmart skipped multiple public hearings held by the New York City Council in 2011
- Related Companies agreed to discuss its Gateway II proposal with the East New York Community Board, only to cancel 20 minutes before the meeting was slated to start.
- Related Companies refused to meet with community leaders on multiple occasions – not responding to multiple requests via letter and in-person visit.
- Walmart held a secret meeting in Brooklyn and refused to allow councilmembers and members of the community board to attend.
- Walmart CEO and company board members won’t even grant a meeting with their own associates, even after asked multiple times by OUR Walmart members.
New Yorkers agreed this is just the latest example of Walmart and Related saying one thing, and doing another.
“Will the real Walmart please stand up?” asked Nieves Padilla, Organizer at Make the Road New York. “New Yorkers have a right to know who they’re dealing with- the Walmart that claims to value public participation, or the Walmart that has refused it time and time again. And Related Companies has shown they’re no better.”
“Yet again Walmart is showing its true colors- it talks a good game, but that talk rarely matches reality.” said Wanda Salaman, Executive Director of Mothers on the Move.
“Funny that in Los Angeles, Walmart wants ‘community input’ while in New York they hold closed door meetings with a hand selected audience and refuse to participate in Council hearings. Our communities want to know how Walmart will ensure that the jobs they ‘create’ won’t simply destroy local businesses.” said Maritza Silva-Farrell, Senior Organizer at ALIGN.
“Walmart claims to care about community input, yet here in NYC they’ve consistently refused to participate in public forums and hearings,” said Lorna Blake, East New York leader of NY Communities for Change. “What’s worse, their developer Related Companies backed out of a meeting with the community board 20 minutes before it was scheduled to happen. And what do you know, they’ve refused to reschedule.”
“The disregard for community input that officials at Walmart and Related have demonstrated is fueling more distrust,” said Stephanie Yazgi from Walmart Free NYC. “They’ve shown on too many important issues that they’re just looking for the best sound bite to grow their bottom line.”
The group agreed Walmart and Related Companies can’t be trusted to keep their promises- and New Yorkers should think twice before welcoming the mega-retailer.