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Wal-Mart - Chinatown Should Get What Chinatown Wants

The brouhaha over Wal-Mart coming to Chinatown ended as it should have yesterday, March 22, 2012, wi...

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Wal-Mart - Chinatown Should Get What Chinatown Wants

  1. 1. Wal-Mart - Chinatown Should Get What Chinatown Wants The brouhaha over Wal-Mart coming to Chinatown ended as it should have yesterday, March 22, 2012, with Wal-Mart getting its building permit. The issuance of that building permit made today's discussion of whether or not chain stores should go into Chinatown a moot point. The outcome of a pitched battle in City Council should have been a moot point anyway. The classic resistance against Wal-Mart had been heated up in the way so many arguments in today's America are with liberals and conservatives pointing fingers at each other when it should have nothing to do with left or right, union or business. At least not this time. The media focus has been largely focused on the sturm und drang, the shouting and gesticulating, the moves behind the scenes, the worry that Wal-Mart was finally gaining a beachhead with its grocery store like a camel with its nose in the tent, or the rage of Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy when none of those should have been the focus in the first place.
  2. 2. Chinatown is a complete community with residential, retail, schools, library, hospital, Chamber of Commerce, even a long history of independence. It happens to reside inside the city of Los Angeles, but if Chiinatown wants a Wal-Mart there, it should have it. And Chinatown does want it, specifically where a grocery store has long been planned, on the ground floor of a housing development at 701 W. Cesar Chavez. For a frame of reference, this is not my macro position on Wal-Mart, which I generally oppose. But this is specific to Chinatown or any other community with a distinct character. I grew up in Ferndale, California, a Victorian village on the National Register of Historic Places, which has banned all chain stores. No chain grocery store, no Starbucks, no chain pharmacy. No stoplight, for that matter, but that's another story. Then there's Healdsburg, in Sonoma County, California, which has also banned chain stores of any description to preserve its charming small-town character as a tourist draw. Towns that prohibit chain stores are all over America. In short, if Chinatown had wanted to keep its local character, I would have enthusiastically supported that stance. But they don't. They want to grow like a real town, not just a tourist town. City Hall should respect that, City Council should respect that.
  3. 3. Building and Safety did respect that and approved the final building permit about 15 hours before the City Council was to discuss the matter. I hope that move remains "too little, too late." http://www.ladowntownnews.com/blogs/wal-mart---chinatown-should-get-what-chinatown-wants/artic le_d0a47c8a-7530-11e1-9637-001871e3ce6c.html