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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Saturday, Sept. 15, 2007 Contact: Joe Feller, Vallejoans for Responsible Growth (415) 902-3395

ATTN: WEEKEND News Desk

Wal-Mart ‘mess' near White Slough part of neighborhood cleanup program Saturday, according to community group

VALLEJO – A community group here said it will spend this Saturday helping clean up "Wal-Marts' mess" near the protected White Slough as part of a general Coastal Cleanup Day in the area.

Volunteers with Vallejoans for Responsible Growth, which opposes Wal-Mart's plan to build at the protected White Slough, will spend Saturday from 9 a.m. to Noon, after meeting at the parking lot behind the Value Center on Redwood, cleaning up after Wal-Mart.

"Vallejoans take great pride in their city and are participating in this cleanup. Wal-Mart has shown a real disregard for our town with its lack of maintenance of its property here. We don't like work on Saturday to clean up Wal-Mart's mess, but it just shows Wal-Mart's lack of regard for our city," said Joe Feller of VFRG.

VFRG opposes the Wal-Mart plan to build a Supercenter on the ecologically sensitive White Slough area, which would be subjected to heavy traffic, air pollution, lights and noise generated by massive commercial development such as Wal-Mart.

White Slough is critical feeding and resting habitat for more than one million shorebirds and more than 250,000 ducks and geese as well as countless resident species, including many endangered or threatened species.

Wal-Mart is circumventing the Vallejo planning process so it can build a 400,000 square foot Superstore at White Slough – even though a 1995 joint agreement between the city, county and the Bay Conservation and Development Commission severely restricts any building to a size more than three times smaller than what Wal-Mart wants. -30-


NEWS ADVISORY Quartz Hill Cares

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2007 Contact: Loretta Berry 661-943-7650 www.quartzhillcares.info

ATTN: Thursday Daybook/News Desk

Wal-Mart project across street from high school target of early morning rally, picket Thursday; Residents concerned about sales of guns, alcohol, tobacco

QUARTZ HILL – Citizens here opposed to commercial "super centers" – including a Wal-Mart – proposed to be built within feet of the Quartz Hill High School will hold an rally and picket here THURSDAY, from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. at the intersection of Avenue L and 60th St. West.

The purpose of the rally is to "inform teachers and parents at Quartz Hill High School about the plans for developing the area around the school and to show our strong opposition to the development," said Loretta Berry of Quartz Hill Cares.

"Parents and teachers should be very concerned about a store that can sell guns, tobacco and alcohol located directly right across the street from children," charged Berry, who added that the projects will also increase traffic congestion.

The land, originally not zoned commercial but annexed by Lancaster so all the tax revenue would go to the City of Lancaster and leave the Quartz Hill community only the blight and traffic congestion, explained Berry.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2007 Contact: Gregg Davidson 925/323-5646 Phil Tucker 707/479-6000

ATTN: NEWS DESK

Wal-Mart dealt another blow to Bay Area expansion; Development company withdraws application to build Wal-Mart big box store in North Concord

CONCORD – Wal-Mart suffered a major setback in its Bay Area expansion plans here Tuesday night when the Winton-Jones Development Company officially withdrew its application to build a Wal-Mart big box discount store in North Concord.

Concord residents applauded the decision to end the long-running Wal-Mart controversy, signaled by a 3-2 Concord City Council vote in March to reject the project's Environmental Impact Report for significant inadequacies in the areas of traffic, public safety, urban decay, water control, energy and parking. Certification of the vote was delayed until Tuesday for procedural reasons.

"While No More on 4 is pleased with the outcome, the fight is still ongoing. Wal-Mart can come back tomorrow and propose another ill-conceived store. I doubt it will be the last we hear of Wal-Mart trying to build a store in North Concord," said Gregg Davidson, chairman of No More on 4, a community group opposing the Wal-Mart project.

No More on 4, which repeatedly noted the various ways in which the current EIR failed to mitigate the impacts of a Wal-Mart big box discount store, believed it clearly made the case that a Wal-Mart would be bad for North Concord.

"The quality of life impacts we feel in North Concord need to be considered first, and these kinds of big box discount stores do not have a track record of serving communities well. We are pleased that the Jones Family had the courage to end this controversy by withdrawing the current Wal-Mart project from consideration," Davidson added.

It's been a rough year for Wal-Mart – only three Wal-Mart Supercenters have been approved in the Bay Area in the last four years. The City of Hercules is using eminent domain to stop Wal-Mart from building there, Oakland, Alameda County, Livermore and Martinez have big box ordinances and Antioch rejected a Wal-Mart expansion earlier this year.


Wal-Mart facing big tests in East Bay cities Tuesday re: future of planned Superstores; Fate of air base, disputed project in doubt

September 10, 2007

URGENT NEWS ADVISORY Monday, September 10, 2007 Contact: Cres Vellucci, media coordinator, Cal/Healthy Communities, 916/996-9170

CONCORD/SUISUN – Wal-Mart's plans to build two more Supercenters in the East Bay will face multiple tests here Tuesday – one in Fairfield, where a proposed Suisun Wal-Mart threatens an air base, and the other in Concord, where the death of one city counselor has thrown a decision to deny Wal-Mart construction into political limbo.

In Fairfield, the Solano County Supervisors will hear comments from citizen groups (news briefing at 9:30 a.m. at County Government Building, 675 Texas St.) who say a proposed Suisun Wal-Mart's proximity to Travis Air Force Base, the county's biggest employer ($ 1 billion a year / 14,000 jobs), could result in the closing of the base.

According to letters from the chair of the Airport Land Use Commission, and a Travis Base Commander, the Wal-Mart store violates the Travis Airport Land Use Plan, and would "encroach" on the base because it would place too many people in the runway path in an area where aircraft parts have fallen. This violation could lead to the base closure.

In Concord, the City Council members Laura Hoffmeister, Helen Allen and Michael Chavez voted March 6 to kill a Wal-Mart project. In line with common City practices, the Council would have simply certified the 3-2 vote that the EIR holds significant inadequacies in the areas of traffic, water control plans, energy, parking, public safety and urban decay.

However, finalization of the vote was delayed and councilperson Chavez died unexpectedly, throwing into doubt the status of the vote and project. Opponents say the project has been defeated and will comment to media outside chambers (6 p.m. at City Complex Library/City Council Chambers, 1950 Parkside Drive)

It's been a rough year for Wal-Mart – a Hercules parcel was seized by the city, another store in American Canyon is padlocked by order of the court, and Oakland, Livermore and Martinez have bans on big boxes like Wal-Mart SuperCenters. Antioch rejected a Wal-Mart expansion earlier this year.


Citizen groups to confront Solano Supervisors over threat to the closure of Travis AFB by proposed Suisun Wal-Mart store

September 10, 2007

URGENT NEWS ADVISORY Monday, September 10, 2007 Contact: Cres Vellucci, media coordinator, Cal/Healthy Communities, 916/996-9170

FAIRFIELD – The threat to the future of Travis Air Force Base by the proposed Wal-Mart Superstore in Suisun will be the topic of a news conference here Tuesday shortly before the issue will be heard at the Solano County Board of Supervisors' meeting.

The news briefing will begin at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at the County Government Building, 675 Texas St. Citizen groups will make comments to the board later.

Community groups have charged the Suisun Wal-Mart, to be located off Highway 12, threatens the life of Travis AFB, the county's biggest employer ($ 1 billion a year / 14,000 jobs)..

According to letters from the chair of the Airport Land Use Commission, and a Travis Base Commander, the Wal-Mart store violates the Travis Airport Land Use Plan, and would "encroach" on the base because it would place too many people in the runway path in an area where aircraft parts have fallen. This violation could lead to the base closure.

The proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter is sited at Highway 12 and Walters Road, within "Zone C" of the Travis plan, which states that no more than 300 people per acre be allowed. The Wal-Mart Supercenter would draw 10,000 or more people a day, according to Suisun Alliance and Suisun Citizens League.

Residents also point out that the Wal-Mart would be built along a deadly part of Highway 12, known as "Blood Alley," which has had nearly 800 collisions with 492 injuries and 18 deaths in four years. Nine people have died in Highway 12 car accidents in the past 18 months.


Concord City Council decision set Tuesday to finally certify rejection of Wal-Mart project; However, death of council member causes concern

September 10, 2007

NEWS ADVISORY - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Monday, Sept. 10, 2007 Contact: Gregg Davidson, No More on 4, 925-323-5646

CONCORD – The recent death of Concord City Counselor Michael Chavez, and how it may affect a vote taken in March to kill a plan to build a Wal-Mart Supercenter at Jones Ranch will be the focus on a City Council meeting here Tuesday (6 p.m. at City Complex Library/City Council Chambers, 1950 Parkside Drive)

City Council members Laura Hoffmeister, Helen Allen and Chavez voted March 6 to kill a Wal-Mart project. In line with common City practices, the Council would have simply certified the 3-2 vote that the EIR holds significant inadequacies in the areas of traffic, water control plans, energy, parking, public safety and urban decay.

However, finalization of the vote was delayed and Chavez died unexpectedly. Community group No More on 4 said the delay was unnecessary, and suggested the developer may have a "scheme" in place to try to influence the City Council to reverse it previous vote.

"We would hope that the Council would honor the wishes of Mr. Chavez, who opposed the Wal-Mart project. The Council already voted to not certify the EIR on March 6," according to a statement issued by opponents of the project.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Thursday, July 19, 2007 -  Contact: Phil Tucker 707/479-6000 or 916/996-9170 -  www.calhcn.org       [Top]

Small business expert travels to SF Bay Area cities to provide strategies to small businesses to fight large corporate chains, ‘big box' stores

Corporate chains and "big box" stores are destroying America's independent businesses – but there is a strategy for fighting back, according to the co-founder of the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) who is making a tour of San Francisco Bay Area cities – including those in Vallejo, Alameda, Dublin, Concord and Novato – next week (July 23-27).

Jeff Milchen, whose forums provide strategies to help local businesses thrive against larger chain stores, co-founded Montana-based AMIBA to help small businesses and communities recognize the benefits of supporting local, independent businesses over large corporate chains and "Big Box" stores.

The presentations are free, and open to the public. They are sponsored by the California Healthy Communities Network, a project of the non-profit Tides Center.

A nationally-known author and leading voice for America's community-based businesses, Milchen will suggest strategies to support local entrepreneurs – including an innovative model dozens of communities across the country have now implemented to strengthen hometown businesses and prevent displacement by chains that undermine independent businesses.

"Jeff Milchen does more than make a compelling case against big box retailers. He outlines a step-by-step strategy for reviving locally-owned businesses and wrestling your community back from corporate goliaths," said Stacy Mitchell, author of "Big Box Swindle" and "Hometown Advantage."

The forum schedule includes:
Monday, July 23 – VALLEJO 6:30-8:30 p.m., Vallejo Public Library (555 Santa Clara St.)
Tuesday, July 24 – ALAMEDA 7-9 p.m., Home of Truth (1300 Grand St.)
Wednesday, July 25 – CONCORD 6:30-9 p.m., Heald College Conf. Ctr (5130 Commercial Circle).
Thursday, July 26 – NOVATO 6:30-8:30 p.m. School District Board Room (1015 7th St.).

For more information, or reservations: Call Phil Tucker 707/479-6000 or see www.calhcn.org.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Monday, June 11, 2007 Contact: Cres Vellucci, communications director Cal/HCN, 916/996-9170  [Top]

Residents call Wal-Mart a ‘pirate,' claim proposed Supercenter may lead to more traffic, deaths along ‘blood alley' section of Highway 12

SUISUN – Residents here rallied against a proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter Saturday, charging the retail giant is more of a "pirate" than a savior – and predicted the Wal-Mart store could lead to more deaths on an already deadly stretch of Highway 12, known as "Solano County's version of blood alley."

"We had multiple fatalities in March alone along Highway 12. That shows how bad that stretch of highway is around here. If you bring in 37,000 extra cars on that same highway a week, according to projections, you're going to have more accidents," said Dwight Acey of Suisun Citizens League, sponsor of the rally.

"We don't need Wal-Mart coming in here like a pirate, raping this town and taking all the money out of here, leaving us for dead," he added.

A draft environmental impact report is due before the end of June for the Wal-Mart Supercenter project to be built at the intersection of Hwy 12, Walters Road and Peterson Road. Major sections of Quail Glen and Lawler Ranch neighborhoods would be as close as 300 feet from the store, which will be open 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.

Many speakers focused on frightening Solano Transportation Authority statistics which reveal there have been nearly 800 collisions in four years along the stretch of Highway 12 near where the Wal-Mart is proposed, with 492 injuries and 18 deaths. Nine people have died in Highway 12 car accidents in the last 18 months. The statistics also show that the accident rate gets worse year after year.

"I have seen a number of these accidents, including one that was quite graphic," said Phil Tucker, project director of California Healthy Communities Network, who drives the road frequently. He also informed residents that a recent study that indicates for every job Wal-Mart creates, about 1.4 jobs are lost in the community.

Opponents note Wal-Mart is overbuilding in the area, with a Supercenter set in Fairfield less than three miles away, another in American Canyon and one proposed in Vallejo. "They're hitting this whole area, Benicia, Vallejo, Fairfield, Vacaville, Davis. They want a Wal-Mart every four miles," said Mary Magill, a Gray Panther activist who opposes the Wal-Mart.

Organizers, including sponsor Suisun Citizens League, and the Suisun Alliance, noted that the Wal-Mart Supercenter will result in increased crime, environmental damage and hurt local businesses.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Wednesday, April 25, 2007 Contact: Gregg Davidson, No More on 4, 925-323-5646

ATTN: ASSIGNMENT DESK  [Top]

Citizen group ‘disappointed and confused' by City Council decision to delay certification of its vote to reject EIR for Wal-Mart/Jones Ranch project

CONCORD – A community group today said it was "disappointed and confused" that the Concord City Council Tuesday night delayed a final vote confirming the rejection of an environmental impact report – seven weeks after officially voting to reject the EIR – for the Wal-Mart/Lowe's-anchored Jones Ranch project.

The Council Tuesday night voted 5-0 to hold off certifying its vote until Sept. 11, although No More on 4, a Concord citizen group, said the delay was unnecessary, and suggested the developer may have a "scheme" in place to try to influence the City Council to reverse it previous vote.

"We are disappointed and confused. The Council already voted to not certify the EIR on March 6, and the meeting last night was only a means to formally state why it voted that way. Either Jones Development is buying time to revise its project proposal or is attempting to cloud the eyes of the Council to gain its approval," according to a statement issued by the No More on 4 community group.

Council members Laura Hoffmeister, Helen Allen and Michael Chavez voted March 6 to declare the Jones Ranch EIR inadequate. In line with common City practices, the Council would have simply certified the 3-2 vote that the EIR holds significant inadequacies in the areas of traffic, water control plans, energy, parking, public safety and urban decay.

No More on 4 charged that the Council's action Tuesday night does not change the fact that the majority of the Council already voted down the EIR. The Jones Ranch developer should not be able to come back with the same project regardless of how much more time is given, said No More on 4 in its statement.

It's been a rough year for Wal-Mart – a Hercules parcel was seized by the city, another store in American Canyon is padlocked by order of the court, and Oakland, Livermore and Martinez have bans on big boxes like Wal-Mart SuperCenters. Antioch rejected a Wal-Mart expansion earlier this year.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tuesday, April 24, 2007 Contact: Greg Davidson, No More on 4, 925-323-5646

ATTN: ASSIGNMENT DESK  [Top]

Vote to kill Wal-Mart/Jones Ranch project finally expected to be certified by Council Tuesday; Local group wary of developer ‘scheme'

CONCORD – Nearly two months after the Concord City Council voted to reject an environmental impact report as inadequate and stop the proposed Wal-Mart/Lowe's-anchored Jones Ranch project, the Council – finally – is poised to formalize that decision Tuesday night at a 6:30 p.m. meeting at City Council Chambers here.

However, a citizen's group in Concord said the developer may have a "scheme" in place to influence the City Council to go back on its vote, and word at Tuesday's meeting.

"We are proud that the Council stood up for our residents and quality of life instead of giving in to a well-connected developer," said Gregg Davidson, Concord resident and member of No More On 4. "We have confidence the Council will do the right thing for our community at tonight's meeting and put their decision into stone."

At the March meeting, Council members Laura Hoffmeister, Helen Allen, and Michael Chavez voted that the Jones Ranch EIR was inadequate. In line with common City practices, the Council must certify their vote, confirming its 3-2 vote that the EIR holds significant inadequacies in the areas of traffic, water control plans, energy, parking, public safety and urban decay.

Davidson called the decision by Hoffmeister, Allen and Chavez "courageous."

Although Tuesday's vote is normally a formality, No More on 4 has learned project proponents, Winton Jones Development, has requested a delay. Davidson and supporters of No More on 4 contend the delay is another way the developer can "work behind closed doors to get its project approved, with all of the flaws still there."

"We are confident the Council will represent community interests," said Davidson. But he did question if the Council in the past has made a decision and then taken nearly two months to certify it, as it has in this case. He also wondered if the Jones family is receiving special treatment.

It was yet another setback for Wal-Mart, who in more than a year of trying, has failed to open or expand a Bay Area store – a Hercules parcel was seized by the city, another store in American Canyon is padlocked by order of the court, Oakland, Livermore and Martinez have bans on big boxes like Wal-Mart SuperCenters, and Antioch rejected a Wal-Mart expansion earlier this year.


SAN JOSE, Ca.  [Top] – California Healthy Communities Network (CHCN), in conjunction with a host of influential labor and social justice organizations, launched the "Mercados Campaign" here April 20 in an effort to preserve the human and civil rights of unrepresented Latino workers in small and medium sized grocery stores in California.

At a major news conference at United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5, covered by more than a dozen major newspaper, radio and television outlets from Northern California, speakers condemned the wholesale abuse of Latino workers in hundreds – possibly thousands – of small and medium size grocery stores throughout California.

Investigators charged Latino workers are abused, sexually harassed, not paid for overtime, or even the minimum wage – and sometimes not paid at all – at grocery stores known as "Mercados," which operate in immigrant communities.

Among those participating in the campaign are the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), California Healthy Communities Network (CalHCN), Instituto Laboral de la Raza, Proyecto de Ciudadanía de Salinas; and United Food & Commercial Workers Local 5.

"The California Healthy Communities Network responded to the complaints heard from our network member groups about the treatment of workers. We answered the call because although we support small businesses, we do not support sweatshop operations," said Phil Tucker, project director for CalHCN.

His comments were echoed by other speakers, including project manager Gerardo Dominguez, who called the treatment of workers "outrageous and brutal abuse." He cited instances where female workers were sexually harassed, others fired for complaining about their treatment, and still other workers who toiled for months without getting paid. Employers, he said, claimed the workers didn't want to be paid because "they like to work."

Mercado workers are often not given food or rest breaks, or paid the minimum wage or overtime. Dominguez said the problem affects "thousands of workers" in a hundreds of small grocery stores in the San Francisco Bay Area alone.

He said the "Mercados Project" has, so far, helped some workers recover $50,000 in monies owed them, and other claims for more than $200,000 are pending.

"Our goal is to educate the workers as to their rights, and the employers about what their responsibilities are...we are avoiding legal action for now in the hope that employers will act in good faith," Dominguez said.

"This is a very important campaign. We are making a permanent commitment to the rights of every worker," said Mexican Consul General Bruno Figueroa, who attended the news conference.

And, Assemblymember Joe Coto, D-San Jose, noted that the 27-member Latino Legislative Caucus, of which he is chair, "fully supports this campaign," and urged that Latino and other businesses abide by the "code of conduct" for mercados stores.

"I will be very actively involved (in this project) to preserve the rights of all California workers," said the assemblymember.

Angel G. Luevano, state director of California League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), one of the oldest and largest groups representing Latinos, said he was "acutely aware of the violations to workers, including those where they work for 14 hours and are not paid at all. This has to end. This is not just an immigrant rights, but a civil rights issue."

"We are putting our resources in this campaign. We prosecute 600 wage and claim cases a year already," said Sarah M. Shaker, executive director of Instituto Laboral De LA Raza. Dan Rush, secretary-treasurer of the Instituto, said some Latino workers get the most dangerous jobs, and when they're hurt on the job, "they are just dumped off a truck at the hospital."

Other speakers, included Argentina Davila-Luevano, Deputy State Director for Women for the LULAC Women's Commission, who urged Latino workers to "speak out," and Tony Alexander, political director of UFCW Local 5, who said his union would do all that it can to support the "Mercados Campaign.

 
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