Suisun Wal-Mart hits snag
By Melissa Murphy/
Plans to build a Wal-Mart in Suisun City hit another obstacle --
the state's water board.
The State of California Regional Water Control Board announced that
it has rejected an application for a proposed
227,000-square-foot Wal- Mart SuperCenter in Suisun
In a letter addressed to Wal-Mart, the board explains that there
are several questions left unanswered and notes that
the application, among other things, "does not
appropriately consider off- or on-site
The plans to build a Wal-Mart in Suisun City near the intersection
of Highway 12 and Walters Road have been riddled
with controversy for more than a year, including a
recall effort of the City Council that voted in
favor of the project and a failed attempt to put the
issue on a ballot for voters to decide.
Nevertheless, opponents of the Wal-Mart believe the water board
pointed out the problems that they said were there
from the outset.
"They still have questions to answer," said Anthony Moscarelli,
spokesperson for Save Our Suisun, the group opposed
to the project. "They can't ignore the EIR anymore."
He added that the group isn't anti-Wal-Mart, but that it is opposed
to a mega-store being built amid wetlands.
He explained that last year, the state notified Wal-Mart and the
city three times that their application was
unacceptable and that Wal-Mart and the city both
knew the land that was purchased by the store in
2006 was protected delta wetlands and all
development on it was conditional.
Moscarelli as well as the water board pointed out that there are
seven other Wal-Marts within 20 miles of Suisun
In fact another store is set to open shortly in Fairfield, just
five miles away.
"Why do we need two stores that close," he asked. "It's not
The water board also wondered why Wal-Mart does not consider
renovating existing stores instead.
Moscarelli explained that the area the Bentonville, Ark.,
corporation, the world's largest retailer, wants to
take over is covered in wetlands and that the
proposed 227,000 square-foot store would cover a
"We want the least-damaging proposal," he said. "Why not build a
smaller building that won't cover the creek?"
"The State Water Board read the same Environment Impact Report that
we did and they also found the environment documents
deficient and lacking in detail sufficient to
protect the delta wetlands and its water quality,"
he added in a press release. "They bought that
property knowing the obstacles."
The water board added that it is unclear how the company came up
with the ideal size of the store and how it will
meet the unmet needs of the area.
The water board's decision did not surprise Moscarelli.
What will happen next?
Moscarelli is unsure what Wal-Mart will do, adding, "The ball is in
Representatives of Wal-Mart and city officials could
not be reached by press time Wednesday.
Breaking: Jet Fuel Spill in Suisun Near Controversial Wal-Mart
-=- A jet fuel pipeline that supplies mammoth Travis
Air Force Base - and is near a controversial
proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter - has apparently
ruptured along Highway 12.
You can read the full story at this URL:
Suit against Suisun City leaves Walmart in legal limbo By Ian
January 02, 2009 12:41
Walmart is awaiting the final ruling on a lawsuit against its
proposed supercenter in eastern Suisun City before
deciding what to do next.
'The project is still in litigation and we do not have a timetable
at this point for moving forward,' said Kevin
Loscotoff, a Walmart spokesman.
The Suisun Alliance, which opposed the supercenter, sued Suisun
City over the project's environmental impact report,
contending it inadequately addressed the project's
impact on the community and environment.
The alliance was handed a reverse in November when a Solano County
Superior Court judge issued a tentative ruling in
Suisun City's favor, upholding the EIR. A final
ruling is expected in mid-February.
Save Our Suisun, another group opposing the supercenter, continues
to keep a close eye on the project and has been
critical of the project's potential impact on
wetlands and watercourses in and around the site.
The proposed supercenter at Walters Road and Highway 12 still needs
the blessing of the California Regional Water
Quality Control Board.
The board turned down the retail giant's application without
prejudice on Nov. 21, stating it was still
incomplete by the time it reached as one-year
As of Friday, Walmart has not reapplied to the board for permits,
according to Bruce Wolfe, executive officer for the
San Francisco Bay Regional Water Board.
Having to submit the application again means more work for Walmart,
which will have to re-evaluate the design of the
supercenter to minimize its impact on wetlands and
devise a comprehensive storm water runoff plan.
Walmart wants to build a supercenter, gas station, car wash and
restaurant on the 21-acre site.
With the exception of the board, all other agencies have stated
publicly that they have no problem with the project.
Suisun City unanimously certified the EIR.
Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or at
Raley's Denied Civil Rights of Residents in Wal-Mart Controversy
West-Sacramento-based Raley's wrongfully denied the
civil rights to residents in Suisun because it
doesn't even own the property it has banned
petitioners from, charged a Sacramento civil rights
firm here this week in a motion to dismiss the
controversial case in Solano Superior Court. If the
court agrees, residents would regain their civil
December 11, 2008
Click here for more details
SUISUN CITY: JUDGE ALLOWS LIMITED RECALL PETITION
ACTIVITY AT SHOPPING CENTER
Backers of a movement to recall Suisun CITY Mayor
Pete Sanchez and two council members will be allowed
to collect petition signatures at two locations of
the Heritage Shopping Center, a Solano County
Superior Court judge ruled today.
Mark Merin, attorney for the recall group Save Our Suisun, said
Judge Paul Beeman agreed the shopping center is a
quasi-public forum for the expression of free speech
and ruled the petitioners can collect signatures in
the monument area of the mall and at the Ace
"Both sides will agree to a stipulated order," Merin said. Save Our
Suisun is still appealing the judge's earlier
decision prohibiting the petitioners from collecting
signatures in front of the Raley's supermarket,
Merin called the judge's ruling "a limited victory" because the
judge recognized the shopping center as a
quasi-public forum. Petitioners, however, will not
be able to freely roam through the shopping center
gathering petitions, Merin said.
Petitioners will be able to collect signatures at the two locations
six hours a day, six days a week, Merin said.
Another hearing on the issue is scheduled for Aug.
1, Merin said.
Linda Ward, the attorney for the shopping center was not
immediately available for comment.
The Heritage Shopping Center's owner asked the court for a
temporary restraining order prohibiting the group
from gathering the signatures on private property.
The Save Our Suisun group wants to recall Sanchez
and council members Jane Day and Michael Hudson.
The group claims they have risked the public's safety by approving
a 227,000-square-foot Wal-Mart SuperCenter on 21
acres at state Highway 12 and Walters Road near
Travis Air Force Base over the objections of public
safety experts, including the county's Airport Land
Use Commission and the California Department of
Merin said the California Supreme Court ruled in
1979 that the PruneYard shopping center in San Jose
was obligated to allow free expressive speech even
on its private property and must yield to the public
He said Suisun City has no central downtown and that malls have
become the new public market places in many
Save Our Suisun is already appealing the court ruling that
prohibited signature gathering outside Rayley's,
"This is a very significant question for all free speech activity.
This (the mall) is the preferred venue," Merin said.
Save Our Suisun has until Aug. 8 to gather enough
signatures to put the recall measure on the Nov. 4
Landmark Civil Rights Battle Over Free Speech; started with
In what could become a landmark case, civil rights lawyers Tuesday
will go to court to fight attempts to criminalize
free speech at a Solano County shopping center where
residents have been threatened with arrest for
peaceably petitioning in public places as guaranteed
by state and federal law.
A hearing to decide whether a Suisun shopping center owner should
be granted a restraining order against residents is
set for TUESDAY, 10 a.m., at the Solano County
Superior Court (321 Tuolumne St., Vallejo), Judge
Paul L. Beeman, Dept. 1.
A PRESS BRIEFING will be held at 9:45 a.m. at the courthouse
The Law Office of Mark Merin, a major civil rights firm based in
Sacramento, will appear on behalf of "Save Our
Suisun," an all-volunteer community group gathering
signatures to recall Suisun City Mayor Pete Sanchez,
and council members Jane Day and Michael Hudson.
Merin - considered an expert on free speech issues involving
shopping centers - argues that the Heritage Mall in
Suisun is violating the constitutional, free speech
rights of residents circulating recall petitions and
literature. He calls attempts to ban or restrict
peaceful petitioning "unconstitutionally
SOS is working to recall the city council members because they have
risked the public safety by approving a Wal-Mart
SuperCenter near Travis Air Base over the objections
of public safety experts, including the County
Airport Land Use Commission, and CalTRANS. SOS also
charges the council members have lost the public
trust by raising their own compensation plans 118
percent, making questionable loans, and other deals
with taxpayer monies.
Copyright © 2008, NewsBlaze, Daily News
Police Covered-Up Grandmother's Complaint Against Suisun Councilman
The Suisun City Police Dept. - investigating a complaint that a
Suisun City Council member harassed and accosted a
grandmother gathering signatures to recall him from
office - did not make any real attempt to seriously
explore the charges, a spokesperson for a community
group said here today.
Police have told civil rights attorney Jeff Kravitz, representing
Suisun grandmother Mina Guerrero, that the Solano
County District Attorney did not find any reason to
pursue the criminal probe - but police also failed
to interview any eye witnesses, or even the accused,
councilman Michael Hudson.
"We are not at all surprised. The police association has put up
billboards announcing its opposition to the Recall
Election. Despite their assurances, we knew they
would not fully investigate the charges," said Cres
Vellucci, a spokesperson for "Save Our Suisun."
"We did, though, expect them to at least interview eye witnesses
and Michael Hudson. But, they did not even do that,"
added Vellucci. He added that an outside agency,
possibly the California Attorney General's office,
is being contacted to oversee a objective
Members of "Save Our Suisun" - since they began gathering
signatures in April - have been sued, threatened
with arrest by the same police who did not probe the
Hudson matter and accosted by Hudson, and other
Recall opponents. SOS has until August 8 to submit
about 2,030 signatures to force an election to
recall Hudson, Mayor Pete Sanchez and Vice-Mayor
Sanchez, Hudson and Day are the targets of a recall because, said
"Save Our Suisun," they risked public safety by
approving a Wal-Mart SuperCenter near Travis Air
Force Base, despite the warnings of air safety
The councilmembers also raised their own compensation plans 118
percent and have made a series of questionable city
financial decisions. In addition more than $100,000
is missing from the city coffers, according to one
Recall Campaign in Suisun Turns Dirty
City Council member accosts petition gatherer, may
have broken law A Suisun City Council member -
facing a possible recall on the November ballot -
may have broken state election laws and made what
could be considered racist remarks when he accosted
a recall signature-gatherer at a public event,
proponents of the recall said today.
Click here for rest of the story
Recall effort hit with order
The group leading the recall effort of three Suisun
City council members was hit with a 30-day temporary
restraining order Thursday by Raley's and will no
longer be able to collect signatures near the two
entrances. Ordered by Solano County Superior Court
Judge Paul Beeman, the group Save Our Suisun (SOS)
must now vacate the doorways of the Raley's
supermarket in Suisun City for at least 30 days.
They may, however, still collect signatures in the
surrounding parking lot and shopping center, said
Cres Vellucci, spokesman for SOS.
By Danny Bernardini
Click here for rest of the story
Recall bid gains traction Article Launched: 03/09/2008
08:12:59 AM PDT
Opponents of the recently-approved Wal-Mart store in Suisun decided
Saturday to move forward with a recall effort
against some members of City Council.
More than 40 people reportedly attended the community meeting,
which was put on at Grace Baptist Church by a group
calling itself Save Our Suisun. Those assembled
decided in favor of a recall effort aimed at Suisun
City Mayor Pete Sanchez, as well as council members
Jane Day and Mike Hudson.
The other two council members, Mike Segala and Sam Derting, are not
being included in the recall push because they are
up for re-election in November.
Describing the group that came together on Saturday, Suisun
Citizens' League member Dwight Acey said, "They were
very, very energized."The group's main grievance is
the council's unanimous approval of a Wal-Mart
Supercenter, which is to be located at Highway 12
and Walters Road.
In a press release this week, opponents claimed that council
members "disregarded public safety warnings by
aviation experts and other land-use professionals
when they approved the controversial project."
Acey said the intent is to file the necessary paperwork in the
coming days and to begin gathering signatures
"within a week or so." He added that the goal is to
collect 3,000 signatures over the next month.
Note from Save Our Suisun: Please go to our website
for future news:
No removal of airport panel chair By Danny Bernardini/Staff Writer
Article Launched: 02/21/2008 06:16:08 AM PST
A motion to remove John Foster as Solano County
Airport Land Use Commission chair died Wednesday
night on a 3-3 vote by Solano County's mayors. The
issue to remove Foster was discussed during the
mayors' Solano County City Selection Committee
meeting in Fairfield.
Click here for rest of story
VACAVILLE REPORTER: Council must be sure of its
For months, the question of whether a Wal-Mart
Supercenter should be built on the northwest corner
of Walters Road and Highway 12 has divided Suisun
City. But when Suisun's City Council meets Tuesday
to resolve the issue, it must consider more than its
own municipal matters. The project's potential
encroachment on Travis Air Force Base is of
The possible conflict with Travis came to light when the Solano
County Airport Land Use Commission rejected the
project in November on the grounds that it could
draw more people to the 20-acre site than is
acceptable under the base's Land Use Compatibility
That plan restricts development around the air base, mostly for
safety reasons. The site in question is inside "Zone
C," which limits the number of people at any site to
an average of 75 per acre, with no more than 300
within any one acre at any given time. Depending on
how they are calculated, estimates for the project
in question - which includes a Wal-Mart Supercenter,
a sit-down restaurant and a gas station - come out
at well below the limits, pushing the limits or over
There are legitimate differences in the way estimates are made. But
as a consequence, those in favor of the project are
inclined to use the methods that produce low
numbers, while those opposed to the superstore base
their calculations on the methods that produces high
numbers. It is imperative for the Suisun City
Council to base its decisions on realistic
calculations, no matter on which side of the limit
What the council should not do is downplay the Land Use
Compatibility Plan's restrictions, as the consultant
who prepared the final environmental impact report
suggests. That report claims the standards set
around Travis are arbitrary and more restrictive
than the state of California requires.
If they are more restrictive, it is because the citizens of Solano
County years ago agreed to protect Travis Air Force
Base so that future Base Realignment and Closure
commissions could not use incursion as an excuse to
shut down the county's largest employer. Remember,
Travis contributes more than $1 billion to the local
economy each year.
As the environmental impact report points out, Travis has a decent
safety record - only five crashes since the base
opened, none in the vicinity of the proposed
Wal-Mart - and the store won't lie directly in the
flight path. The report also notes that planes
flying in and out of Travis are too heavy to be
blown off course, but that assumes only the big
planes will be flying in and out of there in the
future. Plus, should Travis ever be pulled out, the
county will almost certainly want to explore the
possibility of using the site as a regional airport.
Unwise incursions now could affect that decision
down the road.
Councilmembers will have tough choices to make on Tuesday. Suisun
City certainly needs the tax base a Wal-Mart store
would bring. But the entire county needs Travis, and
the city must not do anything to jeopardize the air
Wal-Mart Gets Planner Ok Despite Huge Public Outcry About 'Safety'
Ignoring safety concerns of scores of residents who fear a new
Wal-Mart project here could lead to deaths along
adjacent "Blood Alley," or from low-flying planes
from Travis Air Base or a buried jet pipeline, the
Suisun City Planning Commission recommended Tuesday
night the controversial project be approved by the
The decision to rubber stamp the Environmental Impact Report at a
hearing attended by an overflow crowd of 150
residents was not unexpected. The planners made it
clear that hoped-for sales taxes were more important
than the environment or lives of residents. Speakers
even questioned the tax gain, saying stores in
Suisun and Fairfield would "cannibalize" each other.
The next step is approval by the Suisun City Council Feb. 12. It
will first have to vote, by a four-fifths margin, to
override the Solano County Airport Land Use
Commission, which refused to approve the 227,000
square foot project because, the ALUC said, the
project is too big to be that close to Travis Air
The ALUC ruled the project was "unsafe," and would encroach upon
the base something that could cause the military to
move the base, a major concern for 65,000 military
retirees in the county. Travis AFB is the county's
largest employer ($1.1 billion a year, 14,000 jobs).
"This is the biggest project in town. It will be the biggest
disaster in town," charged Dwight Acey, chair of
Suisun Citizens League, one of the community groups
opposed to the project. He said the EIR shows there
will be as many as 70,000 additional vehicle trips
along Highway 12 known as "Blood Alley" because of
all the accidents making it even more dangerous.
Resident Anthony Moscarelli citing letters from a national pipeline
trust said there are major issues about a buried jet
fuel pipeline within feet of the project. "There's
not one mention of the fuel pipeline danger," he
said, adding the city may be liable for damages, and
that an increase in insurance coverage would eat up
all of the anticipated sales tax gains.
"I object to my neighbors who will be killed by the project," said
Wayne Monger, a geologist who lives near the site,
and Paul GreenLee of Suisun Alliance, said "People
in the community have said we do not want it. It
does not fit our city." Another speaker called the
decision a "betrayal" of the people. Another called
for a "recall" of elected officials.
Copyright © 2008, NewsBlaze, Daily News
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Monday, February 11, 2008 Contact: Cres
Vellucci, spokesperson, Suisun Citizens League,
Attention: Daybook/Assignment Desk
SALES TAX or COMMUNITY SAFETY? Wal-Mart project, deemed 'unsafe' by
state agency & airport oversight group, is up for
final vote on Tuesday
CITY – With the threat of a recall hanging over its
head, the Suisun City Council will decide whether to
put sales tax revenue over and above the safety of
its residents when the Council meets TUESDAY at 5
p.m. at Suisun City Hall (701 Civic Center Blvd) to
decide whether to approve a controversial Wal-Mart
There will be a 4:30 p.m. NEWS BRIEFING by neighborhood groups, who
have threatened to recall council members if they
vote for the project over community concerns.
The independent Solano County Airport Land Use Commission already
rejected the Wal-Mart project in November for
"safety" reasons because the project interfered with
the Travis Air Force Base "compatibility plan." The
Cal TRANS Aeronautics Division supports the "safety
But, the Suisun City Council is considering overriding the ALUC
safety determination because the city wants the tax
money from the development. The Council could vote
Tuesday with a "super-majority" to take the highly
unusual step of overriding the ACLC, which consists
of many pilots and other safety members who called
the project too "unsafe" to build.
"It's a simple matter of the city and staff believing the hoped-for
taxes will offset the risk to us, the residents.
That's wrong," said Dwight Acey chair of the Suisun
Acey also said the City will never see those big tax proceeds. A
Dixon councilperson Monday said his town is only
getting a fraction of what they anticipated from a
Wal-Mart Supercenter which opened there in 2005, and
warned Suisun City officials to be wary.
Suisun City residents also cite high traffic danger
(Wal-Mart will be located just off Highway 12, known
as "blood alley" because of the high number of
accidents), pollution, threat to nearby wetlands,
noise and an underground fuel pipeline located next
to the Wal-Mart.
URGENT NEWS ADVISORY Sunday, February 10, 2008 Contact: Cres
Vellucci, CIPI Strategies, 916.996-9170 (cell)
More bad economic news; Wal-Mart either failing, or under-reporting
sales & robbing city of taxes, Dixon councilmember
to charge Monday
DIXON – Wal-Mart is either grossly under-performing , or is
cheating the city of Dixon out of hundreds of
thousands of dollars in taxes a year, a member of
the Dixon City Council will allege at a major news
conference here Monday.
Details of the charges will be revealed at Monday, Feb. 11, at
11:45 a.m., at the Dixon Wal-Mart main entrance (235
E. Dorset Drive, off Highway 80).
Councilmember Michael C. Smith, in a letter late last week, warned
the mayor and city council of Suisun City to
"verify" lofty claims made by Wal-Mart that it would
generate as much as $800,000 in sales tax the first
year of operation in Suisun.
City officials in Suisun have said they need the projected sales
tax revenue from the project, and the taxes would
mitigate the safety concerns of residents and the
Solano County Airport Land Use Commission that
rejected the project for "safety" reasons.
Suisun will vote Tuesday on whether to approve the controversial
Wal-Mart project over the objections of numerous
neighborhood groups, who have cited safety concerns
over the proximity of Travis Air Force Base, a
buried jet fuel pipeline and increased traffic on
so-called "Blood Alley" on Highway 12 where the
project is to be built.
Councilmember Smith said his investigation now shows that rather
than hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax
revenue, Dixon has seen only a tiny fraction of that
since Wal-Mart opened in 2003, and expanded to a
Superstore in 2005.
"We received the same rosy picture of hundreds of thousands of
dollars in additional sales tax now being floated to
the city of Suisun," said Smith, who will make
public details of his probe on Monday.
Officials May Fire Commission Pilots Who Rejected Wal-Mart Project
Elected officials here are ignoring warnings about a public safety
threat from a Wal-Mart Supercenter project and
instead have initiated a plan to oust military
pilots sitting on a county airport commission which
voted in November to oppose the project because of
those same safety concerns.
A news conference will be held TUESDAY, 10 a.m.
at the Solano County Board of Supervisors Meeting
(675 Texas Street), regarding not-too-secret plans
to "decapitate" the Solano County Airport Land Use
Commission (SCALUC) leadership for political
Click here for the rest of the story
Wal-Mart Gets Planner Ok Despite Huge Public Outcry About 'Safety'
Ignoring safety concerns of scores of residents who
fear a new Wal-Mart project here could lead to
deaths along adjacent "Blood Alley," or from
low-flying planes from Travis Air Base or a buried
jet pipeline, the Suisun City Planning Commission
recommended Tuesday night the controversial project
be approved by the City Council.
Click here for the rest of the story