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Sunday, October 23, 2005

Wal-Mart in Ontario 

Here's a timeline from the Daily Bulletin:

October 2004 Wal-Mart Supercenter proposed for a lot on northwest corner of Mountain Avenue and Fifth Street in Ontario.

November 2004 Neighborhood residents hold meeting to discuss the 24-hour Supercenter. Concern was expressed about the additional traffic, noise and trash the new Wal-Mart could bring.

December 2004 Ontario Councilman Alan Wapner, a paid consultant for Wal-Mart, says he won't participate in any Wal-Mart discussions. City halts approval process for Supercenter to study economic impacts of the project.

August 2005 City announces economic report to be released this month. City Planner Jerry Blum says Development Advisory Board will decide on project within next five weeks.

Hence we have the Ontario Mountain Village Association saying, "Stop!"

Development of the Wal-Mart Supercenter must be stopped because:

It will draw additional traffic, noise and trash into our neighborhood.

I'll address this point a little later because it does have some validity, but perhaps we should look at the present situation at the proposed site. Currently the site consists of two empty buildings (the old Target/Food 4 Less building and the old Toys R Us building), completely fenced in, and with a big hole in the Toys R Us building. Talk about trash - the present site is a complete eyesore.

The City does not need the revenue.

This is the most laughable point that the group makes. Name me a city that doesn't want to provide services to its people. Perhaps they're saying that it's immoral to take revenues from anti-union baby seal clubbers or something, but as stated the point is mystifying.

The Mom and Pop businesses do not need the "made in China" competition.

Bad news, folks. Whether or not a Super Wal Mart is built here, the "made in China" competition is here to stay. Every danged store, including the mom and pop stores, stocks "made in China" stuff. And even if you specifically object to the Wal-Mart "made in China" products, those who really want them will go next door to Upland and get them (not the groceries, but everything else). Now I'll admit that the Upland Wal-Mart is a graffiti-ridden eyesore, but it still looks better than the present Target/Food 4 Less/Toys R Us.

A 24-hour Super Center will act as a magnet to attract a dangerous criminal element into our neighborhood, especially from midnight until daybreak, seven days a week.

Apparently the people who wrote this don't have a sense of history. They're pretending that this will be the first 24 hour store on the site. It won't be. Before Food 4 Less, Ralphs had a Giant store on the site, open 24 hours a day, and the city apparently survived.

And don't forget the other empty lot in that part of town, on the northeast corner of Mountain and 6th, which truly did attract a criminal element. Yes - it was a jail. A jail that was razed and is now a candidate for redevelopment. But I'd bet that the Ontario Mountain Village Association is opposed to that also. They probably want the jail back.

We, the voters and property owners, don't need 1,400 additional cars and trucks clogging the streets of our community every hour.

OK, this point is valid. Since the Target, Food 4 Less, and Toys R Us moved or went under, you have probably seen a traffic decrease. At the same time, there has been new construction just north of there, and we know how Ontario responded to that.

If you read the Association's propaganda, you see repeated references to this being a "residential" area. Yes, it's true that there is a residential area surrounding the proposed Wal-Mart site. But the site itself, as well as the area just north of it, and the area northeast of it, and the area 1/8 mile south of it, is and has been commercial for decades now. So it's kind of ridiculous to pretend that this was an idyllic residential paradise until the Waltons came to town.

The Association has mounted a letter writing campaign, and in fact there were two letters on the topic on October 18. Here they are:

Wal-Mart opposition nothing about unions
I am involved with the Ontario Mountain Village Association. I would like to respond to a letter suggesting that the union is behind our opposition to a 24-hour Wal-Mart superstore trying to be built on 5th and Mountain in Ontario.

First of all, let me clarify our position again. We are not opposed to a Wal-Mart. As we have stated many times before, we do feel that the problems created by a 24-hour Wal-Mart superstore on 5th and Mountain are insurmountable and will negatively impact the surrounding residents in many ways, financially and otherwise.

As a matter of fact, we think that south Ontario or the Ontario Mills area would be a fine location for a 24/7 Wal-Mart superstore. Those areas have the infrastructure to accommodate a development of this type without destroying a residential community.

So, as you can see this issue is not about unions. This issue is about the city of Ontario’s promise to provide a development that is consistent with the Calthorpe Plan. This issue is about good city planning. The issue is about whether or not our elected representatives listen to the serious concerns of neighborhood residents or if they are more influenced by the staff that does not live in this area.

The issue is about whether or not a small grass-roots group of middle class citizens (many retired) can actually be heard against one of the largest companies in the world. Stay tuned ... only time will tell.

Ontario Mountain Village Association
Support for Wal-Mart

We would like to congratulate John Maguire for the thought-provoking letter about the proposed new Wal-Mart. There are many of us who actually live in the surrounding neighborhood who support this proposal.


Wait a minute, that last letter shouldn't have been printed. People in the neighborhood aren't allowed to support Wal-Mart. You should only believe things from the Ontario Mountain Village Association. Contact them here:

Ontario Mountain Village Association, Inc.
c/o 1035 North Vineyard Avenue
Ontario, CA 91764-3175

Wait a minute. That's four miles away from the Wal-Mart.

Danged outside agitators.

[OE: Update here.]

From the Ontario Empoblog

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