Housing Complex

This Week (and Last) in Walmart News

Time for another Walmart roundup! Things have been relatively quiet on the Walmart front, but here are a few news items you might have missed in the last few weeks. (For a more global perspective, Walmart Watch has their own roundup from around the country).

The Capitol Gateway floorplan.

- A FRIEND OF YVETTE'S IS A FRIEND OF MINE: Ward 7 Councilmember and Walmart fan Yvette Alexander ended up with a little bit of egg on her face after the Washington Times found that her campaign manager, a fundraiser, and campaign treasurer are all now either consulting or lobbying for Walmart. Shady? Hard to say that ethical rules have been broken, exactly, but it's certainly a strategic move on Walmart's part to hire people who have Alexander's ear. The Respect D.C. campaign is asking for all councilmembers to disclose the ties their advisors, employees, or close associates might have with the retail giant. If they told the truth, what would we find? Walmart has eyes everywhere.

- SPEAKING OF YVETTE: It appears that one of the reasons Ward 7 ANCs have coordinated so well around putting together a community benefits agreement for the Capitol Gateway location (powerpoint now available here), and pressing the councilmember to get a city-wide agreement on labor conditions, is that they know Alexander is up for reelection soon–and not universally loved in the ward. "She's going to respond to us because she doesn't want to lose her job," says Villareal Johnson, chair of ANC 7A. Johnson says he's agnostic on whether Walmart was a good or a bad thing, but wants to see a process in place to capture as much cash for the neighborhood as possible from new developments coming in.

- FAST TIMES IN WARD 4: Walmart spokesman Keith Morris keeps talking about how dramatically the Georgia Avenue location has improved with community input, but as of earlier this week, they weren't quite ready to share the new version. Foulger-Pratt's Adam Davis says they expect to submit the Large Tract Review application to the Office of Planning this month.

- THROWING CASH AROUND: Walmart continued its charm offensive yesterday by announcing a gift of $400,000 for "equipment, training, and technical assistance" to increase participation in D.C. school lunch programs, to be administered by D.C. Hunger Solutions. Here's a happy picture of Harry Thomas at the press event.

- ON THE DOCKET: Next Wednesday, the Greater Washington Urban League will hold its 39th annual Whitney M. Young Memorial Gala at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, with tickets starting at $350 and going up to $25,000 for a platinum sponsorship. The honorary gala chair? Alex Barron, Walmart regional general manager. Wonder how big of a donation that got the Urban League.

  • itsjustamess

    Walmart and its paid co-horts of Yvette Alexander may have the soon-to-be-released Ward 7 embarrassment of a councilmember's "ear" but trust and know, we have our "eyes" on her and we're not just watching her weight loss. If she were a boxing contender, she would qualify for two categories 'cause she's a lightweight-heavyweight Buster Douglas Sumo wrestler who's about to suffer a major "think I better let it go, looks like another TKO" in 2012. She had better make darn sure she secures and negotiates a sweet deal with Walmart 'cause if the residents in Ward 7 have their way, they will gladly be giving her a wonderful departing gift - a glowing recommendation for her as a smiley-faced courtesy greeter or a cart-hauler in the parking lot.

  • Rick Mangus

    WELCOME WALMART!, and screw the unions and so-called community activist, both of whom do not even live in OUR city!

  • http://www.respectdc.org Concerned about WMT

    Plenty of folks question whether or not Walmart will be good for DC. We aren't sold yet, and we especially want our legislators to be up front and honest about the money they and their staffs are getting from Walmart. RESPECT DC!

  • Steve

    So Walmart gave $400,000 for "equipment, training, and technical assistance" to increase participation in D.C. school lunch programs. I guess that makes it good for Georgia Ave. and the rest of the District to shoehorn in single-use big boxes after all. I guess Walmart has learned that everyone has a price, and D.C. politicians can be bought cheap.

  • Ward 4 Resident

    So one commenter claims that "unions" (sic) and community activists don't even live in "our" city. I don't know what city he lives in, but I live in Washington DC, where every time I walk into a Safeway or a Giant, I see lots of union members working there, most of whom live in the city. And I know lots of neighbors of mine in Ward 4 who are community activists. I guess the commenter concerned lives in a city that happens to be called Washington DC but is on a different planet!

  • Rick Mangus

    'Ward 4 Resident', UFCW Local 400 senior staff ALL live in Maryland. Tom McNutt the president of the local lives in P.G. County. The majority of the so-called community activist are hired guns from NYC and are socialist!

  • Eric and Frank

    "Rick Mangus" We are union members, we live in DC. We work at Giant and Safeway and the majority of our employees are DC residents. We want Walmart to Respect DC.