Manhattan, NY - Standing Room Only Outside Walmart Hearing
Manhattan, NY - Shouts of “Yes to Walmart” on one side of the street were answered by shouts of “No to Walmart” from the other.
It was a noisy scene on Chambers Street in Lower Manhattan with opposing sign-waving groups shouting across the street at each other, a major police presence and a long, long line of people attempting to get in to the Walmart hearing at the Emigrant Savings Bank building.
The hearing was the much-publicized joint City Council committee hearing on the potential economic impacts if Walmart opens stores in the city.
A majority of those this reporter spoke with in line were in favor of Walmart coming to Brooklyn. “It means cheap prices and more jobs for us,” one couple from Brooklyn said. “Walmart’s good for struggling families like us. We want Walmart here.”
Another, a woman from Manhattan, said “Why be concerned about Walmart? Why now? The council has been allowing big chain stores in the city forever. In my neighborhood, there’s a Duane Reade on every corner. How has that been good for the small drug stores?”
City council members voiced their criticism at a hearing Thursday, saying the retailer can do more harm than good.
“No other company has the revenue, power and size to move the market the way it does,” City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said.
“No matter what Wal-Mart propaganda propaganda says, they are nota company that is good for New York City,” Quinn said.
Wal-Mart has led an aggressive PR campaign marketing itself as a cure for some what Restivo described as the city’s most “underserved areas in terms of jobs and access to affordable food.” He declined to give specifics about what areas the company was considering for sites, or how many stores it hoped to build.
As was reported here on Vos Iz Neias, Walmart officials declined to participate.
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