2.17.2007

battle-mart

From our friends at Wal-Mart Watch:
No matter how hard you hit Wal-Mart, they always come back for more.

14 years ago in Greenfield, Massachusetts our friend and partner Al Norman received national attention for stopping Wal-Mart in his hometown. Al was nicknamed "Wal-Mart's enemy #1" and has since been working with grassroots groups all across the country to protect cities and small towns from Wal-Mart's greed.

But this year, Wal-Mart is back in Al's backyard. Not satisfied with the super centers already open just minutes away from Greenfield, Wal-Mart is pushing hard once again. And this time, their planned store is 20,000 square feet bigger!

. . .

We have a lot to thank Al Norman for. He is the "guru of the anti-Wal-Mart movement," and his organization, Sprawl-Busters, was a forerunner to programs like ours.

Last year, we partnered with Al to create Battle-Mart, a clearinghouse of information and step-by-step tactics for activists to use in their own site fights. Now, its time to help as Al puts the Battle-Mart fight plan to work to protect his small New England town.

. . .

Things are moving fast. The developer is well on its way to getting the special permits he needs and has spent years lining up political support for the project. Even Greenfield's newly-elected mayor says "it's only a matter of time now that we see the big box retailer that I promised."

But Al Norman doesn't back down easily, and neither will we.

Here's what's at stake, in Al's own words:

Greenfield is being transformed from a once family-friendly community into a bland, national retail chain center, with national logos and national restaurants dominating the marketplace… Everyone's hometown is turning into just another 'chain-store town,' with rising crime rates, rising traffic, and a deteriorating downtown.

Greenfield is under siege. Land that was once home to ancient Native American communities could soon be spoiled by 160,000 square feet of corporate greed. The developer's plan even calls for paving over wetlands to build a parking lot.

Al's got his own well-tested plan of attack, but following Battle-Mart's battle plan isn't easy. As you can see, the necessary lawyers, hydrogeologists, engineers and other experts don't come cheap. Al can't put up the fight that Greenfield deserves without our help.

Anyone who's ever fought for their home town against a giant corporation owes a debt to Al Norman. Here's how you can repay him.

In Canada, a Battle-Mart campaign is being fought in North Grenville, Ontario.

2 comments:

Scott M. said...

Good luck with fighting a rezoning in Ontario. Unless it's specifically against the law at a provincial level (eg. building in the greenbelt), the developer ALWAYS wins at an OMB (Ontario Municipal Board) hearing.

A private person against a developer? The OMB rules with the developer.

The municipal government decides NOT to grant a rezoning and the developer appeals? The OMB rules with the developer.

Always.

It's one of the "dirty little secrets" of Ontario municipal government... the municipalities have no planning control. The OMB always rules with the developer.

Always.

L-girl said...

I don't doubt you, Scott, as I've seen that in NYC. Still, gotta fight the fight. Folks can't just lay down.