Workers of the World, Not Quite United

El Monte, teetering on the edge of insolvency, has decided that what Wal-Mart (one of the world's largest corporations) needs a $7.7 million subsidy to come to El Monte. Sadly, the SEIU local that represents El Monte workers has thrown its lot in with the Boys from Bentonville.

And here, you silly people thought that labor unions were about raising the living standards of all working men and women. . . .

"Change to Win"

Several years ago, SEIU and a few other big unions broke away from the AFL-CIO to form a new federation. Maybe that's what they meant by "Change to Win".

Do whatever it takes to get a little tax revenues to preserve several jobs at City Hall.

$7.7 million is a huge subsidy to the store. Isn't there anyone opposing it? It seems incongruous to me.

Larry Bevington and his folks got riled up at Rosemead's plan to give away $250k to pay for some sign.

The developers that want a stadium downtown shifted gears and said they would self-fund a downtown stadium when 100% of the comments at the LAT website basically said: don't even sell bonds to make a loan to build that stadium.

I think lower-wage retail jobs are a poor way to boost an economy. You're only shifting retail money around - the total spending pie cannot grow without better jobs.

Well, Jerry Brown's against

Well, Jerry Brown's against this kind of stupidity. So are Judy Chu, Ed Hernandez and Mike Eng.

The proponents are trying to draw a distinction between the money going to the developer rather than to Wal-Mart, but it's all a shell game. The bottom line is that the cost to Wal-Mart of moving into El Monte is being subsidized by misdirected redevelopment dollars.

This is totally inconsistent with El Monte's earlier plans for a Transit Village near the bus station and Metrolink station. Nothing destroys the walkability of a neighborhood more than a big box store.

You can kind of fake it

Burbank did a pretty good job with their big-ass mall. The mall's front has some sidewalk shops, and faces a popular pedestrian commercial area. The back has parking and some big-box style stores (IKEA, Barnes and Noble, etc.).

The main negative is that once you get behind the mall, walkability is a lot worse. It's a gigantic parking structure. They made an effort to make it somewhat walkable, but there's only so much you can do.

And, overall, the entire area is largely shopping only. It's an island of shopping that requires a lot of land.

BTW - I am pretty sure the UFCW is opposed to any Wal Mart opening up anywhere. This is just SEIU playing politics.

Here's a link to a map of the location.