Anti-Walmart Group Marches Through Decatur

Good Growth DeKalb opposes construction of the big box store at Suburban Plaza.

About 60 people marched from Suburban Plaza to downtown Decatur Saturday morning to show their opposition to a proposed Walmart.

The march was organized by , a citizens group that formed after shopping center that include construction of a Super Walmart.

, located just outside the Decatur city limits in unincorporated DeKalb County.

The marchers, including a handful of musicians and somebody dressed as a gorilla, went down Church Street, spent about 15 minutes at the Marta plaza near the Decatur Square and headed west on Ponce de Leon Avenue.

Selig Enterprises has obtained all the necessary governmental permits for the project, but who are investigating the possibility of filing a lawsuit.

MrMatt March 11, 2012 at 04:35 PM
I've raised plenty of questions as to GGD's true ambitions and have yet to hear anything other than No Walmart. And most responses are either completely hypocritical or based solely on WM's easy targeting as a poster child for global capitalism. Despite the fact that most protesters lives have been immeasureably improved by those same capitalistic practices. They just choose to ignore that reality. Frankly I think the 60 people who marched likely represent about 50-100% of the people in opposition. I will say that I spent a part of yesterday at Town Brookhaven and found it to be a hopping, vibrant area that could just as easily be anchored by Walmart vs. Costco/Publix/LA Fitness. All big box stores that provided the foundational tenants to make the rest of the space viable as apartments/town homes. So I sit here waiting, still, for some vision from GGD.
mark March 11, 2012 at 05:18 PM
I think some people just like to have a "cause" gives them something to do.
N.G. March 11, 2012 at 05:23 PM
GGD's lawyer is Donald Stack, a local Atlanta attorney for many years.
N.G. March 11, 2012 at 05:27 PM
I don't believe that is true at all. I live in Medlock Park and most of my neighbors are against it. I have many friends and co-workers who live in Decatur too and they are all against it.
N.G. March 11, 2012 at 05:31 PM
I and many of the people I know who are involved in this are not just looking for a "cause." This is an issue that directly affects my community and I am honestly against a Walmart. The long term consequences are to severe to ignore.
N.G. March 11, 2012 at 05:35 PM
"These people" are your neighbors, they are not your enemies of war. If you have a different opinion, of course you have a right to organize and express it, so I would say you should do it.
mark March 11, 2012 at 05:45 PM
I would think that a better way to spend your time would be to improve the current living conditions of Medlock Park...it is widely know that the entire community is heavily infested with rats.
N.G. March 11, 2012 at 06:18 PM
I have not heard that. And if there is a rat problem to address in Medlock Park, I don't think that means I should abandon efforts to fight the Walmart.
Victoria Webb March 11, 2012 at 08:06 PM
This issue doesn't just affect our community, it affects the entire US economy. But don't take my word for it. Read the Economic Policy Institute's analysis of the 'Walmart Effect'. That's a DC based non-partisan think tank created in 1986. Walmart itself leaned on the British gov't in 2005 to intervene in Tesco's 30% control over the grocery market there. That's exactly what Walmart wants in the US, where they currently have a mere 25% control. Anti-trust for Tesco, but not for Walmart? I don't think it's logical or relevant to state that GGD is ignoring how our own lives have been improved by capitalism. The very notion of supporting small business is capitalistic and keeping revenue in a community that needs it, is simply smart economics.
Thomas Paine March 11, 2012 at 08:29 PM
Last time I was in a Wal-Mart, I noticed that every employee was forced to wear leg shackles and handcuffed to their station. The conditions were intolerable (air conditioned) and they were all being FORCED to work. Yes, they were getting paid, but not as much as they would like to be paid!! And YES, Wal-Mart was paying an additional 7.65% of each worker's pay for that workers retirement and medicare, plus insurance for unemployment. But the owners of Wal-Mart are so GREEDY that they won't pay any more. Whether it is OUR GREED or CORPORATE GREED, it is EVIL and it is CAPITALISM! and we WILL not tolerate THAT in Decatur (which this location is NOT)!
Thomas Paine March 11, 2012 at 08:32 PM
HERE IS COMMON SENSE, by Thomas Paine Every week, more than 127 million customers visit Wal-Mart stores, Super centers, and Sam’s Club locations across America. Eight in ten Americans shop at Wal-Mart. “Always Low Prices” is not the only reason why most Americans prefer doing big-stop shopping in Wal-Mart. This gigantic store meets most of customers’ wants by providing: convenience of stores location, 24 working hours, great variety of goods, low prices, high quality of both goods and services, and other advantageous offerings. There is other reason that makes Wal-Mart worthy of visiting. The Company and its Foundation are committed to a philosophy of giving back to American community. Each year, they give millions to charities, schools and American Communities, support the country’s soldiers and their families, and donate those affected by disasters. Nowadays, when budget organizing, money saving and charities donating became problems number one for millions of people, we can definitely outline the most important reasons for Americans to shop at Wal-Mart: satisfactory prices, good selection of goods and giveback to the community.
david March 11, 2012 at 10:32 PM
Thank you Thomas Paine for your eloquent and witty responses! I and my friends to whom I have forwarded this article to, plan to protest the anti-WalMart protesters. You have laid out a very sound case to support WaMart. I look forwarded to shopping in our new local WalMart in the near future!
Ms. March 12, 2012 at 12:29 AM
I have also asked about other goals, with no response. What about all the blight of car dealerships nearby? What about South Dekalb and all that goes on there? Or is their focus only white Dekalb? What about the multiple shootings going on a Pin Ups? Now they have shifted their focus to become a labor issues pro-union group. Everything but the kitchen sink, but when you inquire about their goals other than Walmart... Crickets man...
Thomas Paine March 12, 2012 at 01:09 AM
Donald Stack is probably a very nice person, but this fact is true: he is a YANKEE and a CARPETBAGGER. In addition, his office is NOT in the City of Decatur, and he appears to NOT live in the City of Decatur, although I may be wrong. He is an environmental WHACK-OH who has worked for the EPA and the National Park Service! In addition, he is a member of the Sierra Club, formerly a respectable group, but now changed. This group of anti-American anti-capitalists have obstructed every effort for America to become less dependent on foreign oil. If you want to blame anyone for your higher home heating bill and gasoline bill, start with the Sierra Club first. THOMAS PAINE SAYS: "These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed, if so celestial an article as Freedom should not be highly rated."
N.G. March 12, 2012 at 01:36 AM
My understanding is that the group is only a few months old and that it was formed in response to the Walmart, facts that they have been transparent about. I'm glad that they are representing the collective voice of all the residents in the area that were unaware of the proposed Walmart. It's an urgent, weighty issue so I don't know how they could tackle all the other things you've mentioned. I know they have solicited continued attendance and involvement at their forum a few weeks ago, so if you are truly concerned with the closed car dealerships and Pin Ups, I think it would be great if you could go to those meetings and offer your time, voice, and help. If GGD doesn't match what you are looking for, maybe you can start a group of your own to tackle those issues.
Thomas Paine March 12, 2012 at 01:42 AM
“It is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry.” ― Thomas Paine, entrepreneur
Ms. March 12, 2012 at 02:45 AM
Actually NG, I'm more inclined to let the market do it's thing. I'm uncomfortable with the government or other citizens telling people what they can and can't do with private property, especially in a case like this where the property has already been prepared for this type of development. I haven't heard any convincing reasons why the Walmart shouldn't go in Suburban, Athens maybe, but just not Decatur. So I doubt my presence would be welcome, and I'm not even a Walmart shopper!
Rob Young March 12, 2012 at 12:59 PM
Would love to run a check with Wal Mart corporate to see how many protesters have shopped at Wal Mart. I bet at least 75%
MrMatt March 12, 2012 at 04:10 PM
Victoria - so would you have fought against the rise of Whole Foods, or Macy's, or CVS, or QuikTrip, or Amazon.com, or Barnes and Noble, or Toyota-the Prius maker, or any of the thousands of other non-small businesses that have come to be part of our day-to-day lives? Each one of these contributes to the very same issues you cite with Walmart - they either hurt small-local businesses, generate increased traffic, source products from foreign countries (check your clothing tags Victoria), and so on. Many economists would argue that China has a comparative advantage in low-cost labor and they are putting it to use. In the U.S., it is argued that we have an advantage in innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurial spirit. Hence we are the birthplace of many of the best parts of the Internet/technology age, which is serving to connect more people, educate more people, employ more people (over time). We are also emerging in specialized manufacturing. And it's seen likely that as China's workers demand higher wages, the cost benefit in China will disappear, and some jobs may come back to the US as the higher costs and shipping costs push China from being a low-cost provider. Look, It's a transitional process, and yes, it can involve a degree of pain. But I wouldn't want it any other way. Trying to dictate winners and losers, as you seem to be advocating, is counterproductive and likely to have unintended consequences. So again, apart from no WM - what do YOU want?
Nick March 12, 2012 at 04:33 PM
Big box stores don't hurt small businesses, people that shop at big box stores do! But most/"all" businesses are in the business of making money, both small and large businesses, the Big Lots there (which I like) wants to make money just like the Mattress Store and the Eckerd's and the Pep Boys that used to be there... (And I would rather see something other than a Wal-Mart go there!)
Nonie Ravenberg March 13, 2012 at 05:22 PM
+1. Business need to make money. Walmart was once a small company that went big and last I heard that growth was perfectly aligned with the American Dream (at least for Mr. Walton and his heirs). People may not agree with what Walmart has become and since it's a free country, they don't have to and they don't have to shop there. People who prefer to patronize small/medium/local/favorite businesses will still have the freedom to do so after Walmart opens. If they all continue to buy wherever they have been up til now, then Walmart will have no customers. But, Walmart seems to think that some people will want to patronize their store. And apparently the real problem is that GGD is afraid a lot of people will do just that. I have never shopped at a Walmart and I'm pretty sure I won't change. But I'll do some research into the evils of Target and if Walmart is the lesser of the two, I might go there instead, thereby saving time and fuel since it's closer. And depending on how much I'm going to buy, I could even ride my bike.
Nick March 13, 2012 at 07:31 PM
^5...Airtight, Nonie, well-said!
Thomas Paine March 13, 2012 at 08:46 PM
Nonie, your thoughts make COMMON SENSE to me. If anyone disagrees with your post, I have only one thing to say to them: “To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.” - Thomas Paine, 1776
Victoria Webb March 14, 2012 at 03:50 PM
Matt, you make good points - GGD doesn't support a super-store model for that particular space. Move it down to the vacant car lots, but not in an urban neighborhood. What would I want instead? Since the developer seems to be doing fine, why not lower their rental fees and entice small businesses to come in? The way that the City of Decatur did 15 years ago. Perhaps Selig's rates weren't competitive enough for the size of a smaller store like Whole Foods or Trader Joe's, but were for what a Walmart could bring to the table. Recent studies have shown Target to be cheaper than Walmart. But the cost of goods should also factor in outsourcing the bulk of our jobs. 77 jobs lost per Walmart store shows that the company is not making the US economy a profit. (the Economic Policy Institute's stats) The company is philanthropic because they have to cajole communities and local council members to move in - they lose 4 jobs to every 3 that they hire. According to financial writers in Forbes and other economics specialists, their business model is in decline, so it does not make sense to keep saying they're the answer for Suburban Plaza. The People for a Better Athens and Occupy Athens were profiled in an article on monday's Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/al-norman/police-in-georgia-evict-a_b_1336879.html The film "Walmart: The High Cost of Low Price" is showing this Sunday at 7:30pm, Push Push Theater, 121 New Street, Decatur. Free.
Deanne March 14, 2012 at 10:26 PM
* It's worth mentioning that the article is by Sprawl-Busters Founder Al Norman. For Athens Banner Herald's OA coverage (with mentions of PFABA): http://onlineathens.com/local-news/2012-03-07/police-evict-protesters-camp-occupy-athens-plans-keep-asking-public-hearings http://onlineathens.com/local-news/2012-03-06/unruly-occupiers-kicked-out-athens-clarke-commission-meeting http://onlineathens.com/opinion/2012-03-06/editors-desk-stick-fork-em-theyre-done And other folks' thoughts about the Athens project: http://onlineathens.com/opinion/2012-02-10/editorial-athens-moving-toward-constructive-talk-walmar And ABH's online community is very lively! You can click on a commenter's post count to read their other posts. My favorites: silent_majority, Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass, and leongalis. Leon Galis also recently wrote this interesting op-ed: http://onlineathens.com/opinion/2012-02-16/galis-debate-over-selig-proposal-reflects-global-trend
Deanne March 14, 2012 at 10:59 PM
Typo fix: http://onlineathens.com/opinion/2012-02-10/editorial-athens-moving-toward-constructive-talk-walmart (also, click commenter name on bar, not count)
David D March 14, 2012 at 11:00 PM
First: The Huffington Post article was not particularly flattering about the Athens groups. Second: The Wal-Mart movie was filmed 7 years ago. China has become a behemouth during those 7 years. It's hard to shop anywhere that China or other less costly producers haven't captured American jobs. American producers weren't competitive and a whole strata of American people couldn't afford to buy more expensive items made in America. What does that say about the GGD assertion that those people can go to the Memorial Drive store instead? Third: The GGD bloggers keep talking about putting other Big Box stores at Suburban Plaza - witness the wistful talk of Trader Joes or Whole Foods. That is so pretentious. Fourth: The people who WILL BE employed at the revamped Suburban Plaza (Wal-Mart and new businesses) will no doubt be grateful for the paychecks. They are not likely to get better pay, health insurance or union representation from Mom and Pop businesses. They don't need GGD patronizing intrusions into their lives and jobs, they need work and probably resent implications that they will bring crime with them. Fifth: The GGD group would have a position of integrity if it had organized a couple years ago and worked with the developer before Wal-Mart expressed interest. But it didn't and now looks like a bunch of malcontents.
Ms. March 15, 2012 at 12:53 AM
Victoria- Pretend for a moment that Selig lowers rents, and still can't find tenants, should he just give space away for free, or at a loss? What shops can you guarantee them, if they do? If you had tenants lined up for these spaces if only they could afford them, why are you just now mentioning this, after all the ink has dried? Btw, you may or may not know, but Target gives to candidates that actively work to deny gays and lesbians the right to marry.
Thomas Paine March 15, 2012 at 01:25 AM
VIctoria: Citing statistics from the ultra-liberal ECONOMIC POLICY INSTITUTE or worse, the HUFFINGTON POST hardly adds credibility to your argument. The EP is widely known to march in "lock step" with so-called "progressive" groups and organized labor, and its president, Lawrence Mishel, is a proud member of the Democratic Socialists of America. Meanwhile, the Huffington Post is a hotbed of godless, radical communism, and has no place in this discussion. If Occupy Athens (who?) is written up in the Huffington Post, then what in the world does that have ANYTHING to do with Suburban Plaza and our fight to save Mattress Outlet and the Last Chance Thrift Store?? Next you guys will be suggesting an OCCUPY SUBURBAN movement, with makeshift tents pitched behind the bowling alley. "When men yield up the privilege of thinking, the last shadow of liberty quits the horizon." - Thomas Paine, 1776
Steve March 15, 2012 at 03:19 PM
"The way that the City of Decatur did 15 years ago. " The City of Decatur does not and did not set rental rates.


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