To the editor:
In contemplating whether a new Wal-Mart is a good idea, here are some things to consider:
Typically, counties that add a Wal-Mart have a net loss of retail jobs. Much of the money the stores obtain leaves the community, since big box stores buy little locally. In fact, a recent study by Civic Economics (www.civiceconomics.com) on behalf of the San Francisco Locally Owned Merchants Association, determined that chain stores offer about 60 percent of the economic benefit of locally owned businesses. Similar results have been found with studies in Maine, Chicago and Austin (www.newrules.org/retail/econimpact.html).
According to Stacy Mitchell in her book "Big Box Swindle: The True Cost of Mega-Retailers and the Fight for America's Independent Businesses," as big box stores have spread, the average number of miles driven per household for shopping has increased by 40 percent - an increase of 95 billion miles a year for the entire United States. Add to that the polluted run-off that results from big box stores, which create more pavement that generates such run-off, and it is clear that there are adverse effects beyond economic ones for such "development."
While it makes sense to have more shopping closer to people's homes, what is really the best way to achieve that? Why don't we support better development of local people and projects instead? Why do we insist on looking to outsiders to save us, when those who care most about this community are here already?
Douglas M. Crawford-Parker,