The Only Missing Wal Mart Booze Peddling Endorsement Was from The Women's Christian Temperance Union

July 11, 2013 | During Wednesday night's Elk Grove City Council meeting retailing behemoth...

July 11, 2013 |

During Wednesday night's Elk Grove City Council meeting retailing behemoth Wal Mart showed just how influential a few key financial and non-monetary contributions can be in their quest to sell booze.

At question before the council was whether or not the Wal Mart grocery store on Elk Grove Blvd. should be granted a license to sell off-premise alcoholic beverages in an area over-saturated with alcohol beverage sales according the California's Alcohol Beverage Control board. The council voted 3-2 to approve the license with Mayor Gary Davis and Council Member Jim Cooper, who strenuously objected based on Wal Mart's reputation as being a crime magnet, voting no.

What was intriguing was how some seemingly clever public relations person, in all probability loaded with a fistful of dollars, wrangled testimony from three people, all of whom represent prominent well-respected local groups.

The three people who spoke to the council for the benefit of Wal Mart were Norm DeYoung, long associated with the Western Festival and Veteran's Day Parade, Kendra Lewis of the Elk Grove Police Activities League and Judy Sala of the Elk Grove Food Bank Services.

It is ironic that Lewis and Sala would testify in favor of a benefactor, any benefactor, who wants a license to sell a product, in this case alcohol, that runs contrary to at least a portion of their groups' implied mission. 

The EGPAL wants to promote child athletics and by implication avoidance of drugs or under-age drinking. Yet there was Lewis advocating for Wal Mart be granted the right to sell alcohol.

More troubling is the food banks advocacy. Although we don't know the number of homeless amongst the EGFBS's 40,000-plus clients it served served last year, it nonetheless is well documented that a large percentage of homeless people unfortunately suffer from substance abuse problems.

And yet, the EGFBS was advocating the sale of a product that potentially hobbles a portion of their clientele.

"Anything that benefits Wal Mart, and benefits our community," Sala said. 

Furthermore, we can't help but wonder if any Wal Mart employees are clients of the EGFBS. It has been repeatedly reported that thousands of Wal Mart Employees receive public assistance because of low wages, part-time hours and non-existent benefits.

Mind you, we don't condemn these groups for taking Wal Mat money - their cash is just as green as the next guy's. It is just curious why they would do this given that any observer of the Elk Grove City would tell them the application would have be approved notwithstanding the testimony or Cooper's objections.

So why do it?

We think their willingness to testify on Wal Mart's behalf to sell alcohol displayed incredibly poor judgement. Then again, as many in Elk Grove have learned, what Wal Mart wants, Wal Mart ultimately gets by any mean necessary.

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