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 Wal Mart showed just how influential a ...

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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Anonymous said...

What an incredibly poor showing by our council last night. EGFB and EGPAL literally became "financial whores" for Wal-Mart. "What is good for Wal-Mart is good for Elk Grove"? REALLY? I commend Davis for his stance..he seemed to take these folks to task..something he rarely does...and Cooper was consistent in his distaste for Wal-Mart. With multiple other locations in the SAME parking lot to purchase alcohol, why was it necessary to grant Wal-Mart this CUP? The small, family owned liquor stores in EG just got a boot in their ass, compliments of the council..."business friendly" you say? Only if you are Wal-Mart. Lasar focused on neighborhoods? Why allow another place to purchase your booze? Crime rate rising? Yup, let’s provide another spot for hoodums to gather and purchase booze. What are these guys thinking? So, the only question left to ask is “When is the next Super WalMart coming to town?”

Anonymous said...

The Food Bank should be ashamed to support liquor sales. What in the world were they thinking? The Food Bank should reconsider this move. Their reputation is on the line. Marie Jacino, Executive Director of the Food Bank; what do you say? Are dollars more important than people's lives/ well-being? Shameful is the only word to describe this.

Capt. Benjamin L. Willard said...

The Elk Grove Food Bank does a great job of serving a marginalized segment of our community and they are to be complimented for their on-going outreach efforts. Having said that, I agree with Mayor Davis that their appearance before the council on behalf of Wal Mart was inappropriate.

Anonymous said...

There is a nice piece of land at Power Inn and Sheldon Roads for a Walmart Supercenter. As not so in the past, dnd by his vote last night, Steve Detrick now won't mind Walmart being his neighbor! After all, by the testimony last night, Walmart is everyone's good neighbor!!

Anonymous said...

Strange bed fellows indeed. All I can say is follow the money. It can be the only reason for such odd behavior.

not a friend of OJ's said...

I must say that I was disgusted with the comments and support of the liquor license shown by the food bank and PAL, two groups that do so much good for our community.

I wholeheartedly agree with the author here and Mayor Davis that the food bank and PAL were hypocritical of their missions.

I guess money can buy just about anything. Sad to see our local non-profits are for sale, just like cheap street walkers.

- Just awful!

Lynn said... the city council meeting. I remember a time a liquor store just wanted to move across the street to a bigger building to offer more products(not alcohol) from a current site and were denied. Their move would of not increased liquor sales on the block or street.....this however was a "small business"....need I say more....follow the money.

Cybil P said...

Looks like city council last night put a nail in the coffin of another of Elk Grove's independent mom and pop businesses.

Approving the sale of alcohol to Wal-Mart will likely lead to the demise of another local longtime business(es) here. - No way an independent shop can match the prices that Wal-Mart offers on booze.

Pretty soon, it will be Wal-Mart or nothing. The council continues to kill the local entrepeneur, despite their mantra to bring more business into town. When will they wake up and see what they are doing to our community?

Their continued actions should scare off any potential new business that isn't supported by a million dollar corporation that can line the pockets of our electeds.

And shame on the EG Food bank and EGPAL for supporting a liquor license for Wal-Mart. Very poor taste and lack of foresight. My future donations will find non-profits that are true to their stated missions. Marie, what were you thinking?

Rev. Jim said...

For what it is worth, it should be noted that Steve Detrick quickly seconded the motion to approve presented by Pat Hume. Detrick's political existence came about because of his opposition to a proposed Super Wal Mart across the street from his house.

Talk about back sliding!

As for the Food Bank, I can't imagine Marie had any knowledge of this presentation. Just so out of character for her. Did Sala, Lewis and DeYoung watch tapes of Gil Moore parading all his supporters before the city council for guidance?

Anonymous said...

Lynn, I recall that meeting. You are correct. They denied that local shop an expansion, yet allow Wal-Mart less than a year after opening (thanks for pointing that out Councilman Cooper)to bring in alcohol, at a cost that will kill all local shops.

Councilman Detrick has forgotten from where he came. His ego or pocketbook have jaded his once thoughtful views he had as a citizen's advocate.

The king is dead, long live the king.

- I hope Elk Grove can weather the brewing storm.

Anonymous said...

I missed the council meeting but was at the Planning Commission meeting. Overall everything seeemed in order and there was not any reasons not to give them the CUP with a 5-0 vote to recommnd the CUP to the council. Even the Police Chief did not find enough of a reason to recommend denial at the PC level.

If the store was a Nugget, Raley's, Bel Air, or a Safeway would you want denial
as well?

How many people and business spoke out against the CUP for Wal Mart at the council meeting? That may make a difference on how the councilmembers vote.

Anonymous said...

Wishful thinking.

Follow the money!

Our city council hasn't been responsive to the citizens (over wishes of developers and deep pocket corporates) since our inception.

Money talks, all else gets bulldozed!

Perhaps the uninformed trust that our elected officials will do what is best for the future of our city. Voter turnout proves we are a city of generally apathetic ostriches with our heads buried in the sand. That is unfortunate.

Thomas A. Anderson said...

To circle back, the EGFBS, EGPAL and Mr. DeYoung's appearance on behalf of Wal Mart is emblematic of the state of affairs we have subjected ourselves too.

Whether you are a politician seeking office or reelection or a food bank director hoping to serve an ever expanding clientele, we are all at the mercy of corporate giants who control the food we eat, the air we breath, the water we drink and the media news that we are fed. We are living in the illusion of freedom that we have been fed.

Anonymous said...

To Anon at 17:04:
Citizen participation in this process would not have swayed any of the council members. In fact, many citizens no longer attend meetings due to this lack of respect given to them by the council. Additionally, council members seem to take the opportunity to "correct" citizens when citizens stand up to give their opinions, thoughts or concerns. How many times will citizens take this abuse before they stop attending? I know I no longer attend meetings because I could always count on one (or two) council members "correcting" me or chiding me about my opinions. Apparently few are allowed to have opinions. So, if you think attending a meeting; speaking to an issue or proposing an alternative will change anything; you need to do a reality check. In this town, money and ego run the show.

Lynn said...

I am concerned when I continue to attend meetings and the citizen participation has dropped. Yes, the council gets the last word following the citizen's allotted three minutes, and the citizen doesn't have an opportunity to respond, so the council will continue to have the last word. However, citizens I encourage and actually am beginning to plead for attendance at the meetings. Citizen's do not have to approach the podium or speak, however what citizen's hear at the meetings can be shared with others outside the meeting and citizens can begin to have dialog, unite, pack our council chambers, demonstrate we all want to be a part of our democracy. The mayor encourages us to speak as it is "Our House". We will loose our house if we abandon it. What happens to an abandon house? Varmints move in and decay and blight occur. Who pays for this? Everyone of us who pay our taxes and choose not to maintain "Our House". Democracy can only work with everyone educating themselves and participating. So citizens you matter! Attend the meetings. Remember with other citizens, your friends, and families you are not limited to 3 minutes. Share, discuss and remember citizens it is Our House!

Anonymous said...

Why are any of us surprised at Walmart’s tactics here? It is certainly working in the city of Sacramento to overturn the big box ordinance. Walmart has donated millions of dollars to Sacramento council member’s favorite charities. This is just another way Wal-Mart is making an aggressive push to attract political support.

The Bee wrote an editorial on this very subject.

So it is no surprise that EGPAL is a Walmart favorite charity Steve Detrick in particular actively supports, and then they parade their executive director to sing Walmart’s praises to sell liquor.

And right on cue, Detrick jumps on the second.

But it appears Elk Grove charities are lower are the Walmart charity donation scale. Walmart has only donated thousands, not millions.

It only goes to prove that Elk Grove City Council votes are a cheaper buy than the Sacramento City Council. At least hold out for a million or so for our local charities to make this prostitution of votes a little easier to swallow!

And as was said by Pat Hume once before from the dais paraphrasing: “Do I have to buy your dinner beforehand or can you just leave the money on the table?

Thomas A. Anderson said...

I agree with the words from Lynn regarding the varmint moving into city hall. The varmint have already taken over the city hall and we all need to disconnect from the wires and indeed take back city hall.

Silent Dogood said...

So, by a show of hands how many people here have donated to EGPAL?

How many of you have given food to the food bank, and not just that $0.89 turkey at Thanksgiving?

Love them or hate them Walmart knows how to get support in communities to implement their business model. I remember reading that when the market and the new Walmart opened they handed out donations to different groups.

I have heard that if not for the food donated from Walmart the food bank would be very limited in the number of people they could serve.

As my good freind General Washington used to say...

Don't Hate the Players
Hate the Game.

Anonymous said...

I just listened carefully to the tape of the meeting.

Surprisingly, the Food Bank gal (Sala) said the FB did support the issuance of a liquor license because "what benefits Walmart benefits Elk Grove". She specifically mentions the license and supported it being granted.

Now, the PAL gal (Lewis) was much more sedate in her words. She simply said WM was a great corporate sponsor who has done great things for her organization. Period. She did not mention a license or the motion before the council. So, as much as you might want to chastise her, she chose her words carefully.

Mr. DeYoung, supported the liquor license because WM needs to be able to be competitive with other stores. (I find this quite silly as Walmart undercuts every single mom and pop store around but now they want a level playing field?). But since I don't know Mr. DeYoung's conncetion to any youth/homeless groups, then I guess as a citizen, he can support whatever he desires.

The bottom line = FoodBank should be ashamed for actively supporting a liquor license for anyone.

Next thing you know, Walmart will be "donating" 12packs of Pabst Blue Ribbon to the food bank.

Anonymous said...

Come on now, Wal-Mart isn't that cheap that they can close down the smaller mom and pop liquor stores, I still buy my booze at Rite-Aid, a lot cheaper than Wal-Mart.

Sheldon Len said...

Anon @12:25

Get back to me in 1 year. Let's see who's open for business and who's closed.

Anonymous said...

And, here's the uncomfortable truth, folks... There was no specific, quantifiable reason presented that gave the council any reason to deny the application.
Councilman Cooper only made the point that a higher larceny rate has been observed at Walmart than any other similar store. While it was an important point, he did not attempt to make the case that allowing alcohol sales would increase larceny in the store or increase crime rates in the surrounding community.
Aside from the generalizations and bias against Walmart, there was and is no specific, justifiable reason to deny their request. (And, by the way, I don't like Walmart and choose not to shop there but that's for other reasons that are irrelevant to the current discussion!)
And, again, while I am no fan of Walmart, I suggest that before you criticize them for what you would deem disingenuous philanthropy, you should open up your wallets and give of your time. The rest of us that are out there working in the community to raise funds for projects sure could use your help (and, no, I'm not being sarcastic - I'm serious).

Tom said...

How can anyone possibly think that one more store selling booze in Elk Grove is going to make any difference one way or another?

Anonymous said...

well if were going to be so anti walmart selling liquor, we might as well fight the 250+ other places in elk grove that sell it as well....if its not bought there its going to be bought somewhere else..jim and gary are only dissenting it for political reasons and its near there districts..if were to to ban nugget and bel air from selling it, they would quickly change their minds...but back to the article issue.....

Anonymous said...

it has NOTHING to do with an additional liquor store; it has EVERYTHNG to do with a Non Profit organization whose mission it is to combat hungry; homelessness and substance abuse openly and gleefully supporting ANY liquor license. Period.

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