City officials in the small border town of San Luis, Arizona believe that a proposed Wal-Mart supercenter is more than just an ordinary threat — they consider it a downright emergency. On a vote of 6-1, the City Council on November 29th. enacted a new, emergency ordinance that places a size cap ban on retail stores greater than 50,000 s.f. That’s about 25% of the size of the 197,000 s.f. Wal-Mart supercenter that the retailer had in mind for San Luis. Wal-Mart told the Associated Press that most of the 2,400 people who live in San Luis want a Wal-Mart. The company repeated its campaign of misinformation by claiming that the superstore would bring 350 “new” jobs, when in fact the net impact of the store on jobs will be much less, if not negative, due to the loss of jobs elsewhere in the immediate retail trade area. But National Reform Party Chairman Rodney Martin compared Wal-Mart to a swarm of locusts. “It will shift jobs and take away the American dream,” Martin told the AP. City officials said they pushed the size cap to help the community protect farmland that makes jobs for local farmworkers. They also said the character of the city was on the line, with its predominance of small businesses. San Luis’ major retail center is now its downtown Main Street, with small stores which attract shoppers from across the nearby Mexican border.
Wal-Mart outfitted its supporters with t-shirts, but it doesn’t seem to have done much good. For now, another Wal-Mart has been slam-dunked.