For almost three years, Home Depot has tried to get the people of Mountain View, California to allow them to build a store at the gateway to the community, and the response has been less than enthusiastic. Last summer, Home Depot withdrew its proposal hours before it was to come before the city for a vote. Now, local residents report that Home Depot is back, and this time they want to go to the ballot to get their project in the ground. Here’s the update from local opponents:
“July 31, 2001: City Council meeting set to vote on Home Depot application for a precise plan amendment for a “home improvement store”. Hours before the meeting Home Depot pulls their application.
Sept. 26: Home Depot submits notice of intention to file a petition for a ballot initiative. Their petition is the 19-page precise plan amendment approved by the Planning Commission from 1999, that they have marked up allowing big box retail at the proposed site. They want voters to vote on this.
Oct. 11: Home Depot initiates a petition drive, using an out of state petition company and petition pushers. Home Depot does not get enough signatures to get on the March 5 ballot, by the required deadline, but continues to get signatures.
Nov. 16: After repeated requests by the City on the sttus of their petition drive, Home Depot says they will submit their petitions on Nov. 19. They don’t. Instead they have hired an outside company to verify the number of signatures and tell the City they have enough to get on the ballot for November, 2002, or will have enough to for a special election in April/May, costing the City $360K.
Nov. 27: Mountain View City Council votes to allow Home Depot to be on the March 5 ballot without verifying their signature count.”
This timing gives Home Depot a significant advantage. The shorter the time frame, the better for the company. As in other California communities, like Encinitas and Glendora, Home Depot will now unleash an enormous outflow of Georgia corporate dollars on: telemarketers, public relations mailings, display ads in the newspapers and radio, etc. In some communities, Home Depot has spent as much as a quarter of a million or more just on one election. They boasted about their ballot exploits in Encinitas in an article entitled “Home Run for Home Depot” (see the article “Home Towns, Not Home Depot” in this website. The concern now is that all this money will turn the democratic ballot process into a financial popularity contest. Residents of Mountain View should buckle their seatbelts, because Home Depot is about to spend big bucks to garner their vote for a project local officials may not have been willing to approve in the first place.
For more information on how Home Depot’s three year attempt to climb Mountain View, search this newsflash database by “Mountain View”, and contact Kay Mascoli at [email protected]