Wal-Mart walked away with an 81% voter margin in September 7ths referendum in Yuma, AZ, where local citizens put the issue on the ballot. City officials had voted to allow Wal-Mart to rezone land next door to its existiing store in Yuma, and permit the store to expand into a supercenter format. The final vote tally was 5,890 to permit the rezoning, and 1,395 against. Bobbie O’Neill, chairman of the citizen’s group NOMAS (Neighbors Opposed to More Abandoned Stores), told the Yuma Daily Sun she was “very disappointed” with the election results. “I don’t think the voters of this community realize what they are getting into. Most of the people are concerned about the cheap groceries. Boy, they are going to pay for those cheap groceries in the long run.” O’Neill predicted that the Wal-Mart supercenter would put existing grocery stores out of business. “The bottom lkine is, why have more empty buildings,” said Sharon Wallace, treasurer for NOMAS. “They are making the whole United States suffer.” Wallace said voters did not realize that the new store will bring in very little new tax revenues to the city. “This is not a competition issue,” she said. “This is an issue about all you are getting is a 1% rotation (of tax funds) with loss of good jobs.” Meanwhile, in Mesa, AZ, the City Council voted for a second time to reject a Wal-Mart proposal. Thus far, Wal-Mart has lost its proposals in Mesa, Chandler, and Gilbert, and pulled plans for a superstore in Tucson. Another store in Coolidge is being delayed due to archeological concerns over an historic site chosen by Wal-Mart.
For more information about other battles in Arizona with Wal-Mart, see the newsflash entries below for the Arizona communities named. For contacts in any community listed, contact [email protected]