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NYC Council to NYC Consumers: Drop Dead

Wal-Mart is finally coming to New York City, which is good news for people who feel that New York can be a tad over-priced sometimes. Unfortunately, it's also good news for politicians who thrive on grandstanding:

U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, a Democrat who represents Rego Park, held a press conference at the site Thursday to charge that Wal-Mart's low prices drive existing stores out of business, and its workers get no health coverage and are discouraged from forming unions.

Why my congressman needs to hold a press conference about what should merely be a local zoning issue is beyond me. Still, he's not the only unhappy politician:

City Council member Helen Sears, whose district includes the Rego Park site, said she met with Wal-Mart representatives recently and discussed the company's labor record.

"I said to them, 'If you want to come into the Big Apple, you're going to need to make some big changes.'"

The article doesn't mention what the changes need to be, but presumably it has something to do with their health insurance and labor policies (policies which, of course, are not illegal).

These and other politicians are also in agreement with Neighborhood Retail Alliance (read: anti-competitive cartel) spokesman Richard Lipsky, who worries that "if we suck those businesses out of the neighborhoods, it'll be the death of those communities." Given that stores within a ten-minute walk of the proposed Wal-Mart site on Queens Boulevard include Target, Sears, Bed Bath & Beyond, Comp USA, Circuit City, Marshalls, and the country's most profitable mall, which includes JC Penney, Macy's, and 170 or so other national retailers, I'm not as worried as Richard Lipsky about the fate of local businesses in this particular community.

It's times like these when I truly appreciate Mayor Bloomberg's sanity:

"The public votes with their feet," he said yesterday. "A lot of our business has been going outside this city into Nassau, up to Westchester, Connecticut, over into New Jersey. People drive their cars... to go and to shop. That means jobs are being lost in this city, sales tax is being lost in this city."

(Thanks to The Box Tank)


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Here is a list of other blogs that have mentioned the Neighborhood Retail Alliance's work, usually in reference to Wal-Mart or the Bronx Terminal Market. This a good way to explore some other relevant blogs, even some that disagree with us [Read More]

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NYC Council to unions: "Just how far do you want me to bend over, sir?"


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