This Wal-Mart Action Alert contains:
1.) Fundraising Appeal.
2.) Letters to media.
Thanks to all of you for the great show of public opposition to a third Wal-Mart store in Central Oregon. While Wal-Mart officials will try to minimize our impact, the fact is that 200 people showed up at their meeting to question the need for a 203,000 square foot superstore just a few miles from two other Wal-Marts, and Wal-Mart reused to answer our questions.
Since the meetings at the Grove and Holiday Inn we have set up a Wal-Mart Task Force that includes representatives from business, north Bend neighborhoods, land use and environmental groups, labor organizations, and concerned residents. We've lined up the experienced legal counsel we will need in this campaign. We are pushing for full public input on the impact this store will have on the local environment, on traffic patterns, and in the local economy. We are seeking the community meeting that Wal-Mart has yet to hold.
WE HAVE A NAME AND ADDRESS
Our Community First!--and we have an address: 86 SW Century Drive, PMB 268, Bend, OR 97702. We have a slogan: "Not Another Wal-Mart!" And we will soon have a website where supporters can get information on activities and take action.
WE NEED CONTRIBUTIONS TO HIRE A LAWYER
We also have a pressing need for financial contributions. Initial legal expenses will be $2-3,000, but we'll need a lot more than that before we are done. Checks can be written to "Our Community First!" at the above address. Contributions are not tax-deductible--but they will certainly be put to good use. Please give what you can. Wal-Mart has deep pockets and they will be spending millions of dollars just to get their store approved.
WE NEED YOUR HELP
We will be in touch about public hearings and other events where we'll need to mobilize a lot of people. In the meantime, here are some activities we need help on.
*Letters to the media:
The Bulletin: email@example.com (250 word limit)
The Source: firstname.lastname@example.org (400 word limit)
We need to demonstrate public opposition to the store and provide information about Wal-Mart to the community. Wal-Mart sent out thousands of postcards to Bend residents, asking that they write letters in support of the store. That was their opening shot in a multimillion dollar campaign. We need to counter that with letters opposing the store. Please CC letters to this email address.
There are some suggested points to make in letters farther down under, "WHY A THIRD WAL-MART ISN'T RIGHT FOR BEND."
*Petitioning: Over 300 people have signed petitions opposing the store, and we have just gotten a petition drive started. We need hundreds more to convince the Bend City Council to slow this down and give the people a voice. If you can help with petitioning, please reply to this e-mail.
*Database: Almost 200 people signed up to take action on Wal-Mart (in just 24 hours). A volunteer is setting up a database we can use for future Action Alerts. If you have expertise in this area and can help, please send me an e-mail ASAP.
WHY A THIRD WAL-MART ISN'T RIGHT FOR BEND
There are lots of reasons to oppose this store. Here are some arguments that can be used in letters:
*Wal-Mart's superstore will increase traffic congestion for residents, shoppers, and workers. Even if Wal-Mart pays for a new interchange at U.S. 97 and Cooley, and even if they pledge money towards an interchange farther north, these roads will soon be overburdened with congestion.
*Each Wal-Mart drains over $100 million from local businesses every year, sending profits to Arkansas and overseas.
*Wal-Mart closes local businesses or forces them to compete by laying off workers and reducing wages and benefits.
*For every two jobs Wal-Mart creates, the community loses three. This net loss of better-paying jobs will continue the downward spiral of low-wage jobs in our community. We don't need 400 more low-wage jobs.
*More than half of Wal-Mart's employees cannot afford the company's health insurance. Many rely on public assistance, which costs taxpayers as much as $420,000 a year for each Wal-Mart. Our local grocers provide better benefits to their employees, which helps the local economy.
We urge you to raise these and other community concerns in letters and in conversation with your friends and neighbors. We need to demonstrate that there is genuine public opposition to this store.
We need to make sure that the city proceeds with caution and is not rushed by Wal-Mart's multimillion dollar PR blitz or unduly pressured by the money Wal-Mart is willing to spend on roads and interchanges. No matter how much money they offer, it won't offset the problems a superstore will bring to Central Oregon. We just don't need another Wal-Mart. Two are plenty!
We need more community dialog and independent studies on the impact of this store on our community, as well as the impact that Wal-Mart superstores have had in other communities.
This message is only going out on e-mail-to residents who signed up for the Wal-Mart campaign and to members of Central Oregon Jobs with Justice. If you know someone who signed up but doesn't have e-mail, please share this with them. And please send this message along to any lists you have. If you don't want these e-mails, let me know.
Thank you for your patience and support,
Our Community First!