New Lawsuit Focuses on Walmart’s Backroom Dealings
July 5, 2012 12:44 pm
The new model of battling bad businesses is to draw press by creating a commotion around a company’s bad practices while quietly pursuing viable legal action. It should come as no surprise, then, that the Asian Pacific American Legal Alliance (APALA), in conjunction with the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 770, filed a new lawsuit which could temporarily stop construction on the proposed Walmart in Chinatown, LA. This lawsuit comes on the heels of last weekend’s record breaking protests (Unionosity was a co-presenter of the Friday No Age benefit concert covered here).
The lawsuit relates to a Notice of Exemption which allowed construction on the Chinatown store to move foward without environmental review. When these exemptions are granted by the LA City Department of Building and Safety, the public must be informed. Jan Tokumaru of APALA states: “It appears Walmart received a special exemption from the city releasing it from the requirements many other smaller businesses must comply with. In accordance with California law, and in order to avoid the appearance of backroom deals, the city is required to notify the public of these special exemptions. The city failed to notify the public. In order to compel the city to comply with the law and ensure transparency in government, we must take this action.”
Transparent is the last adjective that comes to mind when assessing the approval of Walmart’s permits for the Chinatown store. The permits were approved the afternoon before Councilman Ed Reyes introduced a unanimously approved Interim Control Ordinance (ICO) to protect Chinatown from the impacts of mass, chain retailers like Walmart. The lawsuit follows appeals of Walmart’s permits to the building and safety department and the California Redevelopment Agency. There will be a July 12th hearing on the ICO at City Hall which will allow the public to voice their opinions on Walmart in Chinatown.
The campaign against Walmart continues to gain steam, and the surreptitious actions of the Building and Safety department are about to go under the microscope.
Image from here