Vallejo Woes Go Further Than Unions  

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An article at Right Wing News about Vallejo, CA says that union deals for fire department retirees is a big part of the reason that Vallejo has declared bankruptcy. The main cause of Vallejo's failing is that they have followed the Democratic playbook to the letter. Anti-military, anti-business, anti-industry, and pro-union policies have led to Vallejo's downfall, and now, other cities across the country will be watching this town's bankruptcy proceedings very closely.

The start of Vallejo's woes came in 1996 when the Mare Island Naval Shipyard was closed. At the time of its closing there were 9,000 civilian employees.

In 1994, Wal-Mart proposed building a supercenter in Vallejo. Company officials at the time estimated that the store would provide about 400 jobs and would generate somewhere near $600,000 annually in sales taxes.

Area residents, of course, fought the construction by forming VALLEJOANS FOR RESPONSIBLE GROWTH. In an open letter to Lee Scott, they state their case for opposing the Wal-Mart:

Dear Mr. Scott:

This is an open letter – i.e., copies to the press - on behalf of the hundreds of Vallejoans, who have already signed our petition to this effect. I would like to inform you that Vallejoans for Responsible Growth:

Opposes any Wal-Mart “Supercenter” within the Vallejo city limits
and, in particular, at the old K-Mart site at Sonoma Boulevard and Redwood Street.

Urges Strict Adherence to the White Slough Specific Area Plan as approved by the Vallejo City Council on November 28, 1995 and the Solano County Board of Supervisors on January 9, 1996.

Simply put, a Wal-Mart “Supercenter” does not, in our view, comport with the economic interests of our city, proper land use, nor our vision of Vallejo as a desirable place to live in and to visit. We will do all in our power to ensure that Vallejo remains “Supercenter”-free.

Local citizens argued that there was no need for a Wal-Mart there because there was one four miles up the road in American Canyon.

Cut to four years later:

After four years of wrangling with the city and vocal opponents, Wal-Mart on Friday withdrew its application to build a supercenter in Vallejo’s White Slough area, a company spokesman said.

“Wal-Mart had hoped to open a new store in Vallejo, but current growth plans, coupled with the increased costs since the project was first proposed in 2004, have made the project infeasible at this time,” spokesman Kevin Loscotoff said.

The growth plan for Vallejo has been referred to as largely residential. The planners did not set aside any tracts of land for industrial or commercial business. When you have a town full of residents, and no business to speak of, then the main source of revenue for your town has to come from personal property tax. When the value of homes plummets, then the money cannot be collected.

As for the American Canyon store, acording to The American Canyon Eagle:

One year after the opening of the Wal-Mart Supercenter in American Canyon, business is good for the retail giant according to store manager Mike Sellick.

“We’ve exceeded all our (sales) goals,” Sellick said last week.

Mayor Leon Garcia pointed to the burgeoning growth of retail in American Canyon, and associated sales tax revenue, as a big reason for the city’s financial stability.

“It’s huge,” Garcia said of the store’s economic impact. “Development of Napa Junction took off, consequently we’re on an even keel. We’re on sound footing as a result.”


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