Dear Mayor Joe,
On behalf of Somerville Climate Action we want to express our grave concern with the possibility of Walmart descending upon Somerville. Being a city of only 4 square miles, we are not a location that needs an international big box corporation to get our groceries. Moreover, we have several affordable markets already, as well as numerous standard markets in locations throughout the city. We believe no one is more than a mile from a retail grocery store.
Somerville has the capacity and vibrant support to encourage more local and healthy food suppliers, as you have no doubt witnessed with the incredible (and gaining) support of the Farmers Markets. Fresh, local, healthy food is the cornerstone to a healthy population and absolutely critical for a sustainable future of food access. That the two forces could coexist in the same community (Walmart plus a commitment to sustainable food and local businesses) has historically proven to be illusionary; it’s like putting the wrong fish in the same tank. Although Walmart may provide access to some organic food- the majority of their products have little health value.
Walmart has a well documented history of incredibly unfair labor practices. We applaud you for bringing this up with them and hope you will stay strong and not be allured by promises of tax revenue. It is also well documented that corporate dollars do not stay in local towns and cities as they do from local businesses. Large corporations (especially Walmart) find ways to take advantage of tax loopholes wherever they can so cities cannot count on dollars promised vs. dollars delivered.
The horrendous impact of Walmarts throughout the world upon their employees and the surrounding community is manifold, highly well documented, and cannot be underestimated. For more information regarding Walmart’s negative impact and why we have so many concerns about them coming to Somerville you can read/listen to the novel, The Insecure American, available at the Somerville Public Library or watch the film, Walmart: The High Cost of Low Price.
Please do not succumb to Walmart’s vapid assurances and instead focus on bringing more sustainable, healthy, local, affordable food to our city. Someone has to draw a line in the sand against this monster corporation – why not Somerville? Let’s get heralded in the papers as “A City That Said NO to Walmart- and YES to the Future!
Michael J. Monroe
Katherine F. Wheeler
David M. Guss
Felicitas Bidlack, Ph.D.