Juan Vargas Sponsoring State Anti-Wal-Mart Law

Bradley J. Fikes Bradley J. Fikes 8 Comments

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One day after the San Diego City Council repealed its ordinance to block Wal-Mart supercenters, State Sen. Juan Vargas has taken up the cause. Vargas announced he is introducing his own bill to make opening Wal-Mart supercenters more difficult, pleasing his labor union backers who oppose Wal-Mart.

The bill requires an economic impact analysis of the effect of such supercenters on the neighborhood. From Vargas’ press release, as provided by the San Diego Union-Tribune:

“Small and neighborhood businesses are the backbone of every local economy,” said Senator Juan Vargas, D-San Diego. “The public deserves the right to know what will happen to these businesses before a superstore developer comes into a community and potentially puts these businesses and the entire local economy at risk. While not banning superstores outright, this bill will create the transparency that local communities need to make sure corporations that want to build and operate these giant big-box businesses don’t harm existing businesses, jobs, public services and neighborhoods.”

“The bill will be modeled after the City of San Diego’s Ordinance to Protect Small and Neighborhood Businesses, which was supported by a coalition of small business, labor leaders and environmentalists. The policy would allow the public to learn about the potential impacts of the Superstore on other retail options in the area, as well effects on housing, parks, traffic and other impacts. Immediately after the San Diego City Council passed the ordinance, Wal-Mart waged a multimillion-dollar campaign to intimidate the City Council into repealing the policy.”

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If the anti-Wal-Mart bill passes, any bets on whether there’ll be an initiative campaign to repeal it?

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Comments 8

  1. Can we finally dispense with the notion Vargas is a “pro-business Democrat” or that that’s even a real thing?

  2. As with Proposition D in the City of San Diego, just when we think we’ve driven a stake through the vampire’s heart, it rises again. The only thing that seems to work around here is constant exposure to sunlight, including the bright light of Rostra.

  3. This Vargas law may not be bad. Quite the opposite, as I see it!

    Let’s make some lemonade out of this lemon. The state Dems have never gone up against an outfit like Walmart — an entity as well funded as their labor union cabal. Boy, are THEY in for a surprise!

    Here’s the scenario I envision if Vargas and his Dems are dumb enough to pass the ban, and Jerry signs it into law:

    Walmart cannot easily referend such a measure (not even sure one can do that with a state law), but they CAN put their own state constitutional amendment on the CA ballot to block both this law, and to block similar nonsense. It would cost less than $3 million to do so.

    It’s pretty clear to me that Walmart has decided “no mas.” They DAMN sure aren’t going to tolerate a DE FACTO statewide ban on Walmart superstores.

    I’m pretty confident such a “legalize Walmart” statewide ballot measure would pass — and by a BIG margin. My guess is by a 2-to-1 margin.

    It would be a glorious battle, with MANY positives.

    1. It would absorb tens of millions of labor unions’ campaign funds — money that otherwise would be spent on other props, or on electing labor union toadies at every level of CA government. Yet for the first time ever, the labor unions would find their campaign spending matched dollar for dollar — the “level playing field” that they like to pretend that they prefer.

    2. It would put the lie to the canard that the unions represent the thinking of most Californians. It’s a message every politician needs to receive. This could help bring down the unions — via Paycheck Protection or other props and laws.

    3. It would put the lie to the canard that most people want Walmarts banned.

    4. The tying of the Democrat Party to the anti-Walmart issue could very well result in some unseated Dem incumbents — especially on the local level where everyone will be expected to take a position. The GOP should work this angle to the max. Minorities and the lower income folks won’t take kindly to “their” Democrats trying to drive up their price of groceries and other necessities.

    5. MOST IMPORTANT, I personally would have an inexpressibly delightful time kicking those thugs’ butts around the state.

    So Juan, do your thing. Please, make my day.

  4. Juan Vargas has a long, consistent and colorful history of displaying his economic illiteracy. My experience with him dates back to the infamous Charger ticket guarantee, where as an energetic San Diego city councilman, Juan rushed out to publicize his ignorance with great fanfare (so to speak).

    To renovate Jack Murphy stadium, in 1996, Juan Vargas voted for the Charger ticket guarantee, wherein the city paid the NFL football team far more for an UNsold ticket than the team could net by selling the ticket to a fan. After costing the city over $35 million, the plan was ended — by giving the Chargers the annual right to move the team to another city without San Diego approval.

    Currently the city is facing the growing prospect that the Chargers may move to Los Angeles, where an NFL football stadium is planned. The San Diego renovated stadium is already considered outdated and unacceptable to the Chargers.

    As a San Diego city councilman, Juan Vargas voted for two retroactive city worker pension increases which has played a material part in the city’s current major pension unfunded liability. In September of 2000, three months before leaving office, Juan Vargas and the city council voted themselves an 11% pension increase — and set up an unusual feature where retired city council members could immediately start drawing a pension — theoretically even before age 30. Vargas started drawing his pension for his eight years “service” at age 35. As of October, 2010, Vargas receives a city pension of $19,132 at age 45.
    http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2010/oct/04/demaio-totals-and-decries-citys-top-10-pensions/

  5. Latest example of the vaunted Vargas economic illiteracy? Consider this quote from this press release:

    “Immediately after the San Diego City Council passed the ordinance, Wal-Mart waged a multimillion-dollar campaign to intimidate the City Council into repealing the policy.”

    “Multimillion-dollar campaign”? I don’t think so. Assuming a VERY expensive $3 per gross signature cost, the petition drive cost maybe $165K. Let’s bump that to $200K.

    What other costs did Walmart incur?

    They paid a local consultant — can’t imagine that came to anywhere near $100K, but let’s say $200K.

    They ran some ads. Expensive newspaper ads. Doubtless cost a boodle. I’d guess $30K to be safe. Assume $100K.

    Tack on another $100K for some expensive legal advice (I could’a had it done for $5K).

    So by bloating every cost I can think of (and bloating costs is not something Walmart is known for), it comes to $600K max.

    The legend (and legacy) of the Juan Vargas financial acumen will live on.

  6. Criticize Vargas all you want, but this move was political brilliance. When Bob Filner runs for Mayor, his (still-to-be) very Democratic congressional district will be open and Vargas will be there to fill the void.

    Don’t you think this legislation earns him Labor’s unanimous support and pretty much guarantees him a Congressional seat?

  7. I never argue with the POLITICAL acumen of Vargas. But no one should take his opinion on economic matters seriously.

    As you point out, Vargas has only one purpose in life — to advance the career of Juan Vargas. Public be damned — including his own constituents.

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