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Walmart Grand Opening Attracts Customers, Protestors

Some locals were lined up with shopping carts, while others waved protest signs.

The Wednesday morning drew a crowd of people—and by 8 a.m. some were already lined up outside the doors ready to shop, while a few yards away others had gathered in the parking lot to protest the store’s arrival in their community.

The Encinitas Walmart is the county’s first new store in seven years, and of its approximately 250 employees, 90 percent are new hires, said store manager Lisa Rivera. During Wednesday’s ribbon cutting ceremony, representatives from the Walmart Foundation presented $12,500 in donation money to Encinitas schools and community groups (a complete list is at the end of the story).

“This is just the beginning,” Rivera told the Walmart employees at the grand opening. “We will definitely make this store an impact on this community.”

The Encinitas Chamber of Commerce and a handful of dignitaries were on-hand to welcome Walmart, including Encinitas Mayor Jerome Stocks, who applauded the retailer for providing “sales tax revenue that pays for our public safety, parks, and all the other things we do.”

Stocks was joined by Council members James Bond and Kristin Gaspar.

Sherry Hodges, a candidate for the 76th State Assembly District seat, echoed that stating that it was great to live in a “nation that allows free enterprise to prosper.”

The 92,024-square-foot Walmart, which is housed in , has been surrounded by controversy since its opening

“This doesn’t fit into our community’s character,” said protester Olivier Canler.  

Just over his shoulder, someone waved a sign that read: "Encinitas wanted a movie theater but all we got was this Walmart."

“There should have been more discussion about this at the city level and the public should have had time to vet the issue," Canler said. "We understand you can’t interfere with free enterprise, but you can give incentives for certain kinds of businesses to open.”

Many of the protesters said they would have rather seen a business where families can hangout, , bowling alley or gaming center. They also said while they agree Walmart will drum-up a steady stream of revenue, they think it will be at the cost of nearby mom-and-pop shops.

A few protesters who said they owned independent local businesses also declined to go on the record, be photographed and even covered their license plates for fear that if there identities were revealed, there might be negative repercussions from the mayor and his supporters.

When asked for a response, Stocks later told Patch he did not know how to respond to “anonymous persons expressing irrational fear,” but said based on all of the shoppers lined up outside, he felt the protestors “seem pretty out of touch.”

“This is America. If that person wants a movie theater or a bowling alley, pull a permit, invest the money, and open one," he said. "Nobody is stopping them."

The Encinitas Walmart includes groceries, a pharmacy, a photo service counter and more than 30 merchandise departments, such as apparel and accessories, a garden center, and electronics. It is located at 1550 Leucadia Blvd. It is open every day from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

The list of Encinitas schools and groups to receive money from the Walmart Foundation include:

Group Amount

Diegueno Middle School

$1,000

Flora Vista Elementary School

$1,000

Encinitas Kiwanis Club

$2,500

Boys and Girls Club of San Dieguito  

$1,500 Friends of the Encinitas Library $1,500

Magdalena Ecke Family YMCA

$5,000

For more information about Walmart, you can visit walmart.com.

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Cyrus Kamada June 13, 2012 at 07:48 PM
Marlena, your article neglects to mention the larger point of the protest which was to object to the conduct of city government under Mayor Stock's tenure. As for "irrational fears" prompting a desire for anonymity, I can assure you these people are completely rational. This is another example of Stock's propensity to ridicule anyone who challenges his views or authority. Under the current council majority, including Stocks and his appointee, Mark Muir, a climate of fear and reprisal has caused honest public servants and citizens to think twice about voicing their objections to the council's actions for fear of losing their jobs, being singled out and harassed for trivial residential code violations, or losing essential funding for their activities. We are fighting a battle against deep-pocketed development interests with nothing but a financial stake in city affairs. I personally have nothing against Walmart other than their negative impacts on the local businesses they displace. They do however symbolize a vision for the future of Encinitas that I reject and that again places me in opposition with the current council majority. It's Stocks, Muir, and the current council majority I object to. It would have been informative to include the text on the bumper stickers of the dozens of cars attending the protest which all read..."Dump Stocks".
M L June 13, 2012 at 07:51 PM
Is that it? With all of Walmart's billions, they only pony up 12.5K for bringing a no added value business to town? Wow, we can be bought for pennies. Sales tax revenues are no excuse or reason for the soul sucking damage that Walmart does to a community.
Jack June 13, 2012 at 08:15 PM
Shame
change4encinitas June 13, 2012 at 08:27 PM
We should be used by now by this type of comment from Mr. Stocks. He is out of touch with the pulse of the community. His repeated attempts at discrediting his opposiition as a bunch of irrational activists is insulting. He never displays any interest in seeking compromises by actively listening to what people have to say. He is rude and act as the town bully. Notice how he fails to mention that the increased tax revenue will help pay for the bloated city employee salaries and pensions. I can't think of too many good things Walmart will bring to our community, aside from cheap diapers. It should also be noted how many Sheriff patrol cars were dispatched for the grand opening. The protesters that were present we're peaceful and merely exercise their right to free speech. They should more worried about the guns and a munitions Walmart is selling.
Jerry Kline June 13, 2012 at 09:26 PM
You dirty dozen need to get real and quit being HATERS! I'm sure we'll see you in Walmart soon enough, just like Sheila Cameron, who was seen visiting Walmart in Oceanside (hypocrite).
Jerry Kline June 13, 2012 at 09:33 PM
The protesters are the same ones that protested Home Depot. Ironically, they are same ones you see buying their products. For those who want a theater, are you suggesting the city help fund this private development. And who are these developers you keep talking about, Encinitas is nearly built out!!!
Jewel Sparkle June 13, 2012 at 09:55 PM
People who have time to picket Walmart need to get a job and a life. If you don't like Walmart, don't shop there. So stu[id!
Gennie whit June 13, 2012 at 10:53 PM
All I have to say is that that Walmart just employed 200+ people in an economy with little job opportunity wether you like Walmart or not you can't think that is a bad thing
M L June 13, 2012 at 11:12 PM
By the way, the sales tax argument is specious. Sales tax is a regressive tax, a straight percentage. If you were buying your diapers at Target and now move to Walmart to buy at a cheaper price, the city collects LESS sales tax. As for jobs, Walmart has a history of paying substandard wages and providing inadequate health care. No low level Walmart employee can live on the salary they earn. A job is only an asset to the community if the wages they earn stay in the community. I wonder how many of the newly hired actually live in Encinitas, I.e. own property or rent? Not many I'd wager. I see both the principle arguments that proponents are making as false.
againstthegrain June 14, 2012 at 02:08 AM
M L, you read my mind.
Surfing Siren June 14, 2012 at 03:24 AM
Yay! No more driving to Oside!
Jay June 14, 2012 at 03:49 AM
This Walmart was so slipped into the community without those nearby even being notified. Instead, you have a Chamber of Commerce on the other side of town make a decision that benefits them. However, the negative impact is on the residents on those of us that live over here off of El Camino Real. The greatest amount of gift money goes to YMCA... sounds like a political dealing to me!
change4encinitas June 14, 2012 at 06:19 AM
Funny Jerry Kline has exactly the same writing style as Jerome Stocks. Coincidence? I think not!
Shane June 14, 2012 at 07:05 AM
Its easy folks, vote those people out next election, don't shop at WalMart and promote your small businesses. Free enterprise happens, if you really want it to leave, don't spend your money there. Plain and simple.
Jack Kuriyama June 14, 2012 at 01:51 PM
The slave workers of China are celebrating!
Dreamer June 14, 2012 at 03:38 PM
How many of those protesting a Walmart presence in Encinitas shop online at Amazon.com? Walmart at least hires some local residents and collects sales taxes. Their prices do put pressure on other businesses, which isn't always bad. I do agree with Jay that it seems that the coastal contingent of our town uses the taxes gleaned from the El Camino business corridor to pay for coastal improvements while neglecting New Encinitas. I think that those of living between the I-5 and Rancho Santa Fe Dr. need to speak up more for our interests. As others have said, if you don't like WalMart, don't shop there. If you're unhappy with the review process that allowed it to come into town, work to change the process. As for "Dump Stocks", how about supporting a positive alternative than constantly repeating a negative?
Cyrus Kamada June 14, 2012 at 04:04 PM
If you support open government, civility and respect in dealing with the public, accountability in both civic and financial affairs, and an honest appraisal of where the city stands in fiscal and operational terms, support Lisa Shaffer and Tony Kranz. They constitute the positive alternative our city needs.
Bob Chase SEA COAST EXCLUSIVE PROPERTIES June 14, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Our Encinitas Kiwanis Club was a recipient of a grant during the grand opening of Walmart. On behalf of our club volunteers and the kids in the community we serve, THANK YOU Walmart! Our club’s focus on literacy programs for kids throughout the school systems in North County, including Camp Pendleton, rely on donations such entities as Walmart. Our non-profit club uses these donations to keep our “Good Ship Literacy” rig on the road to deliver books and hold special events at schools including treasure hunts and books ahoy programs. Our own Captain Book, First Mate Pages, and our Kiwanis Club volunteers have given out nearly 60,000 books so far. Occasionally, if we take the politics out of the why’s and what for’s and peel back the real meaning of what philanthropy does for our community whether it be from successful business enterprises or giving individuals, the results are astounding and have a profound effect on those on the receiving end. Our Kiwanis Club donations also target helping kids and families at Ronald McDonald House and Rady Children’s Hospital, so all the support through volunteerism and donations we receive are well placed. Thanks again Walmart for your very generous grant. Bob Chase President Greater Encinitas Kiwanis Club
Jay Berman June 14, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Welcome to Encinitas Walmart ! If people thought that it would be profitable to build a movie theater or bowling alley, they would invest in such a project, instead, movie theaters are closing as more people opt to watch movies at home. I couldn't even imagine the bureaucratic hassle it would be to build a bowling alley anymore .. they take a lot of square footage and a lot of electricity ... these critics seem to think, just build something and people will use it .. it is so hard to build a new business anymore, the investment is huge, want to build out a business ? You need permits, to get those you need complete archtectual plans, you need to secure the property ... after you do all this, the hacks at city hall can shoot your plans down .... who wants to invest that sort of money with such a high risk of rejection .. this is why you see more chains and less mon/pop type businesses .... chains have money and lawyers ... individuals can be put out of business before they open the doors ...
Cyrus Kamada June 14, 2012 at 04:55 PM
Well said Bob, and greetings! Hope Satchmo and Gretchen can meet again soon. We'll talk football, OK?
Bob Chase SEA COAST EXCLUSIVE PROPERTIES June 14, 2012 at 04:58 PM
Cyrus Kamada...you're on. Go Chargers....and hope all is well.
Marc Bolan June 15, 2012 at 05:28 AM
Fine corporate citizen! Proud to have you in Encinitas WallMart! http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303410404577466212626979318.html http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/06/14/walmart-on-defensive-after-pr-officer-found-spying-on-union-workers/ http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/30/business/wal-mart-bribery-scandal-complicates-us-expansion-plans.html?pagewanted=all http://makingchangeatwalmart.org/2012/06/12/guestworkers-at-walmart-seafood-supplier-strike-amid-slave-conditions/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=guestworkers-at-walmart-seafood-supplier-strike-amid-slave-conditions http://www.now.org/issues/wfw/wal-mart.html
Encinitas resident June 15, 2012 at 05:51 AM
There is an easy way to run Wal-Mart out of town. Don’t shop there. To prevent another Wal-Mart from coming into town. Vote the dirt bags that are holding city offices out. Now I will stand behind that one.
Bob Aronin June 15, 2012 at 06:54 AM
Walmart doesn't provide a net gain of jobs because it doesn't create new business. Instead, it takes existing business - and jobs - away from other stores. Similarly, the city's sale tax revenue remains the same. In fact, Walmart triggers a net loss of American jobs. For every position the merchant fills, 20 jobs are created in China. Those jobs, in large part, are American jobs. For every 100 people Walmart employs, 2000 jobs move to China. Mr. Berman is correct. It takes deep pockets to open a store. That's why the big box stores - like Walmart - put smaller retailers out of business. Not surprisingly, the bigger the chain, the more it contributes to the campaigns of elected officials. This is the type of question that should be resolved through community surveys and incorporated into the General Plan. Do we want to be a city dominated by huge, monoplies peddling mountains of Chinese products; or do we want the service, creativity and innovation provided by local, independent merchants. Many municipalities effectively manage this issue through zoning and small business incentives. There are hundreds of towns that ban Walmarts in order to protect and encourage local business. Laguna Beach, in order to retain its unique village character, had a law prohibiting chains from operating in the town center. Many cities offer benefits to firms that add to the community's quality of life. Instead, Encinitas entices Whole Foods and Walmart.
Carolina Van Leeuwen Katzfey June 15, 2012 at 04:23 PM
A Walmart right next to our beautiful "Forum"? What are they thinking? I guess they're not! DON'T SHOP AT WALMART WE NEED A MOVIE THEATER INSTEAD!!!!
Lynn Marr June 15, 2012 at 08:45 PM
We have driven out to a Walmart, but rarely. I am aware of many challenges associated with the chain, including inadequate healthcare for workers. If we, in the U.S., had some kind of system of national healthcare, ALL BUSINESSES, could benefit, and many jobs would NOT be exported to China and other countries, including Mexico and Canada, our neighbors that do provide universal healthcare. I agree with other posters; what's most concerning is the lack of public process, including NOTIFICATION of the planned occupation of existing retail space by Walmart. Notification could be required for new business concerns that would have an effect on traffic, for example, even if it's not new development, but redevelopment into a more intensive retail use. I also agree that Lisa Shaffer and Tony Kranz would be welcome additions to our City Council. It is important to those of us who have been paying attention, involved in local politics, that we do DUMP STOCKS. Our current mayor has engaged in a pattern of bullying by not adhering to process, not following State Law with respect to the Brown Act, and not encouraging public participation, government openness and accountability to the citizens of Encinitas. Telling to me is that many people protesting fear retaliation by the City. This further demonstrates that those who are paying attention, who are involved, are well aware of these bullying tactics, and the poor leadership demonstrated by our current mayor, Stocks.
patrick oconnor June 16, 2012 at 09:47 PM
All retailers should have access to open markets if they abide by law and meet municipal standards. The market will define success or failure not some political correct opposition. Political accuracy at Walmart means I can buy a pair of "Wrangler" jeans for $19.95. Beat that.
Rick June 17, 2012 at 12:42 AM
Why are people suggesting a movie theater? You had one (Wiegand), a few blocks away, you didn't go, and it went out of business. As for blaming Stocks, why not blame Obama too. Wasn't this mostly a planning and permit department thing? They let Home Depot and Target in, why not Walmart?
Lynn Marr June 17, 2012 at 07:52 AM
I don't blame Stocks for Walmart. If those who had contacted the Planning and Building Departments with their concerns, had asked to be notified when WalMart pulled a permit, or if staff had notified those on a list who had contacted City Hall about a potential Walmart, then I feel people would have felt more included in the process. Under Stocks and the previous council majority of him, Jim Bond (not running again after 5 terms in office: too long) and discredited ex Mayor Dan Dalager, convicted, after a plea bargain of conflict of interest, our city government has NOT been open and accountable to the citizens. The Brown Act, for open government has been repeatedly violated, under Stocks mayorship. Stocks has not followed parliamentary procedure and Robert's Rules of Order. Some say all politics are local. Throwing in Obama to the local situation is a red herring, Rick. It's easy to pass the buck to planning, but the truth is, right now, Stocks has been running the show, setting the agenda, and setting a tone of non-disclosure . . .
Mum June 17, 2012 at 06:55 PM
Good point. They at least could have squeezed them on behalf of the town. Because I'm sure city hall got theirs... I couldn't care less about Walmart. A movie theatre would have been nice. But that's hard ball right? If you really care don't shop there. Vote out the incumbents...tell your friends.

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