April 5th, 2011
Ward 4 Thrives corresponded with you in December in order to appeal to you for assistance regarding Walmart’s immoral attempt to invade our community. We also sent correspondence to our councilmember, Muriel Bowser, and met with her to no avail since she is an admitted Walmart supporter. Our perception was that her interest was to lobby on Walmart’s behalf, rather than on behalf of her constituents. Councilmember Bowser clearly did not want the residents to make a decision about how Walmart would affect our community and whether we felt it was in our best interest.
Subsequently, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Planning, Victor L. Hoskins, met with us on your behalf. He heard our concerns for the safety of our school children and our seniors. We appreciated his sensitivity to our issues; concern for our children’s safety, congested streets and environmental damage to our community.
Walmart is immoral and devours communities across the nation. It is presently attempting to invade South Africa. Interestingly enough, they are fighting to keep Walmart out while our elected officials in DC have welcomed Walmart with open arms, ignoring the harm Walmart’s record indicates it would do to Ward 4. This devastating invasion will forever alter this community’s people and their livelihood. Studies have shown that Walmart will cause the closure of mom and pop businesses in the immediate area of the retailer. In addition, Walmart has a case before the Supreme Court, Walmart v. Dukes, one of the largest employment lawsuits based on gender discrimination.
In addition, following the developer Foulger-Pratt’s submission of its Large Tract Review for the proposed Ward 4 Walmart, the Office of Planning should seriously consider the traffic impact this large retailer will have on our predominately residential area. There are also six schools within a three-block radius of the site of the proposed Walmart, and residents are concerned about the increased traffic endangering the safety of school children trying to cross Georgia Ave.
Our elected officials, for whom we pay taxes so they may always perform their duties in the best interest of the residents, have neglected to do so. They were obligated to send out notices to alert us that Walmart was interested in coming into this city. They did not schedule meetings in order to inform the community, but forced us to hear, through various sources, that Walmart intended to build a store in Ward 4 and thereby forced us to organize our own meetings.
We unfortunately, had to come to the realization that we were on our own and that we could not count on our councilmember, Muriel Bower, to do the job she was elected to do -- represent the interests of those who elected you as well as her.
Ward Four residents organized against this invasion into our community. We stood in the harsh cold of winter to hear our neighbors’ concerns, collect signatures and to gather assistance in this effort. We have thus far collected 1,200 Ward Four residents' signatures. Though Walmart promises 1,200 jobs to DC residents by 2012, the 1,200 Ward 4 residents who signed the petition understand that Walmart will cause more job loss in the community, in the form of forcing small businesses to shut their doors.
We are presenting these signatures to the Deputy Mayor for him to accept on the mayor’s behalf.
Gerri Adams-Simmons Baruti Jahi Ward 4 Thrives Member Ward 4 Thrives Member
Willie Baker Gary Cha Ward 4 Thrives Member Owner of Yes Organic, Food Market
Verna Collins Milfred W. Ellis Ward 4 Thrives Member Ward 4 Thrives Member