Late last night the Sacramento City Council repealed the city ordinance that requires "superstores" like Walmart to conduct an economic impact analysis of how they would impact local business and wages when building or renovating these "Bigbox" stores.
The discussion brought over two hours of debate. District 4 Councilmember Steve Hansen asserted that because "no one else in the region has set the standard" that Sacramento did in 2006, that the ordinance "is holding this city back." Hansen claimed important tax revenues are going to the county and other cities surrounding Sacramento that otherwise could be coming to the city.
Opponents of the ordinance repeal, on the other hand, point out that superstores "have been know to cause a financial drain on the surrounding community due to low-wages that force out small businesses." The Stonewall Democrats of Sacramento, for example, who in a letter to the City Council dated Aug. 18, explained that the ordinance in fact "ensures economic impact studies and wage analyses for proposed superstores larger than 90,000 square feet with more than 10 percent of space dedicated to groceries." These analyses, they said, "ensure that Sacramento's precious land is not sold to the highest bidder without regard for the long-term consequences to the community – residents and businesses."
Comments came from residents and small business owners who oppose the repeal.Yet the City Council's 7-2 vote in support of the repeal reflected that the council had made up its mind.
Earlier in the evening, KCRA ran a report stating that Mayor Kevin Johnson and two other City Council members have taken nearly $800,000 in contributions from stores including Walmart and Target.
A spokesman reportedly denied these contributions had anything to do with the Council's decision.