Re "Voting 'No' on Low Prices and Good Jobs," by Jay Nordlinger, Commentary, April 9: Do you suppose that a year working at Wal-Mart, at $9 an hour and lousy health benefits, would teach Nordlinger anything about real worker exploitation? Very unlikely. Mentalities like his are voids, spouting mantras like "American enterprise" as if they were noble truths.
Re "Wal-Mart to Push Southland Agenda," April 8: So Wal-Mart is defeated in Inglewood after trying to circumvent local government by instituting an initiative and attempting to buy an election. Its spokesman, Robert McAdam, states, "It's not that big of a deal. We're going to find ways to build stores." What's next, smiley-faced mercenary armies occupying city halls in local government coups? Hey, Wal-Mart, "no" means no!
If Wal-Mart was only up to providing good jobs and low prices, why would it need to skip environmental reviews, traffic studies or public discussion? Why would it need to sidestep elected officials by using the initiative process? Plantation owners of pre-Civil War America could also claim to be providing jobs, but that says nothing about the quality of life most Americans yearn for. I am frankly surprised, but also pleased, that Inglewood voted against letting Wal-Mart bypass regulations put in place to ensure that citizens are safe and their concerns are attended to.
Wal-Mart didn't get to be a big company by opening stores that no one wants. Yet when it tries to open new stores, politicians and activists do everything they can to harass it, even passing laws to prohibit its stores. If people don't want to shop or work at Wal-Mart, they don't have to. They shouldn't, however, prevent their neighbors who may want to shop and work at Wal-Mart from doing so.
Now, instead of having a store that sells a wide variety of products at low prices, and that employs people and generates tax revenue, the people of Inglewood have an empty parking lot. That is a victory for demagoguery, not democracy.
Robert A. Philipson