City of Compton residents attended the city council meeting Tuesday, December 16th, and the question on everyone’s mind was “is Walmart coming to town?” In a face book post dated June 25, 2014, newly elected Latino councilman, Isaac Galvan, excitedly posted about a meeting he finished with the retailer. With $20 million owed to the Compton Unified School District (CUSD) and millions owed to the State for Redevelopment transactions, is Wal-mart the city’s saving grace?
Reached via Twitter, Walmart responded to 2UrbanGirls inquiry by stating:
Residents are concerned as to why there is so much secrecy around this project.
Residents assume there must be an EIR and Public Hearing, prior to the retailer moving into town. That is not true. A loophole exists that Walmart can bypass the EIR/Public Hearing by loopholes in the permitting process. They can either reduce the size of the store or move into an existing “shell” of a former retailer. Would the Compton Swap Meet site fit the description?
Whenever Wal-mart discusses moving into town, the push back is enormous. This could explain why Compton elected officials have been reluctant to comment, outside of Galvan’s facebook post.
Related article: Wal-mart In LA’s Chinatown Has Opened, Despite Major Protest
When asked at Tuesday’s city council meeting, Mayor Aja Brown replied:
She could not respond due to legal reasons
She did confirm the Compton Swap Meet site will have a new tenant.
In my opinion, if the city is negotiating directly with the retailer, what are the odds this property is owned by the Compton Successor Agency? We have confirmed it is not owned by the Successor Agency.
In fact, the owner is embroiled in a lawsuit with the estate of Juan Serna. Apparently sheriff deputies encountered Serna and then enlisted the help of the properties security to apprehend him. Shots were fired, striking the victim in his back and head. The City of Compton and the L.A. County Sheriff have settled with the victims family for $10k.
Related link: Juan Serna et al v. Compton Fashion Center et al
A review of the Compton Successor Agency’s website shows a link to their property inventory and unfortunately, the link doesn’t work. The oversight committee is in place to be a watchdog over the money, but a review of the agencies minutes show they never question any expenditures, which run in excess of the $250k the Department of Finance allows for successor agency activities. And how lucky are Compton residents to have Watts activist Sweet Alice Harris as the vice-chair?
Related article: Compton RDA successor agency is selling off city properties
The agency is still disposing properties too. Commercial Development Renaissance Plaza, LLC is the lucky recipient and coincidentally is owned by Danny Bakewell. You may recall the award winning SoCal Connected piece on his owing the city money then it mysteriously being wiped off the books.
Related link: City of Compton Agency Owned Properties
Former Compton Assembly member Sen. Isadore Hall has received campaign contributions from Walmart totaling $7,800.
He is also credited with building a coalition of cities, which includes the mayors of Compton and Hawthorne. Hawthorne Mayor Chris Brown recently saw a Wal-mart Neighborhood Market open in his city.
The question becomes is this new coalition anti-union or are their city’s so broke they have no choice but to let Walmart come in?
Calls to the Compton Successor Agency have gone unreturned.