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The Los Angeles City Council's Housing, Community and Economic Development Committee is scheduled to meet today and consider a draft ordinance that would establish strict limitations on big box store development - an initiative that seems squarely aimed at Wal-Mart's plan to build 40 supercenters in California over the next five years.

Details of the ordinance have not yet been released, though its supporters almost certainly will cite a recent study in LA saying that supercenters can be detrimental to local economies. It is seen as likely that the LA initiative would require Wal-Mart to pay a prevailing wage to its employees, one that is comparable to the wages paid by unionized grocery stores that it competes with.

While some communities in California have welcomed the building of supercenters, others - such as Oakland and San Diego - are either considering or have passed ordinances that either prohibit new big box stores or set specific guidelines for their operation.

Wal-Mart has pledged to fight any legislation designed to inhibit its ability to operate, and has commissioned study designed to counteract the negative report. It managed to get a ballot initiative in Contra Costa County to try and overturn a ban on supercenters there; the voters will address that issue next March. It hasn’t decided what it will do about the Oakland ban yet.
KC's View:
While we think that communities ought to have the right to say that retailers of a certain size cannot operate within their boundaries, we have to say that we thought there already was a law saying how much employees have to be paid.

It's called the minimum wage.

We're not sure that governments ought to be saying that in selective cases, minimum wage is too minimal. That doesn’t seem fair.