Congress Park Neighbors gathered for a neighborhood assembly on the night of Weds. Aug. 15th, to discuss and vote on the proposed Walmart at the 9th Ave and Colorado Blvd. redevelopment. Over 200 people packed the Molly Blank conference room for the presentation.
160 votes were cast. The results are as follows
Do you support TIF (Tax Incremental Financing) by the city of Denver for the 9th & Colorado redevelopment project?
No 109 68%
Yes 51 32%
Do you support the 9th & Colorado redevelopment project as proposed to include a Walmart in the tenant mix?
No 142 89%
Yes 18 11%
Do you support the proposed Walmart as part of the 9th and Colorado redevelopment project if there were limitation of size, hours of operation , etc?
No 139 87%
Yes 21 13%
The developer offered their powerpoint presentation, with the now-familiar slew of artist’s renderings of the proposed development and recitation of promises defending their “upscale” 119,000 square-foot, 24/7 Walmart. The traveling road show includes Atlanta-based developer Jeff Fuqua, local lobbyist Marcus Pachner, Walmart spokesman Josh Phair, and Denver PR flack Dominic DelPapa.
Without powerpoint, but with solid facts and obvious passion, two neighbors gave compelling presentations about why Walmart is not welcome in the community.
They noted that the Denver City Council must vote NO on the “TIF” (Tax Increment Financing) for the developer. This would be a $25-30 million taxpayer handout to Fuqua Development, an out-of-state company who has partnered with Walmart to force this unwanted retail behemoth into our community. The crowd cheered at the call for the City Council to DENY TIF financing to the project.
They challenged the stream of misinformation put out by Walmart spokesman Josh Phair, claiming wages at local Walmart stores of $13.42 per hour (surveys conducted by the union UFCW puts the wage closer to $8.50). They raised numerous issues, to thunderous applause, from the obvious traffic debacle Walmart would cause, to the harm that Walmart would cause to local businesses, to the decades of abusive labor practices by Walmart, including the intimidation and firing of workers engaging in legally-protected union organizing efforts, to the abuse of subcontract workers from Louisiana to China.
The critics mentioned Walmart’s dismal, sometimes criminal, corporate culture, which includes the recently-exposed systematic bribery of Mexican officials to advance Walmart’s aggressive expansion into that country, to undercut potential competitors, a felony under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
The day before the meeting, ranking members of two U.S. Congressional committees, Elijah Cummings (D-MD) of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Henry Waxman (D-CA), of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, fired off a letter to Walmart CEO Michael Duke, admonishing him for refusing his promised cooperation in their investigation of the bribery scandal. They noted, “During the course of our investigation, we have learned that Wal-Mart’s concerns about potential violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act are not limited to operations in Mexico, but are global in nature.”
Colorado’s 1st District Congressional Representative, Diana DeGette, is a member of the Energy and Commerce committee, and should hear from constituents while she is home on the August recess. Let Diana DeGette know how you feel about this lawbreaking corporation, Walmart, coming in to your neighborhood:
Diana DeGette’s Denver Office
600 Grant Street, Suite 202
Denver, CO 80203-3525
Phone: (303) 844-4988
Read the entire letter to Walmart CEO Duke from Cummings and Waxman here: http://is.gd/OqmnGp
Remember to contact ALL Denver City Councilors and Mayor Hancock, to let them know if you think Walmart/Fuqua/Pachner should get $25-30 million from the taxpayers of Denver in order to force this ill-conceived, unwanted, publicly-financed development on our community.
First contact Mayor Hancock’s Neighborhood Liaison Michael Sapp:
Tel: 720-865-9024 or 720-865-9016
City Council Contact info here: