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  Newly-elected City Councilmember Kevin McCarty responding to a question from a union member before taking his place in the Council chambers.


After careful screening for weapons and other metal objects, the crowd was allowed into the Council chambers. As often happens, the issue we'd come to hear was NOT first, so we got a chance to learn about real estate on Del Paso Blvd. before realizing we lacked the stamina to stay until the end for the Big Box ordinance.

Later in the evening, led by Councilmember Sandy Sheedy, the City Council voted 8-0 to approve an interim ordinance that requires an economic impact analysis of any proposed "superstores."* The analysis will study the effect the store would have on existing businesses, and will include a wage survey and a sales tax projection. A task force will soon convene to craft a permanent and more encompassing ordinance. After input by the city zoning and planning commissions, and presentation at community forums, the drafted ordinance will be considered by the City Council.

*A superstore, as defined by the city, is a store of greater than 90,000 square feet in size that uses more than 20% of its retail space for non-taxable items (such as groceries).

  Union members unable to get into the crowded City Council Chambers for the anti-Wal-Mart ordinance continued marching to the Crest Theater, where the anti-Schwarzenegger protest was underway. If Schwarzenegger's proposed policies are enacted, Wal-Mart employees' poverty and lack of health care will be shared by many more Californians. The governor's budget proposal refuses cost-of-living raises to the blind, disabled and elderly, and reduces wages for workers who care for the disabled from $8/hour to $6.75/hour.


"When you pass through this portal, you leave all cares behind" is the salutation that greets all who enter the Crest Theater. Apparently the governor took this to heart, as he did not step out to address the fans and protesters who sought his attention outside.

The protest event was hosted by teachers, nurses, students, and consumer advocates angered at being labeled "special interest groups" as they advocate for improvements in social services such as healthcare and education. The real "special interest groups" could be glimpsed through the plastic of the elaborate awning placed for their comfort and protection in front of the theater.

Included in the crowd were fans of the "The Rock," (pictured to left of raised hand), who DID come out to greet people. He did not discuss his views on Wal-Mart or Nurse Staffing Ratios.

  SEIU United Healthcare Workers union members were active participants in protesting the encroachment of Wal-Mart and Schwarzenegger's "Not Cool" State Budget plan.
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