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Good Growth DeKalb to Protest Walmart Again Friday

The group claims only 5 percent of the local community favors the construction of a large Supercenter retail store in Suburban Plaza.

Got this from Good Growth DeKalb this morning. They're protesting on Friday the forthcoming . Just an FYI if you see them out on the streets:

On Friday, August 10, Good Growth DeKalb will hold the third in a series of three summer rallies to protest the building of a 149,000 square foot Walmart Supercenter at Suburban Plaza in Decatur.  The rally will take place from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m. at the intersection of Medlock Road, North Decatur Road and Scott Boulevard.

Good Growth DeKalb is an organization of DeKalb County residents who object to the impact such a development would have on that already dangerous and heavily-trafficked 6-way intersection.  This group promotes smart, sustainable growth with a focus on local, small, mid-sized and neighborhood-friendly businesses, and believes that Walmart represents the opposite of all these values.

"We believe that Walmart is the opposite of a good neighbor," says Staci Dixon, Co-Chair of Good Growth DeKalb."  "Both Walmart and Selig Enterprises, owner of Suburban Plaza, are concerned only with profit, while giving lipservice to 'working with the community.' They are not concerned with the dangers to emergency vehicle traffic, how long it takes residents to get out of our neighborhoods, reduced property values invariably associated with Walmart, loss of all the jobs connected with small, local businesses, or the heavy impact on county infrastructure.  Walmart also represents the very worst in employment practices, both domestically and world-wide."

In July, Good Growth DeKalb met with Selig Enterprises and presented 3,056 petition signatures.  In the last 8 months, Good Growth DeKalb has done extensive neighborhood canvassing and found that 75% of residents are opposed to Walmart and only 5% are in favor, with the remainder neutral or undecided.  Approximately 500 yard signs opposing the development dot the surrounding neighborhoods.

Last month's rally, on July 13, was attended by State Representatives Rahn Mayo and Karla Drenner, as well as DeKalb County Commissioner Kathie Gannon and her recent opponent, Edmond Richardson.  The rally was interrupted by driving rain after about 40 minutes; only Rahn Mayo came early enough to get out of his car, and spoke at a press conference from beneath an umbrella during the intense rain.  Good Growth DeKalb had planned to unfurl three large scrolls of petition signatures, but the rain prevented that as well.  The group plans to unfurl the scrolls again on August 10.  

Numerous elected officials have been invited to Friday's rally.  Good Growth DeKalb will rally rain or shine.

JayMan August 08, 2012 at 04:48 PM
"Walmart also represents the very worst in employment practices"..... This argument as already been put to rest. If you dont like the "employment practices" then dont apply, interview, and accept a job offer. No one forces anyone to work @ Walmart.....Case Closed
DaveyG August 08, 2012 at 08:53 PM
WalMart also represents the very worst in nearly everything: cheap & dangerous products largely made overseas with little regard to safety that aid in offshoring US jobs, lousy shopping & working conditions, a general blight on the landscape bringing all the worst modern life has to offer in traffic, trash, death to local small businesses & all the rest. This argument is is never put to rest. You don't need what they have, you don't need to shop there. You defintely don't need to work there unless you are hopelessly inescabaly desparate. The best way to avoid all this is not to have a WalMart at all. Case closed.
Joanne August 08, 2012 at 08:59 PM
JayMan -- you cherry picked one part of a larger quote that made many good points about the unattractiveness of a Walmart in Decatur. And your argument of why it should be "case closed" does not end the conversation because YOU said case closed. I live in Decatur and I am sympathetic to all of Ms. Dixon's points, so I say case open, and my voice counts just as much as yours!
N.G. August 08, 2012 at 09:04 PM
Great point Joanne! The whole notion of "not shopping there" being an effective strategy is scary and misguided. There will always be people who will shop and support a Walmart because they either don't care about the larger issues or they need the low prices. That doesn't mean that people who really care about the issues that a Walmart brings to the forefront and have truly educated themselves on them shouldn't speak out loud and clear and persistently. If it's enough for JayMan to not shop at Walmart, then bully for him. It's not enough for the rest of us.
JayMan August 08, 2012 at 09:07 PM
I was addressing Walmart as an employer...the case is closed on that! As far as Walmart being "unattractive", the market will be the judge. If people chose to shop there and keep it in business...it will stay. If enough people like you chose not to shop there, then it will not succeed. Simple
JayMan August 08, 2012 at 09:17 PM
how is it not an effective strategy? If Walmart is so bad, evil, and awful for people to work and shop at... why to people continue to flood its doors with applications and check books? Money talks!!! The trendy stop walmart crowd will fail....move on
K.C.S. August 08, 2012 at 09:19 PM
As you describe them, what is the difference between the products sold at Walmart, and the ones currently being sold at BigLots?
JayMan August 08, 2012 at 09:24 PM
K.C.S....its all the same product... the only difference is its not trendy to be anti Big Lots, Target, etc.
Joanne August 08, 2012 at 09:24 PM
Well, when you write something on a blog with an exclamatory "case closed" you want to discourage further public discourse on the subject. What GGD is doing is bringing these issues into the local public discourse. There are many people who are not aware of Walmart's insidious employment practices, and if even 10% of that pool hear what Ms. Dixon has said and choose to look further into it, then her statement is a success.
K.C.S. August 08, 2012 at 09:44 PM
Thanks JayMan, and I can't say that I don't agree. But our friends at GGD feel they are very different. I'm hoping we can get a glimpse into their logic and find out how the products are different– in the minds of the GGD camp.
Steve August 08, 2012 at 10:32 PM
GGD still hasn't figured out that moral arguments are not going to carry the day and they haven't come up with a legal argument that will while they ignore other, potentially more disruptive, commercial development that they could actually influence.
David D August 09, 2012 at 12:13 AM
Well, I live in Decatur, too and challenge the accuracy of this hate WalMart group's claim that 75% of people don't want it. The truth is that a large percentage don't particularly like WalMart, but aren't opposed to the point that they won't shop there. I think the percentage figure is completely inaccurate and based on pressure tactics and use of the misleading nomenclature of "good growth". I imagine a careful study of the the petition they presented would expose signatures of folks who don't even live near Suburban Plaza and, in some cases, folks who don't even live in Georgia. As for signs, I've counted those in my neighborhood and they represent a small percentage of residences. There are fewer every week. I challenge that there are 500 signs currently in the neighborhood. Quite a few of them that still are in yards are falling down or covered with dirt and mildew. I see "signs" that realism has set in for most residents and they finally understand that by letting GGD dominate the dialogue, they have lost opportunities to actively participate with the owner of Suburban Plaza in the design of a commercial development that has long been an eye sore. Indeed, the dirt and mildew on many of the protest signs seem to symbolize the legacy of this mis-named "growth" group that didn't exist until it involved a company some folks don't think is politically correct. I don't like WalMart, but I dislike misleading information even more.
Nubs August 09, 2012 at 03:10 PM
Absurd argument. People who buy these products are the ones supporting "offshoring", if that is even a verb. So we should close down every vendor who does not sell things we approve of, right? What a narrow-minded, little fascist you are. I can make my own choices. I don't need you to what I "need". The only thing "hopelessly inescabaly desparate" about this issue is you. Go away.
N.G. August 09, 2012 at 07:20 PM
David D -- I find a number of things misleading about your last post. First, Good Growth DeKalb is not a "hate Walmart" group as you suggest. If you have not been to any of their meetings, I would avoid this type of public mischaracterization. Second, where are your stats to back up your unequivocal assertion that "the truth is that a large percentage don't particularly like Walmart, but aren't opposed to the point that they won't shop there?" That's a bold, sweeping statement that I'd like to see you back up, or rather, in your lexicon, I "challenge" that assertion. Third, your over-use of the term "challenge" suggests to me a deep, personal hostility with Good Growth DeKalb for some reason. Fourth, once again, I want to see your evidence that Good Growth DeKalb has employed "pressure tactics" in gathering and organizing the community opinion around this issue. I went on a number of their door-to-door efforts and there was no hint of pressuring anyone. Did you go on a door-to-door or did you receive an overly aggressive GGD rep at your door that you feel compelled to make such an defamatory accusation. Sixth, your abject nonsense and ramblings about the signs in the neighborhood doesn't deserve any more of a mention than that. I'm sorry that soggy signs offend your very being. Maybe shield your delicate eyes from them next time. Seventh, if you dislike misleading information then stop filling posts with your own, thinking the rest of us won't see through it.
K.C.S. August 09, 2012 at 07:33 PM
Guessing here, but I think a lot of people think of GGD as a "hate Walmart" group because they haven't come out with another option to love. Or even like. I think a lot of people want to know what retailer they support in that space.
David S August 09, 2012 at 08:00 PM
I’ve seen no indication that GGD is interested in “good growth.” They’ve brought nothing to the discussion regarding SP other than they don’t want Walmart there. My impression is that they are simply part of a much larger anti-Walmart movement (whether intentionally or not). They’ve received funding from outside of DeKalb County, they’ve hired a lawyer who has gone up against Walmart in Savannah, they’ve aligned themselves with an anti-Walmart group in Athens, their logo is a little “Walmart NIMBY,” and their online “petition” has signatures from, not only other states, but other countries. The grownups in discussions with Selig seem to be the folks at MANA, not GGD.
Deanne August 10, 2012 at 05:19 PM
Staci Dixon would have a better grasp of Selig's perspective had she, Louise Runyon, and Robert Blondeau engaged in a discussion with Selig during their recent meeting (w/ Theresa Same and I present). Instead, GGD's leaders opted for an all out anti-Walmart venting that included Staci attacking Scott Selig and his family's legacy as a planned talking point. Selig's efforts to seek our community's input have been far beyond what most businesses would do. Their plan for Suburban Plaza requires no public input. Selig and Walmart participated in two widely advertised community meetings to share their plans and hear concerns. They met with reps from the surrounding neighborhoods and agreed to negotiated conditions. Because Selig wants to ensure the new Suburban Plaza will reflect our community, they've kept on a cross-neighborhoods committee to give input throughout the process. (The negotiated terms were for 1 MANA rep.) It's absolutely our shared goal to have a thriving shopping center filled with profitable businesses. Suburban Plaza's success will spur redevelopment throughout the nearby commercial area. Scott Selig's recent letter to our community encourages folks to submit their suggestions for tenants or architectural details. Theresa Same and I are our community's liaisons, and we're happy to receive your ideas. To reach me, please put Suburban Plaza Idea in the subject line, and submit via the DHNA: decaturheightsneighbors@gmail.com .
Deanne August 10, 2012 at 05:29 PM
(Repost from Decatur Patch) It'd be very helpful if one of our Patch folks could get GGD to supply more info: Without supporting info on GGD's extensive neighborhood canvassing to go along with GGD's percentages, the percentages have no meaning. By percentage to what total number of participants? And the breakdowns: Which area(s) did GGD canvass? Which specific streets? How do the percentages break out by area(s)?And did GGD really achieve 100% participation of all households in their surveyed area(s)? That's a darn near impossible feat to pull off! GGD's claim of having 500 Stop Walmart signs up in our area has never matched what's been displayed in the area around Suburban Plaza. The Medlock areas (both sides of intersection), Clairmont Heights, the Pensdale/Willow/Eastland neighborhood, Springdale Heights, Decatur Heights, Glenwood Estates and Glenlake Commons, and the corridors of Scott Blvd, N. Decatur Rd, and Church St. collectively maxed out at aprox. 150 signs, and over the past month the number's been steadily dwindling. (There's been no reports of swiped signs on the listservs, and there's only been 1 incident cited on blogs.) Also, the 3,056 signatures on GGD's No Walmart petition were gathered primarily online and at festivals, and it includes many from folks out of the area and from around the country. (To even be considered by a business, a petition needs to be kept to residents in the targeted demographic living in the targeted area.)
Robert August 11, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Selig's community meetings understandably were tightly scripted to ensure that Selig's foregone conclusion was accepted. Deanne, you are correct that Selig's effort to sway community opinion is not required, which to me highlights at least one very important point: Walmart is a contentious issue and Selig knew it was going to require a lot of muscle to gain "community approval." The notion that the "cross-neighborhood committee" accurately represents the area's viewpoint is questionable. MANA's opinion represents the MANA board's opinion and that's it. (I'm not sure what organization you represent, Deanne, so I can't speak to that.) GGD volunteers spent many hundreds of hours speaking to our neighbors. Have the Seligs or their neighborhood reps done that? No. Selig is interested in one thing: profit. I get it, they’re a business. Therefore, the company is interested in swaying opinion so that it can be successful. It's called marketing and public relations. Again, I get it. Scott Selig's letter asking for “suggestions” is a nice touch. In the final analysis one thing is certain, Walmart would be a huge win for the company; what better way, for example, to get a new underground parking deck? In my view, Walmart is not a win for the community. The proposed redevelopment might be economically successful for Selig and Walmart, but at what cost? We can argue that point until the cows come home. For now, we agree to disagree. Take care, y'all.
Deanne August 12, 2012 at 12:31 PM
Robert, Selig didn’t ask anything other than to meet with our neighborhoods. The DHNA’s community meeting was scripted to ensure neighbors could hear their responses to the concerns to be negotiated the following week. MANA’s wasn’t scripted. Hopefully this will finally put this GGD distortion to rest—I shared a description of the meeting’s arrangements with Staci Dixon in a 2/10 email when seeking to get a botched GGD posting on Patch corrected (that remains inaccurate). The time for raising your other questions was at the Selig/GGD meeting which Theresa Same and I attended to provide answers on anything related to neighborhood efforts, the Agreement, or progress to date. Yet another reason that putting all of GGD’s focus into attacks was a poor decision. But as you said, y’all accomplished what GGD set out to do. The committee’s an independent volunteer board like any other. Can’t please everyone, so we’ll go with what will please most neighbors. Surely there’s a company somewhere that would welcome what GGD’s folks have to offer. I wish you luck in finding such an opportunity.
Deanne August 12, 2012 at 12:39 PM
Robert, until recently I’ve respected you for your thoughtful responses, even though I disagree with everything that your group has done to date. My gut tells me that you’re better than this. Don’t let the other GGD folks’ hateful actions pull you down to where the ugliness comes to define you too. I sought you out after that meeting because I wanted you to know that I do get it. Having different outlooks on the best approach for neighbors to take in order to have a say-so in shaping this redevelopment shouldn’t be allowed to become a permanent wedge. You should know that it was because of your words in the Dekalb Neighbor that we went into Selig’s meeting with GGD thinking that our discussion might get us all to a better place. “"But if it's going to happen no matter what we would certainly be willing to sit down with Walmart and Selig and say, 'What can we do to make this as amenable as possible?'" (6/20/12) Whatever you end up doing, please be very aware that when neighborhoods are put through such divisiveness, the damage done doesn’t just go away when the battle’s over.
David D August 12, 2012 at 05:03 PM
N.G., I surmise from your comment above that you don't understand that GGD is the group making all the claims here and that the burden of proof as to the validity of your claims falls on you, not me. I see what I see and what I don't see is a great outpouring of anti-Walmart sentiment from most of the community. I see hostility and incivility in some of your postings and all I can say is "God bless you."
Staci August 15, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Deanne, Why do you bring me into this blog hatred? I didn't say a negative word about Scott Selig and what his family has done for Atlanta. Please don't bring me into your rants. People get your stand. I am not trying to change your mind, spreading lies about you, talking about you in public or private or anything else. Please have the same respect for me.
Deanne August 15, 2012 at 11:22 PM
Staci- You're the one who used the word legacy in your planned attack on Scott. Are you claiming that what a roomful of people heard you say didn't happen? Or that you consider what you said about Scott and his legacy to be acceptable when waging GGD's declared war on our community? As far as my stand to support what all of the surrounding neighborhoods decided on as neighbors back in November, when you and GGD make inaccurate statements regarding what Selig has or hasn't done, you can expect that I will correct it. I'm not big on letting misinformation go unchecked.
Staci August 16, 2012 at 02:26 AM
Deanne, No, I didn't "attack" Scott or his family legacy. Scott is an adult. He knows how to reach me, if he's upset, but I'm pretty sure I'm the last thing on his mind. Again, I am asking you to keep me out of your comments.
Deanne August 16, 2012 at 02:59 AM
GGD has made its antagonistic stance towards the Seligs and their company very clear to all. Again, stick with making facts based statements, rather than offering up the opinions of GGD, and there won't be a need for me to make corrections.

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