I am writing in response to Arlene Cox (“Bring on Walmart!” March 17) and Nancy S. Wickersham (“Walmart and the Wickershams: thumbs up!” March 24), who seem to think bringing a Walmart to Atascadero is a good thing.
I do not agree. Contrary to popular belief, Walmart does not bring good jobs, and they undercut local businesses. The only jobs Walmart offers are low-paying, part-time jobs to Welfare recipients. Don't believe me? Try to apply.
I worked for the Human Services Budget Department in a Central Valley town, and we held job fairs for big corporations like Walmart specifically for Welfare recipients. The jobs are low skilled, low paying, and subsidized by the federal government and the state—a good thing, you might think, to get these people off Welfare. However, they do not pay a living wage. People who work for Walmart do not get enough hours or money to live without assistance.
We already have two on the Central Coast: in Paso and Arroyo Grande. There is nothing that Walmart stocks that I cannot buy locally. One of the things I liked about the Central Coast was the absence of corporate businesses in the downtown areas. I am not certain where the proposed Walmart is slated for in Atascadero, but anywhere is too close.
Ms. Wickersham states that Walmart has helped Paso with the people coming to shop and staying for a dinner. Is that in a local restaurant or another corporation? Tax dollars are needed, I agree, but not at the expense of the environmentally unfriendly Walmart. Walmart brings traffic, regardless of what she believes, and creates more problems than it solves. Who really is going to come to Atascadero to shop at Walmart when there are so many lovely independent, local businesses on the Central Coast?
I hope Atascadero does not become one of the eyesore towns reminiscent of some in the Central Valley with a Walmart, McDonald’s, and Starbucks on every corner.
Just say no to Walmart and yes to local business.