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Residents protest new Walmart at pre-bid meeting

A handful of San Ramon residents gathered in front of a future Walmart Neighborhood Market to protest the big box retailer and call for more transparency in city government.

About 12 people gathered at 9100 Alcosta Boulevard, the site of the new store, between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Wednesday with signs reading "No Walmart in San Ramon" and "We Want a Hearing" as potential contractors and subcontractors entered the vacant building. Tenant improvement plans for the 4.05-acre lot (inside the Country Club Village Center) were previously approved by the city, though there has been some debate as to whether officials knew about what would occupy the storefront.

"We got lots of honks, thumbs up, waves, a lot of people stopped their cars to ask about next City Council meeting," said Barbara Kellogg, a member of Smart Growth for San Ramon. "I think some people are perfectly O.K. with the grocery store, but our biggest gripe is that we never received an email…about any occurrences regarding the 9100 Alcosta site."

On Feb. 6, the city of San Ramon released a statement acknowledging plans had been approved in 2009 for another grocery in the same location, but said they were previously unaware that the Arkansas-based company would be the new tenant. Some of the protesters accused the city of lying about its lack of knowledge, but city officials did not return calls for comment.

"It's just very frustrating as a citizen…at least give us a chance to weigh in," Kellogg said.

Other residents in attendance expressed concerns about increased traffic as the result of additional signage and deliveries, noise from a possible tire center (though no plans for auto service have been discussed) and the loss of small businesses. Walmart has a history of moving in and forcing out other businesses, they said.

Kellogg said her group plans on holding another protest this weekend and will eventually speak in front of the City Council.

"Most importantly, we want transparency, we want truth, we want people on the council to tell us what their large plans are," she said.

Comments

Posted by Francine, a resident of Greenbrook Elementary School
on Feb 9, 2012 at 6:13 am

Walmart Neighborhood markets are nice stores. It would be a good addition to an area that needs a grocery store.
They are trying to move into a vacant Nob Hill space in Pleasanton also.
Unfortunately the Pleasanton city council is so tight with Safeway and the union that it is a royal fight.
I hope Walmart wins this one!!


Posted by George, a resident of Alamo
on Feb 9, 2012 at 6:39 am

Stop the presses! "About 12 people gathered" makes for a story? Are you serious? I saw about 12 people waiting to cross the street in downtown W.C. yesterday. Where were your reporters at that big event? What a joke.


Posted by Sandee, a resident of San Ramon
on Feb 9, 2012 at 7:14 am

Just a reminder that San Ramon citizens furiously fought Costco here. Danville later approved Costco across the street. Now San Ramon has all the traffic. Danville has all the tax income.
Walmart will fill an empty grocery store location!


Posted by Joe, a resident of San Ramon
on Feb 9, 2012 at 7:25 am

Never shopped walmart, never will!


Posted by LMP, a resident of Danville
on Feb 9, 2012 at 7:27 am

Sandee, great point on Costco.

The shopping center is hurting without a grocery store to bring in traffic. If you don't like it, don't shop there. There are lots of seniors in the area that will be helped by their low prices. I'll bet the 12 people protesting don't have low income issues.


Posted by Sue, a resident of San Ramon
on Feb 10, 2012 at 6:07 am

I will shop there!


Posted by GG, a resident of Danville
on Feb 11, 2012 at 6:23 pm

I will shop there too.


Posted by Mike, a resident of Danville
on Feb 13, 2012 at 10:15 am

Hey this is free market capitalism, no?


Posted by Derek, a resident of Danville
on Feb 13, 2012 at 2:52 pm

The likely reason Le Asia (which WAS a very inexpensive place to shop) went out of business, aside from Ranch 99 competition, was the high rent. That, folks, is no doubt why the large space has gone un-leased since Le Asia left. Let me say it again - low income people already HAVE places like Sprouts, Trader Joes, the Grocery Outlet, and Fresh & Easy to shop. It's not like Lunardi's and Draegers are the lone options in our area.


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