Hundreds oppose Wal-mart at Development Advisory Committee meeting
17 October 2012
When the County Council chambers reached standing-room only capacity, more than a hundred people were still in line to attend the Development Advisory Committee Meeting. Inside the meeting, citizens spoke about issues of traffic, public safety, and economic and urban planning sense for Harford County. Although Wal-mart is advertising that its move will benefit because it creates jobs, people pointed out that these low wage jobs drain taxpayer dollars because Wal-mart employees typically enroll in public assistance. Another citizen noted that Wal-mart was not int he least co-operative at the meeting that Abingdon Council attended with them in the spirit of reaching a compromise, stating bluntly that they do not do neighbourhood agreements, but adding that they contribute to charitable activity on their own, based on the profit the store made in that community. One of the citizens who came to comment asked if anyone int he audience had come in support of Walmart and not one hand went up.
Outside in line people were carrying signs and shouting ‘NO WAL-MART!” and collecting signatures on a petition to deny entry to the store in its proposed location on Plumtree Road in Bel Air. Many passersby waved and honked in support. Many people felt that the county should have held the meeting in a larger venue, as it was notified well in advance that hundreds of residents were interested in attending the meeting. When the chambers reached their capacity of 259 people, the remaining citizens had to wait outside – over 100 people stood outside the office from 8:30 am – 10:30 pm, unable to get a seat at the meeting. Many people bemoaned the county’s failure to accommodate the level of citizen interest either by arranging a suitable venue or by at least providing a speaker so that those outside could hear what was happening inside.
People shared copies of the pamphlet 10 Reasons to Oppose Walmart.