Springfield, MO

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Letter to the Editor: What’s connection between Bistro closing, Wal-Mart?

Posted online
Dear editor,

Re: “Bistro Market closes majority of operations,” published June 21

In 2014, the former mayor and city council members railroaded their constituents for the world’s largest corporation. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) thought nothing more of Springfield than a “test market” for the Neighborhood Market experiment in retail domination of local economies, as if they weren’t already more than adept at that. The neighborhoods didn’t want it and locally owned business surely didn’t – almost nobody did. Everybody understood the cost of such stupidity.

We fought back, as a city, and secured by petition a citywide vote. Mayor Bob Stephens and the city attorney refused to defend our petition, which resulted in a Missouri Supreme Court fight where Wal-Mart hired the former chief justice as its attorney, among others, and the rest is history. I can’t make this stuff up.

So, now I am asking the city for numbers. We know we have lost four Dillons stores – maybe not related but the timing is curious – and Price Cutter Supermarkets reopened in two of them. But the local grocery chain is now down another, with Bistro Market’s loss. The employee-owned Price Cutter/Pyramid Foods invested in downtown’s revitalization at the city’s request with the Bistro. And the Downtown Market that served the disabled complexes downtown with delivery is also gone – with the jobs and tax revenues.

I asked the city for the tax data, jobs information, etc., to present to City Council. I was told by city employees they have that info but won’t give it to me. And their paychecks come from my “confiscated” tax dollars that I work for every day? Imagine that.

I will be at City Council on July 10 to ask these questions: How has selling out to Wal-Mart helped your locally owned businesses, the living standards of working poor? Also, what has Wal-Mart done to support your professed dream of downtown revitalization, which Pyramid Foods invested in at the city’s request?

Join me at council for a sincere heart-to-heart. It should be telling at least.

—Dave Klotz, Springfield


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