Wal-Mart will open a so-called ‘Neighborhood Market’ with a grocery and pharmacy in Rohnert Park, in the 33,000-square-foot space formerly occupied by Pacific Market, the company said Wednesday.
Wal-Mart is resuming efforts to expand its Rohnert Park store into a superstore, reviving a controversial plan that was halted in court after one of the more divisive arguments in recent city history. The city Planning Commission will hold a public hearing Thursday to review the project and new studies evaluating its effect on the community.
Santa Rosa is being sued for its decision to relax zoning rules for large grocery stores that want to set up shop in existing buildings in the city’s southeast. When the City Council passed the zoning changes in September, it said it was trying to remove hurdles for businesses, create jobs and give low-income residents better access to fresh food and vegetables.
With the fall elections upon us, Californians are reeling under a weak recovery, enduring both historic levels of income inequality and the most severe fiscal crisis in recent history. To address the crisis we must have some common sense remedies: raise taxes on the wealthy and build a movement for a fair and more equitable tax system.
The Santa Rosa Planning Commission today will reconsider its June 14 vote to grant a permit for a Target store at Coddingtown mall, a move that has frustrated some business and political leaders but encouraged advocates of better wages and benefits for workers. The decision could determine how quickly the mall can move forward with plans to demolish the two-story former Gottschalks building and replace it with a 143,000-square-foot single story Target, which would be Santa Rosa’s second.
Wal-Mart may revive a controversial plan to expand its Rohnert Park store with a 32,000-square-foot grocery — a proposal approved by the city two years ago but then stopped in court. ‘We’re evaluating the next steps and working with the city on the requirements established by the judge’s ruling,’ said Wal-Mart West media director Delia Garcia. She was referring to a 2011 decision in which Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Rene Chouteau said parts of the environmental report for the project were inadequate.
Of the 200 to 250 employees expected to be employed at the store, 60 percent would be full time, with the remainder split evenly among part-timers working 20 to 32 hours per week, who get some benefits, and those who work less, who receive none.
The nation is now experiencing the most severe jobs crisis since the Great Depression. President Barack Obama’s jobs plan will provide a much-needed extension of unemployment benefits and a payroll tax cut for working Americans. Nevertheless, only a federally funded jobs program, such as the Works Progress Administration, launched by President Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s, can fully address the catastrophe.