Inglewood voters decide whether to allow retailer to disregard its rulesIn the movie Rollerball, governments have faded away and one private corporation controls the world. Like the movie farce Americathon, which depicts a bankrupt America, Rollerball appears to have an element of prophecy.

Wal-Mart has a global strategy, and the company is testing a sweeping new proposal in California. Voters in Inglewood decide today on whether to assent to Wal-Mart's bold proposal to set up a city within their city.

On the ballot in Inglewood is a proposal to exempt a parcel of 60 acres from all zoning laws and environmental regulations. Wal-Mart took this approach after being rebuffed by the city council, which cited environmental, traffic, labor, public safety and economic concerns.

To get on the ballot, Wal-Mart gathered 10,000 signature. The New York Times reported that opponents say Wal-Mart has paid signature gatherers more than it pays its average clerk. It is spending heavily on campaign advertising directed at the town's largely Latino and African-American voting base.

In the past year, Wal-Mart has discovered politics. The corporation has become one of the top donors to federal campaigns, and it's opened a Washington, D.C. lobbying office. The gambit in Inglewood is being closely watched by other retailers.

Wal-Mart spells death for communities, because it decimates the local retail core while paying substandard wages and offering no health benefits. If a community wants low prices while impoverishing itself and its citizens, Wal-Mart is the way to go.


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