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Walmart won't spur growth of LA's middle class says Councilwoman Jan Perry

By Omar Shamout
Published: Saturday, June 30, 2012, at 09:44AM
Ritz Topping Off Eric Richardson [Flickr]

Councilwoman Jan Perry pledged Thursday to reject campaign contributions from Walmart and said Friday that the retail giant's presence Downtown would not spur middle-class growth.

Councilwoman Jan Perry said that creating jobs with affordable benefits is the key to restoring the middle class in Los Angeles and Walmart won’t achieve that with its new Downtown grocery store.

“You have to look at the comparative analysis of wages and benefits and the hours that people are allowed to work,” Perry told Blogdowntown Friday. “That’s where you begin to see a division.”

That division is what Perry said separates a Walmart job with other low-income jobs around the city.

In March, Walmart employee Greg Fletcher told KPCC that he doesn’t have access to the same benefits full-time employees do despite working the same amount of hours.

"I already work full-time hours as a part-time associate, yet I get none of the benefits,” Fletcher said.

Perry said the “biggest threat” Walmart poses is that they “affect the ability of independent [businesses] to grow." She also argued that it’s up to the public sector to spur job growth through tax credits and other incentives while banks continue their lending freeze toward small businesses.

“One of the things I’ve always done when we’ve built projects in the city of Los Angeles and there’s been some component of public participation is to tie that to job creation,” Perry said.

However, she wouldn’t go so far as to join Tom Morello’s criticism of the retail giant. The guitarist/activist told Blogdowntown earlier today that he believes Walmart would “destroy Chinatown and unique neighborhoods across L.A. … just to make a few executives in the Walton family richer.”

“Let him have his view,” she said.

When asked why her pledge to reject Walmart's campaign contributions was not included in Thursday's press release from the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, Perry said she wasn’t ready to comment at the time of its release.

“I was responding when I was ready to respond,” Perry said.

Morello, rocker Ben Harper, punkers No Age and others will be playing and participating in a 10 a.m. rally to protest the proposed Chinatown Walmart Neighborhood store. Organizers expect about 10,000 people to attend the event that starts at the Los Angeles State Historic Park.

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