The debate over the city of San Diego’s ban of big-box grocers such as Wal-Mart Supercenters will simmer in the New Year as it did toward the end of 2006.

With the prospects of a voter referendum on the city law on the horizon, here are some tidbits that were gathered just before‘s holiday break next week.

  • We recently took a look at Wal-Mart’s political efforts in other California cities that have tried to shut the retail giant out, including nearby San Marcos, where voters approved a ban on Supercenters in 2004.

Because of its proximity to the city’s fight, the supporters and opponents of the San Marcos ban might provide an indicator about who the political spenders would be in a San Diego referendum.

The United Food and Commercial Workers, which represents the employees of traditional grocers such as Vons and Ralphs, spent nearly $31,000 on the campaign supporting the ban. Individuals contributed another $2,000 for the ban.

In opposition, Wal-Mart spent $158,000. No individuals contributed monetarily to the campaign.

  • The San Diego Union-Tribune cited poll results that Wal-Mart had gathered in an editorial today that scorned the ban.

In fact, a poll done by Wal-Mart in San Diego found that fully 80 percent of voters opposed the City Council telling them where they could or could not shop.

A Wal-Mart representative, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said today that the company would not release its polling, but confirmed that “upwards of 80 percent” of a poll’s respondents responded “yes” to the following question:

Consumers should be the ones who should chose what type of store they want to shop in, not local governments.

The law, which must still withstand a vowed veto by Mayor Jerry Sanders before it is enacted, would outlaw stores that are more than 90,000 square feet from using 10 percent of their floor space for the sale of groceries and tax-exempt items.


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