As several Southern California city councils debate the merits of Wal-Mart Supercenters and other big-box grocers, the San Bernardino County grand jury has decided to examine the food-and-retail emporiums’ impacts on local governments and economies.

The San Bernardino County Sun reported that the panel sent a letter to the city of Rialto, where a Supercenter is being proposed. The letter reads:

We are engaged in an investigative effort to ascertain how a large retail business, such as Wal-Mart, affects the economic welfare of smaller businesses, as well as car and foot traffic in the surrounding area.

Wal-Mart spokesman Kevin McCall told the papert he was confident that “at the end of the study, the cities are going to find out having a Wal-Mart Supercenter with the tax revenue and employment is a positive.”

County grand juries are tasked with examining aspects of government and issuing recommendations for the agency, which must then respond to the panel’s suggestions. More locally, the San Diego County grand jury made headlines last year when it issued reports that claimed the fund transfers between the city’s water and park departments were improper.


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