“This is far from over” — that’s the new battle cry from the Stop Walmart in Burbank group, following last Monday’s controversial community open house by Walmart. Instead of the public forum most folks were anticipating, Walmart offered up a promotional event stocked with tables, charts, PR materials, and smiling Walmart executives.
The focus –the new Burbank Walmart and how Walmart REALLY is a good neighbor.
The Walmart crew swarmed a ground floor section of the old Great Indoors building delivering the company line to residents, the media, and anyone else who dropped by. I had a chat with Walmart director of public affairs, Javier Angulo. He gushed about Walmart’s intention to hire 300 employees for its Burbank store. Angulo says the plan is for the new Walmart to open “… summer of 2012.”
At this event, considerable pressure was put on residents to sign cards in support of the valley’s newest Walmart. In media reports, Walmart spokesman, Steven Testivo, claimed more than 200 residents signed those cards, however, he admitted most were interested in getting a job rather than shopping at the store.
Meanwhile, the Stop Walmart in Burbank group has slammed Testivo for allegedly flip-flopping on the structure of the event.
Team Stop Walmart in Burbank’s official statement:
“Steven Restivo went on record in the Burbank Leader to say that we would be given a public forum (http://www.burbankleader.com/news/tn-blr-0917-walmart,0,3256113.story). That was not a public forum Mr. Restivo. You haven’t even opened your doors and already you are lying to Burbank residents. We shouldn’t be surprised at what they did as its par for the course, but it was still a slap in the face to Burbank residents that have legitimate questions who didn’t get any answers. I have heard that they plan to show up to City Council in November, which I think is another strategical move. We need a meeting where Walmart is the only agenda on the list. And we only want Walmart representatives that have answers to our questions to show up. This is far from over.”