Check out our recent investigation into Wal-Mart stores in California - Wal-Mart ramps up ballot threats to speed new stores.
In a push to expand across California without interference, Wal-Mart is increasingly taking advantage of the state’s initiative system to threaten elected officials with costly special elections and to avoid environmental lawsuits.
The Arkansas-based retailer has hired paid signature gatherers to circulate petitions to build new superstores or repeal local restrictions on big-box stores. Once 15 percent of eligible voters sign the petitions, state election law puts cash-strapped cities in a bind: City councils must either approve the Wal-Mart-drafted measure without changes or put it to a special election.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. says it plans to build four new supercenters in the area, with locations in Cedar Park, Manor, Kyle and Elgin.
Each store will be 150,000 square feet and employ about 300 associates, creating about 1,200 jobs, company officials said.
The stores in Kyle, Elgin and Manor will be Wal-Mart’s first entry into those markets. The supercenter planned for Cedar Park would be the second for that area northwest of Austin.