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It's rumored that the site at 18th and Broadway that's been vacant since 2000 will soon be occupied by a new Walmart store. But First District Metro Council Representative Attica Scott is aggressively opposing such a plan because of Walmart's relatively low pay and lack of union representation, and because she thinks they'd provide harmful competition to neighboring small businesses.
Let's forget for a moment the fact that this land isn't even inside Ms. Scott's district. What's unfortunate about her stance is that this is exactly the kind of thing West End residents have long been clamoring for - a major retail outlet in a place where they can conveniently shop without having to drive all over the county, and a significant new source of employment opportunities.
True, most people don't get rich working at Walmart. But without the shot at an entry-level job, how can people ever have the chance to move up to something better? And judging from the many supportive comments that have been heard from nearby merchants, most of them seem to think they'll benefit from the additional traffic such a store would generate.
It would be nice if the economically-depressed West End could be transformed overnight into the next Silicon Valley. But that's unrealistic. A new Walmart would be a positive first step though. And I hope that - if the rumors are true - it will be embraced rather than condemned.