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Sound Off! calls published Oct. 3, 2007
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• Something nicer than a Supercenter?

Doesn't anyone care about Ceres? Wal-Mart Corporation does not! We already have a Wal-Mart. What does a town of 41,000 people need with another Wal-Mart?

The main sponsors of Little League, soccer, etc., are the local businesses. Also, schools are always asking for donations and Wal-Mart does not contribute. Who's going to help fill empty stores once Wal-Mart dominates sections of Ceres? What's going to happen to the little video store in Save Mart's shopping center? Also our floral shops?

Let's get something a little nicer than fas-food chains, IHOP and Denny's. A nice hotek, a movie theater, bowling alley, putt-putt golf, Trader Joe's and cafes, something like the Lunch Pail in Modesto, California Pizza Kitchen in Stockton and so on.

(Editor's note: In all fairness to the Ceres Wal-Mart, thousands are given away to various non-profit organizations in Ceres every year).

• Wal-Mart bashing continues

For those of us on a fixed income, there is plenty of good shopping in Ceres. Watching the sales ads helps. Sometimes I shop at Wal-Mart, but I like Richland Market's service and produce.

In the letter, "Wal-Mart has a dark side," I appreciate the writer's thoughtfulness as she warns us to think about the ethical issues that Wal-Mart tries to excuse itself from. I think it's greed. I continue to read how Wal-Mart's lawyers keep cases in court so they do not have to pay fines, and buys community goodwill in the slightest and stingiest of ways.

In 2004 it was estimated that Wal-Mart Corporation spent $1.4 billion on advertising and spent $1.5 billion on health care. Clearly, Wal-Mart's public image needs more wizardry help than the health and well-being of its employees. In 2005 Wal-Mart was required to pay $11 million to settle allegations because it had failed to pay overtime to janitors, many of whom worked seven nights a week.

How Wal-Mart operates for Wal-Mart may be "free enterprising" but people do not need to be walked over. I do not support a second Wal-Mart in Ceres and I never worked for a union. It's not about union or non-union. It's about valuing people.