Wal-Mart plays hardball


Wal-Mart says this store, planned for East Capitol Street near Southern Avenue, will never open if the D.C. Council mandates a “living wage.” (Courtesy of the A&R Companies)

For months they played coy as a long-dormant “living wage” proposal gained new momentum under union-friendly D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson. But on Tuesday, Wal-Mart executives made explicit what the “negative consequences” will be should the Large Retailer Accountability Act become law: Three of six planned D.C. stores, and possibly more, would never open in a town where the Arkansas retailer would be forced to pay its workers $12.50 while smaller and unionized competitors did not. “The LRAA would clearly inject unforeseen costs into the equation that would create an uneven playing field and challenge the fiscal health of our planned D.C. stores.,” regional executive Alex Barron writes in a Post op-ed. The upshot is that the three stores in the most underserved communities would disappear — including at Skyland Town Center, a project dear to Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D), who now faces a high-stakes veto choice. More from Housing ComplexWBJWaTimesWNEW-FMDCistWUSA-TVWAMU-FMWJLA-TV and WTOP.

In other news:

Police: Parked car was checked four times before Michael Kingsbury’s body was found; foul play not ruled out (PostWRC-TVWUSA-TVDCist)

Council will take initial vote today on sweeping new smoking restrictions (Post)

And vote on scratch-off lottery ticket contract (AP)

Tommy Wells and Marion Barry will introduce bill to decriminalize marijuana (WAMU-FM)

Barry will also introduce bill requiring new D.C. workers to live in the city (AP)

The three stores Wal-Mart is canceling “are the ones the District could use” (Housing Complex)

House GOP’s D.C. budget bill has the usual nasty riders (Post)

Dunbar High principal’s hard-line approach “appears to be paying off,” says Courtland Milloy (Post column)

Chartered Health Plan hemorrhaged money in its final months (WBJ)

Man killed Saturday morning in Marshall Heights was set to testify at carjacking trial (WJLA-TV)

DCPS elementary that closed this year will reopen as Somerset Preparatory Academy Public Charter School (Post)

Howard University’s credit rating could be downgraded (Post)

Curbside parking and garage parking are not interchangeable (GGW)

The wait for a D.C. DMV road test isn’t getting any shorter (WRC-TV)

Former FISA judge says it’s time for the public to have a voice in secret proceedings (WSJAP)

The best way to judge a school’s performance? (GGW)

Sherman Avenue rebuild is complete (Housing Complex)

Irv Nathan wins $300,000 fraud settlement from alumni website (WUSA-TV)

Gee whiz, if you report a pothole, they often get fixed! (GGW)

Eleanor Holmes Norton wants to make it easier to film on the Capitol grounds (DCist)

D.C. Brau will recreate a lost Washington classic (WBJ)

Mumbo sauce goes upscale (Post)

“This Town” is not our town (Post)

Mike DeBonis covers local politics and government for The Washington Post. He also writes a blog and a political analysis column that runs on Fridays.
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Mike DeBonis · July 9, 2013