Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

Councilman Rick Roelle in Apple Valley, California, says that Wal-Mart “blackmailed the town.”

Blackmail is no small matter. So, what did Wal-Mart do, specifically?

Wal-Mart worked with citizens of Apple Valley, including supplying money, to gather enough petition signatures to place a measure on the local ballot for voters to decide whether Wal-Mart could build a store.

“The initiative process was an opportunity that allowed voters to voice their support for the benefits that Wal-Mart would bring their community,” a spokesperson for Wal-Mart argued, “including jobs, affordable groceries, increased tax revenue, and infrastructure improvements.”

Who’s right?

Aside from the fact that there are many issues the majority has no right to decide, including whether a law-abiding business can open its doors, why not let the people decide? At least a vote of the people is a clearer expression of the public will than a city council decision.

Some complain that even when a local petition qualifies the voters often don’t get a vote. Under state law, if 15 percent of the electorate signs a petition, the matter must be placed on a special election ballot . . . unless the city council enacts it, instead.

Special elections cost big money. Cash-strapped city councils have voted to allow Wal-Mart development, simply (they say) to save the expense of holding an election.

But such “caving in” doesn’t seem like blackmail in light of Menifee’s experience. The Wal-Mart measure there won with 76 percent of the vote.

Unless, like some politicians, you think doing the electorate’s will is “blackmail.”

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor


  1. F says:

    Wal Mart collected signatures because going that route is cheaper than buying a majority of the city council, which is the other alternative. Maybe the Councilman resents the fact that Wal Mart didn’t grease his palm instead?

  2. ED KAHN says:

    Eliminate all “special elections” — especially bond elections. All questions must be on the regular November election ballot.

  3. Mark Read Pickens says:

    As a thirty-year Libertarian ideologue and Apple Valley resident, this resonated with me. I am a five-time Libertarian Party candidate for office and have been toying with another run. If I do, you can bet I’ll make Rick Roelle’s attitude an issue.

  4. Tom Miller says:

    Walmart lied to the people in AV and yes they did Blackmail the town. Walmart says they will pay for the ballot measure and then backs out at the last minute? Walmart right out bold faced lied to the council and people. The Town of AV is already knee deep in $$$. Walmart is a scam and needs to stop bulling the cities and small business owners.

  5. Ken Coleman says:

    Thank God for councilmen like Rick Roelle who care enough to speak up for the small business owners in AV. We Love you Rick!!

  6. Mark Read Pickens says:

    I notice Ken Coleman believes “small business owners” in Apple Valley should prosper at my expense.

    It seems to me that the “bullying of cities and small business owners” that Tom Miller refers to is code for forcing consumers such as me to pay higher prices.

  7. Joe bradly says:

    Sounds like Rick is the only one with common sense on the council good job.

  8. MoreFreedom says:

    To Tom Miller,
    Why should Walmart pay for the ballot measure. Enough people have signed the petitions. The state says that if 15% of the people sign a petition, the city must put it to a vote of the people, and that the 15% is enough to justify the city paying for it. The city didn’t pay to get the signatures, perhaps they should refund Walmart for the expense of getting the politicians to recognize the people’s will.

    That AV is deep in debt is not Walmart’s fault. You should be angry at your politicians. I’m sure Walmart’s presence and sales tax will help with the problem.

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