The proposed "interim control ordinance," which would have "blocked retailers with standardized merchandise or facades from opening stores larger than 20,000 square feet" in the neighborhood adjacent to downtown Los Angeles was drafted at the request of Councilman Ed Reyes, who represents the Chinatown area and chairs the council's Planning and Land Use Management Committee. Although the ordinance was opposed by the city's Planning Department and Planning Commission, it gained the support of 11 Council members, just one short of the 12 votes needed to pass.
"Labor supporters urged the council to keep Walmart out of the neighborhood," says Walton, "arguing that the low-wage jobs are harmful to employees. However, Councilman Bernard Parks, who represents parts of South Los Angeles, said any job is better than none. He also noted that low-income areas often lack access to grocery stores".
"'We are being held hostage over philosophical views and, particularly, this age-old discussion about high benefits, high wages,' said Parks, adding that more generous companies don't often locate in working-class communities."