Wal-mart tries to gain favor in NYC

July 5, 2011 3:12:18 PM PDT
The Mayor marched into a firestorm over Wal-Mart on Tuesday.

The company's donating $4-million to help create summer jobs for young people.

So reporters asked the obvious, is that donation supposed to persuade New Yorkers who don't like Wal-Mart?

"Let me tell you what, it won't with me. This city is open to everybody. Period. End of story," Mayor Bloomberg said.

But it wasn't the end of the story.

Wal-Mart has gone on a media blitz with newspaper ads and patriotic TV commercials.

And now, the mayor got testy asking, so what if Wal-Mart's trying to curry a little favor?

"Wal-Mart is a good corporate citizen, how do you do your company's philanthropy without saying it's connected to everything. Everything is connected. I answered it for you," Bloomberg said.

It's expected the company will open its first store in the five boroughs on the land near the Gateway Mall. This has got nearby business owners worried.

"It means I'm in trouble, big trouble, we won't' be here. It's happened all over the United States, they come in and small businesses go out," said Eddie Peralta, a hardware store owner.

Councilmember Charlie Barron, who has led protests in the past, today scoffed at Wal-Mart's donation.

"And Wal-Mart?! Please! They are a multibillion dollar company. East New York is not for sale," Barron said.

Wal-Mart has already given 13-million to non-profits in the city.

"So today's announcement is just an extension of what we've been doing for several years. This is not part of the overall campaign to persuade New Yorkers to accept Wal-Mart- no, they already do. If you look at every single poll the support for Wal-Mart coming to the five boroughs is overwhelmingly positive," a Wal-Mart representative said.

And the Mayor agreed, urging reporters to stop picking on Wal-Mart.

"We've had enough we are here to talk about summer youth; we are here to talk about jobs," Bloomberg said.

Wal-Mart says it does not need any city council approval or zoning laws changed, so apparently the company can move forward. The only question is when?