Walmart’s LA Invasion

Walmart in Chinatown, Walmart at Dodgers Stadium?

Last week, residents of Los Angeles saw two important developments related to Walmart’s increasing footprint on the city. First, residents geared up to stop a proposed Walmart in the city’s historic Chinatown.  Second, Stan Kroenke, emerged as a leading contender to buy the Dodgers and Dodger Stadium, less than a mile from the site of the proposed Walmart store.

Why do these things matter to Angelenos and why are they connected?

The Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy recently broke the story that Walmart is attempting to open a store in Chinatown.    “We’re concerned that our historic community is going to be negatively affected by the development of this Walmart,” said Sissy Trinh, executive director of the Southeast Asian Community Alliance (SEACA). “The reality is that our local businesses that have serviced the Asian community for generations will likely get squeezed out of Chinatown.”

Meanwhile, we also learned this week that Stan Kroenke is likely to become the new owner of the Dodgers and Dodger Stadium. How does Kroenke connect to Walmart? Kroenke is married Ann Walton Kroenke, who is an heiress to the Walmart fortune. The family is worth more than $100 billion, making them the richest family in the nation.

Kroenke also made much of his initial fortune developing Walmart stores and is a former Walmart board member. Mr. Kroenke is also a big giver to Republican causes.  Kroenke and his wife have spent more than $300,000 in federal elections since 1992, with 96% going to Republicans.   What does it mean for Los Angeles that a member of the nation’s richest family and a shopping mall developer is a finalist to buy the storied Dodger’s franchise and stadium?    Will the new buyer  continue with plans for a large real estate development adjacent to the stadium?

Los Angeles is a city that is constantly being renewed and reimagined.   But, do Angelenos want their historic communities and their iconic sports stadiums to be shaped by a family that has no real ties to Los Angeles, has a history of displacing local retail jobs with lower paying retail jobs and is advancing a conservative Republican political agenda.

What do you think?