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Bulletin letters to the editor: There are concerns with Walmart

Walmart presents many negative issues

The April issue of Food and Water Watch magazine has an article called "Top Ten Ways Walmart Fails on Sustainability." Numbers 1 and 10 are especially important: Selling shoddy products, and spreading poverty. According to a study published in Social Science Quarterly, neighborhoods that gain Walmart stores end up with more poverty and food-stamp usage than communities where the retailer does not open. (I forwarded a link to this article to Cottage Grove Mayor Myron Bailey.)

Here are recent headlines in the Minneapolis Star Tribune: "Walmart's storm could have hit here," "The ethically-challenged company had great ambitions to be a big banker" and "Walmart told to pay $4.8 million in overtime case."

Recently the New York Times ran an extended expose about how Walmart of Mexico was faced with charges that it used bribery and other tactics to force its own market dominance. That is to say: they likely broke the law in both the U.S. and Mexico, but neglected to stop it.

The six heirs to the Walmart empire possess a combined wealth of some $90 billion, which is equivalent to the wealth of the entire bottom 30 percent of U.S. society. Are the citizens of Cottage Grove eager to contribute to this statistic?

During the month of May Walmart was sued for an "all black people must leave" prank. Protests by angry workers at two food processing facilities in Thailand recently drew attention to their horrific treatment. There are reports of human trafficking and child labor.

There are many environmental issues related to another big box store: excessive use of heat, lights, air conditioning and runoff from another large blacktop parking lot.

Sharon Fortunak

Cottage Grove

More respect would go a long way in the world

I am a baby boomer, a senior citizen, an election judge, volunteer at the Mill City Museum in Minneapolis, a part-time employee of Home Depot in Inver Grove Heights, a member of the Cottage Grove Human Services/Human Rights Commission and a Cottage Grove resident for 22 years. Right now I am upset, mad and unhappy about the world we live in.

Several incidents in the last few days are beginning to really make me more concerned about the world I live in. The world I thought I lived in doesn't exist anymore. Another child was shot while playing in her front yard in St. Paul. A so-called associate of mine turned out to be a racist. I was in the fitting room at Kohl's and clothes were thrown on the floor.

When I was younger my generation matched, protested and demanded equality for all no matter what race or gender a person is. I believed the glass ceiling would break and women would have the same opportunities as men. I believed that civil rights laws would help end racism and that there would be no more unjust wars. I was wrong. Everything would change and nothing has changed.

We live in the best country in the world and I believe we can make it better. I think that putting respect back in our lives would solve many of our current problems. The Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy says, "Respect has great importance in everyday life. As children we are taught (one hopes) to respect our parents, teachers, elders, traffic laws, family and cultural traditions, other people's feelings, our country's flag and leaders and people's differing opinions." This doesn't seem to be part of our lives anymore. We dis everything and everyone we don't agree with. I think that if we all embrace this basic virtue of respect for ourselves and for others, a lot of personal problems and community/world problems would be lessened. I know that I am naïve but this is what I believe.

Suzanne Villaume Koerner

Cottage Grove