City of Ventura Ban on Big Box Stores, Measure C (November 2009)
If Measure C had passed, it would have banned any new store that is larger than 90,000 square feet from selling groceries.
After initiative supporters collected enough signatures to qualify the measure for the ballot, the city council had the option of whether to approve the initiated legislation as written, or have it go on the ballot. On December 15, 2008, the council made the decision to allow the initiative to go to the ballot. Approximately 8,000 signatures were gathered for ballot qualification purposes.
Some council members spoke against the initiative, saying it could hurt the area's economy.
The language of the initiative did not mention "Wal-Mart," but its supporters began working on the initiative after news surfaced that Wal-Mart wanted to replace a former K-mart store on Victoria Avenue with a store of its own.
- These final, certified, results are from the Ventura County elections office.
Arguments in favor of Measure C for the official voter guide were signed by:
- Nan Waltman, Chair, Livable Ventura
- Susan Lacey, Former Ventura County Supervisor
- Marcos Vargas, Executive Director, Central Coast Alliance for a Sustainable Economy
- Karen Kinrose, business owner in Ventura
- Carol Lindberg, retired Ventura teacher
The arguments they made in favor of passing Measure C included:
- If a Wal-Mart Superstore is built in Ventura that is allowed to sell groceries, it will sell groceries that are already available in Ventura.
- Traffic will increase if a Wal-Mart Superstore is built.
- "Superstores generate a vast number of car and 18-wheeler delivery truck trips each day."
- When a Wal-Mart store is in a community, it "dramatically increase[s] the need for police services."
- A Wal-Mart Superstore would be detrimental to "the quality of life that we cherish in Ventura."
- This ordinance would allow Ventura to "welcome needed retailers" with very large stores such as Best Buy or IKEA because it only prevents very large stores from selling groceries.
Arguments against Measure C for the official voter guide were signed by Christy Weir, the Mayor of Ventura; Neal Andrews, a city council member; Carl Morehouse, a city council member; and Lorraine Foster, a community activist.
The arguments they made against Measure C included:
- Measure C will not prevent Wal-Mart from coming to Ventura; it will only prevent a certain type of Wal-Mart store, the Wal-Mart Superstore that sells groceries.
- Preventing a new grocery store through Measure C will eliminate competition and increase grocery prices.
- Measure C is not about protecting Ventura's qualify of life. It is about a union and "some giant grocery chains" acting to avoid future competition for their own selfish reasons.
- According to the opponents, "A 'yes' vote means you are satisfied with the grocery prices of Ralph's, Von's and Albertson's."
The editorial board of the Ventura County Reporter opposed Measure C. They wrote, "Measure C could also start a bad chain reaction, discouraging major retailers with a strong business pull from ever stepping foot in Ventura. Existing retailers in Ventura would fall prey to the effects of Measure C, as well. If the initiative passes, stores like the Pacific View Mall Target, which carries groceries, would become non-conforming under the new law, mandated to scale back their already successful and popular operations if renovations or re-uses were to be needed in the future. While we’re no fan of Wal-Mart’s business tactics, we feel this measure is really about protectionism."
- Initiative banning big box grocers on ballot
- Ballot language, Measure C
- Full text of Measure C
- City attorney's impartial analysis of Measure C
- Arguments in favor of and against Measure C
- Rebuttals to arguments in favor of and against Measure C