Hundreds of residents have attended hearings held by the Los Angeles City Council’s Economic Development and Employment Committee on ways to mitigate the negative effects of supercenters on the community. Supercenters are massive stores, primarily operated by Target and Wal-Mart, that combine general merchandise with a full supermarket.
No specific ordinance has been drafted, but committee chair Eric Garcetti has proposed that supercenters be required to pay a living wage when they locate within one of the city’s Economic Assistance Zones. These zones cover large portions of the city, including most of the areas where retailers could find suitable sites for large stores.
Businesses that locate in the zones, which are considered economically distressed areas, receive certain tax advantages from the city. This means the city can legally impose higher standards on businesses within the zones, according to Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo.
The city’s living wage law, which currently applies only to city employees and contractors, mandates $9.78 per hour, about $3 more than Wal-Mart pays at its California stores.
Supporters of the regulations say that supercenters should be held to reasonable standards that put them on par with existing retailers.