By a 60 percent vote, residents of Inglewood, Calif., rejected a ballot initiative April 6 that would have given Wal-Mart Corp. carte blanche to ignore zoning, traffic and environmental regulations to build a mega-store in their Los Angeles County community.

“They pay poverty-level wages, usually without health care, forcing their employees onto welfare to survive,” said civil rights leader Rev. James Lawson at a press conference of the Coalition for a Better Inglewood. Gil Mathieu Jr., a 40-year Inglewood resident, said, “After they put everybody out of business, they’ll raise the prices. People will have fewer places to shop and lower quality of goods.”

Wal-Mart spent $1 million on a TV advertising campaign aimed at African American voters. It brought them only 4,573 votes, at $218 a vote.

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