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There were lion dancers, cyclists and a rally under Chinatown's dragon gates on Saturday, but construction on the project being protested had already begun last Tuesday. We hear how Walmart got around the Los Angeles City Council and found a way to open a new store in a building that's been empty for years. Is a cheap, full-service grocery what the neighborhood needs? Will its unique, ethnic identity be destroyed? Can a permit appeal by union labor stop construction before Walmart opens for business?  On our rebroadcast of today's To the Point, forest fires and federal money.

Banner image: Demonstrators protest against Walmart's Chinatown project on Saturday, June 30, 2012. Photo by Saul Gonzalez

Producers:
Katie Cooper
Anna Scott
Gideon Brower

Main Topic Walmart Comes to Chinatown 24 MIN, 59 SEC

In March, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously passed a moratorium on big chain stores in Chinatown. But Wal-Mart had beaten the politicians to the punch by pulling permits the day before. Construction on the new store at Cesar Chavez and Grand began last Tuesday. Opponents are appealing that action, and on Saturday staged a colorful protest in the neighborhood.

walmart.jpg

Guests:
Saul Gonzalez, KCRW producer (@SaulKCRW)
George Yu, Chinatown Business Improvement District
Virginia Parks, University of Chicago
Kathleen Kim, Human Resources
James Elmendorf, Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (@LAANE)

Main Topic Wildfires Rage across the West 24 MIN, 10 SEC

Image-for-WWLA.jpgIn the suburbs of Colorado Springs, residents are discovering what happens when a forest fire comes to town. Some cars are nothing but charred metal and some homes are burned to the ground, while, in the same neighborhood, other houses have not been touched. President Obama calls the Waldo Fire a "major disaster," while blazes rage in four other states as well. The federal government will pay for most of the fire-fighting.  Critics say that’s one reason local governments allow housing developments too close to forests that are increasingly likely to burn.

Guests:
Jeremy Meyer, Denver Post (@jpmeyerDPost)
Ray Rasker, Headwaters Economics
Harris Sherman, US Department of Agriculture
Kevin Jeffries, California State Assembly (@AsmJeffries)
Michael Kodas, author and journalist (@MichaelKodas)

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