Home Depot Smear Campaign

Company is more concerned about profit than racism

By Karen Zimmerman
Published on LatinoLA: June 7, 2007

Home Depot Smear Campaign

I read the community letter about Home Depot and Sunland-Tujunga with deep regret. Home Depot has been conducting a smear campaign against our community, painting us to be racists and bigots. You only need to drive through Sunland-Tujunga to see we are a rich and varied multi-cultural community. Visit our local schools, stop by Sunland Park, dine at any of our restaurants, celebrate Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes and you will see the richness of our cultural backgrounds, living side by side.

Home Depot says we oppose them because we do not want day laborers. Drive along Foothill Blvd. and you will find day laborers here without Home Depot. A cross section of Los Angeles lives here.

Why is Home Depot conducting this campaign against us? Because they cannot beat us on facts. I was at the January appeal meeting that was held in Van Nuys. That meeting was NOT about keeping people out of our community. It was about one issue and one issue alone. Whether or not Home Depot's 'remodel' of the old Kmart building is actually a 'project', which would require environmental studies be done before Home Depot could proceed.

Why do we want the environmental review? Home Depots are usually located in semi-industrial areas, not down the block from an elementary school, not next door to a mobile home park, not surrounded by homes and families. Home Depot is doing all that it can to avoid any kind of environmental study. And so they make up lies about our community.

Wherever you go you can find someone who will say or write something racist. That's an unfortunate fact of life. But to label the majority of us as bigots is wrong and dishonest. They even have demeaned our City Councilmember, Wendy Greuel, because she has been supporting our community's battle against Home Depot. Wendy Greuel is NOT a bigot.

We are not alone here in Sunland-Tujunga in our battle against Home Depot. Home Depot has taken over the leases of a number of old Kmart locations. Home Depot is a very different kind of 'retailer' than a Kmart (or Target, which is what our community needs!). They are different in what they sell, in their customer base, in the kind of transportation delivery issues they raise, and in their environmental impact.

Imagine your home, your family, living next door to the traffic, noise and hazardous materials that you would find in a Home Depot.

This really comes down to money. Home Depot doesn't want to lose this location because they have said a store here would bring in a profit of $1 million a year! It doesn't matter that we can drive ten minutes to the Home Depot in San Fernando or that our community is within a twenty minute drive of several other Home Depots. They want to make a $1 million a year here at our expense.

For more information on small towns across our country fighting Home Depot visit: A Citizen's View of Home Depot Not in Our Hometown: The Orange Wars

About Karen Zimmerman:
My husband and I have lived in the foothills for over 30 years. We raised our family here. We are not members of the No2HomeDepot committe but we support their efforts.

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