The Target Corporation is not making a good impression lately as they attempt to open their first retail locations in San Francisco. While initial community response to the idea seemed favorable, recent accusations of civil rights and environmental no-nos may threaten their master plan to infiltrate our notoriously green, gay, and anti chain-store city.
Target has its sights set on two new locations – one at Geary and Masonic in a vacant building that has been home to department stores in the past and one in SOMA’s Metreon Building.
The company already caught flack back in July for their $150,000 donation to an anti-LGBT political organization and raised eyebrows after attempting to duck SF’s non-discrimination rules. Now, in light of Monday’s news that the company has been ordered by an Alameda County judge to stop illegally dumping hazardous waste, will the city still welcome the corporation with open arms?
The judge’s injunction comes a year after a civil lawsuit was filed alleging that 240 Target Stores in California have been illegally disposing of hazardous consumer products that were returned or damaged in order to avoid expensive disposal fees.
“Target’s unlawful actions have put the health of Alameda County residents at risk,” District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said in a statement. Target purports it’s innocence, claiming that they have a comprehensive program to handle hazardous material.
Even before the news of the environmental taboo broke, the hearing to discuss the potential Metreon location was postponed from September 21st to October 5th to allow for more discussion time with San Francisco officials on how to resolve the issues surrounding their political contribution.
Senior project manager at the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency, Amy Neches, told the San Francisco Business Times, ” We think Target has a better understanding of how important these issues are in San Francisco and we have moved the hearing to allow more time to see if we can reach a resolution.”
San Francisco’s Equal Benefits Ordinance requires that companies doing business with the city to provide equal benefits to same-sex partners of employees that it does to opposite-sex partners. In order to contract with SF, companies either have to comply with SF’s Human Rights Commission’s rules or ask the city to waive the requirement. They have already applied for a waiver so that they can have a $75,000 three-year contract with the city to provide food, clothes and medicine to the General Hospital’s Trauma Center, a waiver that will not be granted if the Human Rights Commission can find a compliant vendor to take its place, says the HRC.
At the hearing for the proposed Geary location in late July, the community members that attended were in favor of the plan. We will have to wait until October 5th to see if the next hearing will be equally successful for Target.
On the same note, Walmart is another big box store trying to get into San Francisco city limits. Coincidentally, they were also accused of illegally dumping hazardous waste. They paid $27.6 million to settle the charges earlier this year. Will San Franciscan
s cave to the convenience and financial incentives of letting these guys in? What do you think?