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Activist Can Challenge Walmart, But He Has To Pay


Martin Dean DuPalo, resident and neighborhood activist, city of Las Vegas

BY MARIE ANDRUSEWICZ -- Activist Martin Dean Dupalo objects to his local Walmart selling liquor, claiming that his neighborhood has reached the saturation point for venues that sell alcohol.

“We had grown to some 85 liquor outlets within a 1.2 mile radius of our home, and we were unduly suffering the scars,” says Dupalo, pointing to several incidents in his neighborhood involving drunk drivers hitting parked cars and garages.

“I’m not a Johnny-come-lately – neighborhood integrity is important to me,” he says. In the past he has successfully lobbied City Council for speed bumps.

What he didn’t realize when he made the decision to appeal Walmart’s plan to sell liquor was that the playing field had changed  --  City Council now requires that citizens pay a fee to state their appeal. It costs $500, or $750 if the appeal involves contesting anything involving liquor.

“This is not part of the American system. You and I both pay taxes,” says Dupalo.

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But now Dupalo says that lobbying council is a game for big businesses and individuals with deep pockets.

“We’re talking about Walmart, we’re talking about a national company,” he says. “And then you’re talking about my neighborhood, which has reached that saturation point.”

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