Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Anti Walmart alder gets thrown out of office.

Politics: Never get between the public and their low prices.

JEFFERSON - A Jefferson alderman who twice this year voted against annexing land for a Wal-Mart SuperCenter has been thrown out of office. David Olsen, a funeral home operator and lifelong Jefferson resident whose first term on the City Council was to expire in April 2006, lost a recall election Tuesday to Chris Havill, an auto dealership manager. The vote was 880 for Havill and 815 for Olsen, a margin of 52 to 48 percent. It was the first recall election in the history of this city of 7,500 residents, about 35 miles east of Madison in Jefferson County. Olsen was among the dissenters in April when the council voted 5-3 against annexing 22 acres on which Wal-Mart planned to build a SuperCenter. In a second vote in June the results were flip-flopped, with 5-3 in favor of the annexation. But that was not enough support for the two-thirds majority required for an annexation. Olsen was again among those voting no. Afterward, citizens supporting Wal-Mart began circulating petitions to recall Olsen from office. Two other council members who voted no could not be recalled because they have not yet served a full year in office. Olsen said the message is clear. "Today was Jefferson's referendum on Wal-Mart. The closeness of the election shows how divided the city is," Olsen said. "The power of Wal-Mart has come in and said 'anyone who stands up to us had better watch out,' " he added. Olsen said he has every expectation that Wal-Mart will now return for another annexation try.
Unless he finds out Walmart promised everyone who voted him out a 30% discount, it was the power of the people that taught him a lesson.

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