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Walmart Opponents to Send a Message with Billboard Next to Proposed Watertown Site

Mike Mandel led the effort and designed the billboard to show an alternative vision for the site at Arsenal and Irving streets.

Opponents of the proposal to bring Walmart to Watertown will make their message clear by putting up a billboard right next to the land where developers want to put the store.

Mike Mandel – who ran for Town Council on an anti-Walmart platform – and his wife Chantal Zakari designed the billboard. It will say “Imagine No Big Box.”

The sign will go up May 1 at the corner of Arsenal and Irving streets

“We wanted to locate a public artwork at the site of the proposed Walmart that would get people to start imagining what could be built at the site instead of a big box store,” Mandel said.

The billboard also includes a drawing of a one and two story building, which Mandel said, along with people walking and bicycling.

“The imagery of the architecture is suggestive of the type of development recommended in the town's Strategic Plan for Economic Development: light, high tech industry, and offices, and a place that would be accommodating for public interaction in a positive way like a bike path that is symbolized by the bicyclist and child in the design, as well as pedestrians,” Mandel said.

Madel called the effort a community effort, and although the idea did not come from Sustainable Watertown members did send out a request for donations to their email list. The sign costs $2,500 and the couple put a call out for donations from their supporters. The couple was suprised how quickly the money was raised.

“Amazingly, we have met our goal of raising $2,500 in just over 3 days time,” the couple wrote to their supporters.

They will continue to raise money in hopes of renting the space for a second month.

Bill_Ch March 23, 2012 at 03:40 PM
To Icortess: First, If property values have already fallen, it's not because of the signs, it's because of the possibility of a Walmart moving in. I don't think a few small protests have really had any impact on home values. Second, it's a challenge to make a claim like that, as there are so many factors that could affect home price values in a specific neighborhood. According to Zillow.com, Watertown home prices have been pretty flat or ticking up slightly over the past quarter or two, and the changes have been pretty similar to the surrounding towns of Cambridge, Arlington, Waltham, and Belmont.
Bill_Ch March 23, 2012 at 05:02 PM
I've noticed some more of Sonny's comments got deleted. I guess we should quote them when replying or people won't know how we're pointing out their flaws and inaccuracies.
Albert Manfredonia March 23, 2012 at 06:04 PM
I live in the neigborhood and I am fed up with the protesters. They stand in my land and on the planting strip yelling and waving signs. Cars honk at them and they yell some more. When they quit they leave trash. Last time I had to pick up papers and juice boxes and a DIRTY DIAPER. I work nights and need to sleep. GO SOMEWHERE ELSE AND YELL
Bill_Ch March 23, 2012 at 06:51 PM
Albert Manfredonia said, "I live in the neigborhood and I am fed up with the protesters..." As far as I know, there were only two protests that took place near residential neighborhoods. I think they happened about a month apart. One was at the possible Arsenal street entrance, and the other was at the proposed alternate entrance on Irving Street. Which was the one that disturbed you? If you think the noise from a small 2-hour protest was bad, imagine what it would be like to have an extra few thousand cars going by every day, all day long.
Albert Manfredonia March 23, 2012 at 08:05 PM
I SAID you left crap everywhere I SAID you yelled like a bunch of turks. Cars go by all the time but they dont honk when your not here yelling and they dont throw used diapers in my yard. Dont you people need a permit or something. maybe Angie can help me get the police here when you paint your big sign so you dont leave rags and buckets everywhere. I have to go to work now I DONT HAVE TIME TO STAND AROUND YELLING
MV March 23, 2012 at 08:24 PM
I live in the neighborhood and I think the protestors are great! Come on down any time. Every time I've seen them around they have struck me as a group of quiet, polite, well-behaved middle-aged folks. Never seen them make a mess. Never heard them yell. (I do love to hear the horns honking in support though). Come on down! Stand on my land! Small price to pay for keeping WalMart out of town. P.S., If you have a different opinion from mine, maybe you should have asked them nicely to leave. Did you try that? They're not exactly a bunch of hooligans.
Bill_Ch March 25, 2012 at 04:56 AM
Sonny Beaches said, "the Birkenstock Brigade is aroused." This from a guy whose shopping list (from a comment Sonny made that's since been deleted) includes belgian endive and baby bella mushrooms. I don't know why you think lowered property values and increased traffic would only be opposed by people wearing a certain brand of sandal. The people opposing Walmart cover a diverse cross section of the town. You'll see a lot of red signs in the Beacon Park and Otis Farm (where I live) neighborhoods, that are filled with mostly working-class people, young families and retirees, new arrivals and long-time residents.
John MacNeill March 25, 2012 at 12:43 PM
A similar "wannabe artists" comment got you banned at the Tab when you tried to include me in your conspiracy theory. Disagreement doesn't have to descend into name-calling.
Bill_Ch March 25, 2012 at 02:41 PM
The post above was made as a reply to a message (since deleted) from Sonny Beaches where he referred to me as, "dear boy," and incorrectly stated that the Sustainable Watertown and Watertown Spring web sites said the nearest residences were 400 feet away from the possible Walmart site. He also claimed that Watertown was no longer able to attract light industry.
Bill_Ch March 25, 2012 at 02:46 PM
The post above was made as a reply to a message (since deleted) from Sonny Beaches where he claimed (incorrectly) that the nearest residences to the possible Walmart property were 400 feet away. He also disputed my claim that the owner of the property, Cresset Development, was not owned by some very wealthy people.
Bill_Ch March 25, 2012 at 02:48 PM
Part of the post above was made as a reply to a message (since deleted) from Sonny Beaches where he claimed that abutting a Walmart was better than abutting a vacant lot.
Bill_Ch March 25, 2012 at 03:33 PM
A post by Sonny Beaches referred to a Boston.com article mentioning that BJ's and Stop & Shop ground beef contained "pink slime" (also known as lean finely textured beef). In the article, BJ's announced they will stop using it in fresh meat on April 7th. On March 22, Stop & Shop also announced they they would stop using it. It seemed that Sonny was trying to imply that Walmart didn't also use the stuff, but now it looks like Walmart is also jumping on the no-pink-slime bandwagon. On March 21, Walmart released a statement that they currently use it, but will stop at some unannounced point in the future. "Recently some customers have expressed concerns with lean finely textured beef (LFTB) and, while the USDA and experts agree that it is safe and nutritious, Walmart and Sam's Club will begin offering fresh ground beef that does not contain LFTB." (see: http://www.4-traders.com/WAL-MART-STORES-INC-4841/news/WAL-MART-STORES-INC-Walmart-Statement-Regarding-Lean-Finely-Textured-Beef-14231336/ for the full statement)
Bill_Ch March 25, 2012 at 04:00 PM
To Albert Manfredonia, who is exceedingly upset with the anti-Walmart protesters: I mentioned this to some people I know at SustainableWatertown, and they assured me that they are taking your comments very seriously and were unaware that this occurred at either of the two stand-outs. They ask that you drop them a line at info@sustainablewatertown.org so they can get further details and make certain that it does not occur in the future.
Sonny Beaches March 26, 2012 at 01:13 PM
Mr. MacNeill, I am saddened by the tone of your comments, perhaps more roughage in your diet would improve your disposition ;-)
Albert Manfredonia March 26, 2012 at 04:11 PM
I talked to some town counselors I know about the noise and garbage. I told them satnding around yelling for hours and making cars stop is bad for the neighborhood. If your doing this all the time you should have a police detail like when work is being done. Maybe then you wont throw your trash on my land and make cars stop
John MacNeill March 26, 2012 at 05:12 PM
I was happy to hear that Wal-Mart will stop selling pink-slime tainted "fresh" ground beef. Maybe you should ask them to stop selling it in their frozen patties also?
John MacNeill March 26, 2012 at 07:26 PM
Correction; according to the Tab: "Wal-Mart says it will make some LFTB-free ground beef available, but it wasn’t clear whether it would continue to sell beef products with pink slime as well." So, they're making available "some" untainted beef. Nice.
Bill_Ch March 26, 2012 at 09:19 PM
Wow! I don't know if it's Sonny himself, or the Patch that's deleting Sonny's comments, but it seems that every time someone proves that his mean-spirited remarks are, in fact, incorrect, those comments suddenly disappear.
Bill_Ch March 26, 2012 at 09:47 PM
I agree with you Mr. Manfredonia. And while I wouldn't consider two stand-outs in three months to be "doing it all the time," I do think your point is well taken. (For those who are wondering, the stand-outs occurred on January 19th and March 3rd. They were along Arsenal street in the vicinity of Beacon Park.) Again, if you haven't already done so, I urge you to drop a line to info@sustainablewatertown.org, letting them know your street address, and I'm certain they will take steps to make sure you aren't bothered in the future.
Jenna Lafont March 27, 2012 at 03:15 PM
Where can one get a hold of a NO WALMART lawn sign?
Albert Manfredonia March 27, 2012 at 06:45 PM
I DONT agree with you. There have been more than 2 and waht do you know. I went to sustainablewatertown and I didnt see your name there. I did see where they bragged about stopping cars. I talked to a retired cop and he said its against the law to stop cars and is going to report it..
Sonny Beaches March 28, 2012 at 02:31 PM
Mr. Mafredonia Tile Mike said to genuflect before the Townie Jihadis "letting them know your street address". Beware Mr. Mafredonia... beware of stalkers
patti March 28, 2012 at 06:50 PM
i just don;t think the space is big enough for anything but something small in looking at the property site
Bill_Ch March 28, 2012 at 09:15 PM
To Albert Manfredonia, who claimed there were more than two stand-outs and that cars were stopped by the protesters: Sustainable Watertown has only had 3 stand-outs in all. The first was in Watertown Square (12/17/2011) - nowhere near any residences, the second was on Arsenal, across from Beacon Park (1/21/2012), and the third was near the corner of Irving and Arsenal, but stretched down Arsenal toward Beacon Park (3/3/2012). If you insist there were more than that, then I can only conclude that you are intentionally trying to mislead other readers. This brings into doubt your claims of actually living in the area where the stand-outs occurred. If you read the post on the web site carefully, it doesn't say that anyone forced cars to stop, it said that cars "pulled over to find out more about the protest and Walmart's plans for the area." Last I checked, it was perfectly legal for cars to pull to the side of the road on Arsenal Street.
Bill_Ch March 28, 2012 at 09:20 PM
To Sonny Beaches, who referred to Sustainable Watertown supporters as "Jihadis": Do Jihadis wear Birkenstocks? Isn't there some rule against that, um, somewhere?
Bill_Ch March 28, 2012 at 09:20 PM
Send an email to info@sustainablewatertown.org
Bill_Ch March 28, 2012 at 09:43 PM
To Sonny Beaches, who has referred to people opposed to Walmart as "Jihadis," "The Birkenstock Brigade," "stalkers," and to me as, "dear boy" (and I think by, "Tile Mike" he means Mike Mandel). Seriously, you seem like a smart person. Does calling people names make your arguments any stronger? I don't think so. Why lower yourself to school-yard name calling?
Sonny Beaches March 29, 2012 at 12:18 AM
Careful there Bill_Chantal, you're emerging from the shadows. In the light of day the wannabe emperor has no clothes...
Bill_Ch March 29, 2012 at 01:29 PM
Sonny Beaches said: "Careful there Bill_Chantal, you're emerging from the shadows. In the light of day the wannabe emperor has no clothes..." I don't even know what that means. I think you've out-snarked yourself.
Sonny Beaches March 29, 2012 at 02:00 PM
Thou doth protest too much, methinks. The quick denial proves my point ;-)

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