Wal-Mart Protest in Merced

Merced, CA "The high rate of asthma in Merced. The second worst if not the worst in the Valley. 22 per cent of young people have asthma" said Kyle Stockard one of the protest organizers.

Inside the meeting Wal-Mart spokesman Aaron Rios told the council the company's truck fleet is modern and low polluting and said the distribution center wouldn't really add more traffic.

"It's important to note that not having a facility in Merced will not change the expected truck traffic through the immediate area to service our stores. The only real difference will be the one and a half mile trip from Highway 99 to our facility." Rios said.

He also emphasized the 1000 jobs the center would provide and claimed average pay at Wal-Mart's other California distribution centers is $17.50 an hour.

Stockard acknowledge they face an uphill fight in stopping the project. He said, "It's kind of David against Goliath especially with the economic times the way they are."

The long process will continue with another hearing on Wednesday and another on Saturday.

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