Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Mayor Bloomberg makes appearance with Walmart execs to announce $4 million for summer jobs

Wednesday, July 6th 2011, 4:00 AM

Mayor Michael Bloomberg answered questions for Walmart executives at a press conference announcing $4 million for the city's summer jobs program.
Todd Maisel/News
Mayor Michael Bloomberg answered questions for Walmart executives at a press conference announcing $4 million for the city's summer jobs program.

Mayor Bloomberg is so bullish on Walmart coming to Brooklyn that he insisted yesterday on answering questions on behalf of the superstore.

The mayor appeared with execs from the retail giant at a news conference to announce Walmart's $4 million contribution to the city's summer youth employment program.

The gift will save up to 3,400 jobs that would otherwise have been lost to budget cuts.

When reporters tried to ask a Walmart rep if the money was related to the company's effort to open its first city store about two miles from the announcement at the Brownsville Recreation Center, Bloomberg intervened.

"Walmart is a good corporate citizen," he said. "I don't see how you do your company's philanthropy without saying that it's connected to everything."

Reporters tried again to ask a Walmart rep, but a testy Bloomberg repeatedly blocked the question.

"I answered it for you," he said. "We've had enough because we're here to talk about summer youth. We're here to talk about jobs."

After the press conference, Walmart spokesman Steven Restivo said, "The only connection I think here is that New York City is a very important market to the company.

"We have lots and lots of customers, suppliers, associates and foundation partners throughout the five boroughs."

Critics said Bloomberg - whose budget this year slashed funding for summer youth programs - had no business speaking for Walmart.

"There's a billionaire company and the mayor is a billionaire so they come in with some cheap petty cash to pump Walmart as a good corporation," Brooklyn City Councilman Charles Barron said.

Bloomberg has long been a supporter of Walmart's effort to open a store in the city despite opposition from Council members and advocates who object to the store's business and labor practices.


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