West-Sacramento-based Raley’s wrongfully denied the civil rights to residents in Suisun because it doesn’t even own the property it has banned petitioners from, charged a Sacramento civil rights firm here this week in a motion to dismiss the controversial case in Solano Superior Court. If the court agrees, residents would regain their civil rights.
The case is part of a long-standing dispute involving Wal-Mart in Suisun, where residents were blocked by Raley’s from exercising their free speech rights in attempts to gather signatures to recall members of the Suisun City Council, which earlier voted to approve a controversial Wal-Mart Supercenter.
In fact, Raley’s doesn’t even own the sidewalk at the Heritage Park Shopping Center in Suisun, according to a motion filed by Joshua Kaizuka of the Law Office of Mark E. Merin.
“Contrary to the assertion (by plaintiff), plaintiff does not own, nor does it have the right to exclude others from any common area sidewalks, including the sidewalk immediately adjacent to and in front of the Raley’s,” said Kaizuka in the motion filed this week.
Members of the community group “Save Our Suisun” (SOS) were first threatened with arrest by Raley’s. When police refused to make an arrest because the petitioners were not breaking any laws, the store went to court and was granted a temporary injunction preventing residents from gathering signatures on sidewalks near the store.
“Raley’s…had no right to maintain an action on the common walkway adjacent to Raley’s,” said Merin. He explained Raley’s is the only grocery store, located in the only real shopping center in Suisun. Therefore, barring petition-gathering in the only real public place “irreparably injure(s)” SOS, and “dooms the citizen effort.”
SOS is attempting to recall Suisun City Council members because they risked the public safety by approving a Wal-Mart SuperCenter near Travis Air Base over objections of air safety experts, including the County Airport Land Use Commission, and CalTRANS.