Best Of 2005

BEST COURAGEOUS ACT (CITIZENS): Fighting Wal-Mart in St. Petersburg

They say you can’t fight City Hall. And Wal-Mart sure as hell is a lot bigger than City Hall. So fighting against the world’s largest company’s plans to open a 150,000-square-foot super center on Gandy Boulevard in St. Petersburg might at first blush seem foolish or a waste of time. A group of committed neighbors, environmentalists and other activists didn’t think so, and they took up the cause. Brighton Bay homeowners hired a lawyer (one told them they had only a 10 percent chance of success) and a traffic consultant to plead their case at a scheduled showdown with America’s retailer at a St. Petersburg City Council meeting in August. It never happened; Wal-Mart backed down before the meeting, pulling the plug on its center after failing to resolve sticky traffic issues.