Ah, nothing like a town that lives up to its name.
Named for a local dynamite factory, the independent-minded Bay Area burg of Hercules put their mighty explosive foot down today and said "No!" to the gluttonous bully that is Wal-Mart. I'd only visited the town once, to attend a baby shower, and was notably impressed.
Though Hercules includes mostly new homes, efforts have been made to avoid what I call The Disease of Sameness - the mindless architectural ugliness that is creeping across the land. The house designs exhibit a surprising degree of - gasp! - originality. Paths for pedestrians and bicyclists are everywhere and the new waterfront is being built around historical structures and will include small businesses, not just another block of JambaJuice-Starbuck's-Togo's-et.al
See? It can indeed be done. Giants can be denied. This gives me great hope.