Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Another Bad Week for the Bad Guys

As expected, Pullman Planning Director Mark Workman approved the site plan for the Wal-Mart Supercenter today, contingent on Wal-Mart meeting 35 routine conditions. This commences a 10-day appeal period.

The next step would normally be the issuance of a building permit. However, we all know that isn’t going to happen for several months. First, we’ll have to put up with all the incessant blathering by the uptight intelligentsia about how they know better than our city government. Then, the frivolous SEPA appeal filed by PARD has to have a hearing (and potentially another appeal hearing after that in the Whitman County Superior Court). I’m sure they will appeal the site plan decision as well, in which case both appeals will be heard together. I’ll detail the road ahead in a future post.

I loved in the Daily News headline where it said, "PARD may appeal decision" Hmmmm. Ya think?

All in all, it was yet another depressing week for PARD. The Wal-Mart approval process continued to march forward and in last Tuesday’s primary, Ann Heath walloped PARD council candidate Judy Krueger by 13 percentage points. I’m sure we will soon see even more desperate spin by PARD that they have “won the battle for public opinion.”


April E. Coggins said...

I have noticed a remarkable change in PARD's tone when they are being quoted in the newspaper. They seem to be trying to make themselves sound reasonable and are positioning themselves to appear to be working with the public rather than against us. I don't believe it for a minute. PARD is made up of radical people who want to dictate where you can spend your money. And if you look very closely at their statements and their agenda, they want to dictate who can live here and who can't. I don't know about anyone else, but I don't pass their test, even though I was born in Pullman.

Sarcastic Housewife #1 said...

I don't think most of us pass the test. Some of what bothers me about PARD are the people who are the most vocal. I know some of the grad students who are involved with PARD. I asked them if they intended on living in Pullman the rest of their lives. They told me no, but they wanted to make it a better place for me to live. I then told them I thought Wal-Mart would be a great addition and help the tax base for Pullman. I also told them I didn't agree with them nor did I think by opposing Wal-Mart they were making it a better place for me to live, especially as they weren't paying my taxes. They were very offended and told me I didn't understand their outlook for Pullman and I should leave it to people who knew. The elitist attitude was amazing.

WSUStretch said...

The City of Pullman website has an excellent recap of planning activities over the past 50 years at:


I was on the Planning Commission from 1980-1998 (chairman for about 12 yrs) and conducted countless public hearings, town hall sessions and information meeting to gather public input to help create at community vision for Pullman. We had substantial turnout, and long meetings. I believe because of the diversity of the input, the facts are that the plan has been in place and used as a guiding document (with revisions) for so long tells me that it's a vision and heart for the city, not a reaction to circumstances.

I'm proud to look back as see what we accomplished, and more so now that the "fleshing out" of the plan is coming with responsible economic growth and business development, increased housing opportunities (albeit over-priced, but that's another topic), a wonderful healthcare community, public transportation and recreational facilities & parks.

As always, "fear" is based on the unknown, rather than the facts. We will see Wal-Mart built, additional retail business come to that area, likely another hotel, another restaurant and... Pullman will increase it's tax base finally, 25 years after the vision was planted.

Tom Forbes said...

Thanks for the great comments April, Stretch and SHW #1!

The fertile soil of liberal faculty and students that gave rise to PARD also contains the seeds of their ultimate destruction. PARD's composition and tactics have irrevocably turned the Wal-Mart issue into "Town vs. Gown". Who else in town has opposed Wal-Mart? Have the school district, hospital, or police department risen up aghainst Wal-Mart? No. Have more than one or two businesses publically spoken out against Wal-Mart? No.

PARD claims to be "grass-roots", but they are really "ivy-roots". And that is why PARD will ultimately fail. As we have seen on this blog, there are many people at WSU that are appalled at what is happening, both students and staff, along with the vast majority of full-time residents and businesses. No one wants to see a vocal leftist minority on campus split the town apart and endganger Pullman's future growth and prosperity.

The best thing PARD could do now, if they truly cared about Pullman as they say, is to declare victory based on the site plan approval and drop the Wal-Mart issue before it gets really ugly. But they won't. PARD's strategy is obviously "we have to destroy the village in order to save it."

April E. Coggins said...

Stretch, I disagree that PARD is afraid of the unknown. I think they know exactly who they are fighting and why. The Pullman site is fine. No one in their right mind would object to the obvious retail site that Wal-Mart is suggesting.

The PARD vs. Pullman question is about which business should come in and who gets to decide. My business operates under the assumption of free enterprise. PARD operates under the assumption that the government and popular politics should decide which businesses fit into to long term plan.

WSUStretch said...

Hi April, I think we're really saying the same thing. Because the city of Pullman HAS a Comprehensive Plan and HAS designated commercial development area within the Comp Plan map, AND it's been on the books for over 20 years, any commercial development CAN come to the city in those areas as long as they meet the conditions of the respective city ordinances. That means those coming in are unknown to PARD.

As to Wal-Mart, the unknown is really understanding how the building will be sited, what the real traffic flow will be, what site mitigating features (screening, landscaping etc) they will do and so on. Wal-Mart has quite the research staff and know what it will take to be "good neighbors" and they'll do that. that is also what will fry PARDs circuits.

(an interesting side note: I just saw an announcement that Wal-Mart is in discussion on a takeover bid/purchase of Tommy Hilfilger - that should cause a little constirnation among the college members of PARD :-) )