Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Thursday, September 15, 2005

PARD: Petitioners Are Really Deceptive


The Pullman Alliance for Responsible Development's dirty tactics have finally been exposed.

In a letter to the editor published in today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News, Jerry Griebling, the owner/manager of Jerry's Auto Repair had this to say:
Our business was recently visited by a person representing themselves as pro-business and pro-economic growth who asked me to sign a petition requesting an economic study regarding the proposed Pullman Wal-mart.

In reality this person was a representative of PARD who was gathering signatures from Pullman business people not to facilitate economic study but to use the petition as a tactic to delay or stop the Pullman Wal-Mart. The petition was further "spun" with a cover letter that was not a part of the original petition and sent to the Pullman Director of Public Works. Looking down the list of others on the petition it appears that others were likewise duped and misrepresented.

I think that it is important to set the record straight in order to minimize confusion and to expose deceptive practices for what they are.
Wal-Mart critics cannot possibly try to marginalize Jerry as they have with the dozens of other merchants who signed an open letter in support of economic growth and Wal-Mart by claiming that he doesn't "compete with Wal-Mart." Jerry's Auto Repair was cited by PARD in their own "position paper" as being at high-risk from Wal-Mart.

Jerry doesn't specifically mention it in his letter, but the letter was submitted during the SEPA comment period as a comment negative to Wal-Mart. The letter, signed by "Nineteen Pullman Merchants," disagrees with the city's determination of non-significance by calling for an economic study to be conducted. Click on the pictures below to see a copy of the letter. A better quality PDF can be found here. Perhaps your name appears on that letter and you didn't realize it either. If so, please let me know.

The most incredible irony of all is that opposite Jerry's letter in the paper is a letter from Pat Orlich in which she blathers:
...The city of Pullman officials who are courting Wal-Mart have refused to consider the economic effect that the proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter will have on our community. Be assured, these economic issues will be presented if and when a hearing is ever held.
Why ironic? In the PARD minutes from January 27, 2005, this item appears as #9:
The [sic] Pat and Dan Orlich conducted informal research with 19 downtown Pullman retailers, inquiring about their opinions and concerns of a possible Wal-Mart Superstore in Pullman. The conclusions are mixed, with some people feeling neutral, some folks not worried because they feel secure in their business, and some simply not having enough information.
Does anyone see the incredible coincidence that the Orlichs polled 19 downtown Pullman retailers, and that is the exact number in the letter submitted as a SEPA comment? It is more than chance. They poll 19 merchants, and whether or not they agree with PARD, their signature is then used against Wal-Mart and is now being trumpeted as potential evidence in an appeal hearing. There have also been other letters from PARD chiding the city for not responding to the merchant petition. Is it any wonder they haven't? It's as bogus as a three-dollar bill.

In the picture below from the Daily Evergreen, Pat and Don Orlich are on the right. If you are a merchant and were approached by either of them, please let me know. I personally know of one other merchant who was duped that is not willing to go public at this time. Hopefully, this individual will come forward after Jerry's letter.

Am I surprised by all this? No. I have seen PARD's lying and name-calling first hand. They are fanatics and will do whatever it takes to win. Just like the UFCW union in Henderson. NV. But now all of Pullman can see what their "defenders" are all about. I am going to contact Mark Workman, the Pullman Chamber of Commerce, and the Daily News to demand an immediate investigation to ascertain the full extent of this deception by PARD. I urge you to do the same. Let's make our voices heard and get to the truth about this important matter.

The "Nineteen Pullman Merchants" letter should be pulled from the SEPA comments. It cannot be allowed as evidence in any SEPA appeal hearing now, as its validity is in question. It's tainted. Makes you wonder about PARD's famous "10,000 signature" petition. I don't imagine that would bear scrutiny either.

Are these the kind of people you want speaking for you Pullman? E-mail a letter to the Moscow-Pullman Daily News and let 'em know how you feel.


April E. Coggins said...

Our business was approached to sign this petition. Thankfully, my husband recognized the petitioner as being the same PARD woman who was collecting signatures at Safeway and he refused to sign. Another lie PARD tells is in their attempt to spin the signatures into a "sampling" of merchants. A true sample would have included my husbands comments.

Joshua Coke said...

It’s unfortunate that PARD has decided to employ such tactics in order to advance their cause under the guise of support from local merchants. I am, however, pleased to see Mr. Griebling speaking out publicly regarding the deception and hope that other merchants come forward as well if they feel they were legitimately misled. Thanks for covering this, Tom. It should be interesting to see how this pans out.

Ray Lindquist said...

April, THANKS for saying what happened to you & your husband. Just as Joshua said I sure hope others will come forward before it is too late. You should let those in the City Gov. know that you almost where mislead and that they should contact all merchants themselves to verify what they all wanted; they will come away with a VERY different picture.

April E. Coggins said...

The intimidation factor is very much a part of PARD's plan. I have personally spoke to many business owners who are privately supporting Wal-mart coming to Pullman, but they are afraid to take a stand publicly. Too many of them believe the "Big Lie" and they are more afraid of losing customers because of PARD than any unlikely customer loss to Wal-mart. Ironic, isn't it?

Cheryl Keeton said...

Tom, thank you so much for providing this blog to the Pullman community. I have been reading it daily for a few weeks now and am pleased to see more and more people commenting.

PARD is obviously a minority group of out-of-touch individuals that will stop at nothing to promote their political agenda. Just so you know, many WSU faculty members support Wal-Mart coming to town. Your blog has quite the following in my husband's department and others, and some of your posts have even been passed out in classes for discussion. I have heard that you are acquiring a large student following as well.

Keep up the great work!

April E. Coggins said...

Yes, thank you Tom. It is a positive change that Schweitzer Engineering is diversifying Pullman's job base and Pullman now has people that are not dependent on WSU or their politics and can speak freely, without fear. If Schweitzer wasn't here, Tom wouldn't be here. And without Tom, we would lose to Moscow............. again.

Ray Lindquist said...

April, that is so true as we start to grow as a city it will be better in a lot of ways and being depentant on just WSU is just one of those. Graet post, THX.