Not really, Gomer.
The Pullman Alliance for Responsible Development exhibited yet again how radical and out-of-touch they are by announcing an appeal of the city's site plan approval, in addition to their previously announced SEPA DNS appeal. This after supposedly applauding the city and taking credit for the site plan conditions. Montine Vona-Pergola, PARD spokesperson had previously said in the Daily Evergreen:
“PARD was glad to see that there were 35 conditions...we think that means we’ve been doing our job of bringing up important issues for the city to think about.”As I have said before, you don't meet every week for 9 months, make bumper stickers, and come up with a cool logo and just walk away with a t-shirt that says: "I Fought Wal-Mart and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt." If this doesn't demonstrate that there is absolutely NOTHING Wal-Mart and the city can do to please PARD, nothing will.
In today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News, the details of PARD's site plan appeal sounded just like the same hackneyed reasons they used in the SEPA appeal: increased traffic, stormwater runoff, loss of cultural resources, fiscal impacts, economic blight, and emergency access to the hospital.
It was revealed that both the hospital administration and the Pullman Fire Department have said increased traffic from a Wal-Mart Supercenter would NOT impede emergency response to the hospital. Ouch. PARD is quickly running out of bullets.
Incredibly, the boundaries of the Pullman City Cemetery were raised again as an issue in this appeal. As I reported back in July, the local archaeologist, Dr. Matthew Root, has said that Wal-Mart has already commissioned a ground-penetrating radar survey of the highly-speculative original cemetery boundaries to determine if any unmarked graves of "Non-Euro-Americans" from the 1800's are present. Why is this even still coming up? PARD is clearly getting desperate. All of the things they say they are defending: the hospital, the local merchants, etc. are all saying publicly that they don't need to be protected from Wal-Mart. When you drag people's departed loved ones into it, I guess they can't dispute what you say. I think it's absolutely ghoulish to bring dead people into a political fight.
The Daily News stated, "PARD has publicly stated it opposes Wal-Mart because members believe the store will have negative effects on the local economy."
Ironically, on the same front page is a story about how the Whitman County Commissioners approved $600,000 for expansion of a high-tech business in the Port of Whitman Industrial Park. Why? According to the Daily News, "There are very few ways for counties to increase revenue. There are caps on how much property taxes can be raised each year and there are few options for levies for county operations." See, I'm not just making all this up. The commissioners are hoping to expand the economic base by bringing in more jobs. Good idea, but if those new people spend their money over in Moscow and since Washington has no state income tax, Whitman County/Pullman is not going to be recapturing much of their income unless they buy a house in Pullman (good luck with that). Unfortunately, since Prop 1 just passed, the commissioners are now comtemplating ideas for even more taxes, such as an excise tax for buyers as well as a park maintenance and operation levy.
So what is worse for the local economy? Wal-Mart and the millions it will bring in through sales taxes and property taxes or being taxed up the wazoo by the county?
PARD has gone too far. The outrage in the community is palpable. But we are going to turn that outrage into action again very soon.