I appear to be running a close second to Chuck Millham in annoying the PARD intelligentsia.
In today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News, Bob Gruenewald, PARD's "Business Outreach Coordinator", joined Cynthia Hosick in attacking my Town Crier column from a couple of weeks ago. He took issue with my "rosy-hued" summary of the EPS Bozeman study. But that's okay, the anti-big boxers on the Bozeman City Council didn't like the study's findings either.
First, Mr. Grunewald made a slight error. It's ECONOMIC Planning Systems, Inc., not EDUCATIONAL Planning Systems, that conducted the study. Must be a Freudian slip.
As Cynthia "Impartial Private Citizen" did, Grunewald stated that no two market areas are alike and each requires study. And again I say, why then does PARD persist in using the House Democratic and Berkeley studies, among others, which are both sharply critical of Wal-Mart, to support their position? Those studies weren't conducted in Pullman (or Moscow, as PARD's new strategy seems to be to absurdly link the two cities together for purposes of an economic impact study). For that matter, why did Greg Hooks and Cynthia Hosick bring up Bozeman in their letters to the editor months ago? And why is PARD showing the Greenwald anti-Wal-Mart fantasy movie again tonight? That wasn't filmed in Pullman or Moscow. Could it be that comparisons CAN be made to other similar communities, and just as in science, hypotheses formed? Or is it just a case of cherry-picking what you like and what you don't like?
One thing that neither Hosick or Gruenewald can dispute are the facts:
FACT: The EPS study concluded that there is no legal basis for treating big box stores differently.
FACT: Pullman's city government has resisted the tempatation to treat Wal-Mart differently than any other business.
FACT: PARD's anti-Wal-Mart city council candidates were thororughly defeated at the ballot box, validating the city's handling of the Wal-Mart issue.
Why don't they address those issues in their letters?
Look, I have never said whether an economic impact study of Wal-Mart would be a good thing or a bad thing. The bottom line is that the city doesn't require such a study for other businesses looking to open in Pullman, so it can't do it just for Wal-Mart. It's not fair and it's not legal. That's my objection to an economic impact study.
In any case, if an economic impact study study were done that had positive things to say about Wal-Mart in Pullman, PARD wouldn't accept it. They only want negative data that supports their narrow and biased viewpoints. Look at the way the Global Insight study of Wal-Mart's effects on the American economy has been received. The refrain has been, "Wal-Mart paid for it, so of course it favors them!", even though Global Insight is one of the most respected economic consulting firms in the world and there are some less-than-flattering findings about Wal-Mart in the study, which critics have been playing up.
The members of PARD are zealots, on a closed-minded jihad against Wal-Mart with eyes wide shut. They are like idelogical windbreakers, impervious to the truth.