Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Monday, October 31, 2005

Don't Spend It All in One Place

It's hardly Ed McMahon knocking at the door, but Michelle Dupler reported today in the Moscow-Pullman Daily News that the city of Pullman will receive $11,000 more from Washington state's real estate excise tax than planned.

Overall though, the budget picture remains "gloomy," as Dupler put it. That's one way to put it.

I commend Ms. Dupler for doing a very thorough job explaining the ramifications that I-695 and I-747 have had on Pullman. Pullman has lost about $1.3 million a year in revenue because of I-695. In fact, her coverage lately of the Pullman budget process has been excellent.

Keep up the good work, Michelle! I hope all this sinks in with the citizens of Pullman.

There will be three public hearings on the city's 2006 budget at City Hall. Revenue sources is the first hearing tomorrow night. The overall draft budget will be heard November 15 and property tax rates and a final hearing on the budget will be on November 29. All meetings start at 7:30 PM in the council chambers.

More "Civil" Political Debate

Another liberal faculty member from WSU, this time, Dr. Richard King, Associate Professor in the Department of Comparative Ethnic Studies, has launched an attack on me. From a letter to the editor in today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News:
In a recent letter to the editor (Opinion, Oct. 15 & 16), Tom Forbes made a number of claims that struck me as problematic, if not wholly wrong. Particularly disturbing was the portrait he painted of freedom and democracy.

Forbes reduces freedom to economic freedom, particularly as enabled by freedom from regulation. While this rhetoric may sound good, it rings hollow. Forbes fails to consider the kind and quality of economic freedom enjoyed by many Wal-Mart employees.

While corporate shareholders may enjoy great liberties, workers like those at Wal-Mart who are not paid a living wage often lack capacity to compete, be healthy, or otherwise pursue happiness. The abstract individual imagined in his letter erases the real inequalities endured by some so that others may be (more) free.

Forbes also ignores the countless municipal, state, and federal regulations in place to safeguard individuals and communities.

Finally, Forbes seems content to allow consumerism to replace the democratic process. I doubt Forbes would be comfortable repealing child labor laws or would embrace a proposal to open a strip club, kiddie porn outlet or crack house on the logic that consumers can decide.

Instead, I would hope he would favor debate, dissent and regulation by an informed electorate.

Richard King
So now, in addition to grave robbing ghouls, child killers, and advocates of ignorance, we can add child sweat shop proprietors, strip club impressarios, child pornographers, and crack dealers to the names Wal-Mart has been called by the loony left-wing moonbats. Whaddya think Birgita? Pretty civil factual, and logical, eh? It is beneath my contempt to even address these absurd notions.

Professor King seems to have an interest in sports. Therefore, he is no doubt aware of the term "bulletin board material."

I consider every attack from these blow-hard, sanctimonious "intellectuals" as a badge of honor.

Eight Days of Truth - Day One

You've heard the rumors, the innuendo, the tall tales, the horror stories, and yes, the outright lies, about the proposed Pullman Wal-Mart Supercenter: how it will decimate our downtown, pollute the environment, increase crime rates, fill the streets with congestion, etc.

In the next eight days before the Pullman City Council elections, we are going to crisscross the country to find the truth. In small towns all over the United States, we are going to learn what the "Wal-Mart Effect" is really all about.

The stories I am going to present were written by independent authors and reporters with no connection to Wal-Mart. These are not press releases. They are just the true stories of what happens when Wal-Mart comes to town.

Today's first stop is the small town of Boone, NC, population 13,286. Boone is a college town, the home of Appalachian State University. It's a town very much like Pullman. The article below was written by Max Borders, a Washington, DC based writer, and published at Tech Central Station:
Understanding the Wal-Mart Effect

By Max Borders

"I'm writing this column in West Virginia, USA having just come back from shopping in Wal-Mart, the extraordinarily successful supermarket chain that makes our own look slow and tiny -- not to mention expensive! I had to keep blinking at the price labels. With my notion of prices tied to British expectations, Wal-Mart's just look as though the staff can't do their sums."

- John Blundell in the New Scotsman

Wal-Mart is rarely the object of such praise. To be the best is usually to be the object of scorn. Wal-Mart knows this well. They are the best, and their critics would have you believe that the mammoth retail chain earned its laurels through unfair competition, civic destruction, even third world exploitation. The stories are familiar: In order to offer such low prices (always), Wal-Mart:

- Puts Mom-n-Pop shops out of business.

- Contributes to the burgeoning of third world sweatshops.

- Degrades communities by introducing a big box aesthetic.

- Makes the Walton family and shareholders even richer.

But it's time we looked a little deeper into what can only be called the "Wal-Mart effect."

Boone, North Carolina (named for the famous Dan'l) is a college town nestled in the rustic mountains of Appalachia. The population is divided roughly among groups of students, locals, and the academic elite. Such a microcosm of American diversity works in its own way. The locals realize how much money the university brings in. The students love the Smoky Mountain amenities and the bluegrass music. Academics find the local folkways charming and complementary to their status as, well, elites. But when Wal-Mart decided to come along in the 90s, locals, students, and academics also had a common purpose to bind them: to keep Wal-Mart out.

As it often does, Wal-Mart won. And since then, Boone has experienced the Wal-Mart effect. First, some Mom-n-Pop shops in Boone may have gone out of business due to the intense competition. But something interesting has happened: many new businesses have sprung up and they're cooler, more interesting, and more highly specialized than most of the old ones were. Mom-n-Pop have decided to move into more boutique-style businesses -- and not even Wal-Mart can compete with that.

For example, Hands Gallery -- formed c. 1998 -- is an interesting fixture for visitors to the downtown King Street area, offering indigenous art and sculpture for more refined tastes. While taking in the spring verdancy or autumn foliage of the high country, visitors can take jaunts through nearby Blowing Rock and Banner Elk for the utterly zoned and picturesque experience (and, of course, denizens of these planned towns take advantage of Boone's big boxes along highway 321).

But big boxes and all, downtown Boone offers its own home-grown order, complete with quirky restaurants and shops one might have found on the corner of Haight and Ashbury. An eclectic mix of businesses line the main thoroughfare. Earth Fare, an organic foods store, has come to King Street. Older fixtures such as the Appalachian Antique Mall and Mast General Store (retail) have enjoyed continued success and remain favorite establishments for shoppers. You'll even find "Josh," a vagrant everyone in Boone knows, selling poetry and beaded jewelry to passers by.

The question becomes: do we really need small, inefficient and expensive shops to supply us with our shaving cream and plastic laundry baskets? How vibrant is a downtown where such items are being hocked? Since Wal-Mart consolidates these kinds of goods into "big boxes," we, like John Blundell, can get them for dirt cheap all in one place. Charming downtown areas can then evolve into gorgeous window-shopping and restaurant-hopping districts for both locals and tourists. In the meantime, everyone knows where to go to get the bare necessities quickly and at a lower cost.

The Wal-Mart effect is happening all over the country, allowing many municipalities to renew their town centers. In fact, residents able to reduce their day-to-day shopping budgets at Wal-Mart have more money left to spend on the things that make life great and towns charming -- whether it's hand-blown glass or delicious roadside produce grown by local farmers. (Take it from me, no big box can do Silver Queen corn like North Carolina farmers on the side of the road.)

Wal-Mart has also made concerted efforts to work with communities to stylize their stores, especially in cases where such is desired by the locals. The result is that the big box look is not always battleship blue corrugated metal with plastic letters. Wal-Marts come in all manner of brick, stone and Mediterranean styles.

The Wal-Mart effect may be destructive from time to time, but it's also profoundly creative. Wal-Mart has inadvertently hastened the pace of specialization and municipal renewal. As consumers, of course, we only benefit from the presence of Wal-Mart and other big box retailers. People in developing countries and at home are being lifted from squalor because Wal-Mart seeks out the great, low-cost products they offer. Wal-Mart is also giving a lot of people opportunities to earn a living -- including retirees who want to stay active as well as immigrants prepared to accept the wages Wal-Mart offers. Don Boudreaux puts it succinctly here:

"And because Wal-Mart indisputably keeps prices to consumers low, by far the most plausible conclusion is that Wal-Mart promotes the economic prosperity of the places it which it operates -- it creates better jobs and increases the availability of goods and services. In short, Wal-Mart makes its workers and its customers (and, yes, its stockholders) wealthier."

The Wal-Mart effect is overwhelmingly beneficial.

As prices continue to fall and quality continues to improve, critics of Wal-Mart will have a tougher time resisting the temptation to shop there. In the meantime, I'll be enjoying shorter lines, lower prices, quality products, and smiley-face stickers.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

WSU International Students Help Make Wal-Mart's Case

In a front page story in Friday's Daily Evergreen, it was reported that the Wheatland Express will now make stops at the Moscow Wal-Mart because the Palouse Mall no longer allows stops there:

“A lot of our students don’t have cars, so they ride that bus to WinCo because it’s cheap,” said Mary Furnari, director of the (ed: WSU) office of international students and scholars.

Furnari said the trek between WinCo and the Kibbie Dome is dangerous during winter months.

“There’s no sidewalk from the [crossing light] until you get to Sixth street,” Furnari said. “In the ice and snow, they’re basically having to tramp up that hill to the Kibbie Dome.”

Rick Sirk, store manager of the Moscow Wal-Mart said he sees this as an opportunity to perform a public service.

“My real motivation in doing it was as a community service,” Sirk said.
Motley said the proximity to shopping will make things easier for people who rely on the bus.

“It’s been inconvenient because kids have had to walk more than a mile to shop,” Motley said.

Sirk acknowledged that the bus stop may improve business at his store, but stressed that placement of the stop would serve a greater need in the community.

Furnari wrote a letter to the mall’s management asking them to reconsider shutting down the stop.

In the letter, she estimated that international students from both universities bring approximately $20 million into the local economy.

She said mall management has yet to respond to her letter.

“It’s a hostile environment when students don’t have cars and are forced to use whatever public transportation we have,” Furnari said.
So let me get this straight. By not having a Wal-Mart or a competitively-priced grocert store in Pullman, WE ARE BUSSING RETAIL DOLLARS OVER TO MOSCOW. POTENTIALLY $10 MILLION DOLLARS OR MORE WORTH!!

It has been said that Pullman has two perfectly good grocery stores already. If that were the case, why are international students taking the bus to Moscow and walking over a mile to get to WinCo??? Dissmores and Safeway are both accessible via Pullman Transit. THIS IS LUNACY!! And yet supposedly intelligent and rational people in this community are fighting to the death to allow it to continue.

The Phantom Menace

In Friday's Daily Evergreen, PARD Petition Coordinator Janet Damm said the following in a letter to the editor:
Pullman has another choice for more responsible development in Pullman. Gary Johnson is running in Ward 1 as a write-in candidate. I have heard him speak on his most passionate issue: his belief in more citizen involvment through our elected city council members. He also believes that a fiscal review would be beneficial. Because of Pullman's "dire" financial situation that I recently read about in the Daily News, I belive we are in need of of an extensive professional fiscal study. I think we need to know the facts about Pullman's financial future, not just guesses. Remember in addition to wiring in his name you must pencil in the oval on an absentee ballot or punch out the "chad" at your polling place.

Judy Krueger is the other choice and is from Ward 3. She believes in these issues in much the same way as Gary does. So if you believe the citzens (including students) of Pullman need more of a voice in City government, please vote for Gary Johnson & Judy Krueger. They will listen to your concerns about Pullman's future.
So Janet has actually heard Gary Johnson speak? Where? At a PARD meeting? The Daily News , to my knowledge, has not run a candidate profile of Johnson, nor has the Daily Evergreen. Johnson did not respond to the Lewiston Trubune's request for comment in their candidates profile. And Johnson was unable to attend last Thursday's candidate forum due to a birthday.

All we really know about Gary Johnson is what Christoper Lupke said in an editorial in the Evergreen last Thursday, what Cynthia Hosick said at the LWV candidates forum last Thursday night, and now Ms. Damm's letter.

Can anyone remenber a campaign like this, where the candidate never said anything in his or her own behalf? Not exactly sterling recommendations in my book. As Sarcastic Housewife #1 has pointed out, the words "PARD puppet candidate" come to mind. Having the same last name as the mayor and being active in the NEA are not qualifications for elected office.

PARD's demand for a economic impact study is taking on new dimensions. The implication of Ms. Damm's letter seems to be that either the city government is either lying about the financial crisis we are experiencing or the council is in fact directly responsible for it through their malfeasance. Strong words. It's going to get a lot nastier in the next week, as we have already seen.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Good Night, and Good Luck

"I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence."

-Frederick Douglass
Well, the day I have awaited for has finally arrived.

The leftist backlash against me has begun. In today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News Birgita Ingemanson, an Associate Professor of Russian(!) at WSU had this to say about me:
In a world full of conflict, it is perhaps not strange that human relations on the Palouse also are becoming perversely infected. I am not a member of the Pullman Alliance for Responsible Development, nor do I sign their petitions, but I watch in dismay as the proponents of Wal-Mart are turning what could, and should, be a debate on facts and logic into verbal attacks on PARD's leaders, including Cynthia Hosick and T.V. Reed.

Personal invectives are not facts. Having views that differ from those of the pro-Wal-Mart campaigners does not make one a bad person. A local writer by the name of Tom Forbes often mocks Hosick and Reed, as if civic debate is a game; indeed, Forbes seems quite gleeful about, "proudly annoying Pullman's left-wing intelligentsia" (a quote from his blog "Palousitics".) It would show more wisdom and maturity proudly to remember, and cleverly to apply, the splendid old traditions in these United States of the kind of civic debate that - despite differences of opinion - manages to remain both civil and factual.
I guess it's only fair to note that since my hobby is "proudly annoying Pullman's left-wing intelligentsia," one of Professor Ingemanson's research areas is the "work of socialist women."

She claims not to be a member of PARD, but she obviously must know PARD's Media Coordinator, Christopher Lupke, who is an Associate Professor of Chinese(!) Reach your own conclusion.

Given the recent abysmal track record of free speech at WSU, Ed Murrow's alma mater, it is only natural the liberals there would try to reach out and squelch me. But this is America and I am not a student teacher in the College of Education.

We all know how PARD feels about free speech. They shut down their online discussion board back in May within a week after pro-Wal-Mart people began posting there. There have been rumors floating around town that merchants that supported Wal-Mart have been threatened with boycotts and students have been told not to publicly express support for Wal-Mart.

A "civil, factual and logical debate" about Wal-Mart? T.V. Reed, Cynthia Hosick, Christopher Lupke, et. al. have been engaged in an outright fear-mongering campaign in Pullman that would have made "Tail Gunner Joe" McCarthy proud. First it was that Wal-Mart was going to be digging up dead bodies. Then there were going to be dead kids lying in the streets around Lincoln Middle School and Franklin Elementary. Now they are claiming Wal-Mart is going to destroy the public education system. Ms. Ingemanson considers this "civil, factual and logical debate?" It's not a game, it's a circus.

How about PARD calling me a "boob" on their homepage? Professor Ingemanson must have surely seen that if she's been reading this blog. Was that "wise, mature and clever?"

The leaders of PARD have made themselves public political figures by preaching this pablum, all of it willingly gobbled up by our local media with no refutation or critical examination. I am only holding the PARD leadership up to the ridicule which they so richly deserve. There is no debating with these anti-Wal-Mart jihadis anyway.

One thing I have always dealt with in my letters to the editor and on this blog are the FACTS and LOGIC. PARD has neither, so now they try to marginalize me by calling me a "perverse infection." So typical of the Left. Things must be getting pretty desperate over there at PARD Headquarters.

There is no right in the Constitution to not be offended. If Professor Ingemanson finds my writing distasteful, there is a very simple solution: DON'T COME TO THIS SITE!

Today's Lewiston Tribune Report on the LWV Candidates Forum

All of what I have heard reported said by Judy Krueger last night is just laughable. Same old tired PARD arguments. There is no way Main Street is ever going to provide Pullman with the kind of tax revenue that we need. I don't care if you build a trolley, make traffic two-way, increase parking, whatever. It ain't gonna happen. All this pie-in-the-sky nonsense is to cover their jihad against Wal-Mart.

It's all about geography in Pullman. Not Judy's strong suit I guess. That's why the city very consciously chose Bishop Boulevard as the commerical center for Pullman. I heard Krueger on the radio this morning saying that Wal-Mart would move the retail center of gravity out to Bishop Boulevard. Duh! The Comprehensive Plan calls for that. Downtown has a role and Bishop has a role. But Josh is right. Dense retail is the only way we are going to make up the millions we have lost from I-695. There is nothing wrong with having coffee shops and boutique restaurants downtown. That's sort of the way it is now anyway. However, at $3.50 a pop, those coffee shops would have to sell 6,427,226 double tall lattes just to meet the fire department's $191,210 request alone. That's a lot of java. And a lot of bull.

I hope people in Pullman can see throughthis rhetoric, but I have my fears. And the media just loves all the "smart growth" talk. Look how much more coverage Krueger got in the article below than the other candidates
Pullman City Council hopefuls speak out

of the Tribune

PULLMAN -- Pullman City Council incumbents and challengers got to speak their minds at a quick candidates forum Thursday night at Pullman City Hall.

Efficiently run by the Pullman League of Women Voters, the forum lasted a thrifty 45 minutes and was attended by about 50 citizens.

Joshua Coke, a Washington State University student and employee, is challenging incumbent Bill Paul for the Ward 1, position 7 seat. He has settled on Pullman for a home and said he's running to bring the student voice into city government.

"I don't feel enough students get involved and I want to encourage them to do so," Coke said.

Write-in candidate Gary Johnson is also challenging Paul. He wasn't able to attend the forum.

Johnson, a fifth-grade teacher at Sunnyside Elementary School, sent friend Cynthia Hosick in his stead. Hosick touted Johnson's 41-year teaching career and his local and national experience with the National Education Association.

"He believes he will be a proactive and thoughtful council member," Hosick said of Johnson. She also stated Johnson's opposition to a proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter on Bishop Boulevard, adding he is in favor of "reasonable development."

Paul commended Coke, 23, for running as a young person. The former insurance broker and five-year councilor plugged his participation in Rotary, the Pullman Chamber of Commerce, American Legion and Boy Scouts. He said he had no personal agenda for a future council term.

"It's not important what I want to do," Paul said. "I want to represent you."

Attorneys Judy Krueger and Ann Heath are facing off for the Ward 3, Position 5 seat Heath was appointed to a year ago.

Heath mentioned three goals: maintaining a climate to encourage economic development, creating better neighborhoods and completing pedestrian and bike trails as funding allows.

Heath, Paul and Coke said the council can do nothing about Wal-Mart since the world's largest retailer followed proper procedures when it applied for a building permit. Paul and Coke both voiced strong support for the jobs and tax revenue the store would bring to town.

But Krueger again voiced her opposition to the store for several reasons. She said citizens didn't get to give adequate input on Wal-Mart and criticized its business practices.

She said Pullman would do better to focus on Main Street.

"We need to convert our 18,000 students into regular customers of downtown," Krueger said.

A transportation route between campus and the downtown sector and businesses like sidewalk cafes and theaters would help attract those students, Krueger said.

She also wanted the city to order Wal-Mart and future "big box" stores to complete an economic impact study to show what effects it would have on existing businesses, "so that no decision is made today without full consideration of its affects on tomorrow."

Krueger also voiced support for turning Main Street into a two-way street with diagonal parking to alleviate parking issues downtown.

Reports from Last Night's LWV Candidates Forum

I'm bumping these up for visibility. Thanks to all who attended!

Well now, that was some good times; we learned a lot. I took away from this forum 2 major things. #1 Ann Heath shared the information that Pullman is 48% of the average amount of tax receipts per capita in the state. So we are in the bottom half, now that is nice, NOT. Ann Heath wants to address that problem. She spoke of being for grow, but to be fair so did Judy K. I was not impressed with the way Judy wanted she thought it could all happen downtown. To increase our tax receipts by 50% or just even 25 to 30% we will need to add a few more floors to the existing buildings downtown. There are not enough empty buildings to increase that amount of receipts. Then #2 Judy K wanted to have a regulation on the books that would require stores over 100,000 sq feet that they be required to pay a “Living Wage” she never said what that should be. This on the face of it, it is so far out on the skinny branches I can’t see it. One thing I would say remember Richard Nixon and his venture into ‘price controls’, what disaster that was. Then we had Judy bring up the “Trolley” again and she never told us how she would pay for this ‘little project’ when she is cutting out any large retailers that would come with large amount of tax receipts to help pay for it.

I forgot to add Paul Johson was not present but some lady (I did not catch her name they were having problems getting the sound work so all could hear at this point) did read a stament from him, he was out of town for his fathers 90th birthday. The one thing a think I heard was that Mr. Johson had and or was a "mover and a shaker" in the NEA here in Washington. Now that on the face of it is a VERY BIG strike against him, he should try to hide that fact.
Uncle Bubba:
The lady speaking for Johnson was Cynthia Hosick. April, myself and Ray were there respresenting BREO.
As Ray said, Ann Heath, Bill Paul and Josh Coke all presented themselves well. Judy Krueger started her opening statement fairly even and well spoken then stumbled and babbeled in her responses to questions. Josh Coke was the rising star by being both informed and to the point.

Thanks everyone - I sure didn't want to miss it. Sounds pretty clear where the lines are drawn :-)

PS: We've had public input ad nausem (easily over 300 hours) since 1980 on the Comprehensive Plans, Map and various preliminary plats etc. It clearly shows what Judy DOESN'T know about how the boards and commissions work hand in hand with the council and city staff. The publics has had lots of opportunities. We may want to get a figure from Mark or Pete at the city to come up with this figure on the Wal-Mart project, just for reference.
Sarcastic Housewife #1:
I got there just as they were going over the rules. I wish I had gotten to meet the other BREO folks. Personally, I was impressed by Joshua, Bill, and Ann. I found it odd that Judy Krueger's campaign manager, Cynthia Hosick, was there representing Gary Johnson. I really feel this points to these two candidates as being puppets for PARD. I also was concerned that Ms. Hosick said the reason Gary wasn't on the ballot was due to boundary oversights, etc. My question is if there is a boundary issue has it been settled? If not, should he be running to represent Ward 1.

I also felt there was at least one canned question. Judy got to answer first about the 3 ordinances she would like to see passed if elected. None of the other candidates were prepared to answer that, but boy Howdy she was. She had to rifle through her notes to find the answers, but she had them.

Of course the trolley issue was brought up again. Even more scary, Judy thinks Main street should become a two-way street with diagonal parking on the sides. She felt this would increase traffic in the downtown area. I started to a laugh and a couple people next to me looked at me like I was crazy. I guess you aren't supposed to laugh at ridiculous ideas. At any rate, we already have enough traffic congestion on Main. I think this would make it worse.
April E. Coggins:
It was hard to impossible to keep from laughing. It's one thing to read the crap in print, it's another to hear it coming out of someones face.

Joshua Coke is very impressive. He is a fresh independent voice.

Okay, here goes on my notes:

Opening statement:

Josh: He stated his experience and his commitment to Pullman. He wants downtown to thrive but dense retail, such as on Bishop, is necessary to build Pullman's tax base.

Cynthia Hosick for Gary Johnson: Gary Johnson is qualified for council because he has been instrumental in the leadership of the NEA. Gary is opposed to Wal-Mart. He doesn't want our retail base to depend on the "vagaries" of the building industry.

Bill Paul: Want's to maintain police, fire, etc. He want's to support all businesses that are existing and new ones that want to come into Pullman. The city is gradually running out of money.

Ann: We need more sales tax revenue. Pullman must have a welcoming business climate. We need substantial retail growth. In the past year, the city council has passed ordinances addressing noise, fireworks. She wants to improve College Hill.

Judy: Two priorities. Always take public input and consider it. The second is to help downtown to become sidewalk cafes, boutiques and help the 18,000 students get downtown with an alternative transit. She is against Wal-Mart. She believes new businesses should compliment, not compete with existing business. She is for smart growth and Pullman needs an economic study.

Question number one:

How would you vote if Wal-Mart came before the council?

Ann: I don't think I can answer that question because of the way it phrased. Ann believes that business has the right open as long as it follows the law.

Judy: I am clearly opposed to WalMart. She believes the city council has the final say on Wal-mart. She is concerned with run off, parking and the cemetery.

Bill Paul: Reiterated what Ann said. Then said that public has been allowed to comment for the last 10 years.

Josh: The issue will NOT come before the council. Wal-Mart is raising the bar for storm water run off.

Question 2. What will you do about problems on campus?

Bill: Gave a run down of different ways the city was addressing the problems.

Josh: Increase retail tax base to fund more police.

Ann: People are intimidated and are afraid to file complaints with the police. More people need to come forward.

Judy: Agreed with Ann. Approved of the new noise ordinance. Wants more communication between students and residents. Thinks block parties, clean-up parties would be a good.

Question 3. Foursquare Church issue.

Judy: Concerned the property is off the tax rolls.

Bill: It's still a free country. The owners can use the building as they see fit.

Josh: It's better to have church than another empty building. It's good for downtown to have more people on Sundays.

Ann: This was a Board of Adjustment decision, not the City Council.

Judy: Supports commercial use. She felt that the majority at the BOA meeting were against the change of usage, the BOA didn't consider their views.

Question 4. What are your top 3 ordinances.

Judy: Living wage ordinance. Buffer zone around cemeterys and parks. Large developments to get special permits by city.

Bill: Against a living wage ordinance.

Josh: He would like something to address problem landlords.

Yes people, the trolley is still a part of Judy's plan, with her boutique stores and sidewalk cafes. I see no reason to let her get by with this crazy idea.

The forum is being rerun nightly on cable channel 11 at 8-9 p.m. except Sundays. It's quite entertaining, you might want to tape it.

Thursday, October 27, 2005


The Pullman League of Women Voters are hosting an election forum tonight in the council chambers at Pullman City Hall, 325 SE Paradise St., from 7:00 - 9:00 PM.

Unopposed city council candidates will be introduced and opponents and proponents of various statewide initiatives have been offered a chance to speak. Most importantly, the opposed city council candidates for Wards 1 and 3 will have an opportunity to speak and answer questions from the audience. Gary Johnson, PARD's Ward 1 candidate, will not get to speak because he is not on the ballot.

Everyone that supports Wal-Mart needs to attend this forum and support the pro-Wal-Mart candidates. Luckily for us, 3 of the 4 candidates speaking tonight are in favor of Wal-Mart. The media will be there in strength and it will be carried live on public access cable.

Plan to arrive early for parking and good seats. The nationally-renown WSU forces of "free speech, tolerance and diversity" are certain to make a big showing tonight for Judy "Nightmare on Main Street" Krueger and Gary "My Last Name is the Same as the Mayor" Johnson.

UPDATE: If you go tonight, be on the lookout for folks wearing the BREO name tags. Stop by and pick up your own. Let's stand out in the crowd.

Burma William's Letter to the Moscow-Pullman Daily News

In Wednesday, October 26th's edition of the Daily News a letter to the editor was included from Burma Williams of Pullman. While she didn't come out in support of Wal-Mart she clearly stated she didn't support PARD. Burma asked an important question. Why is it that PARD thinks they can decide what is exactly right for Pullman? She stated that "T.V. Reed and his minions" have somehow appointed themselves to be in charge of what should be considered "classy" and what "fits" for Pullman. Here is an excerpt from her letter:

"Since PARD has set itself up to decide what "fits" our "classy" community, does this meant that, in the future, members of PARD will dictate how we dress when we are out and about in Pullman?

Will they also decide which are the places of worship that "fit" Pullman and we can attend and which ones don't fit and we can't attend?

Are Reed and PARD members going to start looking into the windows of our homes to make sure that we don't do anything that isn't "classy?"

For me the question is not: does Wal-Mart belong in our community? Rather the question is: does PARD, with its intolerance and exclusivity, belong in Pullman?"

It is a question we all should be asking ourselves.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Daily EverRed?

You may think so after you see tomorrow's edition. Christopher Lupke, PARD's very own "Baghdad Bob", has been given an editorial to spout all kinds of ridiculous drivel, in addition to endorsing Judy Krueger and Gary Johnson for city council.

I am assuming that similar editorial offers have been extended to Ann Heath's, Bill Paul's, and Joshua Coke's supporters. Or maybe not. Certainly the pro-Wal-Mart forces in town have not been extended any such offer, even though we count many students among our ranks. But how would the Evergreen even know there was a pro-Wal-Mart group in town? They have not carried the story yet, even though they received the press release well over a week ago.

I am giving them the benefit of the doubt, for now. But the Evergreen should keep in mind that many of the businesses who adverstise in their paper and on their website are the same people who support Wal-Mart. It might be time for a boycott of our own.

New Film - "Why Wal-Mart Works and Why That Makes Some People Crazy"

Indie filmmaker Ron Galloway has just completed a movie titled "Why Wal-Mart Works and Why That Makes Some People Crazy" It should be available to purchase November 15. The filmmaker has his own blog here.

It will be a nice juxtaposition to another new film coming out at about the same time called "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Prices." You can imagine which viewpoint that movie will be espousing. That film is set to be shown at 3,000 churches, colleges, and community centers nationwide on November 14. PARD is apparently planning a showing in Pullman, probably at the United Church of Christ, as that church has now vehemently come out against Wal-Mart with it's Wal-Mart Week of Action that will begin November 13.

I will purchase "Why Wal-Mart Works and Why That Makes Some People Crazy" and try to arrange for a public screening here in Pullman as well. It's all about diversity, right?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Honk if you want Wal-Mart

Yesterday on my way home I passed the corner of Main and Grand twice. The first time I heard people honking, but didn't realize what was going on. The second time I found out. A gentleman (I'm not sure who) was standing on the corner with a big sign that said Honk If You Want Wal-Mart! As we drove past we honked several times. As the window was down I was able to listen for other honks. Based upon the information I have read from PARD I didn't expect to hear very many, but in the space of about a 90 second wait at the light I heard 10 different honks. What a surprise!

My kudos to the gentleman holding the sign!


In today's Daily Evergreen, Dr. Ed Schweitzer, founder and president of Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, and arguably one of Pullman's most well-known and influential business leaders and residents, said the following:
Pullman is in a period of reasonable growth. This growth is going to bring a lot of opportunities for all of us. It is important that as a community we welcome all businesses, small and large, chains and independents, including Wal-Mart.

It's very positive that Pullman is attracting businesses to invest and take risk, without any incentives from the government.

Ed Schweitzer
The Wal-Mart bandwagon is going to need a few more horses to pull it along now.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Pullman City Ward Maps

Click on the image for a full-size version. Non-Broadband Users Please Note: these are large files, so they may take a few minutes to download.

Ward 1

Ward 2

Ward 3

Even larger and more detailed versions can be downloaded here: Ward 1 Ward 2 Ward 3

Sunday, October 23, 2005


In an even more incredible example of painful circular logic and bizarre spinmeistering, PARD's website has the following listed under their "Anti-Wal-Mart" resources:
The Pullman Fire Department is taking 8 to 12 minutes to respond to an incident which is up to twice as long as the national average.

We are concerned that the Pullman Fire Department is not receiving enough support from the city for emergency services. This has been part of PARD’s concerns regarding the proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter. We would like to see additional support for emergency services.
As you know, the Fire Department has asked for $191,210 in equipment. The city has said it won't be in next year's budget. Not enough money. The city has also said we need to expand our retail sales tax base to help the general fund from which the Fire Department's budget is largely derived. In ONE YEAR, Wal-Mart sales taxes could easily have provided those funds and more. IF PARD HAD NOT APPEALED THE WAL-MART SEPA APPROVAL AND SITE PLAN, ground would already have been broken and the store would be opening next Summer. The Fire Department could have it's needed equipment JUST from the sales tax collected from the construction of the Supercenter. All would be well.

What a smoke screen.

Just the Facts, Ma'am

Wal-Mart opponents are constantly challenging Wal-Mart supporters to state facts and not suppositions. Yet Wal-Mart opponents consistently use the most absurd, touchy-feely, unsubstantiated reasoning to explain why they oppose the proposed Supercenter.

For example, in yesterday's Moscow-Pullman Daily News, city council candidate Judy "Nightmare on Main Street" Krueger said the following:
In my world view, quality of life beings and ends with personal spirituality (ed.- hence PARD's initial opposition to the Pullman Foursquare Church, oh brother), family connections and community involvement for the common good. Really, it's all about relationships.
She then explains Pullman's appeal in terms of the Kiwanis pancake breakfast and the National Lentil Festival (put on, by the way, by the Pullman Chamber of Commerce, which is in favor of Wal-Mart).

How in the heck will Wal-Mart ruin any of those things? How would Wal-Mart destroy "the sense of community that is our strongest asset?"

And who exactly determines the greatest common good? PARD? Judy Krueger? The United Food and Commercial Workers International? Al Norman? Howard Dean? Karl Marx? I and many other Wal-mart supporters have consistently shown facts that prove Wal-Mart is in the greatest common good because of the millions in tax dollars it will provide to the city and its residents over the years, not to mention the many charitable donations Wal-Mart will make. If Krueger, et. al. were interested in the greater "common" good, they would disband PARD immediately. They are merely interested in the greater "elitist" good.

What a bunch of New Age blather. Next thing you know, someone will compare Wal-Mart to Battered Wife Syndrome. Wait a minute.....

Did anyone else catch the Crimson and Gray reference by Ms. Krueger, the WSU Center for Human Rights Senior Investigator? In a Daily Evergeen article on September 26, it was stated: "Student leaders and WSU employees promoting book venders other than The Bookie may face consequences through Student Conduct." Uh oh.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Jimmy Buffet-Sized Flip-Flopping

Just when you thought you had seen it all, the political comedy troupe known as the Pullman Alliance for Responsible Development is at it again.

As you recall from last week, Cynthia "Impartial Private Citizen" Hosick was "foursquare" against the old Cordova theater being turned into a church. PARD had even set up a page on their website named "save_the_cordova".

Now, faster than you can say "Margaritaville," PARD has flip-flopped and the page on their web site has been renamed to just "the_cordova". PARD is now "blessing" the Pullman Foursquare Church. Guess opposing Wal-Mart is one thing, fighting against God is something else.

Be sure to read PARD's letter to Pastor Smith. PARD told the pastor: "Our concern is not to your church per se, but to the change in the function of the Cordova from a theater." So, PARDners, why do you continue to glom onto Duane "We Want to Applaud" Brelsford when anyone could have told you that the opening of his Pullman Village Centre Cinemas would result in the closing of one or both of the single screen theaters downtown? The flip-flopping and the hypocrisy are just stunning.

Hilarious! I especially love how PARD now believes they are the arbiters of what is okay and not okay in Pullman.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Smart Thinking

Teachers in the Sprague-Lamont School District have voted to decertify and break away from the Washington "Education" Association. They will now form their own organization and save themselves $700 a year in the process.

Good move. It's impossible to tell the Washington "Education" Association apart from the Socialist Workers Party. And they are hypocrites to boot.

230 skilled trade workers and 10 supervisory staff at WSU are voting by mail now whether to decertify from the Washington Federation of State Employees. "Governor pro tem" Gregoire recently implemented a policy of "pay-your-WFSE-dues-or-get-fired." Votes are due back by Nov. 1 and will be counted Nov. 2.

Is it any wonder the union movement is dying in America when they still run it like Jimmy Hoffa ran the Teamsters?

Hat Tip: Right Mind

3 Outta 5 Ain't Bad

From today's Lewiston Tribune:
Pullman candidates vie for two seats

By JOEL MILLS of the Tribune

PULLMAN -- Judy Krueger is running for the Pullman City Council's Ward 3, Position 3, seat to keep Wal-Mart out of town. Her opponent, incumbent Ann Heath, said if the world's largest retailer follows the law, there's nothing the council can do to stop it.

"A special interest group does not get to use the city council as a bully pulpit to go after a business they don't like," Heath said, referring to the Pullman Alliance for Responsible Development.

Krueger, a PARD board member, said she is the only anti-Wal-Mart candidate among the two contested council races.

In the other contested race, Washington State University student Joshua Coke is challenging incumbent Bill Paul for the Ward 1, Position 7, seat.

Krueger said the council can have plenty of say on the Wal-Mart issue.

For instance, the council can order a fiscal impact statement, "to find out the impact (Wal-Mart) will have on other retail development in the community," she said. "Other communities have required that."

Los Angeles has, and other communities have passed other regulations, such as requiring Wal-Mart to pay for at least some employee health care.

Coke said he gives Wal-Mart a thumbs-up.

"Economically it makes a lot more sense than fighting it," Coke said, adding that Pullman is "under-retailed."

The lack of retail business is leading to a tax gap that will leave Pullman's reserve fund dry in three years, Coke said, citing a study by city Finance Director Troy Woo.

Woo said that projection is a little outdated, and the city would make adjustments before it ever ran out of cash. But if things continue as is without the addition of retailers to stem the flow of business to Idaho, the projection would hold true, Woo said.

And Coke said he's tired of having to go elsewhere to buy his necessities.

"Every time you want something, you have to not only leave the city, but the state," he said about trips to the Moscow Wal-Mart and other Idaho stores.

The city also can better fund its services like police and fire with the sales and property taxes a Wal-Mart Supercenter would bring, Coke said. And students would be eager to snap up the jobs created, he added.

Coke's opponent, incumbent Paul, is running for his second full term on the council. He said he is strongly in favor of Wal-Mart locating in Pullman for four reasons.

He said the store fits in with Pullman's long-planned growth around Bishop Boulevard. "That area is set aside for commercial use," he said. "We've already done the proper zoning, the planning and the environmental commissions, and all those were open to the public."

Paul said he encourages citizens to get involved in those early stage planning efforts so they aren't surprised like the community seemed to be when Wal-Mart announced its intentions. He also wondered if anti-Wal-Mart groups from out of the area weren't exerting some influence on this election.

Another reason Paul gave for supporting Wal-Mart is the city can't discriminate against any business for personal reasons. Wal-Mart will help Pullman broaden its tax base too, he added, and it will encourage other businesses to come as retail traffic in the area grows.

Paul said he personally has no objection to Wal-Mart, and doesn't know whether various accusations about its business practices are true.

Krueger said she decided to run because she was upset that the city hasn't held a public hearing specifically on the Wal-Mart issue, something she would do as a councilor.

The public has had an opportunity to comment on Wal-Mart's site plan, but that's not enough, she said. City planners approved the site plan, but with 35 conditions Wal-Mart has to address.

PARD is appealing that approval and an assessment that any environmental impact by Wal-Mart would be insignificant.

Increased traffic, proximity to a cemetery and light pollution are other Wal-Mart problems Kruger listed. And she included her personal distaste for the way it does business.

Heath said she understands that Wal-Mart has gotten into trouble before, but trusts the legal system to keep it in line.

"Trust me, if Wal-Mart is being a bad guy, someone will take them down," she said, adding trial lawyers have the money to match Wal-Mart's legal might dollar for dollar.

Heath, like Paul, said the council zoned the land around Bishop Boulevard for commercial development in 1982, and Wal-Mart fits within that zone.

"I think there's a certain group of people who simply want the city council to stand up and make a big stink, even though there's no legal basis to do so," Heath said. "It's not happening."

Sunnyside Elementary School fifth-grade teacher Gary Johnson has filed as a write-in candidate for the Ward 1, Position 7, seat. Johnson didn't return calls requesting input on the Wal-Mart issue before press time.

But he will be able to offer input at a candidate forum next week, if he chooses. The 7 p.m. Wednesday forum at the city hall council chambers is sponsored by the Pullman League of Women Voters and the Pullman Chamber of Commerce.

Alan Sorensen and C.B. (Barney) Waldrop are running unopposed for the Ward 2, positions 1 and 2 seats, respectively. The general election is Nov. 8.

Thank God Ann Heath, Bill Paul and Joshua Coke had the courage to tell it like it is. And big kudos to Joel Mills of the Tribune for nailing the story. This election IS a referendum on Wal-Mart. Make no mistake. And I agree with Bill Paul that organizations outside Pullman are trying to influence it. As I have said before, PARD is part of a greater national anti-Wal-Mart movement. It has nothing to do with "saving Pullman." PARD has been soliciting donations nationally at Sprawl Busters, Wal-Mart Watch and at Wake Up Walmart

FACTS are going to be coming out soon to counter PARD's lies. And just in time for the election, Judy.

I-900 Performance Audits -- Pros & Cons

Well this seems like a 'no brainier' we need more accountability in Olympia. The ‘limp’ audit bill that they passed this last session was a joke. When they can choose who is the auditor (appointed commission) and then they can choose what they will audit. We can do better we need this so I say Vote YES on I-900.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Announcing: BREO

October 19, 2005
For Immediate Release

Pullman Residents Form Organization to Support Growth and Opportunity

Pullman, WA – Saying Pullman deserves retail choices and “an opportunity to shop at home,” Russ and April Coggins announced the formation of Businesses and Residents for Economic Opportunity (BREO), an organization that supports free enterprise, business growth, and healthy competition. The Coggins are owners of Pullman Honda.

“A lot has been said about small businesses having to compete with Wal-Mart. We will be in that position,” the Coggins said, “and we welcome it.” Pullman Honda sells lawn and garden implements including lawn mowers, and accessories for all terrain vehicles, items that are also sold at Wal-Mart Supercenters.

“This is an exciting time for Pullman,” the Coggins agreed. “Housing starts are up, filling a tremendous need in our community. WSU has 2,900 new freshmen, and Duane Brelsford is busy building hundreds of new apartments to accommodate incoming students. Schweitzer Engineering has over 100 posted positions. The library expansion is complete, our airport is expanding, and we have a brand new hospital, but there’s something seriously missing in this mix,” the Coggins agreed.

“We need new retail and commercial expansion, and BREO welcomes those who are inquiring about locating in Pullman,” April Coggins said. “We also strongly support our current businesses and believe that increasing the number of people who shop in Pullman will be of benefit to small, locally-owned businesses such as ours and others in our downtown core,” she added.

Pullman Honda is currently considering relocating to a vacant building on Bishop Blvd. because of the proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter. "The promise of increased retail traffic in Pullman is encouraging the store to expand into a new and better location," the Coggins said, "however, easier access, more parking, and increased inventory can only be supported with more customers." Wal-Mart and the subsequent retail growth it will bring are tantamount to the Coggins’ decision. Without new growth, they will have to "wait and see if expansion can be supported," the Coggins added.

April Coggins is a life-long resident of Pullman and is encouraged by the potential growth she sees. “We have great leadership in Pullman right now with our mayor Glenn Johnson and our city council members,” April Coggins said. “We have a comprehensive plan in place that’s working,” she added, “and I am grateful to those who had the foresight to develop such a plan. We are now enjoying the fruits of their labor.”

The Coggins were among the original signers and signature gatherers of a full-page ad supporting the proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter that appeared in a local newspaper in August. April Coggins said that many others who signed that ad have become members of BREO. To learn more about BREO, visit its website at: www.letsgrowpullman.com or e-mail breo@adelphia.net.
It's time we make our voices heard.

I-912 Pros & Cons

I hope we can blog this one and the others up over the next few days, so we all can have a better idea what we will be voting on when we vote Nov. 8th. I for one will vote for this unless any of you can give me good cause to vote no. I find it very hard to except this tax increase the way Olympia foisted this new tax on us by declaring an emergency here in the state of Washington. The only emergency we have was those voters in King County can’t figure out how those Dead People voted. Other than that we seem to be headed over the cliff in spending like there will be no tomorrow just fine with the Marxist in charge in Olympia. Please put on your think caps and let’s hear some good reasons this why this should or should not pass.

I hope to post other initiatives in the next few days so we can all have a better understanding when we vote. So lets help each other and help explain why you will vote the way you will on these. I vote YES on I-912 hope you will also.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Church of The Poison Mind

As proof that PARD is officially against the Pullman Foursquare Church moving into the Cordova, click here

The page itself doesn't say much, but the name of the page speaks volumes: save_the_cordova

Funny how that took priority over the Moscow-Pullman Corridor public hearing. First they came for Wal-Mart, then they came for the Christians. Who's next? Remember, they're all about diversity. Just so it's the PARD-approved kind of diversity.


Ever wonder why homes in Pullman are so hard-to-find and expensive? Ever wonder why all the new housing developments are jammed in on the minimum amount of land allowed by city code, even though we are surrounded by miles of empty space? The answer is simple. For decades, Whitman County has had a repressive zoning code. The current ordinance requires a three-year moratorium on any land use before the property can be sold. Obviously, developers and farmers alike have been reluctant to have their funds and land tied up for that long. The result: Pullman is bursting at the seams and it is affecting our ability to grow and develop. Pressure was brought to bear on the Whitman County Commissioners by Pullman realtors and businesses to relax this zoning ordinance. The county has proposed doing so. Unfortunately, Whitman County planners have also seen fit to add a bunch of property owner restrictions that never existed before, such as "viewscape" limitations, lighting and spacing restrictions, etc. The proposed ordinance is going to be even more onerous than the original.

What can you do?

A petition to the Whitman County commissioners is currently being circulated asking them to reject the proposed ordinance changes. As the petition states, "Time is of the essence, as the Planning Commission votes on Wednesday, November 2nd, 2005. If passed, the new ordinance will be presented to the County Commissioners within 7 days. All petition signatures must be obtained prior to the County Commissioners Public Hearing which will be scheduled within 14 days of the receipt of the new ordinance. After the public hearing the County Commissioners will vote to accept or reject the new ordinance changes."

You can sign the petition online here or you can click here for a printable version. Contact me to return signed hard-copy petitions.

The Economic Impact Scavenger Hunt

As the city won't do an economic impact study of Wal-Mart as Jason Rogers wants, I thought we could help him out with a little game.

In Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, you can do all your shopping at several stores in downtown Pullman. So the object will be to find the 8 items below that are commonly sold in a college town.

First, Judy Krueger's Ground Rules:
Pedestrian Friendly: You must limit yourself to the traditional boundaries of downtown. That means Main St. between Taco Time and the Gladish Center and Grand Ave. betwee WaMu and Old European. Moscow is certainly out of the question.

Small Business Booster: NO NATIONAL CHAIN STORES! Only local mom-and-pop stores, as they are the backbone of our economy. That means no Safeway, Rite-Aid, ShopKo, Dissmores, The Bookie Too, Crimson and Gray, Blockbuster, etc. And no online purchases either! They're exempt from sales tax.
Now, The Items:
1. A pair of Nike sneakers
2. A gallon of 2% milk
3. Ink jet printer toner cartridge (black)
4. The latest Coldplay CD
5. A pack of college-ruled notebook paper
6. "The Ring Two" on DVD
7. A pack of No. 2 pencils
8. 24-pack of Ramen noodles (any flavor)
On your mark, get set, go! Post your results here.

Our next game will be to figure our how many double tall mochas you have to buy in a boutique sidewalk cafe in order to fund the $191,000 the Pullman Fire Department needs for new equipment.

Monday, October 17, 2005

NEWS FLASH: Judy Krueger Against Wal-Mart

In other breaking news today, it was also announced the Earth is not flat and the Sun will rise tomorrow.

This "revelation" comes from Krueger's campaign insert in today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News (even though it is a bit buried). Click on picture below for larger image.

I guess the Ward 3 election really is a referendum on Wal-Mart after all. Certainly Krueger is singing a different tune than before the primary where she claimed to only be against Wal-Mart's location and not Wal-Mart itself. I like what Joel Mills, the Lewiston Tribune reporter, told me about his interview with Krueger: "I couldn't drag her off the fence." Perhaps her "newly registered" student voters have given her the confidence to jump down off that fence.

Oh and I also like the part about being a "progressive" and "a booster of small business." That's rich! Progressives are always in favor of big government and big taxes, which as we all know are the small businessman's best friends! I'm still laughing over that one!

Here's Your Answer, Jason

Jason Rogers,the PARD webmaster wrote an unintentionally very funny letter to the editor of the Moscow-Pullman Daily News today. It shows the tunnel vision and lack of reasoning with which PARD members seem to be afflicted. The constant drumbeat as of late is "we need an economic impact study!"

Jason claims it is an assumption that the increased traffic will bring more business downtown and asks the question "How?" I guess one doesn't get many business classes majoring in Psychology, but it's pretty much a basic principle that the more potential customers you have, the more sales you will have. Facts he says? Look at Moscow. Have more stores been built around the Wal-Mart there, or less? Stores, in fact, that offer many of the same goods as Wal-Mart, such as office supplies and sporting goods. Go to Spokane and Lewiston and you will see the same thing. Here's my question to Jason: why? More facts: The existence of this company that exclusively builds strip malls around Wal-Mart Supercenters.

He claims that if "one store offers everything" no one will shop anywhere else. Ludicrous. Even more facts: a recent RetailForward study showed that only 34% of Wal-Mart customers purchased clothing there. Other studies show the same thing about many other types of products. Talk about assumptions. Jason makes a huge one assuming everyone will buy everything at one store. Where's the data to prove that? There isn't any. And no one could possibly do all their shopping downtown anyway. If so, why aren't people doing that now? Why are they going to Moscow, Lewsiton, and Spokane to shop? How does PARD propose to change that?

Here's another question to Jason: what would a "economic impact study" prove? And if one did say Wal-Mart was good for Pullman, would PARD fold up it's tents and go home? I doubt it. I am against the whole "economic impact study" because it is not required by the law. Did Pullman do an economic impact study when Starbucks opened three stores in Pullman to compete with the "mom-and-pop" Daily Grind? How about the opening of Duane "We Want to Salute" Brelsford's Pullman Village Centre Cinemas? If "economic impact" were a criteria for any business coming to town, we would only have one of any store, because competition is going to hurt somebody.

Here's some more questions for Jason: if downtown businesses are going to lose out so badly to Wal-Mart, why are they largely in support of it? Why is PARD made up almost exclusively of WSU faculty and students? Why aren't angry merchants writing letters to the editor instead of angry teaching assistants?

PARD's insistence on an economic impact is simply a delaying tactic, a red herring. At this point, that's all they have. PARD has no chance of winning and they know it.

"The cost to change the flow of traffic will be offset by the sales tax" is an assumption? Come on. Wal-Mart will generate millions in sales and other tax revenue over the years. That's an undeniable FACT. Does Jason know of some secret plan that Wal-Mart has to evade paying taxes? The road work around the Supercenter will not be anywhere near that expensive, and Wal-Mart is paying for much of it. He talks about facts, and yet all he proposes is wild assumptions. In fact, that has been what PARD's case has been all along; fantastic assumptions to try and induce fear in the population of this city.

I'm glad he has found the debate humorous and angering, because that's how I would describe my reaction to his calling me a "boob" on the PARD prototype website.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Just in Time for Halloween

The Moscow-Pullman Daily News described Pullman Finance Director Troy Woo’s recent report to the City Council as follows:
The tone of Troy Woo’s voice was grim as he gave a preview of the “bare bones” 2006 budget for the city of Pullman to the City Council Tuesday night.
As usual, medical and salary expenses are going up. And there is the little matter of $191,210 that the Pullman Fire Department has requested. The fire department has been told that is unlikely enough money will be available in the 2006 budget to meet this request. As I have said before, the Neros of PARD will fiddle while Pullman burns.

Yes, the city has seen record numbers of building permits issued this year. But as pointed out by Mark Bordsen, Whitman County planner, "The county really needs sales tax revenue. A house doesn't support that."

Construction at WSU and at the Port of Whitman County is virtually useless, as construction materials for high-tech and biotechnology projects are tax-exempt, and in any case, they are not subject to property taxes after they are built.

Gee, we’ll get a one-time shot from the $86 million reconstruction of the CUB, but again, it is exempt from property taxes.

The article reiterated the damaging effects of I-695 and I-747. The city has lost about $1.3 million in annual revenues and a cap has been put on property taxes, the city’s biggest source of revenue.

Can anyone be so obtuse that they can’t see how Wal-Mart would be the shot-in-the-arm our city finances need?

PARD acknowledges that Wal-Mart will bring in increased sales tax revenue, but they claim any increase will be offset by the social services needed to support the poor Wal-Mart workers who will get paid "slave wages" and receive no benefits.

This in intellectual dishonesty at its worst. PARD took one unsubstantiated story and used it over and over as an argument against tax benefits. It was posted on the liberal Vision 2020 message board story about how the Sojourner’s Alliance of Moscow paid out 14% of it support to Wal-Mart employees and their families and theorizes about how much that costs the state of Idaho.

What is true one place may not be true in another. First of all, find me any retailer anywhere that doesn’t have SOMEONE on public assistance. Secondly, Pullman’s demographics do not support that theory. The average resident of Pullman is 22.5 years old, attends school, is single, has no children, and lives with at least one or more roommate. This is not the typical candidate for welfare or the typical holder of a “family-wage” job. Plus, students have medical benefits through the university. Therefore, it is unlikely that any additional people will be thrown onto public assistance. How would Wal-Mart create poverty anyway? Washington has the highest minimum wage in the country. Pullman has the lowest unemployment rate in the state. No one will put a gun to anyone’s head to work at Wal-Mart. There are dozens are “family-wage” jobs in Pullman that are going begging for applicants right now. But I digress.

The worse half-truth of all is just who pays for social services anyway. In Washington State, the Department of Social and Health Services provides food stamps, cash assistance, indigent health care, etc. Yes, 52% (as of the 2001-2003 biennium) of DSHS’s budget comes from retail sales and use taxes. But that is from the STATE’S portion of the tax. For every $1.00 of retail sales in Pullman, 0.85 cents stays in Pullman, 0.15 cents goes to Whitman County, and 6.6 cents goes to the state’s general fund. It’s simply disingenuous to imply that Pullman will lose tax money because of Wal-Mart.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Top Gun

If I ever meet Michael O'Neal, I'm going to buy him a beer.

As a former civilian analyst for the Department of Defense, I especially appreciated Mr. O'Neal's Town Crier piece titled "It’s About Picking Targets, Not Finding Them" in today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News.

Some quotes:
Occasionally, one asks me whether it's hard to find ideas for columns. My response is always "Are you kidding?" The Palouse is what the military fly-boys call a target-rich environment, promiscuous with Birkenstock liberals, blowhard intellectuals, and self-styled activists eager to expose themselves to fire by saying and writing foolish things.

No, my friends, the problem is not finding targets. It’s picking one.

But a defining characteristic of your Birkenstock liberal is that the truth is something that’s easily outflanked. Under his rules of engagement, you can say anything you want as long as it supports the liberal faith.

Sadly, this kind of intellectual dishonesty is rife in the Moscow-Pullman theater.

...the preferred battle tactic of your blowhard intellectual, name calling.

So you get the picture. There are plenty of targets around, but at least they're not very well armed...
So true. So very true. I think we can all relate. This is certainly the best thing I've read in the Town Crier series, and by a professor to boot.

The Ol' PARD Two-Step

Cynthia "Impartial Private Citizen" Hosick is at it again. In a front page story in yesterday's Moscow-Pullman Daily News, Hosick was quoted as being against the conditional-use permit for the Pullman Foursquare Church to use the old Cordova Theater. Perhaps she is envious of the current New Saint Andrews zoning fiasco over in Moscow.
"Churches shouldn't be taking up space in the center of downtown," said Cynthia Hosick, a local resident and activist. "I'm not against churches -- I don't think any of us are -- but I am for a defined area for retail and entertainment downtown."
As usual, the Daily News failed to mention Hosick's well-known PARD affiliation and status as Judy Krueger's campaign manager. How is that not relevant?

The article continues:
Several of the residents who attended the meeting expressed their belief that a church is not a compatible use for the downtown business core. Concerns include parking in the area local businesses and a limited amount of commercial retail space for businesses that would generate tax revenues for the city.
Thank God for Keith Bloom pointing out the obvious:
Keith Bloom, co-owner of Cafe Moro and a city council member, said he would be grateful if churchgoers decided to walk across the street for a cup of coffee after their Sunday morning service.
Oh, where to start. "Churches shouldn't be taking up space in the center of downtown" I guess that's news to the members of Pullman Baptist Church. Who is Cynthia Hosick to judge what is appropriate in town and what is not? Was there some secret vote I missed where she was elected Mayor? Unbelievable.

Here is my question for Ms. Hosick. PARD has consistently applauded Duane Brelsford, Jr. as a "model of responsible development" by "providing both housing and businesses that are needed locally, while maintaining the character of Pullman." Yet, it was the opening of Brelsford's Pullman Village Centre Cinemas two years ago that spelled the doom of the Cordova as a movie theater. Where was the outrage then? In addition, the Cordova is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. We all know how much PARD believes in preserving historic places, as witnessed by all their letters to the editor about the Pullman City Cemetery (which ISN'T on the Register, by the way). How can they applaud Brelsford and bemoan the loss of the Cordova? That was a local downtown business closing that had NOTHING to do with Wal-Mart. Could it be that the ever-changing tastes of consumers cause some businesses to thrive and others to fail? Nahhhhhh. It's more fun to blame Wal-Mart.

Perhaps after Ms. Hosick and her PARDners raise the tens of millions they need to put in a technology park on the proposed Wal-Mart site, they can buy the Cordova building.

The hypocrisy of these liberal anti-everythingers is stunning. Wal-Mart's proposed parking lot is "too big" and will lead to "air, water, light and noise pollution." Yet for the Pullman Foursquare Church, there are not enough parking places downtown and businesses will lose customers if churchgoers are taking up the spaces (who buys quilts on Sunday morning anyway??) Oh, and let's not forget the church won't generate sales tax revenue for the city! Aye yie yie!

In other news, the Whitman County Commissioners finally approved the Moscow-Pullman corridor for development after 20 years of debate.

PARD states on their website:
We applaud the recent decision of the Pullman City Council to resist County Commission pressure to extend services to the Moscow-Pullman highway. We believe a far more prudent and economically lucrative option for Pullman would be to push development of any county properties south of town on the route to Lewiston/Clarkston.
Yet no PARD members showed up at the public hearing to protest. These are the public hearings PARD claims never get held by our undemocratic local governments. The commissioners had a nine inch stack of proposals to hand out just in case.

I personally believe that as soon as the Wal-Mart issue is decided, they will fold up their tents faster than Cougar bowl hopes disappeared last Saturday.

However, if PARD does try to fight corridor development, the logic will be twistingly amusing:
- We are not against growth, just Wal-Mart
- The Wal-Mart site is the worst possible location. The ditch, err, wetlands, will be negatively affected by the stormwater runoff, the historical D-Day cemetery will be encroached upon, and the increased traffic will block all ambulances from coming to the hospital and endanger both Kindergarteners and Grandmas.
- Therefore, nothing can ever be built on that site, as it would have the same problems, including Democrat-donatin', union-lovin' Costco.
- An evil Wal-Mart Supercenter will now be built in Lewiston. This Supercenter, in addition to the L-C Valley's Costco, K-Mart, Home Depot, and Lewiston Mall will keep L-C shoppers local - so much for developing south of town
- The only large area of land really left to build on that is zoned commercial is along the Moscow-Pullman Corridor
- Traffic shouldn't be a problem along the corridor as the state will begin a $28.5 million four-laning of SR 270 next year
- Stormwater shouldn't be an issue, as only the north side of SR 270, away from Paradise Creek, will be developed for retail and commerical purposes
- There are no schools, hospitals, retirement homes or cemeteries along the corridor (who knows, maybe we need a ground-penetrating radar survey to look for unmarked graves)
- We are still against corridor development, but we're definitely not anti-growth!
Perhaps this is why no one from PARD bothered showing up last night.

Oh, and while we're "applauding," as PARD so loves to do, I applaud Mark Bordsen, Whitman County planner, for the best quote of the year:
"The county really needs sales tax revenue. A house doesn't support that."
Mr. Bordsen said that there have been some confidential meetings with businesses looking to locate in the corridor. Can anyone say "Target?"

Hat Tip: April Coggins

PARD's Mission

Below is PARD's Mission Statement as taken from their web site.

“We as citizens of Pullman and the wider Palouse are farmers, professionals, business people, teachers, students, retirees, wage workers and homemakers dedicated to preserving and improving the best qualities of our regional community. We join together in the Pullman Alliance for Responsible Development to:

-Help ensure that development decisions in this region reflect and respect the rights of working people to a living wage
-Protect and encourage local businesses
-Maintain unique qualities of the town and the region
-Improve the quality of life for residential neighborhoods
-Seek environmental and economic sustainability
-And uphold principles of fairness and social justice for all the diverse members of the citizenry

In pursuit of these values we will use a variety of democratic means including, but not limited to, lobbying government officials, letter writing campaigns, public education, petitions and initiatives, support for changes in local ordinances, litigation, and when necessary boycotts, demonstrations and other forms of non-violent direct action. We believe the current political structures in place in Pullman and elsewhere on the Palouse could be far more open to democratic debate and decision making by the citizens. We are dedicated to achieving greater governmental accountability and responsibility.”

After reading over the Mission Statement I found I was struck by a few things. First, and to quote, "We believe the current political structures in place in Pullman and elsewhere on the Palouse could be far more open to democratic debate and decision making by the citizens. We are dedicated to achieving greater governmental accountability and responsibility." I agree that the Palouse citizenery needs to be able to participate in decision making processes and help achieve greater governmental accountability. However, PARD itself does not believe it has to follow that process. As of today, no one has seen the mythical list of names and no evidence of whether or not they are all Pullman residents against Wal-Mart or like in the case of my mother-in-law who was asked to sign the petition and was told it didn't matter whether she was from out of town or not. Also, I'm not real sure where the "Hosick" petition fits into this process. Not telling potential signers of a petition your true motives doesn't sound very open and above board.

Democratic means such as petitions for changing government behavior is a tried a true method of changing government behavior. I just have a problem with it when the Judy Krueger's of the world combine signing up voters for an election with a petition drive. It is more like a fear-mongering rally versus a true effort to ensure everyone has a fair chance to take part in our democratic processes.

Three of their hot points resonated deeply within me. "Protect and encourage local businesses." Based upon Jerry Grieblings complaint, which the Daily News and the Evergreen have yet to investigate, and other blog commenters, PARD seems to think protecting and encouraging local businesses is synonomous with covert petition operations and a "we know better than you" attitude.

"Seek environmental and economic sustainability." Again, I'm quite confused by what they mean. I guess by sending all our tax dollars to Moscow, Lewiston, and Spokane we keep the elitist PARD members happy and the rest of us desperately seeking to keep our city and county economically sustainable.

"Improve the quality of life for residential neighborhoods." I think everyone wants this. As I drove to the hospital this morning I tried to imagine myself driving through the neighborhoods surrounding Franklin Elementary and Lincoln Middle School instead of the easy drive I had on Grand Avenue to Bishop Boulevard. For the life of me, why would I want to drive through neighborhoods where I have to make extra stops at stop signs and make several more turns to get to the hospital. PARD, if you want something to truly worry about, think of Safeway's new gas station. The storm water runoff issue should be sending shivers down your spines let alone the concern of having underground tanks of a flammable liquid so close to LMS and FES.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Job Security

If things don't work out for Judy Krueger next month in the Ward 3 council race, at least her day job is doing well. In today's Daily Evergreen, it is reported that the WSU Center for Human Rights, for which Krueger is a case manager and senior investigator, is increasing its workload. Since last April, the CHR is now investigating equal opportunity and harrassment issues involving students as well as faculty. The article states:
Since taking on a larger case load, Krueger said she would like to see more investigators added to the staff.
That can't be good news for students or faculty. In an editorial on townhall.com , Mark Tapscott, Director of the Center for Media and Public Policy at The Heritage Foundation, characterized CHR's reaction to the controversial play "Passion of the Musical" as "nascent American Stalinism." We've already seen one WSU Education student "purged" for not following the party line. Now the university will have a even larger department to enforce "political correctness." And we Washington taxpayers are footing the bill for these inquisitions.

Hat Tip: Right Mind

Friday, October 07, 2005

Flip-Flopping Seen and Heard Around Campus, Pt. II

Day Two of Judy Krueger campaigning for herself and against Wal-Mart at the CUB. Hat Tip: Joshua Coke

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Seen Around the Net

PARD's "new and improved" website is finally up!

Looks pretty much like the "prototype" site Palousitics readers got to preview last month, only minus the "Beavis and Butthead" humor. Too bad.

Flip-Flopping Seen and Heard Around Campus

Palousitics contributor Ray informed me of a PARD petition signature table set up at the CUB on the WSU campus this afternoon. Manning the booth was Ward 3 City Council candidate Judy Krueger. You remember Ms. Krueger. She is the PARD board member that claims she isn't really against Wal-Mart, only the location. Ray said Ms. Krueger's bumper sticker was in between two signs that read "Say No to Wal-Mart!," just like the PARD booth at the Lentil Festival.

As I listened on the phone, Ray asked the wannabe trolley conductor some questions about Wal-Mart, and Ms. Krueger dutifully handed out the cups of PARD Kool-Aid, including the laughable assertion that the only reason the hospital is not opposed to Wal-Mart is because Wal-Mart is going to to pay the hospital off with fill dirt! Even though Krueger is opposed to the Wal-Mart location, she did not have a better location for Wal-Mart.

I immediately notified Joel Mills of the Lewiston Tribune. Ms. Krueger had given him the runaround about Wal-Mart in a previous interview. He told me that candidates get softballs before the primary, but in interviews before the election, they will not get an opportunity to dodge the Wal-Mart issue again. If they do, he will say so. Mr. Mills now realizes from talking to me and others that the Ward 3 City Council race really IS a referendum on Wal-Mart. If Krueger tries to spin her stand on Wal-Mart again, he will remind her of this event at the CUB.

Ray, if you have anything else to add, please feel free.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Sur-prise! Sur-prise! Sur-prise!

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.

A Little Levity Goes a Long Way

First, I would like to thank Tom for asking me to be part of his blog. It is an honor and one I hope I can live up to for both Tom and the readers. The biggest issue of late on this blog has been Wal-Mart and the scheming and conniving behavior of PARD. I thought a little levity on this damp and cold Tuesday might help us all get through the day.

Sung to the tune of Polly Wally Doodle All the Day

Oh, I went to Pullman, to do some shoppin’
Singin’ Pullman's a great place to live
But thanks to PARD
Wal-mart’s ground ain’t broke
Singin' People Against Retail Development

To the bank, to the bank
Moscow laughs all the way to the bank
They got Wal-Mart and they got a mall
And all I got is high taxes

Oh, people cry and people whine
That’s all they print in the paper
How come they don’t investigate
PARD's cover-up petition
I will never know

To the bank, to the bank
Moscow laughs all the way to the bank
They got Wal-Mart and they got a mall
And all I got is high taxes

Many thanks to Pullman City Council
For tryin’ to help Pullman grow
Many of us see change as good
And support the job you do
Singin' Pullman's a great place to live

To the bank, to the bank
Moscow laughs all the way to the bank
They got Wal-Mart and they got a mall
And all I got is high taxes

While some readers may think the song is silly, there is truth in it. It isn't any sillier than two PARD members telling me the best way to widen Pullman's tax base is to bring in a Target.

Monday, October 03, 2005

WOW watch us grow - no thanks to PARD

Since this is my first post I would like to thank Tom for offering me this chance to post my thoughts; THANKS Tom. I was very flattered that he would even ask; I hope I don’t disappoint him or you. I don’t like people that waste my time so I will attempt not to waste yours.

The subject that has us going of late is Wal-Mart. Will it be good or bad for Pullman? Tom has pointed out very well that it is not only the tax base of the city that will improve (and boy does it need to improve), but the one thing that he has said needs to be repeated. That is there will be other businesses show up around Wal-Mart due to the extra traffic that it will draw. The one thing that the Marxist / Leftists have trouble understanding about capitalism is that it takes customers with money and places to spend that money to make a community grow. Well, since we are still coming out of the repression, (if you could call it that) we have lived under here in the businesses community. We are already seeing new businesses building up around where Wal-Mart will be located. I see Zeppo’s is adding a lot more floor space to see there business grow. Next to the “New” movie theaters is a “New” restaurant being build. On down the hill is something else that is in the works. All of this and Wal-Mart has yet to break ground, no thanks to PARD.

I for one want to thank the city council for there making this growth for our community possible.

Now one thing that would be nice as this growth happens, and I am sure there will be more in the area, would be if the city would fix Bishop Boulevard the curve down by the theaters and physical therapy. The super of the road tilts out and you have to hang on for dear life when you go around the corner.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Plausible Deniability

Last week, Judy Krueger was using the Watergate-era political tactic of the non-denial denial. Now, the Pullman Alliance for Responsible Development is using another favorite Nixon technique: plausible deniability. Obviously PARD has been feeling the heat after getting their hand caught in the cookie jar. They can't publicly attack the merchants they say they are "defending," so obviously the best thing to do is to offload responsibility for the petition opprobrium to someone else.

Accordingly, Cynthia Hosick (coincidentally enough a very active supporter of Judy Krueger) wrote a a laughable letter to the editor that appeared in today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News taking sole credit for the infamous "Nineteen Merchants Letter." She can't seriously expect us to believe that she was acting as an "impartial private citizen" and "represented no one but herself" when she collected signatures from Pullman merchants asking for an economic impact study of the proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter. Ms. Hosick neglected to mention that she is an active member of PARD. She is also a prolific writer of letters to the editor against Wal-Mart. In fact, she was writing letters to the editor well before PARD was even formed. For example, from October 2004:
No please. No Wal-Mart superstore in Pullman, especially on Bishop Boulevard. We have two fine grocery stores already. Which one, like Tidyman's, will be put out of business? We already have a big discount store. Will ShopKo be ousted? Where is this marketing plan coming from? Two Wal-Marts, a ShopKo and six grocery stores for a total Pullman-Moscow population of less than 50,000?
By Ms. Hosick’s own admission, the cover letter that went to the city was the idea of only one of the signers. How many other of the 19 signers did not get a chance to see the letter that was being submitted on their behalf? Did all those merchants also know the ultimate purpose of the petition? I think we can safely say the answer is "No," as one merchant who signed the petition has already publicly claimed he was duped into signing and knew nothing of any cover letter or the purpose.

Ms. Hosick claims the purpose of the petition was "simply to ask the city to consider that an independent economic study could help Pullman." Baloney. The letter and petition were submitted as a SEPA DNS comment to Mark Workman and filed by the city with the "anti-Wal-Mart" comments. Just go down to City Hall and ask to see the letter signed by "Nineteen Pullman Merchants" (Ms. Hosick's name is not attached to the letter, even though she wrote it). Now, PARD has filed an appeal of the city's final DNS determination, partially based on the lack of an economic impact study. That letter and petition could very well be used as evidence at the appeal hearing. So much for impartiality.

These are all facts, not "rumors." In her letter to the Daily News, Ms. Hosick conveniently doesn't mention her affiliation with PARD, her undeniable anti-Wal-Mart stance, Jerry Griebling's complaint, the use of the petition as a SEPA DNS comment and how that dovetails with PARD's appeal. Given how much Ms. Hosick leaves out, there is no doubt in my mind that Jerry Griebling's allegations are true. I urge the Daily News and the Pullman Chamber of Commerce to conduct an investigation to get to the truth in this matter. Ms. Hosick's assertions are not enough to put this matter to rest.

I hope everyone in Pullman can now see the lengths to which Wal-Mart opponents will go.

And Ms. Hosick, rumors are started by disingenuousness, hidden agendas, and lack of full disclosure, not a lack of a "regular public forum."