Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Thursday, January 12, 2006


"T.V. Rerun" and "Baghdad Chris" have just released the following missive to the media:


Christopher Lupke (509) 335-2755; clupke@yahoo.com

T. V. Reed, tv_reed@pullman-ard.org



Pullman, WA – This and next Friday, January 13, 2006 and January 20, 2006, hearings will be held to allow Pullman residents to voice their opposition to the proposal to build a MASSIVE (First pointless hyperbole) Wal-Mart Supercenter (Mall) (Glad they mentioned that. It will remind people again how we lost the Palouse Mall because of a previous generation of anti-growth radicals like this) of close to 250 thousand square feet a mere eight miles from an existing Wal-Mart. It has taken over a year to get this hearing, which comes at the behest of the Pullman Alliance for Responsible Development (PARD), a grassroots movement made up of Pullman residents (Read professors) who would like to see the city grow in ways that are sensitive to the makeup of the community (What gives them the right to determine that?), embellish the retail options already here (Huh?) , enhance the natural landscape that is characteristic of the town (A dune-shaped store?) , and are mindful of broad community sentiment (Wake up and smell the coffee. Give up your pointless appeals as your ideas were rejected by nearly a 3-to-1 margin by voters last November.)

Other Cities Question Wal-Mart's Impact

Recently, the nearby town of Moscow, Idaho, facing its own big box ONSLAUGHT (Second pointless hyperbole), embarked on a series of town meetings to debate (Right) the pros and cons of RAMPANT (Third pointless hyperbole) development. Those in Pullman who favor more community involvement look across the border with some envy, noting that such community gatherings should have happened at the beginning of the process instead of near the end. (So move there already. I thought this was about Pullman, not Wal-Mart in Moscow. Why is PARD helping the anti-Wal-Mart movement in Moscow if that is the case? It’s comparing apples and oranges anyway. The land in Pullman was already zoned for the purpose and in the Comprehensive Plan. The Moscow Supercenter requires a rezone as well as being under the provisions of an “emergency” big box ordinance) The lack of public input and communication from the city government of Pullman has lead to the dissemination of much false information and rumor, particularly regarding the impact that Wal-Mart will have on the community. (That’s a slam on us. Hooray!! We’ve gotten to them!) Many independent studies, including some commissioned by Wal-Mart itself, have shown that the big box BEHEMOTH (Fourth pointless hyperbole) can have a negative effect on the economic climate of towns like Pullman and Moscow and can be a drain on its social services. (Uh, no more so than other retailers. Has PARD looked at how many Dissmores, ShopKo and Rite-Aid employees use public assistance? How about the benefits at the mom-and-pop stores?) Impoverished Wal-Mart employees account for more than half the public health supplements to the working poor in many states, including Arizona and Wisconsin. These facts have been reported by local and national newspapers on a regular basis. (Only as liberal lies and exaggerations. In Washington State, only 2.3% of Wal-Mart employees use Medicaid.)

Hearing to be Held on Two Consecutive Fridays

The hearing begins on Friday morning, January 13th at 10:30 am in Gladish Community Center, 115 NW State St. (on Sunnyside Hill near downtown Pullman) and will continue on Friday the 20th in the City Council Chambers. The meetings will be presided by Spokane attorney John Montgomery, appointed as Hearing Examiner by the City of Pullman. The structure of the hearing is outlined on the City of Pullman website, and allows for opening arguments and expert testimony both from the City of Pullman and from PARD. This testimony will be followed by an open public comment period for all who wish to speak out (on issues relevant to the SEPA and site plan approvals ONLY.) which may extend until the second Friday session. Wal-Mart will have an opportunity to present its rebuttal to the appeal and each side will receive time for a closing argument. According to the City of Pullman, the Hearing Examiner is expected to rule by the end of January. (We can only pray.)

Grave (HA!!!) Issues Surround the Debate

The four primary issues that concern PARD are: the health and safety issues involved in situating a project SO LARGE (Fifth pointless hyperbole), 250 thousand square feet with a 1000-car parking lot, across the street from an elementary, a junior high school and an assisted-living community for the elderly and next to the new hospital in Pullman; potential ENCROACHMENT (Sixth pointless hyperbole) on the cemetery adjacent and behind where the Wal-Mart supercenter is slated to be built; flood and pollution dangers from the MASSIVE (Seventh pointless hyperbole) amount of storm water runoff caused by paving such a LARGE (Eighth pointless hyperbole) tract of land; and the failure of the city to follow its own guidelines in conducting a study of the likely fiscal impact of the project on the city's economy (So the city requires economic impact studies of all new businesses opening in Pullman? I have previously rebutted all these frivolous claims).

Wal-Mart Protests Abound in Face of Multitude of Offenses

Many communities like Pullman and Moscow around the United States have been rising up in opposition to Wal-Mart and the "one-stop shopping" business model it openly advocates. (No the union-backed Wal-Mart Watch and Wake Up Wal-Mart groups have been fruitlessly doing that. Funny, there’s no mention of organized labor or PARD’s appeal for donations on those websites anywhere in this press release.) Documentaries have been shown on PBS and CNBC (Always the leaders in objective news coverage) that highlight the way Wal-Mart's PREDATORY (Ninth pointless hyperbole) business practices can destroy local businesses and illustrate how Wal-Mart EXPLOITS (Tenth pointless hyperbole) labor in third world countries to garner windfall profits at home. Wal-Mart is also the most-sued corporation in American and has been found guilty of an array of offenses including compelling employees to continue working after clocking out, ENCROACHING (Eleventh pointless hyperbole) on employees' lunch hours, and hiring undocumented workers through surrogate companies. They currently are engaged in the largest class action law suit in the nation's history for discriminating against female workers. (See my latest post about that)

Possible Outcomes

The results of the hearing are largely in the hands of the Hearing Examiner (and facts and the law, thank God) and could range in possibilities from an outright denial of the project on the grounds that it violates the Pullman City Comprehensive Plan and city codes and ENDANGERS (Twelfth pointless hyperbole) the health and safety of residents to a scaling down of the project to buffer the street and cemetery areas. (Uh, what about the possible outcome that the city made the correct decision and PARD is full of crap? That is the most likely outcome if this is the best argument they can make.) Requiring Wal-Mart to pay for a fiscal impact study is another possible outcome, given the fact that Wal-Mart has agreed to do this elsewhere when compelled. (What if it said Wal-Mmart would benefit Pullman? Would PARD give up? I don't think so. It's a smokescreen, like everything else in this release, and has nothing to do with Pullman)
The Palousitics BS-O-Meter yields the following results:


So PARD’s favorite words drawn from Kennedy’s Thesaurus of Liberality appear to be “MASSIVE ENCROACHMENT!!!!!!” Nothing like a fact-filled, rational press release. I'd like to think the media would laugh at something so breathlessly silly, but they'll probably lap it up.

No comments: