Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Monday, February 06, 2006

Blurring the Line

While Tom Forbes was testifying at the SEPA and site plan appeal on the 20th, he mentioned that Pullman voters had supported pro-growth City Council candidates by an overwhelming margin. Judy Kreuger and Gary Johnson, both members of PARD and in staunch opposition to Wal-Mart, were endorsed by PARD, Tom said. At this point, I looked over and saw T.V. Reed shaking his head at the suggestion that PARD had endorsed these candidates. As I read the latest flurry of letters that PARD members have fired off, I thought back on that shaking head and the incredibly blurry line that PARD seems to have drawn.

Mr. Reed was indeed right. At no point did PARD itself endorse or oppose a single candidate. Its members, however, have been extremely vocal when it comes to local pro-growth issues. Where then, do we draw the line between the actions of PARD and its members?

Cynthia Hosick actively campaigned for Judy Kreuger and Gary Johnson on the single issue of Wal-Mart’s presence in Pullman. She also deceived local merchants into signing a petition opposing the Supercenter (according to a letter by Jerry Griebling, one of those “duped” as he put it, by the petition). In a response, Cynthia Hosick stated that she was acting not as a member of any organization, but merely as a concerned citizen. In that same letter, Ms. Hosick stated that Wal-Mart should conduct an impact study and praised the case of Bozeman, MT. where Wal-Mart paid for an impact study.

On June 20th, Montine Vona-Pergola claimed that “by every academic standard” 3/4 of the population of Pullman was opposed to the proposed Wal-Mart. Where did these numbers come from? The 9000+ signatures they collected from people who supposedly will not shop at or work for a Pullman Wal-Mart. By Ms. Vona-Pergola’s own admission, that petition contains signatures from people living outside of Pullman. By her estimate at the time, perhaps 1/3 of the signatures were not from residents. Yet, she has continued to tout “fact” that the majority of Pullman residents are opposed to Wal-Mart. However, including data from persons living outside of the city and counting them as if they were residents is statistically flawed. These people should know statistics. In fact, I actually took statistics from one of them. On that note…

Jason Rodgers, the PARD webmaster provided a link to this blog under the title “boob.” Of course, the claim was that this should does not reflect the opinion of PARD and was solely the action of an individual. Sound familiar? I’m not even going to touch Tom’s recent log post which revealed the directory names of “F***ing lunatic.”

And how could I forget James Kreuger’s letter suggesting that Wal-Mart supporters “shop in disregard of community and responsibility to one’s fellow man.” According to Mr. Kreuger, we all lack “sense and shame.”

As far as endorsing candidates goes, T.V. Reed appeared at Young Democrats on campus prior to the election and encouraged attendees to vote for Judy Kreuger and Gary Johnson. Is that PARD talking, or Mr. Reed?

How about Christopher Lupke’s great quote about Wal-Mart in the Inlander? “They’re A**holes,” he says.

There are others, but due to a current conflict of interests in my academic career, I’m not going to discuss those individuals at this time.

Looking back over the previous statements, I hope you can understand why I keep thinking back on Mr. Reed shaking his head. When so many members and associates of PARD act in a particular manner, make statements in support or opposition of issues or persons, you have to wonder if they really are doing so as individuals, or as members of a group. Are the expressions of those that compose the group expressions of the group itself? I’ll let you form your own opinion.

Technorati Tags:


Tom Forbes said...

ANOTHER excellent post Josh!

I don't know why TV Rerun was shaking his head. If this this wasn't a PARD endorsement, a 700 word op-ed piece in the Daily Evergreen from the official PARD spokesperson, then I can't imagine what would constitute one.

The whole "official endorsement" thing was just a game with the PDC. If PARD were to take a stand in a matter before the voters, then its books would have to be open to the public by law, including contributions. There's no way they want the people of Pullman to see all that UFCW cash flowing in.

Joshua Coke said...

A game? Yes. However, what I find more disturbing as a citizen of Pullman is the trend of PARD claiming to represent Pullman residents, and then its members making these types of statements while PARD itself takes no responsibility.

Sarcastic Housewife #1 said...

Joshua, I'm way more concerned and saddened that your opinions could negatively affect your academic career. Academics fought for many years to earn the right to say what they want without fear of censure. It is upsetting the same courtesy is not extended to students nor to anyone else who does not agree with the views of certain academicians. Personally, I strongly believe T.V.'s link as the Assoc. Dean of College of Liberal Arts, Chair of the American Studies, and as leader of PARD present an unethical quagmire of unbelieveable proportions and somewhere along the line his influence over students, staff, faculty, and townspeople has been used improperly. For instance, the showing of the anti-Wal-Mart movie as co-sponsored by PARD, American Studies, and other departments under which he holds some influence was wrong.

Joshua Coke said...

In all fairness to the people of differing opinions with whom I've had to interact professionally and academically, everyone has been very concerned with not creating any problems. Everyone I have personally met on one side of the line or the other has been careful to keep politics and activism from mixing with work or school.