Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Friday, March 17, 2006

I'll Slip an Extra Signature on the Barbie For You

Three residents of Perth, Australia, 9466 miles away, have “pledged not to shop at or work for Wal-Mart if they establish a store in Pullman”. Residents of Chile, the U.K., Finland, New Orleans, Kansas, etc., etc. have all joined in the global boycott. Gosh, you have to admire the moral fortitude it takes to make a commitment like that.

These amusing tidbits come directly from the infamous PARD petition, which Palousitics has obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. A big thanks to April Coggins for all the painstaking research.

In a letter to Lee Scott, the CEO of Wal-Mart Stores, dated May 23, 2005, PARD stated that:
“We have gathered more than 7500 signatures so far of people who feel strongly enough that they have pledged to refuse to shop in or work for your mall should it be built here. All signatures have been gathered from consumers in the area by local, unpaid volunteers. For our small town this is a phenomenal number. We have at least 1000 more signatures on our petition from Pullman residents than the number who voted in the last city election, and we believe it indicates that a majority of citizens here oppose the building of your massive big box discount center.”
“Gathered from consumers in the area?” Some 13% of the PARD petition signatures are not even from Pullman-Moscow.

“For our small town this is a phenomenal number?” “Indicates that a majority of citizens here oppose Wal-Mart?” Nearly half (43.2%) of the 9,511 signatures are from non-Pullman residents, including:
2,363 from Moscow
1,269 from outside of Pullman, Moscow, or Whitman County
398 from Whitman County other than Pullman
81 unknown (not identified or illegible)
It’s phenomenally dishonest to pad your petition numbers with signatures from the four corners of the Earth.

Let’s break those numbers down further.
26,590 (2005 Pullman population)
- 18,690(2005 WSU Pullman enrollment)
- 3,237 (Children under 18)
= 4,663 full-time adult Pullman residents

5,400 Pullman signatures
-70.29% percentage of WSU students in Pullman population
= 1,604 full-time adult Pullman residents who likely signed PARD petition

1,604/4,663 = 34.4% of full-time adult Pullman residents signed PARD petition
This number aligns very nicely with the percentage of votes cast for anti-Wal-Mart candidates in last November’s Ward 1 and Ward 3 City Council elections:
1,179 Bill Paul
549 Ann Heath
342 Joshua Coke
= 2,070 pro-Wal-Mart candidate votes

406 Judy Krueger
365 Gary Johnson
= 771 anti-Wal-Mart candidate votes

771/2,841 = 27.1% of votes cast in Wards 1 and 3 for anti-Wal-Mart candidates
Sorry, Lu Laoshi, any way you cut it, that ain't a "great deal of opposition". (HT: Dale Courtney). That's why you can't get enough donations in the community to pay for your appeal. You have to turn to the union-paid "activist". UFCW Local 44 lost in Mount Vernon. And the anti-Wal-Mart activists that ran for the City Council there last November got their butts kicked too. Why do you feel PARD's chances are better?

Look for more about PARD's petition and appeal (we just received a copy hot off the presses) in the days to come.

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April E. Coggins said...

Actually, it was three residents of Perth. Not that it matters, but if we want to count percentages of people who may or may not want a Wal-Mart in Pullman, shouldn't we include everyone? Therefore, we have 6.4 billion people in the world who don't object to a Wal-Mart in Pullman.

Joshua Coke said...

Kudos to April for taking the time to sift through the list for this info! I know I wouldn't have had the patience.

April E. Coggins said...

I would also like to add that I found 9 pages of duplicate, photocopied sheets of signatures. I only recognized them because there was something distinctive, like TV Reeds signature or someone from an odd place. I don't know who's error it was but there could be more. The duplicates were randomly placed so that detection was difficult. There could be more and the only way I can think to identify them would be to alphabetize the pages, which would take hours and perhaps days.