Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Friday, October 27, 2006


Pelton claims that PARD “supporters have compared Wal-Mart and its customers to slumming.” In addition to making no grammatical sense, this is wrong. It is based on one much-misquoted comment that Wal-Mart parking lots attract “undesirable elements” (drug dealers, rapists, etc.) based on Wal-Mart’s research. If Don wants to defend such folks, fine, but don’t confuse them with customers.

- Deirdre Sommerlad, Moscow-Pullman Daily News, October 27, 2006
University of Idaho criminologist Deirdre Sommerlad-Rogers testified about studies showing Wal-Mart attracts crime and therefore puts a drain on local police services. She pointed to the example of a Wal-Mart store in Lodi, Calif., that took up four times as much police time as other retail stores because of shoplifting and the high number of car thefts in the parking lot.

- Michelle Dupler, Moscow-Pullman Daily News, January 14, 2006
Testimony was presented [from PARD] regarding a lack of social responsibility of Wal-Mart to the communities, and jurisdictions in which they locate. Suggestions of increased crime, the intrusion of undesirable social classes, low wages, failure to provide medical benefits, were presented in great detail.

- Hearing Examiner' Decision, February 24, 2006
The 1,039 space parking lot, open all night, will become a crime magnet and a student party zone, as it has in many other small communities, driving up local policing costs.

- Pullman Alliance for Responsible Development Website
Misquoted? Based on Wal-Mart's research? Don't confuse them with customers? Sommerlad-Rogers (why drop "Rogers" for the letter? I would, but then I'm biased) is brazenly attempting to recant her elitist "intrusion of undesirable social classes" testimony while simultaneously ramping up the rhetoric from partying students, shoplifters, and car thieves to "drug dealers and rapists."

Do TV Reed, Rogers, et. al. realize how much they are mocked in the community over their outrageous statements? Rogers can crow all she wants about "5000 Pullman residents" signing the anti-Wal-Mart petition, but PARD's real magic numbers are "725" and "3". 725 was approximately the number of votes PARD candidates received in last year's City Council election and 3 is the number of times PARD has lost (so far). Some other numbers Deirdre might want to check are $26,884 and $46,331. Those are the median household and family incomes for Moscow based on the 2000 Census. This is versus $20,652 and $46,165 for Pullman. That's lower, not higher, according to my math. Yet another number is $158.4 million. That's how the economic boon Moscow gets from Pullman and Whitman County every year, much of that because of the Wal-Mart in Moscow.

With their fifteen minutes of fame and hopes of stopping Wal-Mart quickly evaporating, PARD's rhetoric gets even more despicable. What's next? Serial killers and child molesters hang out in Wal-Mart parking lots? Please let this process be over soon so we are no longer subejcted to these daily unhinged rants from the PARDners. Pullman has had about all the BS it can stand.

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April E. Coggins said...

What Dierdre said was that because of Wal-Mart's low prices, it would attract low income people and it is commonly known that low income people commit most of the crimes. The hearing examiner had her repeat it twice, he couldn't seem to believe what he was hearing. She can try to spin her testimony all she wants, but that is what she said, under oath, as an expert witness. I can remember a number of people walking out of the hearing in disgust.

SK Peterson said...

When I wrote the letter to the editor in the Evergreen knocking Jimmy Blue's anti-WalMart screed you noted below, I had several of my colleagues comment on the parking-lots-as-crime-attractors argument. It seems absurd that such an argument would have any traction whatsoever in the context of Pullman. Are there really no other large parking lots with lots of cars in Pullman? Not even in the vicinity of College Hill?

April E. Coggins said...

SK: PARD's entire argument is laughable and contradictory.
Lighting and crime
1. The lights will be brighter than any we have experienced in Pullman. So bright in fact, that deer will become sterile and by implication, all male mammals will be equally affected. Las Vegas and the sun haven't seen anything yet compared to Pullman's Wal-Mart!
2. Criminals will seek out the busy, well lit Wal-Mart parking lot. Criminals will now avoid dark, abandoned places, prefering instead to do their business in a well lit, known patrol area.

Traffic and retail
1. Wal-Mart will not bring in more shoppers. Moscow already has a Wal-Mart, Pullman and the surrounding area are satisfied with Moscow's Wal-Mart.
2. Wal-Mart will shut down almost every business in Pullman. No one will go downtown and it will become urban blight.
3. The Wal-Mart traffic will be unbearable. We will have no extra traffic from out-of-town shoppers, we will have less traffic downtown due to Wal-Mart shutting us down, but traffic will be increased because of the same number of people doing their shopping in Pullman. Except they aren't shopping at Pullman's Wal-Mart because they are satisfied with Moscow's Wal-Mart.

If any of this makes you say, HUH?, that's what we have been fighting for two years.