Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Your Legal Bill Thanks to PARD: $27,000 and Counting

From today's Moscow-Pullman Daily news:
PARD to fight judge’s decision on Wal-Mart

Pullman group plans to take its case against Wal-Mart to 3rd District Court of Appeals

It could be nine months before a court of appeals hears a case from a group trying to keep Wal-Mart out of Pullman.


The Pullman Alliance for Responsible Development plans to appeal a Whitman County judge’s decision that cleared the way for a Wal-Mart Supercenter in Pullman.

PARD will take its case to the 3rd District Court of Appeals in Spokane.

“PARD will continue to make the case that a huge supercenter on Bishop Boulevard would drastically impede access to the hospital, be dangerous for pedestrians, and negatively impact the local economy,” PARD legal liaison T.V. Reed said in a prepared statement and reiterated in a telephone interview today.

“Our lawyer has devised a new legal strategy for this next level of appeal, and we are confident that we will win if the evidence is weighed carefully,” Reed wrote.

In October, Whitman County Superior Court Judge David Frazier dismissed PARD’s appeal against the city of Pullman and Wal-Mart. In his ruling, Frazier considered the arguments of attorneys for Wal-Mart, the city and PARD on issues such as traffic and the proposed store’s effect on the local economy.

Frazier found there were not sufficient grounds to overturn a decision by Hearing Examiner John Montgomery and upheld the city’s approval of Wal-Mart’s site plan and environmental checklist.

Wal-Mart announced plans to build a super center on Bishop Boulevard in October 2004. PARD appealed the city’s approval of the retailer’s environmental checklist and site plan. Montgomery presided at three days of hearings in January, and then issued a ruling upholding the city’s decision in February.

That decision was then appealed to Whitman County Superior Court.

Representatives from a Pullman group that supports the construction of a Wal-Mart Supercenter said in a statement they were disappointed but not surprised by PARD’s decision to appeal Frazier’s ruling.

“This appeal will cost city taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars more and delay burgeoning retail growth that is contingent on Wal-Mart opening,” wrote Tom Forbes, co-founder of Businesses & Residents for Economic Opportunity. “We hope that this appeal is dismissed quickly so that this long and divisive issue can be put behind us for good.”

Laura McAloon, attorney for Pullman, said that because of the heavy case load it could take nine months before the court of appeals can hear the case.

McAloon said the city has paid $27,000 so far in the litigation process over Wal-Mart.


Reed said the city has McAloon on retainer, and appealing at the different court levels does not put a financial strain on the city.

“The issue over attorney fees is just another way to take the focus off the threat Wal-Mart poses,” Reed said.

If PARD loses its appeal it will have to pay the city’s attorney fees under the Land Use Petition Act.

“We still have lots of support and 10,000 people have signed our petition against Wal-Mart,” Reed said. “We feel we have a strong case and wouldn’t proceed if we didn’t.”

Reed said PARD has not received any outside money from labor unions or interest groups. He said the community rose up in opposition to Wal-Mart and it is the outside force that is trying to disrupt the community’s economy.

Reed said some technical issues over traffic and economic impacts from the proposed super center have been misinterpreted. PARD and its attorney plan to clarify those impacts for the court.

Pete Dickinson, planning director for Pullman, said Wal-Mart representatives could begin the building permit applications now.

“As far as the city is concerned, we can issue them building permits,” Dickinson said.

Dickinson said, however, that Wal-Mart planners want to wait until the appeal process is finished before they start construction.

Pullman City Supervisor John Sherman said the city was hopeful the building process could continue and is disappointed by PARD’s appeal. However, the city respects the rights of individuals to make an appeal.

Wal-Mart representatives could not be reached for comment.
My take:

"Our lawyer has devised a new legal strategy for this next level of appeal"

They've already tried deer testicles, rapists and drug dealers , and Communist front organizations. My God, what's left?

"...the city has McAloon on retainer, and appealing at the different court levels does not put a financial strain on the city."

Riiiiiight. Let's see a show of hands. Who has had an attorney on retainer and never incurred any additional expenses beyond the retainer, especially if your case went to court? What a crock. Every second of an attorney's time is billable. If this lasts a year and a half, how much more expensive is this going to get? A lot more. And do you think the city has all that extra money budgeted in for Laura McAloon?

“We still have lots of support and 10,000 people have signed our petition against Wal-Mart”

Oh yeah, lots of support. Look at last year's Pullman City Council election. Why, 750 people voted for PARD's candidates. That was nearly 25% of the vote!! Woohoo!! And the "10,000 signature" petition? Please. Even PARDner Deirdre Rogers admitted that 4,000 of those signatures were from people OUTSIDE of Pullman. How many of those other signatures belong to WSU students that aren't even in Pullman anymore? And let's not forget all those good folks in Australia that back PARD.

"Reed said PARD has not received any outside money from labor unions or interest groups. He said the community rose up in opposition to Wal-Mart and it is the outside force that is trying to disrupt the community’s economy. "

Not this tired old saw again. Sure, PARD hasn't received any money from the union, just PARD's attorneys. Clever, isn't it? And the community PARD is "saving" will never know where PARD's money is really coming from because as Reed said, "It's none of your business!"

Who rose up in opposition, other than a couple of dozen PARDners? There were more Wal-Mart supporters at each of the three hearing sessions last January than there were opponents. PARD and the UFCW are the only outside forces trying to disrupt our community's economy. The only thing "grassroots" PARD has accomplished is create a veritable feeding frenzy for various out-of-town lawyers. I'd be willing to bet that when all is said and done, the three sides involved will have spent $150,000 or more in legal fees. What a waste.

BUILD IT NOW.

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3 comments:

April E. Coggins said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
April E. Coggins said...

I can't wait to see PARD's "new strategy". What, are they going to show up in court dressed as clowns? Sorry PARD, you are trying to put lipstick on a pig. You have no case, you've never had a case and you are abusing the appeal process. I sincerely hope the court punishes each one of you for clogging the court with your frivilous appeal. Although, I have my doubts that your appeal will get that far.

In a weird, sick, twisted way I am going to miss PARD. They are fascinating, like a horrific accident. I just wish it was happening somewhere else.

Sarcastic Housewife #1 said...

I would like to see the list of PARDners. Who exactly is on this list? Is it top secret? If the PARDners, who are largely faculty at WSU, are spending only their money on this appeal, with no outside help, then I would say those particular faculty members are being paid far too much. Especially since it appears that what they are best at is nonsensical legal appeals and the liberal brainwashing of students.