Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Another Elitist Snob

From the 12/27 Daily News (online version)

PARD must not be counted out

In response to Don Pelton’s letter to the editor about the Pullman Alliance for Responsible Development and Wal-Mart (Opinion, Dec. 19), he seems to miss all the points. He implies that small is bad, starting with capping the university at 8,000 students. This is not such a bad idea. Stanford, a Pac-10 institution that seems to do rather well, has only 6,705 undergraduate students at this time. Conversations with older Pullman residents and photographs lead him to conclude that after we increase our retail space by 750,000 square feet that we will be back to the equivalent of our retail space of 70 years ago. His common sense should tell him this is very unlikely, given the population, or that retail space was very cheap and poorly used.

His lack of concern for most retail business is interesting. While I agree that the bike shop and Sam Dial should not have major competition from Wal-Mart, this is based on the fact that both establishments sell quality goods, while Wal-Mart sells junk. However, looking outside our community to other communities these are exactly the types of stores that are affected. When they close we need to go elsewhere to buy quality goods. It is interesting he should mention the banks downtown since Wal-Mart is trying to get into that business as well. He also seems to misunderstand our legal system. While it does cost taxpayers money to keep Wal-Mart out, when Wal-Mart employees need to use the legal system to get treated justly by Wal-Mart it also costs money. It may be cheaper to spend the money now and try to keep them out. No matter what, we all deserve our rights as dictated by our laws, even if it costs taxpayer dollars. Good luck PARD. Hopefully you can give us a couple more years of being able to park on Grand Avenue. Fair disclosure: I do not shop at Wal-Mart, and while I signed PARD’s petition I am not involved in the organization.

Jeffrey P. Joswig-Jones, Pullman

Yet another snob heard from. Elitism and snobbery drip from his every word, including his affected name. Since he was so forthcoming in admitting his antipathy toward Wal Mart, let me extend him the same courtesy by declaring my undying hatred of the use of hyphenated names by Americans or foreigners in the US. We fought two wars to rid ourselves of and ward off the European class/caste system which, among other things, gave rise to the use of hyphenated names to define regal lineage and privilege.

Now, with that in the rear view mirror, let’s take on his ideas. First and foremost, WSU and UI are PUBLIC universities run for the benefit of ALL citizens of their respective states, not just those elite few who can afford the tuition of a private school like Stanford. Next, (if I recall correctly) Don was speaking of retail space on a per capita basis when comparing population and square footage in years gone by to the Pullman of today. Something Mr. Jones’ obviously superior education didn’t prepare him to grasp. On one point, he’s right. Wal Mart sells junk. Junk like products made by leading international manufacturers. The same junk brands and models sold by the likes of high priced retailers but made somewhat less junky by not being overloaded with the outrageous prices they charge.

Last but not least, let’s look at his views on cost shifting. He blames Wal Mart for imposing a huge burden on the public’s coffers to pay the healthcare costs of its employees. Well how much of the burden would be borne by the public if they had no Wal Mart jobs to be under compensated at? My guess is the same or more. Not to put too fine a point on it but if you work at the lowest level at Wal Mart, you are not likely to work at a higher level elsewhere. Show me one place in retail or other lean margin market sectors where entry level, part time employees get better benefits.

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