Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Friday, December 08, 2006

The PARD Desperation is Palpable

First, we had this letter in today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News that concludes:
I sincerely hope the Pullman Alliance for Responsible Development does not “move on.” They speak for many in your community, and beyond.

Scott Morrell, Medford, Ore.
Huh? Someone from way down in Medford, OR claims PARD speaks for many in Pullman. Oh wait, Morrell said "I subscribe to your paper electronically...I plan to move my family to the Moscow-Pullman area." Sure buddy. Mr. Morrell is nothing more than a mercenary recruited by PARD since they can't find enough people in Pullman to write letters. Witness Mr. Morrell's letter to the editor of the (Southern Oregon) Mail Tribune in February of this year, in which he stated:
"Albertsons sells to investor group." This Jan. 24 story on the MT business page failed to mention what the Oregonian reported: "Albertsons has been looking to sell the company in part because of competitive pressure by Wal-Mart, which has vaulted to the top of the U.S. grocery business with $80 billion in annual sales."

According to BusinessWeek Online, Albertsons found it difficult to compete because its labor is unionized, and labor makes up 70 percent of a traditional grocer’s overhead.
Morrell, no doubt a member of the anti-Wal-Mart Medford Citizens for Responsible Development (catchy name, huh?) is apparently yet another socialist, intent on having the government regulate competition among businesses.

Speaking of regulating competition, I won't repeat all of TV Screed's rambling column from today, other than to point out some laughable assertions he made, including:
Every dollar made by Wal-Mart’s grocery will be a dollar lost by Safeway or Dissmore’s. Every dollar made at Wal-Mart’s pharmacy will be a loss to Sid’s or Rite Aid. Every dollar made on pet supplies, electronics, appliances, clothes, household items, lube jobs and tire sales, sporting goods, beauty care, and on and on will come out of the hide of someone else in town who already provides those things. This is why we believe the court will conclude that approval of Wal-Mart violates city codes requiring that fiscal impact be determined.
First, why would Pullman, or anyone else for that matter, care whether Wal-Mart takes a dollar away from another chain store like Safeway, Dissmores, or Rite-Aid? This is such a specious argument, just like Morrell's defense of Albertson's above. Pullman is so underretailed, Reed can't even find a good Mom-and-Pop store to throw into the argument. Let the consumers decide and may the best store win.

Secondly, as usual, Reed and PARD completely ignore the massive retail sales leakge from Pullman to Moscow that was even pointed out by a study funded by PARD's ally group in Moscow, No Super WalMart, that concluded the following:
  • Pullman, however, is experiencing sales leakages in almost all major retail categories, including a leakage of $4.0 million in groceries, $7.6 million in furniture/home furnishings, $9.6 million in apparel, and $1.3 million in pharmaceuticals/medical supplies (the only major retail category in which Pullman is experiencing a sales surplus is dining out).

  • While it is impossible to state with certainty without conducting consumer surveys where Pullman's residents currently shop for various things, it is highly likely, given Moscow's high per capita sales performance relative to Pullman's and the region's relatively isolated location, that Pullman residents often shop in Moscow for groceries and other consumer staples.

  • The 223,000 square foot Wal-Mart Supercenter that has been proposed to be built in Pullman will attract approximately $100 million in sales - roughly the equivalent of all current sales in major retail categories in Pullman - according to Wal-Mart's current national sales averages. This will have an enormous impact on retail activity in the region - in Pullman, in particular, but also in Moscow, as some sales currently being captured by Moscow businesses will almost certainly gravitate to the new Wal-Mart Supercenter. Grocery sales are particularly vulnerable, as the proposed Supercenter will likely capture approximately $35 million in area grocery sales.
  • If anyone's going to lose out from a Pullman Wal-Mart, it's going to be Moscow businesses like Wal-Mart and Winco. Again, who cares?

    Reed, as usual, focuses on Troy Woo's regrettable conclusion that Pullman would see estimated economic gain at $41,587 from Wal-Mart. Anyone with even the slightest understanding of economics could tell you that those numbers are very low, and I have no idea how Woo came up with them (he's not an economist specializing in economic impact)). As seen above, CLUE estimates sales at $100 million a year, the standard for Wal-Mart Supercenters. That's $850,000 as year in sales taxes alone. That's no wild exagerration, that's state law. The "vast majority of money gained in sales tax will be offset by losses to other community businesses" What? If a $100 million a year is being spent at 20 Pullman businesses (which would not be the case anyway) or at Wal-Mart, the city still collects the same amount of sales tax. Talk about "voodoo economics," I hope everyone else can see through Reed's "all I needed to know about debating I learned in Kindergarten" reasoning.

    As for the alleged costs of the Wal-Mart defense to the city, why are they paying anything at all? Wal-Mart has a multi-million dollar budget to fight lawsuits (they are facing hundreds in communities all over the country) and a lawyer who does nothing but travel around the Northwest defending the giant corporation against local residents. He just lost a case in Oregon, and Bellingham also recently succeeded in keeping a super center out of town. City attorney Laura McAloon estimates city court costs as $27,000. That’s less than $1 per local resident – a small price to pay to ensure safety and economic stability — but even this small amount should have been covered by Wal-Mart.
    Contrast this with Reed's earlier statement:
    Reed said the city has McAloon on retainer, and appealing at the different court levels does not put a financial strain on the city.

    Let's extend Reed's justification of "it's only a dollar" to Don Orlich's claim earlier this week that Pullman citizens are footing Wal-Mart's medical bills of $9 million. Washington's population by latest estimate is 6,375,600. That's $1.41 for every citizen of Washington, and a total cost to Pullman of a whopping $38,112.30.

    Now, apply PARD's cost to taxpayers thus far, $36,300.25 to Pullman's population of 27,030 and you get $1.34 per resident and that's before this next round of appeals. Wal-Mart is definitely the better bargain.

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    Barenjager said...

    There are so many things I long to say about this but I would only be repeating what's already been said. Instead, I'll just say that I'd like to dedicate to the PARDners a daily playing of "The Rodeo Song" (as performed by Chris Ledeoux, David Alan Coe, et al).

    Tom Forbes said...

    I agree Barenjager!

    Here it is, dedicated to TV and the PARDners:


    April E. Coggins said...

    Yes, the same thing has been said over and over again. Just like at the Wal-Mart hearings, PARD shows no cognizance that they are repeating themselves.

    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
    Albert Einstein