Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Thursday, November 30, 2006


For those of you Adelphia High Speed Internet users out there (like myself), today's lengthy outage was obviously to switch over servers.

Your IP address now resolves to "natnow.res.rr.com" versus "losaca.adelphia.net".

"rr" stands for Roadrunner, Time Warner's (the company that took over Adelphia) Internet service. I just can't figure out the natnow part.

In any case, nice of them to let us know in advance our Internet service would be down all day. Why not do the switch in the middle of the night?

"Moscow big-box ordinance still without a size cap"

This story appeared in today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News:
There still is no size cap for so-called big-box stores that plan to build in Moscow.

A subcommittee presented recommendations regarding changes to the Large Retail Establishment Ordinance to the Moscow Planning and Zoning Commission on Wednesday night.

The law, passed in February, requires big-box stores to go through a conditional use permit process before locating in Moscow.

The City Council asked the Planning and Zoning Commission to recommend amendments to the ordinance, including size-cap and dark-store provisions.

The committee made a number of recommendations but couldn’t come to an agreement on the size cap issue.

Committee chairman Wayne Krauss said there was no size cap recommendation because committee members could not reach a consensus on the issue.

“The cap was the toughest issue we talked about; we had so many different opinions,” he said. “It was tough to keep personal biases out of the picture.”

The committee recommended that a large retail establishment would have to expand by at least 30 percent before it would be required to apply for a conditional use permit. Big-box stores between 40,000 and 65,000 square feet would be subject to the design manual — which includes standards for the exterior and interior of buildings — at the discretion of the Board of Adjustment, and any business requiring 140 or fewer parking spaces would not be subject to the parking requirements of the design manual.

The committee also recommended not including “unenclosed sales display areas” in the square footage of a business to lessen the effects on businesses like car dealerships and nurseries.

Committee member Valeri Schillberg recommended limiting the size of a big-box store to a city block.

If the business wanted to be larger, it could build up rather than out.

“In a way it acts as a cap until it becomes economical to go up,” Schillberg said. “I don’t want to discourage growth, but I want to focus on quality of life; by focusing on quality of life you increase property values.”

She said “walkability” is key to quality of life.

“Setting up a block size will set up a precedent for growth and development,” she said.

Committee member Nils Peterson said he liked the city block concept.

“Without having the potentially crippling capping, having some kind of roof area that would allow buildings to be stacked is an option,” he said.

Committee member and County Commissioner Paul Kimmell said he didn’t support a size cap.

“We have enough design standards already in place that we are going to start seeing more style with large retail establishments,” he said. “The notion of limiting this would drive opportunity for more retail in Moscow out of the city.”

Kimmell said the proposed Hawkins Development, which would be built just across the state line, is an example of that.

“They found a location of least resistance; I think that’s what we’re starting to see,” he said. “We are beginning a trend to lose some of that retail base, and that should be a concern to us.”

Kimmell said he has talked with Wal-Mart officials who told him they would never put a two-story structure in Moscow because real estate isn’t at a premium.

Krauss said he is not a fan of huge shopping centers, but Moscow needs to stay competitive.

“Whitman County is doing everything they can to take all the sales dollars that we’ve gotten back from them,” he said. “If we are going to compete against Whitman County we have to compete and we have to do it without hindering the size of stores going in.”

Jim Demeerleer, owner of The Furniture Center and a Greater Moscow Alliance member, said he doesn’t think there should be restrictions on business.

“Anytime you have an ordinance you have control; when you have control you reduce free enterprise,” he said.

Demeerleer said he was the only independent businessperson on the dark store committee.

“You are being influenced by people that have a different view than those in business,” he told the Planning and Zoning Commission on Wednesday night. “Rather than being pessimistic, we should be optimistic.”

Planning and Zoning Commission chairman Jerry Schutz said he hasn’t begged for business owners to give their opinions.

“If we don’t get it we’ve got to listen to the people that come to the table to talk,” he said.

Moscow dentist and businessman Gerald Weitz said Moscow isn’t thinking outside the box.

“With two research universities we could have a thriving economy here but we don’t,” he said. “The town is not fighting back; we are fighting amongst each other about stupid things.”

Steve Busch, president of Greater Moscow Alliance and a former Moscow city councilman, told the commission he is puzzled by the way city government regulates business in Moscow.

“It’s like we are being invaded by big-box stores from all sides and we’ve got to stop them,” he said. “What’s going on that we need to take such drastic action?”

The Planning and Zoning Commission will revisit the recommendations along with the dark store recommendations in January. The dark store committee recommended requiring businesses larger than 64,000 square feet that are going “dark” — out of business — to submit a reuse plan for the facility within 90 days of abandonment. The owner must provide regular updates to the city, and after three years, the City Council can assess fines if it doesn’t think the entity is acting in the best interest of the city.
You know, as tempting as it is to root on the barking moonbats in Moscow with their "walkability" and size caps, which would end up driving ALL new retail to Pullman and Whitman County, I just can't.

Many of the the No Super WalMart crowd in Moscow, like Bill London and Nils Peterson, work at WSU. There is extensive cross-pollination with the PARDners. Anything the anti-growthers accomplish in Moscow only emboldens the anti-growthers here. The Moscow City Council "slam-dunked" Wal-Mart in grand style and the PARDners are green with envy. I think that's a major reason they keep fighting. And don't think Judy Krueger or someone else won't make a run for City Council again. They'll keep pushing and pushing until they get what Moscow has: a social engineering Politburo that passes living wage ordinances, dark store ordinances, etc., etc.

All my best to Steve Busch and the Greater Moscow Alliance. A threat to free enterprise anywhere on the Palouse is a threat to free enterprise everywhere on the Palouse.

"Whitman County certifies election results"

Well, the election's offically over (thank God). From yesterday's Moscow-Pullman Daily News:
Whitman County certified its election results Tuesday, three weeks after the first ballots were counted.

Although there were no major surprises, a few races tightened, but not enough to change the outcome.

In the county’s contested races, Republican Michael Largent won the county commissioner District 3 race with 7,012 votes (57.94 percent). Democrat Nathan Weller received 5,050 votes (41.73 percent).

Republican Eunice L. Coker was re-elected as county auditor, receiving 7,844 votes (62.83 percent).

Democratic challenger Nathan Horter drew 4,618 votes (36.99 percent).

Republican Steve Hailey won the state representative District 9, Position 1 race with 7,131 votes (57.22 percent). Democrat Caitlin Ross received 5,312 votes (42.63 percent).

Pullman’s Proposition 1, which will fund improvements to city parks, paths and playfields, passed with 72.34 percent of the votes.

Election Supervisor Debbie Hooper said the general election ran much better than the primary election in September.

County officials met Tuesday as the canvass board to consider questionable ballots.

The board accepted eight of the 117 ballots that were examined.

The ballots that were not tabulated were either postmarked too late, were from the primary election, were not signed, or the signature didn’t match and the voter did not submit the signature verification card.

The county had a 49 percent voter turnout, with 13,214 voters casting a ballots.
A few races tightened? Nathan Weller gained 0.14% from the last count and Nathan Horter gained 0.09%

Speaking of the Two Nathans, I love to break down numbers. So follow along with me here for a moment.

According to the latest figures from the Public Disclosure Commission, Democratic County Auditor candidate Nathan Horter raised $4,734.46 and spent $4,637.90. Democratic County Commissioner Nathan Weller raised $1,540.75 and spent $1,040.53.

So that means that Horter spent 350% more money and received 4.74% less votes than Weller. Or to put it another way, Horter spent around a dollar per vote, whereas Weller spent around 20 cents per vote. Nathan Weller is to be congratulated for running a hard-fought, clean campaign that focused on the issues with virtually no support from his party, as shown by his very efficient vote returns.

In the meantime, Eunice Coker spent half as much money as Horter and received the most votes of any candidate in a local contested race.

Whitman County voters overwhelmingly rejected the kind of slimeball politics practiced by the Whitman County Democrats in the County Auditor's race.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Fact Check

LIE: PARDner-in-Chief TV Reed claims that Pullman has Laura McAloon on retainer, and appealing at the different court levels does not put a financial strain on the city. He claims, “The issue over attorney fees is just another way to take the focus off the threat Wal-Mart poses."

FACT: Litigation is an extra cost that is beyond the regular $7,000 per month rate. The city's contract with Preston Gates Ellis (Laura McAloon's law firm) reads as follows:

General Counsel. It is agreed that Counsel will bill the City a monthly rate of $7,000 per month. This retainer will purchase up to forty-six (46) hours per month of general counsel work, exclusive of litigation or specialized contract work. Hours worked in excess of the retainer hours will billed at the discounted hourly rate given to municipal clients, which is ten percent (10%) less than the attorney's lowest hourly rate.

Litigation. Litigation, to include administrative, land use, or other adjudicative proceedings, shall be billed at the firm's regular lowest hourly rate for the attorney assigned and those matters shall be billed separately by each litigation matter.
But, what can you expect from a man who over wrote a year ago:

"At the same time, news arrives that a store that makes much more sense for Pullman, Target, has plans to build here."
Note to Ryan Bentley: You might want to do some simple fact checking of your own before you publish Reed's ravings.

Meanwhile, one egomaniacal liar and his kooky cronies hold up the progress of a whole city.

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The Autumn of Our Discontent

As if we didn't have enough to be depressed about already this month:

  • An election that left Eastern Washington residents out in the cold as Seattle-area Democrats increased their majority in the state legislature

  • The intimidating tactics of liberal WSU professors chilling free speech on campus

  • Growth in Pullman is frozen due to yet another costly, lengthy, and ultimately futile PARD appeal

  • Another post-Thanksgiving Arctic blast

  • Now comes this from the Seattle Times:

    Cougars won't go bowling for the holidays
    The college team whose motto was "finish" but failed to do so in November got some expected bad news Tuesday: Its season is finished.

    Washington State, which had entered November ranked 25th with a 6-3 record then lost consecutive games to Arizona, Arizona State and Washington, will be home for the holidays.

    The Cougars' slim chances for a bowl were extinguished when the Emerald Bowl, to be played in San Francisco on Dec. 27, Tuesday exercised its right to pick UCLA as the opponent for Florida State (6-6).

    The Bruins are expected to lose to USC on Saturday and finish 6-6, 4-5.

    The decision by the Emerald Bowl meant that the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl Dec. 24 had no choice but to pick Arizona State (7-5, 4-5) as its Pac-10 representative because ASU was the only Pac-10 team with a winning record and no bowl.

    Left out of the bowl picture are WSU (6-6, 4-5) and Arizona (6-6, 4-5).

    "I feel badly for Arizona and Washington State for getting left out, but I don't think anyone imagined we would have eight bowl-eligible teams," said Pac-10 spokesman Jim Muldoon.

    Teams with 6-6 records are eligible to play in bowl games with which their league has a contractual arrangement. The Pac-10 has arrangements with six bowls. A 6-6 team can't be invited to fill an at-large berth in a non-affiliated bowl if there are teams with winning records available, which is the case this year.

    "I have been disappointed the previous three weeks so this is the fourth week in a row," said WSU athletic director Jim Sterk, who had been lobbying for WSU and said he wasn't surprised by the announcement.

    Sterk and Muldoon said the size of the Los Angeles television market worked in the Bruins' favor.

    Sterk also said he figured the Emerald Bowl didn't want Arizona State because coach Dirk Koetter has been fired and will be coaching his final game for ASU.

    Jim Donovan, executive director of the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, said Tuesday his bowl had been "leaning in the direction" of picking UCLA over Arizona or Washington State if those had been the choices. However, he said no decision had been made.

    The Pac-10 bowl picture fell into place Tuesday when the Bowl Championship Series "released" California (8-3, 6-2) from consideration from a BCS bowl. Cal then accepted a berth in the Holiday Bowl. Oregon State (8-4, 6-3) already had been ticketed to the Sun Bowl. Oregon (7-5, 4-5) announced it was headed to the Las Vegas Bowl, and the Emerald Bowl announced its choice of UCLA.

    The Cougars haven't been to a bowl since 2003, when they beat Texas in the Holiday Bowl.

    Sterk acknowledged that many fans are upset with the Cougars' failure to get to a bowl after positioning themselves at 6-3. Sterk said he remains committed to coach Bill Doba and said, "I think he's a very good leader."

    "CES professor’s behavior at demonstration was appalling "

    From today's Daily Evergreen:

    We are appalled by the behavior of the assistant comparative ethnic studies professor during the College Republican’s demonstration on Nov. 2. WSU professors, even assistant professors, are responsible for maintaining our school’s image. The rally, while in poor taste, did not deserve the racist response it received. To make matters worse, the assistant professor works in the CES department, which supposedly is responsible for teaching diversity. If this assistant professor was not completely ignorant, as he has shown himself to be, he would understand the best way to get equality for minorities is to work with the majority as opposed to against it. For a CES assistant professor to take this very teachable moment and turn it into a racial conflict raises questions about his abilities as a professor and whether or not he should be retained as a faculty member by WSU. It is despicable and borderline fraudulent to draw a paycheck from WSU under the false pretenses of teaching diversity at this institution. It would have been acceptable for the assistant professor to attack the College Republicans for being Republicans because that is what they represent, but to attack all Caucasians for the actions of a handful who in no way represent all of us is outrageous. How are we ever supposed to reach a higher level of equality on this campus?

    Reed Goodwin senior, microbiology and Holly Drost senior, English education
    We're all still waiting to see what the WSU administraton does to fix this problem.

    "Wal-Mart is bad, but could help Pullman"

    Lord knows that I have disagreed with Amelia Veneziano on more than one occasion. But I have to give her full credit for writing this op-ed in today's Daily Evergreen:
    There are some stores that are warm and welcoming.

    There are some stores that are warm and welcoming. The salespeople are helpful and knowledgeable, the atmosphere inviting and the lighting kind. These are the stores college graduates shop at.

    And then there’s Wal-Mart.

    It is big, irritating, poorly laid out, employs a borderline-useless floor staff that couldn’t care less, and has lots of items sold at the lowest bottom-line. It’s cheap, cavernous and definitely not a relaxing experience.

    But so what? We’re in college. Personally, my wallet’s too flat to buy toothpaste at a friendly neighborhood pharmacy – and I don’t mean Rite-Aid.

    I’m no fan of the behemoth that is Wal-Mart. And the Walton family should have huge portions of its income taxed and given back to the employees it underpays and overworks, as seen in the Wal-Mart movie “The High Cost of Low Price” and evident in any conversation with an irritated employee.

    It’s a lousy corporation and a poor excuse for a business that has somehow landed itself in the top two on the Fortune 500 list for the past several years. Many lawsuits allege racism and sexism in stores, according to the film.

    They are decidedly anti-union, most clearly displayed when the only unionized store was shut down in early 2005, according to a February 2005 report on CNNmoney.com.

    I can say it, without a doubt in my mind: Wal-Mart sucks.

    But let’s look at this logically, and I don’t mean using Pullman Alliance for Responsible Development logic.

    There’s a Wal-Mart across the border in Moscow. It’s small, crowded and packed with stuff. It serves two university communities, plus dozens of rural Washington and Idaho communities.

    Idaho minimum wage is just $5.15 an hour – even at minimum wage, employees in Washington will make at least $2 more. Most likely, the majority of employees have no family to support; they’re more worried about paying tuition. They’re not looking at making Wal-Mart into a career. After all, that’s why they’re in college.

    But if Wal-Mart is successful in moving to Pullman, many WSU students and likely many Wal-Mart employees who transfer over will make at least $7.63 an hour – Washington’s minimum wage. That’s a big increase.

    The community will benefit from this. Employees will make more money that will go back in to the community. More out-of-town traffic will come to shop at Wal-Mart, buying their dog food here in Washington – and paying our sales tax, which is filtered back into our state programs – rather than in Idaho. This is good.

    Students will benefit from having a local place to shop. Many students lack cars and are stuck with the often-bare shelves of ShopKo for their laundry detergent. Ignoring the fiscal advantages, wouldn’t all consumers prefer buying their stuff here in town then traipsing into Idaho and enjoying the lovely cow scent Moscow is so famous for?

    Pullman is hardly a bastion of cute little shops and unique items. The mom-and-pop store barely exists, at least in the realm Wal-Mart specializes in.
    This is Pullman. It’s college. We’re poor and cheap and we can be bought for coffee. We don’t care.

    Please, especially my uber-liberal crowd, don’t scream at me. I am no fan of Wal-Mart. I avoid going there unless I really have to. But in a town like Pullman, as a university student, I end up needing its cheap services more than I would like to admit. If only Target would move in, then my life would be super. But alas, no. Wal-Mart is the one that’s interested.

    On Monday, PARD announced it would appeal the decision on Wal-Mart to the state court of appeals in Spokane. Lower-court judges have all ruled on behalf of the corporation; it’s becoming inevitable – and Pullman residents and foes of Wal-Mart should realize – that it’s going to happen. Buck up, look on the bright side and enjoy the tax returns
    I don't agree that Wal-Mart "sucks", but I greatly appreciate the fact that Veneziano, a WSU Young Democrat officer, uses her logic to see the advantages the rest of us see, and not just talking points from the PARD website.

    I'm sure PARD will now demand equal time and get yet another column in the Evergreen, while BREO has never been given even one. If not, look for righteous letters of indignation to start flowing.

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    Tuesday, November 28, 2006

    Cleaning Up Moscow's Mess

    This was reported in today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News:
    The city of Moscow’s wastewater treatment plant has violated four National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit standards regarding water quality over the past four years.

    The Environmental Protection Agency has found that Moscow was in violation of standards for total residual chlorine, fecal coliform, phosphorous and dissolved oxygen, said Moscow Public Works Director Les MacDonald during Monday’s Public Works/Finance Committee meeting.
    Guess where all that discharge flows? That's right, down the South Fork of the Palouse River and into Pullman.

    Seems fair. We export half of our sales tax dollars to Moscow and in return they send us back their sewage. And now the Washington Department of Ecology is going to make us clean up their mess at a cost of millions.

    This is the city that wants to appeal the Hawkins Development in the corridor because of, among other things, water quality and storm water? We are really through the looking glass now.

    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.


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    Build It Now

    Let's first start off by correcting something that appeared in the Evergreen. PARD's appeal is not necessarily automatically going to be heard.

    It all depends on whether their case can be reviewed as a matter of right. If it can't, it can be reviewed by disrectionary review.

    Concerning discretionary review, the following is from the Washington Appellate Courts website:
    In order to gain review of a trial court decision, the party seeking review must file a notice for discretionary review. The notice for discretionary review must be filed within 30 days after the act of the trial court’s decision to be reviewed...If the appellate court accepts discretionary review of a trial court decision, it will do so by granting a motion for discretionary review. Regular motion procedure governs.
    I'm not an attorney, so I have no idea how this will shake out exactly. But I suspect that Judge Frazier's ruling contitues a final judgment and therefore has a right to appeal. That being the case, according to the court's caseload page, in 2005 it took an average of 526 days from initial filing to final decision.

    The appellate court process flow chart can be found here.

    PARD states on their website:
    PARD member Alex Hammond remarked that it “is important to realize that nothing PARD has done puts Wal-Mart under an injunction. They could have started building months ago. That they haven’t started suggests that they have understood all along that we have a strong case.”
    So, PARD is taunting now. But if they do try to stop construction, they will be forced to put up a hefty appeal bond for hundreds of thousands of dollars. We'll see how jocular the PARDners feel then.

    In the meantime, the city needs to issue a building permit to Wal-Mart ASAP. The store will be built by the time the appeal is heard and it will all be moot.


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    Monday, November 27, 2006

    "PARD prepares new appeal against Wal-Mart"

    From the Daily Evergreen:
    Two years after the initial proposal to build a Wal-Mart Supercenter in Pullman, a local group is again proceeding with an appeal.

    Pullman’s proposed Wal-Mart is set to face another round of legal appeals.

    The Pullman Alliance for Responsible Development announced Monday it will appeal to the Washington State Court of Appeals in Spokane.

    “While the appeal will be costly, we have had great support from thousands of folks in the community, and currently have a new membership drive under way,” PARD legal liaison T.V. Reed said.

    The Court of Appeals is nondiscretionary, meaning it must hear all appeals that are filed, according to the court's Web site.

    A lower court judge ruled Oct. 18 in favor of Wal-Mart, rejecting an appeal filed by citizens attempting to stop construction of a store in Pullman. Whitman County Superior Court Judge David Frazier ruled PARD did not provide sufficient evidence to overturn the city’s approval of the project.

    He decided that City Hearing Examiner John Montgomery’s earlier findings were supported by “substantial evidence in record,” that Montgomery correctly interpreted the legal principles involved and that PARD failed to prove the findings were clearly erroneous.

    Frazier added that PARD raised legitimate concerns, but the court’s role was limited in this case. His job was to determine whether the hearing examiner made legal errors, rather than weighing the evidence and facts of the decision itself, he said.

    “If I disagree with what he said, that does not matter,” Frazier said.

    Wal-Mart first announced its intent to construct a store off Bishop Boulevard in October 2004. The 223,000-square-foot building would be across the street from Safeway.

    Concerned residents formed Pullman/People Against Wal-Mart Supercenter in early 2005, with a goal of keeping the retailer out of the city. PAWS later changed its name to the Pullman Alliance for Responsible Development. The group claims the store would pose numerous environmental and traffic problems for the area. It also argues existing businesses would face a serious threat from a low-price retailer such as Wal-Mart.

    More than a year ago, residents on the other side of the debate formed their own group, Businesses and Residents for Economic Opportunity. BREO members argue Pullman is losing a significant amount of sales revenue to Moscow and other areas, and Wal-Mart would help keep that money in town.

    “I'm not surprised that PARD is appealing,” BREO Co-founder Tom Forbes said, “but it's a shame that a small group of people continue to hold Pullman's future hostage because of their ideological agenda."
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    "PARD will appeal Wal-Mart decision"

    From KLEW TV:
    The Pullman Alliance for Responsible Development (PARD) announced Monday that they will take their case against the proposed Pullman Wal-Mart to the 3rd District Court of Appeals in Spokane.

    PARD said in a news release that the decision came after several weeks of deliberation and discussion.

    “While the appeal will be costly, we have had great support from thousands of folks in the community, and currently have a new membership drive underway," said PARD legal liaison T.V. Reed. "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. A host of new and planned developments along Bishop have made the traffic situation far worse than when the store was originally proposed.”

    PARD said that, in his ruling last month, Judge David Frazier praised the organization's thorough research and substantial evidence about traffic dangers and the lack of an independent analysis of the impact of the supercenter on the local economy.

    "PARD members feel strongly that at each level of appeal we have raised awareness of the dangers of the project, and that we owe it to our thousands of supporters to continue our work to stop the project or make it safer," said Christopher Lupke, the group's media coordinator.

    “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 added.

    “It is important to realize that nothing PARD has done puts Wal-Mart under an injunction," PARD member Alex Hammond said. "They could have started building months ago. That they haven’t started suggests that they have understood all along that we have a strong case.”

    Reed said that in his ruling Judge Frazier emphasized that “’zoning laws always trump comprehensive plans.’

    "What that means for Pullman is that all the lovely sentiments in our city Comprehensive Plan are meaningless unless we enact zoning laws that actually support responsible, environmentally and economically sustainable development," said Reed. "Wal-Mart is just one part of a much larger problem.”

    Wal-Mart Senior Public Affairs Manager for Washington and Oregon, Jennifer Holder, said Monday that Wal-Mart has never lost an appeal at this level and that it is her understanding that whoever loses the appeal will be responsible for all court costs.

    "We have not lost a case at this level of appeal," said Holder. "Our track record is pretty perfect."

    Holder said she is somewhat surprised by PARD's further appealing the decision, since the cost to the party who loses could be "severe."

    "We're looking forward to seeing the appeal and will have further comment once we have done that," Holder said.

    A group supportive of the Wal-Mart Supercenter, Businesses & Residents for Economic Opportunity (BREO), reacted with disappointment at the news of the appeal.

    In its own news release, BREO said "Frazier denied PARD's appeal of a Hearing Examiner's decision on October 18 because the evidence did not support PARD, as required by law."

    I'm not surprised that PARD is appealing," said BREO co-founder Tom Forbes. "But it's a shame that a small group of people continue to hold Pullman's future hostage because of their ideological agenda. This appeal will cost city taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars more and delay burgeoning retail growth that is contingent on Wal-Mart opening." Forbes continued, "We hope that this appeal is dismissed quickly so that this long and divisive issue can be put behind us for good."

    Founded in October 2005, BREO says it supports free enterprise, business growth, and healthy competition in the city of Pullman and Whitman County.
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    "PARD appeals Wal-Mart ruling"

    From the Moscow-Pullman Daily News website:
    The Pullman Alliance for Responsible Development announced it will appeal a Whitman County judge’s decision that would have cleared the way for a Wal-Mart Supercenter in Pullman.

    In a news release posted to the PARD Web site, the group says it 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 wrote in the news release.

    “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.

    Whitman County Superior Court Judge David Frazier dismissed in October 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 that 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 retailers 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 superior court and Frazier.

    Representatives from a Pullman group that supports the construction of a Wal-Mart Supercenter wrote in a news release 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.”
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    WSU College Republican Press Conference Postponed

    The WSU CR press conference scheduled for tomorrow night has been postponed to next Tuesday, December 5, same place and time, due to circumstances beyond their control (exams).

    Why PARD Can’t Quit

    "In the future everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes."

    - Andy Warhol
    The comments below were written by a long-time reader of this blog who shall remain anonymous, but knows the personalities involved quite well. It presents the best summary I've read yet of what's behind PARD's seemingly endless appeals. The author is 100% right on the money:
    Over the course of the Wal-Mart application process and subsequent appeals, the members of PARD have backed themselves into a corner. To give up now would signify that they were never sincere in their efforts to block the project. But more importantly, it would be an end to the only thing of substance most of them have been associated with in recent memory. It would mean the end of their soapbox time and a resigned withdrawal back to the insignificant and inconsequential niches most of them have occupied for so many years.

    At this point, it would be a psychologically crushing blow to be so unceremoniously swept from the public forum. No significant part of the population cares about anything else they have to say and most of their collective life’s work will pass when they do. For the most part, the only a deluded few of the students in their courses pay any more attention to their academic prattle than is required to pass the class.

    They finally hold an audience captive and awaiting their every utterance. It matters not that the audience doesn’t value their viewpoint, only that there is an audience. They know their run on life’s stage is limited and of little consequence so they cling desperately to every second they can get in the spotlight. Add to that their age and the tranquil nature of our community. Another opportunity such as this is not likely to come along in their lifetimes. So, there you have it. They can’t quit because they have become a self licking ice cream cone.
    PARD's clock of infamy is at 14:59. Is it any wonder they will desperately keep that last second from ticking off? It's actually quite embarasssing to watch these people self-destruct in public.

    In other towns, Wal-Mart appeals are not usually pushed this far. In Pullman, we are seeing it because these are not residents or business people that are doing the appealing, but outsiders. They are elitist academics who have no connection to the community and are completely out of touch with the mainstream. Ed Schweitzer, Lane Rawlins and Duane Brelsford, three of the most influential men in Pullman, are all behind Wal-Mart and know it will be good for Pullman.

    The PARDners don't care what bridges they burn. Whatever legacy PARD leaves behind will be a very bitter one.

    No Surprise - PARD Continues to Hold Pullman Hostage

    PARD has announced it will take its appeal of the Pullman Wal-Mart Supercenter to the 3rd District Court of Appeals in Spokane.

    Good. Even though this appeal will cost Pullman taxpayers even more money, PARD will inevitably lose and have to recoup both the city's and Wal-Mart's legal expenses, not to mention losing the inevitable appeal bond that will be required. To see PARD's UFCW sugar daddies lose hundreds of thousands of dollars is worth a slight delay, as Wal-Mart couldn't build in these weather conditions anyway.

    It is also very possible that the appeals court will not even choose to hear PARD's case, in which case this whole ordeal will finally be over.

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    Sunday, November 26, 2006

    WSU College Republicans Press Conference

    The WSU College Republicans will be holding a press conference in conjunction with their regularly scheduled meeting this Tuesday evening, November 28, at 7:30 PM in the Samuel H. Smith Center for Undergraduate Education, Room 512, on the WSU Pullman campus.

    This meeting will address the lack of response by the WSU administration to the harassment and intimidation of the CRs at their border fence demonstration on November 2 by certain faculty members.

    Members of the media should RSVP to Daniel Schanze, Political Action Chair, at (208) 891-5004.

    Saturday, November 25, 2006

    The Good Professor

    With all the news lately about the nutty professors, we can't lose sight of the fact that there are some GOOD professors at WSU. This was a story in today's Seattle P-I:
    WSU's P.A. voice doubles as mayor

    PULLMAN -- Election or not, eventually the good citizens of this city likely would have bestowed Glenn Johnson with the title anyway.


    Here he is, the old professor, sitting in his office at the Edward R. Murrow School of Communication at Washington State, with all the energy and passion of the students he still loves to teach.

    Still on his docket are two broadcasting classes a semester, which he teaches with the same intensity he arrived with when he first stepped onto campus in 1979.

    Add to that, for the past 27 years, his duties as the public address announcer for WSU football and basketball games.

    Now, top that with the numerous civic responsibilities Johnson, 62, has embraced, from serving on the board of the local chamber of commerce to a seat on the hospital board to serving as the public information officer for the Pullman fire and police departments.

    And yes, since 2003 when he won with nearly 98 percent of the vote, he has also been the city's mayor.

    "I've always been organized," Johnson said. "Time management skills have always been important ever since I was the manager of two radio stations back in Sacramento when I was starting out in broadcasting."

    A Central California native, Johnson is now as synonymous with Pullman and WSU as the rolling wheat fields that surround it. He has been instrumental in improving town-gown relations, moving easily between both worlds, embracing both the community and the university he has grown to love.

    "He's been marvelous for the entire community," said Fritz Hughes, a longtime friend who serves on the chamber of commerce with Johnson. "He has invited people to the university to become involved with the community and vice versa. He's about the most genuine, caring person you'll find."

    When Johnson arrived in Pullman with his two young children and his wife, Kathy, he was just trying to survive.

    "The first three years were really rough," Johnson said. "I didn't know if I was going to make it."

    An intense, passionate teacher who preached accountability and respect for the trade, he quickly endeared himself to his students. Johnson is not one for excuses or false praise and he drew the best out of his pupils.

    "I remember he threw me out of his class once," said Eric Johnson, an anchor and the sports director at KOMO/4. "He said in that voice of his that I had potential but that I was wasting it. He said maybe I should let someone else who wanted it more to have my spot in class."

    Eric Johnson showed up at his professor's office three consecutive mornings asking for a spot in another section of the course. Finally, the prof relented and let the kid come back.

    "He had a spot for me, he just wanted to see if I was passionate about it," Eric Johnson said. "That's the thing about Glenn. He cared so much that he wanted you to care as much. That's when I knew I really wanted to do this."

    Glenn Johnson's fire for broadcasting and his genuine desire to see his students succeed is why he's still a part of many of their lives.

    Take a look at the headshots of the anchors and reporters outside his office and you get a window into what he means to his students. Among them locally are Johnson, Mary Nam and Kathi Goertzen at KOMO and Mark Wright at KCPQ/13.

    "I've always wanted to take a genuine interest in my students," Johnson said. "Even the ones who weren't going to make a career of broadcasting. You want them to know that they could succeed in whatever they choose to do if they really believed in what they were doing."

    Eric Johnson still calls his old professor several times a year. That's the rule rather than the exception. Some send contracts for him to look over, solicit advice on all matters and drop by to see him when they can.

    "He left a gigantic impression on all his students," said Rod Simons, the former KSTW/11 sports anchor now in Minneapolis. "All you have to do is talk to someone who knows him and they'll tell you how important he was to their careers and lives."

    Many students who passed through WSU the past three decades knew Johnson only for his voice. That rich, booming timbre that floated over the stands at Martin Stadium on fall Saturdays and through Beasley Coliseum on winter nights.

    Alumni young and old can recall his standards, from "That's another Cougar first down!" to "Here come the Cougs!"

    Not bad for the former radio broadcaster whose previous experience doing P.A. was as a fill-in for the Triple-A Sacramento Solons.

    "Best voice in college P.A.," said Rod Commons, the WSU sports information director and the man who hired Johnson. "That voice, for one. And he just had such a presence. He had just enough pizzazz without being the show."

    Of course, calling Apple Cups always meant a bit more. Johnson said he loves this time of year more than the rest for obvious reasons. His favorite memory from the rivalry, though, was a game he didn't call.

    "The Rose Bowl year with Ryan Leaf and those guys," Johnson said. "We were sitting at Husky Stadium and after we won people came onto the field. The UW officials were gracious enough to let us celebrate on their field. That was a great time."
    I cannot underestimate the regard in which I hold Glenn. We are lucky to have him.

    Friday, November 24, 2006

    "If you weren't drunk, just try the old anger ruse"

    Yet another editorial featuring the WSU CR fence controversy, this time by Tom Henderson in today's Lewiston Tribune.
    Poor Michael Richards.

    The actor best known -- perhaps only known -- for playing Kramer on "Seinfeld" just lost his career because he lost his temper.

    Rattled by hecklers during his stand-up comedy routine, Richards responded to the black audience members with a tirade laced with the n-word and other obscenities.

    And just to prove himself an even bigger ass, he described -- in equally explicit language -- what might have happened 50 years ago to black people who dared to heckle a white performer.

    Richards has since apologized, of course. He didn't mean to say those horrible things. He's not a racist. He just lost his temper.

    Right. And Mel Gibson wears a yarmulke.

    Gibson blamed his recent anti-Semitic tirade on booze. Richards used the more popular excuse of a misplaced temper. That's the one David Leonard, a professor at Washington State University, just trotted out after he harassed Republican students who erected a wall to make a statement about illegal immigration.

    He apologized for popping his cork. He didn't mean to bully the students, he told the Spokane Spokesman-Review. He lost control.

    Losing control provides convenient cover for a wide range of bad behavior. Men who beat their wives and kids often say they have problems regulating their temper.

    Then why don't they slap the cop who busts them for speeding? The boss who gives them a reprimand? The judge who remands them to anger-management classes?

    Even the most temperamental individuals can control themselves -- when they feel it's important. Richards didn't have a reputation for violent outbursts on the set of "Seinfeld." He didn't, as far as we know, lose control and hurl obscenities at producers Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David.

    He chose to launch and maintain his on-stage tirade. During the two minutes he turned his stand-up routine into a Ku Klux Klan rally, he had plenty of opportunities to get a grip on himself.

    Not a racist? That garbage came from somewhere.

    People need to stop blaming the anger, the booze or whatever it is that keeps them from accepting responsibility for their behavior.

    It brings to mind that idiotic expression "alcohol-fueled" rape. How many drinks would it take to turn you into a rapist? How much anger would it take to turn you into a foaming racist?

    Anger doesn't excuse everything. In fact, it doesn't excuse anything.

    Thursday, November 23, 2006

    "Free speech rights WITH fear of harassment or intimidation"

    There's a funny typo in this story from Northwest Public Radio.
    WSU Student Demonstration Investigated

    11/22/06 -

    The Center for Human Rights at Washington State University is looking into the charges that resulted from a confrontation on the Pullman campus at a recent student demonstration. Glenn Mosley has more.

    College Republicans at WSU had put up a 24 foot chain link fence on the Glenn Terrell Mall to show support for congressional passage of a bill to build a fence along the border with Mexico. A counter protest, including charges of racism, then ensued against the fence demonstration.

    The protest included a faculty member cursing at students and another faculty member asking for student ID numbers.

    Washington State University President V. Lane Rawlins released a statement saying that while the campus welcomes the dialogue on an issue that members of the university community care deeply about, it appeared that some, including faculty, exercised what he calls very poor judgment in their speech and actions. Rawlins said the university is committed to being a place where people can exercise their free speech rights with fear of harassment or intimidation.
    Of course, the typo actually reflects a more accurate appraisal of the situation at WSU. A Freudian slip perhaps?

    You can listen to the radio story with the correct wording here.

    HT: Right Mind

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    An editorial from Steve McClure in today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News is quite appropriate:
    One day for thanks is hardly enough

    We take one day to stop and give thanks.

    One day to be thankful that there’s a roof over our head and the furnace is putting out heat.

    One day to wake up, take a deep breath and give thanks that we were able to wake up and take a deep breath.

    One day to look across the table at a spouse or a child and murmur appreciation that they’re safe and they love us in return.

    We set aside 24 hours to recognize that for all the hatred and contempt that’s found in all corners of the country, for all the violence and anger, we’re able to sit down with family and friends for a short prayer and a long conversation.

    The rest of the year, we allow ourselves to be defined by our differences and divided up so others can feel good about themselves. We’ll be consumed by all that’s gone wrong — to ourselves and others — in an imperfect world that’s very well equipped to point out flaws and foibles.

    We’ll kill ourselves financially to keep up with the Joneses without stopping to realize the bills have been paid and there’s food on the table.

    Disagreements over petty differences are quickly ignited into heated arguments that rip apart friendships. Family squabbles can extend for years.

    When we’re slighted, we’ll hold on to the anger just as long.

    When we lose a loved one we’ll mourn for weeks and kick ourselves for not fully appreciating what someone meant to our lives.

    But we set aside only one day to really express our thanks.

    The table will be set today and plates will be filled, the quantity and quality of the dinner determined by circumstances far and wide. There might not be as much as there was in years past, but it’s warm and filling and was set in front of us by hands that work — and love — hard. There’s a good chance those hands will be there tomorrow, and the next day, and the next.

    One day to say thanks?

    It hardly seems enough.

    Tuesday, November 21, 2006

    Merry Christmas From Wal-Mart

    From Reuters:
    Wal-Mart Slashes Food Prices, Targets Grocers Ahead of Thanksgiving

    CHICAGO — Two days before Thanksgiving, Wal-Mart (WMT) slashed prices on hundreds of grocery items, a welcome break for consumers but the first shot in what is sure to be a price war between mainstream grocers and the largest seller of food in the United States.

    Wal-Mart, also the world's largest retailer, has already cut prices on toys, appliances, electronics and apparel to attract more holiday shoppers. The retailer also recently initiated a $4 generic prescription drug program that threatens pharmacy chains.

    Now, it is trimming prices on hundreds of fresh and dry food items.

    The retailer said that the price of many food items would be lowered by as much as 20 percent. Some items were discounted more heavily.

    The prices of some items for Thanksgiving dinners are being slashed. A six-ounce box of Stove Top stuffing sells for 88 cents, down from $1.44 to $1.74 per box. A can of Ocean Spray cranberry sauce is now 88 cents, down from $1.14 to $1.36.

    Among the other rollbacks, a 26.4-ounce pack of boneless skinless chicken breasts from Pilgrim's Pride Corp., Tyson Foods Inc. or Perdue will now sell for $4.74, or $2.87 per pound, down from $5.35, or $3.24 per pound.

    The retailer, which is based in Bentonville, Arkansas, said the lower prices, or rollbacks, would be in effect throughout the season.
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    "Time for community building at WSU"

    This column appeared in today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News:
    The events of the past few weeks on the Washington State University campus have, once again, apparently spotlighted the issue of diversity and its effect on our isolated island in the middle of the Palouse. In short, on Nov. 2, the College Republicans put up a wall, or more appropriately a fence, to demonstrate support for recently passed national legislation for building a wall on the border with Mexico. Afterwards, in the middle of the controversy, two professors from the department of comparative ethnic studies were accused of shouting epithets at the students, and inappropriately demanding to see identification of some of the College Republicans.

    Here’s the background, in short — the College Republicans had been warned by student leadership on the Pullman campus that putting up such a wall, with such a message, would be seen as highly offensive by many in the WSU community. And certainly, professors ought to know that yelling epithets at students who are demonstrating, using their First Amendment rights, is a profound lapse of professional behavior, regardless what First Amendment rights they also possess.

    Let’s just get this out of the way right at the start. Everyone in this country has the right to yell out anything they want, and demonstrate the way they want, provided, of course, they’re not yelling “fire” in a crowded theater. The First Amendment is a bedrock principle in American society.

    But how one uses their First Amendment rights is also a bellwether of where they want that society to go. And it matters even more in a small university community, where we all live together and, hopefully, are all growing together. There’s never going to be perfect harmony here — nor anywhere. But to what end, all of this behavior?

    To the College Republicans — any wall built between two countries is a profound failure. There are no walls between France and Spain, nor most of the countries in Europe. Walls with barbed wire indicate both countries have failed to serve their people, and each other. Hundreds of Mexicans die trying to cross the border every year, and walls will probably increase this number. If you are a woman trying to cross illegally, you stand a good chance of being raped.

    The drug traffickers are now into the traffic of illegals big-time. Walls only will increase this, as assistance will now be mandatory to get around that obstacle. The patron saint of the border is La Santisima Muerte — Most Holy Death, and there are chapels dedicated to her along the border. And there is no doubt in my mind for the Chicano-Latino students in our community, there are personal stories, filled with tragedy, waiting to be told about relatives and friends and their experience on the border.

    To the professors in question — all of our students, at some level, are adults. At the same time, all of them are under our care. There is never a reason to curse at them. Apologies have been given, and more are in order.

    I have found great joy, as well as great aggravation, in dealing with the age group. They are learning how to express themselves, and form beliefs. The most effective technique I have found is to model the change you want to see. It’s not an original thought — it’s paraphrased Gandhi. I don’t sit around smiling at my students all the time either, though. They know when I’m unhappy, when I want more. I’m no softy. At the same time, we need to model more of the behavior we want to see at WSU — more open debates, a higher intellectual bar that takes in and understands the validity of all of our students’ viewpoints, even the ones we find socially and morally reprehensible. They passed a law in Congress sanctioning the wall. If we really believe such a wall is a bad thing, then we should hold ourselves accountable for the lack of influence we have in society as a whole.

    And to both groups — what kind of community are either of you trying to build? An erudite, knowledge-based society, based on reason, understanding the sophistication of complex issues and respect for the emotions of the humans that make up both sides? Or one where we end up screaming over symbols? Which one will get us to the better world? And to both sides — you are both privileged. You are here in the university. Get with it. To those whom much is given, much is expected. It is time to get to work.
    Interesting that this comes from the chairman of the WSU Faculty Senate. I guess Pezeshki doesn't anticipate participating in any investigations or disciplinary actions.

    Pezeshki asks to what end all of this behavior is leading. I'd like to think after all the previous free speech controversies at WSU, it would lead to reform. But I think we can see where the university is going with this whole incident: Nowhere.

    Instead of reforming the CES Department and addressing the intolerance, lack of diversity and academic astigmatism created by "Political Correctness", it's time for "community building," whatever the heck that means.

    "College Republicans had been warned by student leadership on the Pullman campus that putting up such a wall, with such a message, would be seen as highly offensive by many in the WSU community?" Does that mean what happened at the demonstration was justified? Can you imagine what the reaction would have been if a minority group at WSU had received a similar warning not to demonstrate?

    Pezeshki seems to justify Streamas' and Leonard's action under the aegis of the First Amendment. Was what they said legal under the Constitution? Sure (although maybe not under the WSU code of conduct). Should there be consequences? Absolutely.

    You can't yell "fire" in a crowded theater, but you can sure throw the N-word around. Just ask Michael Richards (Seinfeld's Kramer), who was also caught on tape using racial epithets. Richards (who incidentally attended The Evergreen State College) has profusely apologized, but his professional career (such as it was) is effectively over, First Amendment or not. That's the immutable law of consequences. Unfortunately, WSU seems to be a "Consequence Free Zone."

    Monday, November 20, 2006

    Tell the Politicians not to Side with Union-Backed Critics

    From Working Families for Wal-Mart:
    Last week, former Senator John Edwards and Senator Barack Obama chose to side with a special-interest, union-funded campaign to attack Wal-Mart.

    Many of our supporters have sent their letters to these politicians asking them to end their partnership with the special interests. We are sending a clear message to Washington and we need your help to make it even stronger.

    Please tell Sen. Obama and Sen. Edwards that Americans support Wal-Mart.

    It’s time these Senators heard from working families who understand the positive impact that Wal-Mart makes.

    Speak out today. Tell Senators Obama and Edwards that Wal-Mart stands for working families.

    These politicians should know what Wal-Mart means to their communities.

    In Sen. Obama's home state of Illinois, just last year, Wal-Mart spent more than $12 billion with more than 2,700 businesses, generated more than $420 million in tax revenue, and made more than $8.4 million in charitable donations. More than 45,000 people in Illinois work at Wal-Mart, and at new Wal-Mart stores in Evergreen Park and the West Side of Chicago, more than 40,000 people applied for 750 jobs.

    Nevertheless, Senators Obama and Edwards are working with special-interest, union-funded groups who are attacking Wal-Mart at the expense of America's working families.

    Send them a message that attacking Wal-Mart is not a solution to anything.

    Make your voice heard now.

    Follow the link to send a letter to Sen. Obama and Sen. Edwards. Tell them that siding with the Washington special interests is not the way to help working families.

    Thank you in advance for your support.

    Catherine Smith
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    "Hawkins looks to swap rights for water"

    From today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News:
    Developer, Colton talk about exchange to open doors for corridor growth

    The town of Colton wants to swap water rights with the developer of a proposed shopping mall along the Pullman-Moscow Highway.

    Colton Mayor Greg Eylar said the city agreed to swap 22-acre-feet of water it was about to acquire in exchange for the rights to 100-acre-feet of water the Hawkins Companies are attempting to acquire.

    One acre-foot of water is equal to 326,000 gallons of water.

    Hawkins paid Colton $7,500 to delay finalizing the city’s right to the water and give the company time to find water rights the city could use.

    Eylar said Hawkins representatives told city officials earlier this month that they found water rights they believe would work for Colton.

    Hawkins representatives were not available for comment.

    Eylar said the company plans to use the water rights so it can pursue permits for a shopping center just west of the Washington-Idaho state line.

    Hawkins plans to build a 700,000 square-foot shopping center on Highway 270 that would include stores like Lowe’s and other national retailers.

    Keith Stoffel, manager of the water research program for the state Department of Ecology in Spokane, said the department first met with officials from Hawkins in June to review the rules for water right transfers. Since then, Stoffel said Ecology and Hawkins have communicated but the state has not received an application for the transfer.

    Stoffel said water right transfers do occur, but it’s not simple.

    In addition to proving the validity of the water right claim, an applicant has to prove there is enough water in the system to transfer and the water can be pumped at the different location.

    Stoffel said water rights cannot jump from one area to another, but groundwater has drainage areas similar to above ground rivers. The water right must apply to the area where the applicant wants to drill a well.

    Eylar said Hawkins found water rights near LaCrosse. Union Flat Creek drains that area and flows past Colton. Eylar said Westwater Research, which was hired by Hawkins to find water rights for the proposed shopping center, told the city the 100-acre feet water rights should transfer to Colton because the town is in the creek’s drainage.

    The water right could not extend to Hawkins proposed building site because it is outside the drainage area.

    The water right Colton was pursuing could apply to the Hawkins development because it is located in the Moscow-Pullman Sub-basin.

    Rylan Moore, transaction manager for Westwater Research LLC based in Vancouver, Wash., said Hawkins did not want any of its research released until the company and Colton finalize a deal and it becomes public record.

    For Colton, the new water rights could equal growth.

    “I think this could be a great thing for the city of Colton,” Eylar said. “It would give us a little room to grow and give the area some more retail.”

    Brothers Greg and Art Schultheis wanted to develop about five acres on the outskirts of Colton into a residential area, but the city didn’t have the water rights for them to build.

    The city submitted an application for additional water in 1994 and have waited since.

    In June, the Schultheis brothers found water rights available for 22-acre feet of water on the outskirts of Pullman. The city then applied for .08 funds from the county and was about to pay $11,000 for the water right when Hawkins approached the town and proposed the exchange.

    Eylar said the whole deal could have fallen through if Colton had secured the water right. Once a municipality controls a water right, it can’t sell it.

    The deal isn’t done yet. It still must be approved by the Department of Ecology.

    Stoffel said the application will be reviewed by the local water conservation board, and then be forwarded to the state. No guarantee or timeline exist for its approval.
    Take that No Super WalMart!!!!

    Congrats David Buri!

    Our very own 9th District State Representative, David Buri, fresh off his unopposed reelection to the House, has just been elected Minority Floor Leader.

    As floor leader, David will organizes the Republican caucus' positions and agendas during floor sessions.

    Wal-Mart Update

    I've been getting many questions as to what happens next with the Pullman Wal-Mart Supercenter.

    This is from the Pullman Planning Dept. November 2006 newsletter:
    With revised documentation from the hearing examiner on hand at the proceedings in October, Judge Frazier decided to uphold Mr. Montgomery’s determination. This Superior Court decision can be appealed to the Washington State Court of Appeals in Spokane. The appeal period is 30 days from the date Judge Frazier signs the court order. He is expected to sign this document soon.
    Judge Frazier signed the decision on November 1. PARD therefore has until Friday, December 1, to file an appeal.

    Any appeals from here on out could be rather costly for PARD/UFCW. PARD would be required to reimburse the city and Wal-Mart for legal expenses should their appeal fail, plus they will likely be required to post an appeal bond (for possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars) for damages caused to Wal-Mart by the construction delay. That bondwould be forfeited if PARD lost their appeal.

    To appeal or not appeal. That is the question. PARD will no doubt milk their final few moments of infamy for all their worth. They have a meeting scheduled for Thursday, November 30.

    In the meantime, here are some quotes from Thinh Nguyen's story on the appeal hearing that appeared in the Whitman County Gazette on October 26. As usual, the Gazette offered the best coverage (an a picture of TV Reed wearing a red shirt and looking a bit like Marlowe's Dr. Faustus)
    At the hearing PARD argued it did not have to supply detailed counter studies when it claimed the city and Wal-Mart had not provided proper impact studies. PARD argued it had met its requirement in the challenge by pointing out what it believed to be the shortcomings in traffic, environmental and fiscal impact studies.

    Wal-Mart and the city's attorneys argued that when the city approved Wal-Mart's site plan, inherent in the approval was the city's determination that it had sufficient information to proceed according to its city code.

    Judge Frazier agreed.

    "The appealing party has the burden of proof," Frazier said.


    Wal-Mart attorney Jack McCullough countered Bricklin's arguments, saying proof of the actual impacts demanded by PARD, was not Wal-Mart's responsibility.

    "That's not the way the process works," McCullough said. "You've seen this elaborate exercise to turn the burden of proof on its head."

    He said PARD had no evidence to support its claims that the impact studies were inadequate. PARD was required to provide any contrary evidence with its own studies, he said, and did not produce them before the hearing examiner during the January hearing.

    "They had no evidence then, and they have no evidence now," he said.


    Pullman City attorney Laura McAloon argued the city was the lead agency in determining what facts were sufficient and that Pullman was able to apply its "unique expertise."

    On the impact to private businesses, the city studied neither Starbuck's impact on Daily Grind nor Fireside Grille on Swilly's, McAloon pointed out.


    When Frazier addressed the urban blight concerns, he said economic impact in and of itself is not an environmental impact. He said unless PARD could show how economic impacts shape the environment, an environmental impact study would not be required.
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    Saturday, November 18, 2006

    The Video That Started It All Is Back Up on YouTube!

    WSU Regents Revise Student Conduct Code

    Yesterday, the WSU Regents voted to approve a new student code of conduct.

    Here's the new code.

    Some pertinent additions:

    WAC 504-26-203 Disruption or obstruction. Students have the right to freedom of speech, including the right to dissent or protest, but this expression may not interfere with the rights of others or disrupt the university's activities. Prohibited behavior includes: Disruption or obstruction of teaching, research, administration, disciplinary proceedings, other university activities, including its public service functions on or off campus, or of other authorized nonuniversity activities when the conduct occurs on university premises.

    WAC 504-26-217 Unauthorized use of electronic or other devices. Unauthorized use of electronic or other devices: Making an audio or video record of any person while on university premises without his or her prior knowledge, or without his or her effective consent when such a recording is of a private conversation or of images taken of a person(s) at a time and place where she or he would reasonably expect privacy and where such images are likely to cause injury or distress. This includes, but is not limited to, surreptitiously taking pictures of another person in a gym, locker room, or restroom, but does not include taking pictures of persons in areas which are considered by the reasonable person to be open to public view, such as Martin Stadium or the Glenn Terrell Mall.

    Okay, CES department, are we clear on that now?

    The old student code of conduct can be found here.

    And here is an article from the Daily News about the changes on the FIRE site.

    "Academic fences bigger than one on Terrell Mall"

    I was hoping that my favorite columnist, Michael Costello, would take on the border fence controversy. He didn't disappoint in today's Lewiston Tribune.
    Without a doubt, the ideological segregation that universities create with departments like comparative ethnic studies at Washington State University contributes to incidents such as occurred on WSU's Glenn Terrell Mall last week. WSU's College Republicans erected a length of chain-link fence promoting the concept of national sovereignty and secure borders, and specifically the southern border fence bill signed into law in late October by President Bush.

    Only reconquistas believe that we can indefinitely permit as porous a border as we now have with Mexico. We already have an estimated 12 million illegal aliens living in the country, and the status quo is neither fair to the aliens who exist in a legal and economic shadow land which guarantees their protracted poverty, nor to the taxpayers who are forced by judges to underwrite the social services the aliens exploit. The fence may not be the best first step toward managing this issue, but it is at least a step.

    WSU's College Republicans peacefully expressed their view of the matter, which was that they approved of the fence. But faculty members who incubate their righteous indignation in the comparative ethnic studies department did not share the academy ideal that enlightenment is gained through a free exchange of ideas and attempted to bully the Republicans into submission. One faculty member from comparative ethnic studies who nearly and maybe should have lost his job because of poor teaching reviews and a second member of that department confronted the Republicans. Among other things, the first called the Republicans a pallid sack of feces, although he did not use precisely those words, while the other demanded that the demonstrators produce credentials for his inspection.

    Liberal activists use the mall to promote any number of political causes. I traverse the mall regularly as it is the fastest path for me to get from one side of campus to the other, and until the weather gets truly cold, I'm likely to encounter just about any liberal cause being peacefully advanced. I have never seen nor heard of anyone harassing one of these demonstrators.

    I can't help wondering if a department that is composed almost exclusively of like-minded souls foments the sort of attitude that encourages such deplorable conduct from its faculty members. When all you have around you at work all day are people who share your low opinion of those who adhere to an alternative point of view, it's quite probable that each feeds off the other's venom to the point of dehumanizing the dissenter.

    Such ideological segregation certainly occurs elsewhere and rarely with good results. The Aryan Nations compound north of Coeur d'Alene was an example of ideological self-segregation and extremist cross-fertilization. North Korea might qualify as giant-sized Aryan Nations compound mentality.

    But it can also lead to a humorous naivete as well. The late film critic Pauline Kael probably best exemplified the phenomenon of ideological cocooning when she expressed her shock at Richard Nixon's landslide victory over George McGovern in 1972: "I don't know how Richard Nixon could have won. I don't know anybody who voted for him." [Compare this to a WSU professor's statement that he only knew five people that supported Wal-Mart]

    Clearly Ms. Kael's habit of only interacting with like-minded friends left her unprepared for the possibility that there were any opinions other than those of her little clique.

    While one outcome is humorous and the other dangerous, neither is conducive to promoting the free and inquiring minds that a healthy society needs. We would have a difficult time as a nation were we to be ruled by narrow-minded bullies or left to float on the follies of simple-minded film critics.

    All universities should take heed of this incident and others like it and consider whether or not concentrating ideologies is the best strategy for incorporating nontraditional ideas into a college curriculum. Certainly the faculty currently housed in what are little more than academic ghettos could be incorporated into other departments, such as history, political science, philosophy and sociology.

    If being exposed to new ideas is a healthy thing for the students who are marched into these classes, then it certainly follows that the faculty could similarly gain the benefit of contrarian perspectives as well. After all, the academy is a place where the students and the faculty learn. We certainly know now what happens when indignation is concentrated, distilled and allowed to feed upon itself.

    "Breck Boy" Senator Edwards for Wal-Mart - NOT

    The senator "The Breck Boy" as Rush calls him, had a 'volunteer' (note the cheap senator can't even pay minimum wage; which he champions) go ask a Wal-Mart store manager for a Play Station 3 (PSP3). Anyway Breck Boy says it wasn’t for him that sent him see the press release note the picture of The Breck Boy at a, Wakeup Wal-Mart Rally in Pittsburgh in August. Read about the Breck Boy!. The Rats just want their cake and eat it too.

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    Another Big Box Store in Pullman

    Nope... Home grown PBS

    Pullman developer Duane Brelsford Jr., announced Thursday a proposal to build a 140,000-square-foot Pullman Building Supply on Bishop Boulevard.

    It will be build right next to the WalMart... I suppose PARD is gearing up for another fight???

    Friday, November 17, 2006

    Hannity & Colmes Show on YouTube

    A Different Christmas Poem

    A Friend of Mine sent this poem to me:

    Different Christmas Poem

    The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
    I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
    My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
    my daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
    Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
    Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
    The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
    completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
    My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
    secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
    In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
    so I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.
    The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
    but I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
    Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know,
    then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
    My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
    and I crept to the door just to see who was near.
    Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
    a lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
    A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
    perhaps a Seabee, huddled here in the cold.
    Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
    standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.
    "What are you doing?" I asked without fear,
    "Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!

    Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
    you should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"
    For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
    away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts.
    To the window that danced with a warm fire's light,

    then he sighed and he said "Its really all right,
    I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night.
    It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
    that separates you from the darkest of times.
    No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
    I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
    My Gramps died at 'Pearl on a day in December,"
    then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers.
    My dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam',
    and now it is my turn and so, here I am.
    I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
    but my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile."
    Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
    the red, white, and blue... an American flag.
    "I can live through the cold and the being alone,
    away from my family, my house and my home.
    I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
    I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
    I can carry the weight of killing another,
    or lay down my life with my sister and brother.
    Who stand at the front against any and all,
    to ensure for all time that this flag will not fall.
    So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,
    your family is waiting and I'll be all right."
    "But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
    "Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?
    It seems all too little for all that you've done,
    for being away from your wife and your son."
    Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
    "Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
    To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
    to stand your own watch, no matter how long.
    For when we come home, either standing or dead,
    to know you remember we fought and we bled
    Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
    that we mattered to you as you mattered to us.

    PLEASE, would you do me the kind favor of sending this to as many people as
    you can? Christmas will be coming soon and some credit is due to our U.S.
    service men and women for our being able to celebrate these festivities.

    Let's try in this small way to pay a tiny bit of what we owe. Make people
    stop and think of our heroes, living and dead, who sacrificed themselves for
    us. Please, do your small part to plant this small seed.