Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Monday, March 05, 2007


This comes from a story in today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News about the new WSU Center for Environmental Research, Education and Outreach (CEREO).
[CEREO Director Emmett ]Fiske considers himself a facilitator. His expertise is in acting as a liaison or mediator in environmental issues where one group has an economic interest and the other is more environmentally motivated.

For example, Fiske worked about 15 years ago to mediate residents' concerns about pesticides being used to keep the Russian wheat aphid from harming local crops.

Likewise, the center would be available to groups such as the Pullman Alliance for Responsible Development, which opposes the construction of a Wal-Mart Supercenter in Pullman.

"Issues like that, between the private sector and the public regulators, (nongovernmental organizations), tribes - the more complicated, the more exciting," Fiske said. "Where lines have pretty much been drawn and people have their perspectives, it's possible to bring people together to reduce all the swirling differences of opinion to at least more specific differences of opinion so that we can focus on the real issues."
Fiske's enthusiasm is commendable. But he obviously does not understand PARD at all.

PARD's "environmental" objections (what, stormwater, deer testicles?) are just one of a litany of "sins" PARD thinks Wal-Mart is guilty of committing. There's still traffic, economic impact, crime, wages, benefits, tax burden, proximity to the cemetery, urban sprawl, homogenization, destruction of the public schools, use of sweatshop labor, refusal to unionize, globalization, Communist front organizations, yadda, yadda, yadda. As Scotty so accurately puts it, PARD employs the "kitchen sink" approach. They have flung every possible (and impossible) argument against the wall in hopes that something will stick.

A well-reasoned, heartfelt individual objection to Wal-Mart might well have some merit. 500 frivilous hypocritical objections do not. It has become apparent that PARD's main objection is to Wal-Mart's very existence. Their flimsy, often coflicting arguments are only excuses to hide their ideological/elitist agenda to try and recruit allies for the jihad.

THERE IS NO COMPROMISE POSSIBLE!! There is no "real issue." To use the Russian example cited above, what if one side just wanted to burn down the fields, regardless of aphids or pesticides? You can compromise if their are rational parties on both sides. When there are not, no agreement is possible. Wal-Mart has already made dozens of concessions to accomodate critics in Pullman, including more stylish architecture, stormwater, lighting, landscaping, traffic lights, and traffic calming devices. What else is left?

For example, Wal-Mart's location. What is PARD's alternative? Where else in the city is that much properly zoned property available? Will PARD purchase Wal-Mart's current site for $1.8 million if Wal-Mart agrees to seek another site? Then there are wages, benefits, labor practices, offshoring of jobs, sweatshops, etc. What resolution is possible in Pullman that would affect such global issues? PARD has backed itself into a corner where, unless they pull off a Chelan style extortion attempt, only total victory or total defeat are possible. The time for them to declare victory came and went after the public hearings last year.

In my opinion, we are much more likely to see an Iran/Israel mutual defence pact, world peace break out, or even John Edwards and Ann Coulter make out, before any "agreement" is reached on a Pullman Wal-Mart.

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