Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Saturday, June 14, 2008

"City may make PARD pay for another appeal; Attorney, councilman say they'll seek reimbursement of legal fees if group loses case in Supreme Court"

As a Pullman taxpayer, I'm outraged PARD gets a pass on the appellate appeal costs. And the threat to go after PARD if they appeal to the Supreme Court is moot, as there is a 0% chance the Supreme Court will hear the case.

And I love the hypocritical BS from Citizen Hosick. Hosick said "she'd support a decision to drop the case if Wal-Mart officials opted to locate the super center along the Pullman-Moscow Highway instead of Bishop Boulevard." Please. If you remember, the only PARD member to submit a SEPA comment against the Hawkins development in the corridor was, you guessed it, professional kvetcher Hosick. She stated that she "would have liked to maintain the rural feel of the county." Of course, Hosick also thought SEL's new corporate headquarters was an "absolutely awful example of hilltop development, and a prime example of what any city/county development code in this area ought to prohibit." Basically, she's against everything.

From today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News:
City officials are awaiting a decision from the Pullman Alliance for Responsible Development and indicated there could be financial ramifications if the anti-Wal-Mart group takes its case to the state's highest court and loses.

City Attorney Laura McAloon said she'll recommend the city recoup its legal fees if PARD appeals a recent ruling to the Washington Supreme Court. Both the company and city shouldered their share of the costs in PARD's appeal to the Washington District III Court of Appeals, which ruled in favor of Wal-Mart and Pullman on June 3.

She doesn't think the city should be so gracious if PARD decides to pursue another appeal.

"In my opinion, PARD got a pass last time - they got a good deal," she said. "Should they appeal again, Pullman would absolutely pursue their actual costs ... and I'm confident we'd win."

McAloon said the city and Wal-Mart declined to seek reimbursement of legal fees during a December appellate court hearing in Spokane.

McAloon said Wal-Mart's attorney took the lead in the appeal, and the company likely could have recovered a significant amount of money when the three-judge panel sided against PARD. As a relatively silent partner in the process, the city could only have recovered a statutory fee of about $200.

Mayor Glenn Johnson and City Councilman Barney Waldrop said they would need to discuss the issue with McAloon and other city leaders before deciding to seek reimbursement of legal fees if a PARD appeal is heard by the state Supreme Court.

Councilman Keith Bloom isn't as accommodating.

"The actions by this particular group ... have hurt the city financially in the long-term. I think that would be a responsible step on the part of the city. They certainly cost us something," he said, noting that PARD not only cost the city in attorney fees, but also lost sales tax.

Wal-Mart announced plans to build on Bishop Boulevard in October 2004 and a site plan for the store was approved by city Public Works Director Mark Workman. PARD appealed Workman's approval of the store's environmental checklist and site plan, claiming it would negatively affect Pullman's economy, as well as stormwater run-off and traffic.

A hearing examiner determined the site plan and environmental checklist were sufficient, and that ruling was upheld by Whitman County Superior Court Judge David Frazier.

PARD then took its case to the Division III Court of Appeals.

PARD board member Chris Lupke said the group's leaders need more to time to decide whether to continue their legal battle, adding that they'll continue gathering opinions from supporters before any determination is made. PARD has until July 3 to file the necessary paperwork for the case to be heard by the Supreme Court.

"We're getting there, but it's taking longer than we expected," he said. "It's complicated and it involves a lot of people. We're trying to make this democratic ... I think it is important to get a read on the broader constituency that PARD represents before we make a move."

Lupke said PARD executive board members are meeting with the public and sharing the responses amongst themselves in an "informal process."

"I would hesitate to characterize it," he said. "I would just say that we haven't come to a decision yet."

PARD board member Cynthia Hosick hopes a decision is reached sooner rather than later.

"I don't see any point in holding off for a long, long time," she said.

Hosick said she'd support a decision to drop the case if Wal-Mart officials opted to locate the super center along the Pullman-Moscow Highway instead of Bishop Boulevard.

"I don't like Wal-Mart and I don't shop there, but I won't stop anyone else from shopping there," she said. "It would be a lot easier to swallow if they built it in the corridor. I would support that individually.

"Even if that's not an option anymore, I would still like to see the city ask Wal-Mart if they would relocate. It's not likely to happen, but it's worth a shot."
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April E. Coggins said...

Another nice thing about Wal-Mart is that it will provide a moonbat-free zone. Hopefully, they will have a coffee shop.

Paul E. Zimmerman, M.A. said...

April -

Don't bet on that. The moonbat genome contains several genes that code for hypocrisy. As soon as the doors open, they'll be in there hunting bargains, avoiding eye contact the whole way.