Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Monday, June 30, 2008

Say What?

Jana (Lien, formerly of Pullman, now living on the west side and working for Amazon.com,) once compared Pullman to "Pottersville" of "It's a Wonderful Life" fame. She posted the following comment today on Dnews.com about the recent Wal-Mart poll:
If you didn't notice, the recent daily news poll let anyone vote more than once. You could sit there all day and skew the numbers, if you wanted. It's not a valid tool for supporting your case.
Really? I wonder if Jana noted that the PARD petition let anyone sign it more than once, particularly if they used more than one name, and allowed people from as far away as Australia sign? That was convenient for PARD, as real petitions require that the signer be a registered voter in the locality or state involved so that the signature can be verified. For all we know, PARD members sat around and filled in the names.

So does Jana consider the PARD petition a "valid tool" for supporting their case? I'll bet she does, as she sent in a letter to the editor blasting Wal-Mart and has a link to PARD's website on her blog.

Power to the people. Right, except when your ox is being gored.

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Will Palousitics Be Next?


Blogger blogs with bad things to say about the Obamessiah are being shut down. From Publius' Forum:
Apparently, this campaign merely took advantage of Google/Blogger’s flawed system of finding spam blogs. So, it looks like what we have here is an Obama dirty trick to shut down political opposition. Looks like Obmatons aren’t much for that whole democracy thing, eh?
Stay tuned. Looks like I may be making the move from Blogger sooner than I had planned.

They're Baaaaacckkk.....


Remember our mysterious visitor from Olympia last week, looking for dirt on Schweitzer Engineering? He/she is back again today, and this time he/she has learned that he/she has been busted.

New Whitman County Republican Headquarters


From the Whitman County Republicans:
News Flash!

Whitman County Republican Headquarters will be open for business Monday, June 30th thru Thursday, July 3rd from 10 am to 4 pm. at 242 E. Main Street in Pullman. The office will be open Monday thru Friday after the 4th.

We are located between Dr. DeVleming’s office and the Smoothie Shop.

As we incorporate more volunteers into the schedule, we anticipate being able to keep the office open until 6 pm.

Please let us know if you are available to help at headquarters – days and hours. You can email in a reply to mailto:vangeeh@peoplepc.comor leave a message on the phone at HQ: 334–0460.

We are still looking for more folding or stacking chairs and small folding tables to borrow.

If you have office supplies or other things that you wish to donate – I will be at Headquarters tomorrow, Saturday June 29th for several hours. Time is not certain, yet. If you want to come by, either reply to this email or call me at 509-595-3478

If you are delivering something – there is a back door. It is white and has a Dino Rossi bumper sticker on it. We do have two designated parking places marked as 242 E. Main St. If you have something heavy to unload – you may temporarily park by the door.

Our candidates are still in the process of getting their campaign materials, donation envelopes and yard signs to us. We will soon have everything in its place!

Please drop in if you are downtown Pullman next week – the coffee pot will be on and we will have some cold drinks, too. Someone may even bake something – who knows?

Keep an eye on our Whitman County Republican Website – for updated information: http://www.whitmancountyrepublicans.org/

Vangee Harrison, WCRP Headquarters Coordinator

Eastern Washington and the Queen: Myth and Reality

MYTH:
As the members of the [Eastern Washington Advisory] council and I discussed today, it is vitally important to Washington that the unique issues facing central and eastern Washington be addressed through state government.
- Queen Christine, press release, November 16, 2007

REALITY:
But rather than champion a project she feared would be controversial in some environmental circles, Gregoire deployed a "balanced approach" of not publicly promoting or opposing the project.

Gregoire repeatedly was invited by Areva supporters and her staff to consider an agreement with the company to restrict in-state storage of the plant's low-level waste of depleted uranium.

But that wasn't enough assurance for her to woo the company personally - as backers had hoped.

And while Areva, through the Tri-City Development Council, repeatedly sought Gregoire's personal engagement, the governor's office offered "a professional approach, not a political approach" that minimized her involvement.

The governor's office also refused to believe intelligence indicating the plant could be Washington's if Gregoire would embrace it.

[snip]

Gregoire's unwillingness to play a more active role in recruiting what would have been a major economic development score for the state, Eastern Washington and the Tri-Cities has left even some of her strongest supporters shaken.
- "Herald investigates: How Washington lost the $2 billion Areva plant and at least 400 jobs to Idaho, Tri-City Herald, June 29, 2008

Tri-Cities residents are worried, justifiably, that the loss of this plant will cost more jobs. Herald political reporter Chris Mulick has more on his blog (a regular stop of mine.)

That's right, in an election year, the Queen ignored the needs of Eastern Washington to kow-tow to the radical Seattle environmentalists clad in birkenstocks and frayed "No Nukes" t-shirts. Is there any chance we'll get our stormwater burden lifted with her in office? Only with Dino Rossi as governor do we have a chance of that.

Obama may not have known where Hanford was, but the Queen won't be able to forget.

Quote of the Day

One cannot permanently overtax a population in which every man bears arms.
- Dr. John Moore, The Case for Compulsory Service, 1779

Jackie Broyles and Dunlap - The Face Of America in Europe



It's a good thing I don't drink Budweiser.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sour Grapes from the Wealthy Residents of Pullman

Sore loser Chris Lupke of PARD wrote the following comment on Dnews.com about Susan Fagan's letter yesterday:
Susan,

Speaking as a Republican party official, you probably know you don't speak for the majority of Pullman residents just the more wealthy ones.
I hope Chris includes himself and other PARD members in that group of "more wealthy Pullman residents." A search of the 2007 Washington State University List of Employees, Job Title and Salary database reveals the following yearly salaries:

Alex Hammond: $61,512.84
Chris Lupke: $62,872.65
Nella Van Dyke: $63,868.32
TV Reed: $89,268.80
Howard Hosick: $95,878.80
Greg Hooks: $99,576.00
James "Uncle Buck" Krueger: $217,333.80 (who said studying deer testicles would never pay off?)

Average Family Income in Pullman: $40,709

Average Family Income of a Wal-Mart Shopper: $35,000
It seems the people fighting Wal-Mart in Pullman are the ones wealthy enough not to have to shop there. Not surprising really. Americans who self-identify as liberals have an average annual income of $71,000 – the highest-grossing political category in America. So much for Republicans being the "party of the rich man."

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Washington State has a Nasty Surprise Coming Next Week

I predict a huge backlash as the people discover that their Overlords in Olympia are now dictating where they can buy a new car. Dino Rossi and the Republican party needs to jump all over this. Unless of course the Republicans are for this new law, in which case we will need to clean house, top to bottom.

The 2009 model year vehicles will start rolling into the dealerships next week! Notice they kept this new law quiet until just now, and they chose to release this rather important news over the weekend. From yesterday's Olympian:
Tougher vehicle-emission standards go into effect in Washington with the roll-out of 2009-model cars, light-duty trucks and most vans and sport utility vehicles.
It's the result of clean-car legislation that state lawmakers passed in 2005, cracking down on vehicle exhaust pollutants that damage air quality and people's health.

Still on hold is a piece of the legislation that would reduce greenhouse-gas emissions from vehicles. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has refused to issue a federal waiver to allow this state and 15 others, including California and Oregon, to enforce more stringent greenhouse-gas releases from new vehicles.

"I'm disappointed that the White House has so far blocked our ability to also reduce climate-changing carbon dioxide emissions in new cars," Gov. Chris Gregoire said in a news release reminding the public of the change in car-emission standards. "But we have gone to court to overcome the obstacle, and I believe we will prevail."

In addition, presidential candidates Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain have gone on record in support of the waiver request by the states.

Even without the greenhouse-gas emission reductions, the clean-car standards will have the effect of eliminating the air-pollution equivalent of 200,000 cars by 2020, Gregoire said.

State residents who buy vehicles outside the state should make sure they meet the clean-car standards, warned state Department of Licensing Director Liz Luce.

"If the vehicle doesn't meet the standards, it can't be licensed in Washington," she said.


Supporters of the new law said the cleaner-burning vehicles use fuel more efficiently, reducing fuel costs. In addition, the model year 2009 vehicles won't need emission checks, which are required in some areas of the state -- but not South Sound -- because of air-quality concerns.


People are going to once again, start registering their vehicles out of state. Car dealers will have a more difficult time getting enough vehicles, this law will no longer allow the common practice of in state dealers trading with out of state dealers. Repair bills will go up, as I pointed out in my previous post. This new law effectively hands over Washington state's emission standards to the California legislature.

Washington state cannot afford 4 more years of this insanity.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

"Wal-Mart is welcome"

There is a very nice tribute to Don Pelton from SEL Public Affairs Director and BREO board member Susan Fagan in today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News:
I am truly thankful that we can move ahead with the construction of our Wal-Mart store here in Pullman. It will give us more choices and save fuel, and we'll also save money. And I still plan to shop at Safeway and Dissmore IGA because they provide great customer service.

I'm sure I speak for many who appreciate our city officials and the Pullman City Council for their leadership and steadfast efforts through this entire process. Even though I believe the delay and multiple appeals were unnecessary and cost us valuable time and resources, I am grateful for our form of open and accessible government. Reading the headlines tonight, however, I couldn't help feeling some sadness - our good friend and Wal-Mart supporter Don Pelton did not live long enough to see this day. Don, if you're looking down on us tonight, and, like me, you're reading the Daily News and enjoying the sweet victory, please take credit for providing your consistent, thoughtful views that helped us keep our eye on the bigger economic picture.

Susan Fagan, Pullman
We miss you, Don.

A New Cause For PARD

Berkeley needs fresh tree sitters. This should be a fine cause for the PARDners and they'd be among kindred spirits.

My favorite part of the story:
Protesters howled, flung excrement and shook tree branches as campus-hired arborists cut supply lines and removed gear.

But by late this week, campus police were conducting delicate negotiations with tree-sitters, offering to provide food and water if protesters would lower their waste on a daily basis in the interest of hygiene.

Campus officials ended up giving up the water without concessions; protesters declined to yield their urine.
I am not surprised to learn that liberals are expressing their inner chimpanzee.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Quote of the Day (the delusional version)

“PARD has always taken the position that we would pursue a legal remedy only so long as we felt we had a significant chance of victory. Close scrutiny of the District Court opinion along with our lawyers led us to conclude victory at the next level was very unlikely, so we chose not to appeal,” former Pullman city council candidate and PARD member Judith Krueger. Carefully buried in the Spokesman Review blog "Here's the Dirt."

"Developer: PARD decision lets city 'move forward'; End of legal fight against Wal-Mart expected to hasten other development projects in Pullman"

In answer to the question, "Tom, why did you, April and the others fight so hard to see Wal-Mart come to Pullman?", native son and Pullman's biggest and most successful developer Duane Brelsford, Jr., says it all:
I'm not a pro-Wal-Mart person and I'm not an anti-Wal-Mart person. What I am for is what Wal-Mart will bring, and it's other national tenants, and that's what Pullman needs.
Kudos to Hillary Hamm for bring out the truth about the real "Wal-Mart effect" in Pullman. It's not "urban blight" and loss of business as PARD falsely claimed. It's new jobs, new tax revenue, and new opportunities. Her article details many of the exciting new things we can expect to see soon on Bishop Boulevard. What an exciting time for this city.

Stay turned next week for a series of reports on what we can expect to happen after Wal-Mart comes to town.

From today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News:
Development projects that were on hold pending the outcome of a legal case against a proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter in Pullman now are on the fast track for completion.

Corporate Point Developers President Duane Brelsford said he's pushing to begin construction as early as this year on three projects around Bishop Boulevard, where the super center is expected to be built.

The Pullman Alliance for Responsible Development announced Wednesday it will not appeal a Washington Division III Court of Appeals ruling that clears the way for construction of the super center. The decision effectively ends the group's four-year legal fight against Wal-Mart.

A Wal-Mart representative said the company is designing the Pullman super center, with plans to open on Bishop Boulevard in late 2009 or early 2010.

Brelsford said he can start the projects that were dependent on the super-center being built.

"Most of our tenants were pending Wal-Mart's location," he said. "Now Pullman can move forward. And that's what I'm excited about."

Brelsford said it's about time projects can get started.

"I'm not a pro-Wal-Mart person and I'm not an anti-Wal-Mart person," he said. "What I am for is what Wal-Mart will bring, and it's other national tenants, and that's what Pullman needs."

Brelsford said pending projects include a 600-square-foot facility for a "national coffee chain" to be located adjacent to the Wal-Mart store and the development of 10 acres on South Grand Avenue for future retail, and possibly hospitality tenants.

Development of Pullman Building Supply also can get under way on a 15-acre plot near the Wal-Mart site. The new Pullman Building Supply store will replace its smaller store on North Grand Avenue. Pat Garrett, owner of both the Pullman and Moscow Building Supply stores, did not return calls for comment.

Brelsford said he's also aware of a California man who purchased land near the Bishop Boulevard Jiffy Lube for development pending Wal-Mart's construction.

City Supervisor John Sherman said Wal-Mart's construction is likely to spark further development. He added that the Pullman-Moscow area's population is expected to exceed the 50,000 mark in the 2010 Census and that Washington State University anticipates its highest freshmen enrollment ever in the fall. Those all are good signs for more development, as are the success of high-tech businesses like Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories and Pullman Regional Hospital, he said.

"I think Pullman is just very, very well-positioned to attract more people here. And when you do that, it opens opportunities in the retail sector, too," he said. "All in all, I think the fact that Wal-Mart is coming in is going to be a major plus as far as providing more shopping for citizens and expanding our tax base."

Sherman said the Wal-Mart Supercenter - which will provide groceries and retail items - may help draw shoppers into Pullman rather than Moscow.

"The Palouse Mall has had a decades-long effect on Pullman," he said, noting that the number of stores in Moscow draws business away from Pullman.

Sherman said he doesn't expect Pullman to become a shopping metropolis, "but we can start to become a community that is more balanced in its economy."

"I think the future for Pullman is very bright," he added. "If Wal-Mart chooses to come to your community, it's pretty much a check-off point for other businesses. That's a good sign."
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"Pullman Wal-Mart opposition will not appeal"

PARD will continue to encourage residents to shop locally? So does that mean they will encourage people to shop at our local Wal-Mart they way they have encouraged people to shop at our other local big-box store, Shopko?

From KLEW TV:
PULLMAN - What has been an almost constant fight against a Wal-Mart in Pullman may be over.

Early this month, a Washington Court of Appeals sided with the City of Pullman and the Spokane Valley developer who wants to build a Wal-Mart supercenter on Bishop Boulevard. The Pullman Alliance for Responsible Development, who has fought Wal-Mart in a number of courts, announced they will not appeal that decision to the state Supreme Court.

Through a press release, April Coggins, a member of the Pullman citizens group known as BREO, said it's a day of celebration, and that "The long and pointless legal delays are finally over."

The company plans to break ground on the SuperCenter next year.

PARD said it will continue to encourage residents to shop locally.
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"Wal-Mart foes drop appeal plans; Pullman group opts not to push issue to Supreme Court"

I love David Johnson. He is the only true journalist we have in the Quad Cities. When you read this article, look at how he covers all sides of the issue, even bringing in Moscow and the recent Thompson rezone.

From today's Lewiston Tribune:
PULLMAN - The legal wrestling over construction of a Wal-Mart Supercenter here appears to have ended Thursday with members of the Pullman Alliance for Responsible Development abandoning their appeal options.

"This is a day for celebration in Pullman," responded a spokeswoman for the competing Businesses and Residents for Economic Opportunity group.

Pullman Mayor Glenn Johnson labeled the development "a very good thing," and a Wal-Mart spokeswoman confirmed the store should be open for business no later than early 2011.

PARD's decision, announced by board member Cynthia Hosick, comes three weeks after the Washington Division III Court of Appeals denied PARD's latest effort to stop construction by upholding a lower court decision.

"The long and pointless legal delays are finally over," BREO's April Coggins wrote in a news release. "Many people have worked very hard to make this day a reality."

Hosick said PARD members voted via e-mail against pushing their case to the Washington Supreme Court. PARD spokespersons have maintained since Wal-Mart announced its plans that a majority of Pullman residents are against the company building a 228,000-square-foot store along Bishop Boulevard.

But BREO representatives point to recent polls indicating most people favor Wal-Mart's arrival and fear other retailers have delayed coming to Pullman amid the perception of an anti-business atmosphere. Coggins called for protection against a repeat. "The laws must be changed to never allow a small group, with absolutely no proof or evidence whatsoever, to subvert the will of the majority for so long," she wrote.

PARD representatives have claimed evidence about unsavory Wal-Mart business practices, coupled with unanswered questions about construction plans. Most recently, the group pointed to a traffic study that shows several million dollars' worth of maintenance and infrastructure will be needed to accommodate the big-box store.

Pullman City Attorney Laura McAloon, who confirmed after the appeals court decision Wal-Mart simply has to apply for a building permit to start the project, more recently warned the city might seek payment of legal costs if PARD continued its appeal methods. "The court rejected all their arguments," she said.

A similar effort by Wal-Mart to build a super center in Moscow was stymied more than a year ago when the company abandoned plans amid a protracted zoning dispute. Part of the property where the store was proposed, however, has now been rezoned to allow big-box stores.
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The Blog Heard Round the World

Congratulations are definitely due to April! Her post "Purposeful Manipulation of Temperature Data or Poor Practice?" was picked up initially by Tom Nelson, Watt's Up With That, Icecap, and then the mother of all global warming skeptic blogs, Junk Science. Now, it's being linked at big-time conservative blog Little Green Footballs.

April's post is already the most linked in Palousitics history and is well on its way to being the most viewed ever.

A Real World Example of the Price of Environmentalism

Yesterday, I had a customer who needed to know the price of a gas cap for his small Honda generator. The 49 state gas cap retails for $15.00, the California version (to meet California emission laws) sells for $75.00. That's a sixty dollar difference just for one part. A person earning $20.00 an hour would have to work three and a half pre-tax hours to pay for the environmentalist's portion of the part.

Obama in Kenya

Not much political news from my trip to Kenya. BUT, everyone wanted to know if we supported Obama or McCain. And they quickly added that they wanted Obama to win since he is the son of a Kenyan. It took only 2 statements to convince every Kenyan we met that Obama is not who they think he is. He supports abortion. He supports marriage between homosexuals. They were thoroughly shocked that someone with Kenyan roots could support either of those issues. And most left us rather sad.

The only other political news is the violence of last January. There was no hint of it where we visited but we were mostly in the Eastern part of Kenya which did not experience the tribal related murders. That is mostly because East Kenya tribes have no political power. The only evidence of the trouble was that tour operators are far below their normal bookings to visit the national parks. We did, however, support the local economy by visiting four parks: Nairobi, Maasai Mara, Amoseli, Tsavo West. They were all incredible.

I also learned a lot about the tribal racism of Africa and I am stunned - perhaps a topic for a later time.
More info, photos, video at:
http://pullmanfoursquaremissions.blogspot.com/search/label/Kenya%202008


Type rest of the post here

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Welcome Cav!

Please welcome Cav, who just made his first thought-provoking post below. I think it is imperative that we as conservatives start thinking about how we can rebuild the Reagan Coalition.

As a child of the 70s, I see many parallels between now and then: an energy crisis, high gas prices, national disaffection following a long and frustrating war, fears of impending environmenal catastrophe, bad music, etc. Remember, it took Jimmy Carter to get us Ronald Reagan. And it will take Obama (or McCain to a lesser extent) to get us a new conservative leader like Reagan, be it Bobby Jindal, Sarah Palin, or whoever. In the meantime, our conservative values will have to be stored with care, and love, for better times.

Cav is a former Central Washington University College Republicans president and still lives in Ellensburg, which in many ways is Pullman's sister city. I am very glad to get some more Eastern Washington voices on the blog (and yes, I'm including you over there in Walla Walla, Paul.)

The Fall of the Republican Party

An election of John McCain will do more harm than good.

Hello from Ellensburg. I am the newest contributor here, and would like to thank Mr. Forbes. I have long considered myself a Republican, going so far as to be President of the CWU College Republicans for a time. Lately, however, I feel as though I am not so welcome in the party.

My first vote was cast in 2000, and it was an easy decision. George Bush was my guy. Eight years ago, the competition was fairly stiff, with Dan Quayle, Steve Forbes, and Pat Buchanan all being in the running. Solid, accomplished candidates all.

Which brings me to our present situation. This year, after sorting through a field of the half-crazed (Ron Paul) to the half-dead (Fred Thompson), to the half-liberal (Rudy Giuliani), we have settled on the greatest enemy Senate Republicans face, John McCain. In the process, we discarded Sam Brownback, Duncan Hunter, and Tom Tancredo. I am not very excited to vote.

I define my views as those of a paleo-conservative first, and a Republican second. Not too very long ago, the Republican Party was the vehicle for advancing the cause of conservatism. Currently, it is a convenient way to convince people that you are any sort of conservative. It has been betrayed by the likes of Arlen Specter in their quest to be elected. John McCain stands to be the final nail in the coffin for any sort of return to viable conservatism in the next twenty years.

Can anyone honestly say that John McCain appeals to the base? Who among us wants an open-border, anti-growth, tax-hiker claiming the Republican label? Why should we settle for the weakest Republican and one of the most easily defeated horses in this race? His military record is dubious, and has even gone so far as to work with the Brady folks. (See links below for more information)

Should John McCain get elected, the Republican Party will be fundamentally changed for all time. The platform will be composed of 'whatever it takes to get elected' and there will be no unified set of values to work toward. Democrats have nothing to fear from John McCain, he would rather work with Ted Kennedy or Russ Feingold anyhow. Taxes will rise, deficits will continue their out-of-control spiral, and our policy of pointless entanglement into foreign affairs will continue. Aside from alienating those within the Party, it gives Republicans a very bad name.

The obvious question is, would you rather see an Obama presidency? And my answer is without a doubt, yes. Either of these two clowns is gonna screw it up and screw it up hard, why not let a Democrat take the fall? In 2012, maybe the Republicans will have pulled their heads out and realized that electing weak Republicans, liberal Republicans, and phony Republicans got us into this mess, and it's probably not the way to get us out.

Links:
http://www.vvof.org/mccain_hides.htm
http://www.vdare.com/awall/080202_memo.htm
http://www.anncoulter.com/cgi-local/art ... rticle=231
http://www.renewamerica.us/columns/graham/080224
http://www.usvetdsp.com/mcianhro.htm
http://www.vietnamveteransagainstjohnmccain.com/
http://offthegridgirls.wordpress.com/20 ... hn-mccain/
http://bconservatives.blogspot.com/2008 ... about.html
http://journals.aol.com/sazzylilsmartaz ... erica/2570
http://educate-yourself.org/cn/earlhopp ... eb08.shtml
http://www.gunowners.org/pres08/mccain.htm

Sing Along, Pullman

Oh, What a Day

With apologies to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons (and for dating myself, I used to roller skate to this song):

Oh, what a day.
Late June back in '08.
What a very special time, it was great,
'Cause I remember what a day.

Oh, what a day.
With five Men in Black tellin' me,
The Second Amendment was everything I believed it to be.
What a Constitution. What a day.

Oh, the hit counter got a funny feeling when April's post was viewed
Around the world and I,
As I recall it the readers of JunkScience.com thought it ended much too soon.

Oh, what a day,
PARD finally figured out that their case was lame,
Now Pullman ain't ever gonna be the same.
Sweet surrender, what a day!

Dies Irae



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Uh Oh, More Scandal Brewing for Washington Dems

Hot on the heels of Wampumgate, Washington's junior varsity senator Maria Cantdowell is dealing with a potential quid pro quo scandal of her own.

Politico.com asked all 100 senators about the circumstances surrounding their home loans following revelations that Senators Kent Conrad (D-ND) and Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) received "VIP" mortgages from Countrywide.

Every senator but Cantdowell responded. Her mortgage company? Yep. Countrywide. No allegations of wrongdoing yet, but it don't look good, especially as the Queen now wants to run Countrywide out of Washington for using predatory lending practices against minorities.

Again, my question to you starry-eyed Democratic activists like Bryan Burke who are backing Obama, is this the party of "change" or is this the party of "politics as usual?"

Quote of the Year (Updated)

Jennifer Holder [Spall - tf], a local representative for Wal-Mart public affairs, said the decision won't have an impact on the company's plans.

"We're not surprised by (the decision), the odds of the lawsuit going further were very slim," Holder said. "We already decided to move forward regardless of whether they filed an appeal or not."
- "PARD will not take appeal to state supreme court," Summer Watermelon, June 26, 2008

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Moscow Chamber Annual Meeting Today at 5:30 PM

In the new spirit of glasnost with our neighbors to the east, I am posting this annoucement from Moscow Chamber of Commerce executive director, Darrell Keim:
Moscow Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting

June 26th at the Best Western University Inn at 5:30PM. Join the Chamber and your fellow community leaders to see what is happening with the Chamber. Events include a keynote presentation by regional Time Warner representatives, announcement and installation of officers and a "State of the Chamber" address by Moscow Chamber Executive Director Darrell Keim. It has been an interesting year and the Chamber is about to kickoff some exciting activities. We hope you will come to find out more.

For more information contact the Chamber at 882-1800 or staff@moscowchamber.com

"PARD ends legal fight against Wal-Mart; Group won't appeal most recent court ruling to Washington Supreme Court"

The headline I've waited three years to post. What a nice 3rd Blogiversary present TV Reed and Co. gave us.

From today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News:
The Pullman Alliance for Responsible Development will not continue its legal quest to block the construction of a Wal-Mart Supercenter in Pullman.

PARD board member Cynthia Hosick said the group's members voted via e-mail whether to take their case to the Washington Supreme Court.

"I think the decision to stop is reasonable, because ... I think it probably wouldn't go too much farther," Hosick said.

PARD members point to a city-commissioned Bishop Boulevard traffic study that determined several million dollars of maintenance and infrastructure will be needed in the future to deal with issues such as traffic and pedestrian safety.

Hosick said the March release of the study was too late to help PARD in its appeal. She's certain the group would have been victorious if it had been able to present the information in court.

"We weren't able to have the traffic study be part of the appeal and that's a biggie," she said. "I think without that (another) appeal would be very iffy."

Jennifer Spall, Washington Wal-Mart public affairs manager, said PARD members made the right decision to back down. She added that the corporation was going to move forward with construction regardless of whether PARD chose to appeal. The store is being designed, although no permits have been issued by the city. The super center is expected to open in late 2010 or early 2011.

"It's probably a wise decision on their part. The chance of being heard by the Supreme Court is slim," she said. "But we had decided to move forward whether they did (appeal) or not ... As far as we were concerned, with the court of appeals, we were done. It's great for the community that they won't have to go through this again."

Mayor Glenn Johnson was pleased to hear that Wal-Mart will proceed with construction. He said PARD's fight against the super center has delayed development of other stores in Pullman, as well as the collection of sales tax and the addition of several traffic lights Wal-Mart will pay to have installed on Bishop Boulevard.

"From a city standpoint, this is a very good thing," he said.

Wal-Mart announced plans to build a super center on Bishop Boulevard in October 2004. The project's State Environmental Policy Act checklist was given a determination of nonsignificance by Pullman Public Works Director Mark Workman, meaning the city believes the project should not have an adverse effect on the environment.

PARD appealed the store's SEPA checklist and site plan on the grounds that the store would negatively affect stormwater run-off, traffic and Pullman's local economy.

A Pullman hearing examiner concluded the store's site plan and environmental checklist was sufficient and the decision was upheld by Whitman County Superior Court Judge David Frazier, who dismissed PARD's appeal.

The group then took the case to the Division III Court of Appeals, which deliberated for more than five months before denying PARD's appeal earlier this month.
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PARD hangs out the Gone Fishing sign


From PARD's website.

Pullman Held Hostage: Day 997 (The Final Day)

In memory of Don Pelton, who fought the good fight, but didn't live to see the final victory....

It's over at last. Pullman is no longer being held hostage by a tiny group of left-wing radicals. It's V-P Day, Victory Over PARD Day. It's a day of tremendous joy and relief for the vast majority of Pullman residents whio have wanted a Wal-Mart Supercenter.

But there's also sadness and anger at what has been lost.

At the public hearing in 2006, an economic expert testified that a Pullman Wal-Mart Supercenter could do up to $70 million a year in business, resulting in some $500,000 a year in sales tax revenue for the city of Pullman.

According to the Whitman County Assessor's Office, Pullman property tax rate (as of January 2006) wass $16,4361 per thousand of appraised value. The estimated appraisal of the Wal-Mart Supercenter is $20,000,000.00.

$20,000,000.00 X .0164361= $328,722.00

$78,146.00 goes to the City of Pullman
$18,238.00 goes to the hospital
$9,958.00 goes to Emergency Medical Services
$9,958.00 goes to Pullman Metro Park District
$112,784.00 goes to the public schools

Total for Pullman is $229,084.00 per year

$35,334.00 goes to Whitman County
$8914.00 goes to the Port of Whitman

Total for the county is $44,248.00 per year

The State of Washington gets $55,390.00 per year

$500,000 + $229,084 = $729,084 per year from a Pullman Supercenter in sales and property tax revenue alone. That comes out to $1997.49 every day that PARD's endless and frivilous delays cost Pullman.

Total Tax Revenue Lost Since PARD's Site Plan Appeal was Filed Nearly Three Years Ago: $1,991,497.53

We don't know yet what the city's final legal expenses will be, but it won't be a small number, and we taxpayers will never get that money back.

That's money we could have used for our police department, our fire department, our streets, our parks, our schools, and our arts pavilion; things that could have dramatically improved our quality of life.

It's over. And we can never allow something like this to happen again.

Technorati Tags:

NAH NAH NAH NAH,

NAH



NAH



NAH




NAH,




HEY



HEY
















HEY,



GOOOODBYE.......

and good riddance.

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It's Over. Time to look Forward

PARD has decided to stop holding Pullman hostage! I wish we could say we have heard the last from PARD. I always believe and stated on my radio show that they were an anti-WalMart group pretending to be something they were not.

They said they were more than just an anti-WalMart group. I have to believe, at least for a while, they will make some noise around town. But without WalMart to fight I believe their membership will drop to nearly nothing.

Why Do Arabs Prefer Throwing Rocks?

video

This might be another reason.

video

And this might be another.

video


Maybe Justice Ginsburg, Souter, Stevens and Breyer should be justices in Egypt or Saudi Arabia.

Bad News for Mayors Nancy Chaney and Greg Nickels

The U.S. Supreme Court announced this morning that We the People can keep our guns.

Would This Be Considered "Swiftboating?"

I sometimes wonder if the newspapers construct their content in order to put forth a point of view, albeit a subtle one. In a Letter to the Editor on the opinion page of today's Lewiston Morning Tribune is this letter:
Foundation threatened

The American family is under siege. Never in my lifetime have I felt so threatened as I do today. The very foundation of our society is being assaulted by those who seek to destroy anything that remotely infers moral decency, restraint and civil pride. The homosexual revolution has become more aggressive and more deliberate in its attacks.

The thing that worries me most is that the revolutionaries have found a weapon that was never intended to be used as a weapon against democracy, the courts. The courts in this country have been hijacked by the liberal-leaning minority in this country. Judges are striking at the very core of our foundation, the family. The cornerstone of the family is the marriage institution established long before this democracy was even conceived, by a creator who has always been recognized by civilized society. Destroy the cornerstone of any sound structure and it will collapse.

It causes me great concern that, in spite of the voters, the courts will overturn our decision to protect marriage as the union of one man and one woman. With all these activist judges, what chance do the voters have if the courts overturn everything in favor of those who complain on the grounds of civil rights violations? This is a lifestyle choice. This is a choice made by these people to live this kind of "lifestyle." If they had no choice about being homosexual, if it was something they were born with, how do they explain away their recruitment of our children to their lifestyle by indoctrinating them in elementary schools?

We have to put a stop to this. The majority still rules. We have to become more active in the political process and make sure all judges are totally apolitical. ...

Al & Madlyn Cole
Lewiston
Which coincidentally dovetails nicely with this article that also ran in today's LM Tribune (I have excerpted only the pertinent portion).
Washington high court justice has no regrets
Mary Fairhurst is running for re-election

By Kerri Sandaine

Washington Supreme Court Justice Mary Fairhurst said Wednesday she knew her support of same-sex marriages could have consequences during this year's election and at church, but she believes it was the right thing to do.

"I'm very careful with my decisions so I don't regret them later," said Fairhurst, who is running for re-election in the Aug. 19 primary.

"I knew I could be a one-term justice. I was raised Catholic, and I knew I might not be welcome in church, but I had to do what's correct under the law."

Fairhurst, who wrote the leading dissent against a Washington Supreme Court decision to uphold a ban on gay marriages, was in Clarkston for a statewide conference of county clerks, which continues through Friday at the Quality Inn.

During an interview, she said the response to her position on gay marriages has been positive, and she is still taking communion and serving as a lector at church.

The 50-year-old Olympia resident is challenged for her Supreme Court position by Michael J. Bond, a Seattle-area attorney. The outcome will be determined in the primary election.

Fairhurst said the campaign has been a little frustrating because her opponent is mischaracterizing her opinions on court cases. "He's saying I'm not qualified and I've been a Supreme Court justice for six years."


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Racism, Hate and Lies We Can Believe In



Remember a few months back when John McCain asked the North Carolina Republican Party to pull a TV ad attacking two Democrats running for governor by linking Barack Obama to the racist Rev. Jeremiah Wright? McCain was also uncomfortable with a Tennessee Republican ad that used the words "Barack Hussein Obama," implying somehow that Obama was a Muslim.

I wonder now if the Obama campaign will ask the Washington State Democratic Party to pull the video above that plays the theme to "The Sopranos" while attacking Dino Rossi (Michelle Obama will be campaigning in Seattle for Gregoire on July 17.) I guess the racist implication the Rats are making is that since Rossi is Italian-American, he must be in the Mafia. The Italian Club of Seattle is already demanding that the ad be yanked and Washington Democratic chairman Dwight Pelz resign.

And be sure to check out the Dems new Rossi slimesite here. It is the most over the top negative campaigning site you'll ever see, filled with lies and distortions and even a picture of Dino morphing into George W. Bush. Perhaps the Rats are thinking of including Schweitzer Engineering in this hate mongering as well.

As I said, there will be no rules in this gubernatorial knife fight, not from the Rats anyway.

Obama supporters: Is this "change we can believe in?" Is this a departure from the "politics of failure" and "politics as usual?" Do we really want someone as governor who will do and say anything to remain in office? Vote Obama if you must, but you can't vote for Gregoire.

Rage, Rage Against the Dying of the Light


Anyone can blog, anyone can be a "journalist" in today's over-bloated information age - no matter their training or agenda. Readers beware - sort fact from fiction.
- Vicki Rishling, "Local newspapers are linked to the community," Moscow-Pullman Daily News, June 25, 2008
I suspected that many media outlets would tilt to the left because surveys have shown that reporters tend to vote more Democrat than Republican. But I was surprised at just how pronounced the distinctions are.
- Tim Groseclose, UCLA political scientist and lead author of a study that found most media outlets have a liberal bias
Anyone who still believes that bloggers are one breed and journalists are another has been living in a cave since roughly 2002.
- Mark Glaser, "Distinction Between Bloggers, Journalists Blurring More Than Ever," PBS, February 28, 2008

Who in Olympia Hates Schweitzer Engineering?

From the Palousitics hit counter:


If you click on the image, you can see that someone with an IP address in Olympia hit Palousitics this morning using the Google search string: "I Hate Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories forums."

Is this the beginning of a smear campaign by the Queen's evil minions in retaliation for Ed Schweitzer's strong opposition to her business-unfriendly policies and support of Dino Rossi?

Stay tuned...

Global Warming Story of the Day

Chilly spring delays strawberries, other local produce; The calendar may say summer, but it's still spring to crops confused by this year's unusually cold temperatures and rainy weather

And yet the Governor of Washington wants our farmers to grow food to burn as gas to reduce "global warming."

Wampumgate: Quid Pro Cash


From cartoonist Eric Devericks at the Seattle Times

Body Count



I've only caught two yellowjackets in the last two or three weeks, so I think I've swept the neighborhood clean of queens.


Of course, this will probably irritate PETA.

A Lesson in the Economics of Politics

Q. What is the retail sticker price for a Hillary Clinton endorsement?

A. Ten million dollars.
Type rest of the post here

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Quo for Every Quid


The Seattle Times today has a lengthy story on how the left-wing organizations that forked over $3.5 million for the manual recount that won Queen Christine the 2004 gubernatorial election have all been handsomely rewarded under her administration.

I have pointed out before that the Queen is definitely no ingrate. As a WEA official puts it, "Absolutely it was money well spent." We have the best Governor that special interests can buy.

Scratch and Win?

John Barnes, Communications Director for the Washington Policy Center, has created a clever response to the Seattle Times story about the Washington Lottery scratch game with labels that look like labels for kids candy such as Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Jolly Rancher, etc.

Queen Christine: Fighting hard to stop the expansion of gambling in Washington.

"Hawkins water supply details move forward; Joint powers agreement is in the works"

Just a brief note to the article below that appeared in today's Lewiston Tribune. Jeff DeVoe of the Hawkins Companies did indeed say that they hoped to break ground on the Stateline Retail Center in June if the the land had dried out. If you have been on the Palouse lately, you know our weather has been anything but "dry" this year, with 1.5 inches of snowfall covering the ground just two weeks ago. I wouldn't read too much into the fact that ground hasn't been broken yet.
MOSCOW - While construction on the controversial Hawkins Companies shopping center has yet to begin, officials took an important step here Monday toward sealing a deal to supply water to the development.

Members of the Moscow Public Works Committee agreed to forward to Whitman County officials a draft joint powers agreement. Such an agreement is apparently necessary before the Idaho Department of Water Resources will consider allowing Moscow to provide water services over the state line to Hawkins.

Committee members Walter Steed, John Weber and Wayne Krauss questioned the need for the agreement, but decided to let the Whitman County commissioners review the draft before forwarding it to the full Moscow City Council for consideration.

"Undoubtedly Whitman County is going to have some items that they want to address," Krauss said.

Among other things, the eight-page draft proposes formation of a three-member governing board to oversee allocation of Moscow's water into the state of Washington. Two board members would be from Moscow's city council and one from the Whitman commission, according to the draft.

Jeff De Voe, spokesman for Hawkins, could not be reached for comment. He said more than two months ago the shopping center would be built regardless of whether a water deal could be reached with Moscow. The company already has water rights in Whitman County.

But De Voe also said at the time construction would likely begin in June and a ribbon-cutting might be conducted to announce start of the 714,000-square-foot complex. As of Monday, only a Hawkins sign reading "Coming Soon Major Shopping Center" indicated anything imminent at the site.

The shopping center, reportedly to be anchored by a Lowe's home improvement center, is designed to accommodate three so-called big box stores and eight smaller retailers. Whitman County officials have touted the project as the beginning of retail development in the Moscow-Pullman corridor. The site is located immediately across the border from Moscow and butts up to city water lines.

Moscow Mayor Nancy Chaney appealed Hawkins' attempts to transfer water rights in Washington to supply the shopping center. The mayor reasoned the complex threatened the aquifer that supplies the Palouse. But an agreement was eventually reached for Moscow to supply Hawkins' water needs.

Chaney and Councilor Tom Lamar have gone on record against the supply agreement, while all other city councilors voted in favor. The agreement was reached in February and most participants said they thought the deal would be completed before the construction season started. But the IDWR determined any kind of supply agreement must be between two governmental entities, not between a government and a private business.

How America Can Kick It's "Addiction" to Oil in One Easy Step

Make it illegal for the United States to participate in the world oil market. If the Democrat controlled congress makes it illegal for American traders to buy and sell petroleum, America will face massive shortages. The only oil we will receive will be at the mercy of dictators like Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. With the U.S. removed from competive bidding process, world petroleum prices would indeed drop.

It would also force American industry to relocate to countries that still trade on the world market, leaving America without oil and without industry. This would make Marxists like Kofi Annan very happy.


Monday, June 23, 2008

Say What?

Sadly, the reality of living in a capitalist society is that not everyone can “make it” the way Rossi did. A lot of people work their entire lives and never see the same type of success. For that reason, it makes little sense for someone in Rossi’s position to represent a working-class public.
- Amir Hassan, "Rossi needs to tell the truth to voters," Summer Watermelon, June 23, 2008
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness
- Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776

You see Amir and his fellow Marxist-Leninist "progressives" wish to turn the words of our Founding Fathers around completely backwards. They believe that all men are not created equal but all men are guaranteed equal happiness (at least happiness as the government defines it.)

Rather than someone from an immigrant family who has "made it" in the private sector like Rossi, Mr. Hassan would prefer Queen Christine, who has never worked a day in her life outside the bureaucracy of state government, to represent the "working class" as Governor.

And they say Republicans are bigots.

Chili's in Pullman

I have heard some rumors that a Chilis is in the planning for Pullman. What is it waiting on you ask? WalMart. Interesting if true.

The Global Warming Inquisition Begins


This story is making the rounds, including The Guardian.
James Hansen, one of the world's leading climate scientists, will today call for the chief executives of large fossil fuel companies to be put on trial for high crimes against humanity and nature, accusing them of actively spreading doubt about global warming in the same way that tobacco companies blurred the links between smoking and cancer.

According to the article, Mr. Hansen also wants to target U.S. Congressmen and lobbyists for daring to disagree with his discredited hypothesis. This is going beyond stupid and illogic. We are witnessing a frightening repeat of history. Even the global warming leftists should recognize and fear Mr. Hansen's tactics. How many times must civilization endure liars who silence their critics with prison and/or death?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Quote of the Day

"We'll inventory everything. The emissions from the water heater in your basement; what's coming out of the tailpipe on your private vehicle; and the asphalt paving project down the street," Chris Ramsdell, emissions inventory coordinator for the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality in today's Lewiston Tribune.

Purposeful Manipulation of Temperature Data or Poor Practice?

I stumbled across this letter written by Dr. Fred W. Decker, Professor of Meteorology, Oregon State University, Corvalis, Oregon to the opinion page of the Albany, Oregon Democrat Gazette. We are either placing too much faith in stupid people or data is being manipulated to support the global warming hoax. Thank goodness for professors like Dr. Decker who are not afraid to speak the truth.

"One day the Gazette-Times told of a minimum temperature about 15 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas the radio station at the Marys River bridge into Avery Park reported much colder, a “minus” reading, which agreed with home thermometers of some readers. Inquiring about locations, I learned the the “official” minimum came from the shelter atop the steam-heated agricultural building on campus. Moreover, the professor moved the instruments to the greenhouses to the west in the summers when he worked there. What poor practice!"

I appealed to the agricultural dean upon learning of the imminent retirement of the professor responsible. I suggested a site near the KOAC towers if possible. The compromise site at Hyslop got selected, and Wheeler Calhoun’s data got quoted daily in the Gazette-Times.

In a summer meeting at Pullman, Wash., a German professor from the University of Washington in Seattle told of his study of the records from the central Washington courthouse lawn, which appeared to reveal a cooling trend over many years. En route to the meeting he examined the site. He concluded his report by telling how the instrument shelter stood unmoved with a lone tree south of it having grown taller and wider, casting a mid-day shadow ever larger as the years passed. We all laughed as he smiled at his discovery of the cause for apparent 'climate change.' "

Fred W. Decker, Corvallis
It should also be noted that Dr. Decker was one of the 31,000 scientists who signed the Global Warming Petition Project, and one of the over 9000 signers who hold PhD's. In my opinion, if America can stop the madness of the global warming hysteria before it's too late, these will be the heroes that saved us.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Sprint Boat Races

St. John has a Sprint Boat raceway on the edge of town. I wonder how big of a fight there would have been to put this around Pullman. But the cool thing is it was a lot of fun to be there and for St. John it brought in thousands of people for the day. It probably was a nice boost for their economy.



There were be another race in August. If you get the chance to catch it you should do so. It is a lot of fun.

Shooting from the Hip

Tucked away within Murf's Biz Bits column is this gem:

How much longer is the water leak at Sixth and Rayburn streets in Moscow going to remain? The leak has been running for months. You would think such resource waste would not be the case in a town that purports to be conservative with its water use.

In the Third Year of the Palousitics Revolution


Three years ago today when I started this blog, I wanted two things: Dino Rossi in the Governor's Mansion in Olympia and a Wal-Mart Supercenter under construction in Pullman.

God willing, I'll see both of those things happen by next January.

From its humble beginning, I'd like to think Palousitics' now nearly two dozen contributors have played an important role in recent events on the Palouse, such as:

  • Taking the WSU College Republicans' fight to promote free speech and expose racism, intolerance, and lack of academic diversity at WSU to a local, regional, and national audience. Ed Weber,the director of WSU's Foley Institute recently apologized to conservatives for kow-towing to the "hegemony of the left-leaning liberal viewpoint" and promised more conservative speakers on campus.

  • Arguably the most pro-growth Pullman City Council and Whitman County Board of Commissioners in recent times.

  • According to PARD's latest screed in the Daily News "unfairly and personally attacking" the millions of Wal-Mart haters in Pullman and forcing them into anonymity and silence. In actuality, many of the silent majority of Wal-Mart supporters have found the courage to speak out, prompting Wal-Mart officials to comment that, other than the PARDners, they have been overwhelmed with the positive response they have received in Pullman.


  • Since I started Palousitics, I have been interviewed by the New York Times, been a guest on a Seattle radio talk show, co-hosted a Pullman talk radio show, met Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott, rubbed elbows with members of the international mainstream media, seen Palousitics ranked as one of Washington's most influential political blogs, and most importantly of all, spoken at a troop support rally for our local National Guard troops deploying to Iraq. I always tell people that I never know from day-to-day what new thing blogging will bring.

    But April pointed something out to me recently that made me the proudest I have been yet of this blog. It was a long, rambling, self-pitying, paranoid history of the Hawkins development in the corridor written from Queen Nancy's perspective.

    In it, she blames the foiling of her efforts to stop Hawkins, in part, on:
    political will and the public’s patience waned in the face of a publicity campaign that unfairly and inaccurately depicted Moscow as meddlesome, unreasonable, anti-business, greedy, and mean-spirited.
    As I am not aware of any other "publicity campaign" that depicted Moscow as "meddlesome, unreasonable, anti-business, greedy, and mean-spirited" other than what we waged here at Palousitics, I'm more than happy to take credit for it.

    The little blog that took on an out-of-control city government to bring millions of sales tax dollars to Whitman County.

    An Army of Davids indeed.....Happy Third Blogiversary to all you Palousitics contributors and readers.

    Lower Granite Dam Offers Tours

    Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River is now offering tours Friday through Sunday. If you have never taken the tour, I highly recommend it. The tour is also a great outing if you have out-of-town guests and are looking for something to do.
    Info on the tour can be found here.

    The dam was closed to the public after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. About two years ago, passenger vehicle traffic was allowed to cross the dam for very limited hours on week days. A few months ago, the hours were extended to include weekends. This is good economic news for Pullman and Moscow. Before the dam was closed, Pullman and Moscow were the shopping choice for Pomeroy area residents. After the dam closed, those shoppers were forced to shop in Lewiston/Clarkston, due to the long drive around the dam. Hopefully, we can once again attract Pomeroy shoppers and sports fans to our area. Our store has seen quite a few more customers from Pomeroy than we have seen in quite awhile.

    Friday, June 20, 2008

    Quote of the Day

    [Moscow resident David] Hall questioned the plan to manage water, and criticized the developments’ anticipated water usage.

    [Pullman resident Scotty] Cornelius also noted the shopping center’s drain on area groundwater supplies, but added the development will drain Pullman’s economy.

    He also criticized what he called “inadequate” infrastructure for emergency services and called for commissioners to have an independent analysis done on the mall’s potential economic ramifications.

    [Whitman County Commissioner Michael] Largent said commissioners appreciated the comments, but they were not relevant to commissioners’ decision on forming the RDA.
    - "Hawkins project: County closer to multi-million dollar LIFT grant," Whitman County Gazette, June 19, 2008

    Touche'! Advantage, Commissioner Largent!

    I have praised the Whitman County Gazette repeatedly for providing some of the best journalism on the Palouse. However, the Gazette failed to report on both the Whitman County Republican Convention and the Wal-Mart appeal decision, and now, in the story below, the negative comments about the RDA hearing were played up. Pullman business owners Russ and April Coggins support of the RDA was not mentioned at all, even though they spoke at the hearing.

    From yesterday's Whitman County Gazette:
    Hawkins project: County closer to multi-million dollar LIFT grant

    Whitman County commissioners took one step closer Monday to securing state funding for infrastructure improvements in the neighborhood of Boise-based Hawkins Companies’ proposed 714,000 square foot strip mall in the Pullman-Moscow Corridor at the Idaho state line.

    “It’s a big step, but it’s just one more step in the process,” said Commissioner Greg Partch.

    Following a public hearing, commissioners unanimously approved an ordinance which created a Revenue Development Area (RDA) on approximately 300 acres of land on the very east edge of the corridor.

    The RDA defines an area in which a portion of the state’s share of sales tax revenues would be refunded to the county through the state’s Local Infrastructure Funding Tool (LIFT) program.

    The county is seeking $18 million from the state grant program over several years.

    Both Partch and Commissioner Jerry Finch pushed for a Monday decision, as they said the clock is ticking on the LIFT application process.

    Applications are due June 30, and recipients will be announced Sept. 18.

    “We are taking charge of our own financial destiny in this county,” said Finch.

    Finch added this brings the county one step closer to reaching the goal they set when first elected, to augment county income without raising taxes.

    Location of the RDA, however, stirred up worry among some local citizens.

    Darl Roberts, a Pullman real estate agent, worried that helping to fund the development would be “perpetuating what’s been a major problem in Pullman for 30 years,” by pushing retail shoppers toward Moscow.

    Roberts asked why commissioners did not broaden the boundaries of the RDA towards Pullman. Such a move, he said, would allow LIFT funds to be spent on extending utilities from the Pullman east through the corridor.

    Public Works Director Mark Storey told Roberts the county considered a longer RDA, but felt, after meeting with grant consultant Kara Riebold, that applying for grant funding without clearly outlined projects would dilute the application and lessen the chance to receive the grant.

    Roberts added he thought commissioners were not actually adding tax revenues, but were rather pirating such revenue from Pullman by pushing retail to the corridor.

    Finch replied the city had two years to apply for LIFT funds, but “they chose not to.”

    “Pullman wasn’t ready to extend utilities and hop on our LIFT application,” added Partch. “There just wasn’t an ability to do a LIFT grant with them at this time.”

    Johnson resident Pat O’Neill, who is challenging Finch for the District 2 county commissioner seat, commended commissioners for “doing their homework and getting this process through.”

    Seven residents attended Monday’s hearing.

    Four people submitted written comments. They included Moscow Mayor Nancy Chaney, David Hall of Moscow, Scotty Cornelius of Pullman and Paul Kimmell, regional manager for Avista.

    Chaney urged commissioners to closely monitor how Hawkins’ wastewater could affect Moscow’s wells.

    Commissioner Michael Largent said the RDA hearing was not about the developer’s plans, and wastewater management would not be weighed in the commissioners’ decision.

    Chaney’s letter also thanked commissioners for inviting her to comment on the formation of the RDA.

    Largent pointed out no specific invitation was directly extended to Chaney.

    Legal notices of the hearing to form the RDA were printed both in the Gazette and the Moscow-Pullman Daily News.

    Kimmell wished commissioners success in their efforts while Hall and Cornelius expressed their opposition to the Hawkins development.

    Hall questioned the plan to manage water, and criticized the developments’ anticipated water usage.

    Cornelius also noted the shopping center’s drain on area groundwater supplies, but added the development will drain Pullman’s economy.

    He also criticized what he called “inadequate” infrastructure for emergency services and called for commissioners to have an independent analysis done on the mall’s potential economic ramifications.

    Largent said commissioners appreciated the comments, but they were not relevant to commissioners’ decision on forming the RDA.

    Created by the Legislature in 2006, the LIFT program can awards single grants up to $1 million per year to local governments to spend on infrastructure that will generated tax revenues. The Community Economic Revitalization Board can award up to $2.5 million overall each year in LIFT funding.

    If the county is awarded LIFT funding, it will spend the money to pay off bonds commissioners last month decided to issue to finance construction of roads, water and sewer lines and sidewalks in Hawkins’ shopping complex.

    Storey said approximately $14 million of the sought-after $18 million would be used to pay off the principle and interest on the bonds. The county seeks the $18 million award over several years.

    The remaining $4 million would be used to reconstruct the eastern portion of Pullman Airport Road and to build a frontage road for businesses at Wilson Siding, on the south side of the Pullman-Moscow Highway across from the Hawkins site.

    The frontage road would connect to the highway at the Airport road intersection light.

    McGregor Fertilizer Co., Wilbur-Ellis and Busch Fuel Distributors all have plants south of the highway.

    Crossroads Nursery, on the north side, is in the RDA.

    Pullman: 2008 Gubernatorial Election as Tipping Point

    It is indisuptable that the renaissance in growth and development that Pullman has experienced in the last ten years is attributable in large part to Schweitzer Engineering Labs, Pullman's largest private employer and one of the most successful and fastest growing companies in America.

    It is equally indisputable that policies implemented by the Gregoire administration, such as the reinstituting of the death tax and the new Department of Ecology stormwater regulations have hit Schweitzer hard, as well as the plethora of business-unfriendly regulations left in place by previous Democratic administrations such as the B&O tax, stringent unemployment and health insurance requirments, et. al.

    The 2008 gubernatorial election for Pullman is not about how Gregoire has botched transportation problems on the west side of the state, or even so much the unaccounted for sex offenders, problems with the WASL or the $2.5 billion spending deficit Gregoire has run up, although those are important issues to be sure. No, our real issue is whether SEL continues to grow in Pullman and therefore whether the city of Pullman continues to grow and whether we continue to improve our quality of life, our schools, our parks, our streets, etc.

    WSU will not be our savior. President Elson Floyd has already announced a hiring freeze and a 20% cutback in courses offered. And branch campuses in Vancouver, Tri-Cities and Spokane continue to grow at the Pullman campus' expense.

    We tried to get rid of the death tax through I-920 (SEL is a privately held, employee-owned company; the death tax could be ruinous) but the teachers union and other left-wing groups spent millions on lies and fear tactics designed to shoot the measure down. We tried to stop Ecology from implementing the costly stormwater regulations, but they wouldn't listen.

    The choice is clear. After 20 plus years of business-unfriendly policies in Olympia, it's time for change. It's time for Dino Rossi.

    From today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News:
    Schweitzer Engineering Labs hitting hiring goals; Company officials say rising costs may push future growth out of state

    Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories is on track to meet its new hiring goals for 2008, but company officials say they're still trying to determine how much of the company's future expansion will happen in Pullman.

    SEL Director of Public Affairs Susan Fagan said 249 people have been hired so far to fill positions ranging from engineers, manufacturers, pilots and administrators.

    "Typically, we add new positions every week. I can give you a number (of open positions) now, but it will change by next week," she said, adding that many of the new employees are found locally. "We hire the most qualified people we can find, and we find a lot of those people right here."

    She said "a majority" of this year's new hires now work in the Pullman headquarters, with others located at plants and offices throughout the world.

    In February, the company reported that more than 300 new jobs would be available in 2008, most of which would be needed in Pullman. The news followed a fall announcement that a 100,000-square-foot manufacturing facility was to be constructed in San Luis Potiso, Mexico, primarily to make and assemble electronic relay panels and control houses. The expansion in Mexico also was expected to fuel growth on the Pullman SEL campus, as the high-tech components for the panels are designed, created and tested by workers in the company's Pullman headquarters.

    Fagan said the company has grown continuously since its first product was sold in 1984, and SEL President Ed Schweitzer has indicated that employee numbers will double in the next five years.

    But growth won't be confined to Pullman, as the cost of business is high in the state of Washington, especially in the areas of health care, unemployment insurance and business and occupation tax.

    "The growth is going to happen here, but to what extent, we don't know," Fagan said, adding that the company has sent out other letters of interest to about 10 other states - including Idaho - inquiring as to whether they would support SEL growth through manufacturing plants or offices.

    With roots in manufacturing parts used in generating electric power, the company has created products used in oil refineries, wind farms and high-voltage substations. Its products include clocks that are accurate to the microsecond, encryption equipment used to protect secure equipment and systems for the U.S. Navy that allow ships to run on electrical power rather than steam power.

    SEL employs nearly 2,000 employees at more than 60 locations worldwide, and its products are used in 119 countries across the globe.

    SEL Director of Corporate Marketing Mark Zeller said the company's Pullman presence will continue to grow. As demand for the company's products increase, the necessity to produce more parts will result in more new positions.

    "There's no sense sending something out to China to be made if we can make it here," he said. "There's company growth all over the world, and we'll continue to pursue that, but Pullman is home."

    Fagan said SEL is proud to be a Pullman-grown business, but Washington state mandates and requirements are providing hurdles. The company spends millions of dollars annually to provide health insurance to the company's more than 1,000 Pullman employees.

    Fagan said the state of Washington mandates companies include a lengthy list of benefits within the insurance policies companies provide employees. That continually bumps up the cost of coverage even if those benefits are not needed by employees.

    Fagan said unemployment insurance is also on the rise and the state's "death tax," reinstated by Gov. Chris Gregoire, is daunting. The impending citywide stormwater utility, which could cost SEL $20,000 a year for its roughly 800,000 square feet of impervious surface on its campus located off Terre View Drive, also is a point of contention.

    "It's starting to look kind of burdensome, isn't it?" Fagan said. "We're looking at what the best move is for the company to grow. We're growing with great thought."

    Pullman Mayor Glenn Johnson said he does his best to stand up for local business to state leaders in Olympia. Johnson, who is secretary of the Association of Washington Cities - and slated to move up to the role of vice president later today - said he's vocal to Legislators about mandates such as municipal stormwater permits and taxes that "are burdens the state imposes that makes it difficult to recruit" and retain businesses. He added that the mandates are especially troubling to Pullman as a border community, since to save money, businesses could just locate in Idaho.

    "We're trying to make that point very clear to our Legislators," he said. "I guarantee that they're all concerns. We hear them and we bring them to our Legislators."