May 9, 2004

Anti-WM Activists won't Compromise

Activists have recently claimed that WM's failure in Inglewood wouldn't have been necessary if it would only compromise with their demands. One editorial writer sees it in reverse--it's activists who are the obstructionists and non-compromisers:

It's becoming increasingly clear, however, that no matter how carefully or extensively city officials examined this issue, Wal-Mart's opponents would not accept approval of a new store.

The premise of this lawsuit is the City Commission rezoned the property without properly investigating the impact the development would have on the community. Wal-Mart foes called for economic- and traffic-impact studies.

It is reasonable to assume that both the city planning commission and the city commissioners are capable of making such decisions with or without these investigations.

No one doubts a Wal-Mart store would change the landscape. The question is whether that change ultimately is beneficial to Marine City.

The battle over a Marine Wal-Mart store is part of a greater war. Wal-Mart's expansion plans in California and Chicago have organized opposition with pretty much the same arguments raised in Marine City: The store offers low-paying jobs, it will harm local businesses and residential property values.

There is one twist: William Watch, president of First Commercial Realty and Development Co., which owns the Kmart plaza on M-29, submitted written testimony in the lawsuit. Watch stated that even if Wal-Mart gets all the retail business possible in Marine City, the store still would be $12 million short of making a profit. He said the worst case would be that the Kmart store is driven out of business, but Wal-Mart eventually closes, too.

With all due respect to Watch, Wal-Mart is the nation's leading retailer. It is hard to believe its officials would enter into a losing proposition.

The truth is some folks don't want to see a new Wal-Mart store under any circumstances. It's regrettable Marine City is being drawn into that war.

The economic sense (and commonsense) of this editorial writer shocked me.

Posted by Kevin on May, 9 2004 at 07:26 PM