February 28, 2005

No WM in Rego Park

Newsday notes that WM will not be going to Rego Park. Costco, Target, and small businesses start popping corks, and will continue to exploit their workers and extort their consumers:

At the Queens site, however, landlord Vornado Realty didn't have the stomach to take on unions, competing merchants and some city council members. Vornado's decision to replace Wal-Mart at the planned, multi-use complex momentarily lets the city off the hook for making some tough choices: Should low-wage, anti-union businesses be prohibited as a matter of public policy? No. Should city officials do an exhaustive study of Wal-Mart's potential impact on the city, which is so very different from any other place it does business? Yes, as soon as possible. Otherwise, rhetoric overtakes reason at the expense of rational public policy.
Ah, yes, a study!!! That will solve things just like it did in Inglewood, no???--where one economic impact statement insisted that the net number of jobs would increase and another that it would decrease. Great solution. The only useful study is a national, detailed, empirical study of what has actually happened after WM has opened up in randomly-selected places nationally. Almost all "potential impact" studies are based on arbitrary non-validated models chosen by the investigative team to meet a pre-determined goal.

Anyway, the New York Post prints readers' reactions. The last is the most amusing:

I'm glad to see that taxpayer funding of campaigns in New York has stopped the special interests in their tracks.
The rest are snarky too--both pro and con.

The City Journal praises politicians for saving us from prosperity:

New York�s pols are doing a victory dance over saving the city, at the eleventh hour, from getting a powerful boost in retail jobs and sales-tax receipts, by pressuring a developer, Vornado Realty Trust, to drop Wal-Mart from its proposed Rego Park, Queens development. In the eyes of the pols, stopping Wal-Mart was supposed to be a victory for small stores in Queens and for the city�s working people who, the Solons claim, were about to be exploited by the big, bad retailer.

But the real victor was Nassau Country, which like other suburban locales has benefited hugely over the years from the city�s efforts to keep out big-box stores�an effort that started long before Wal-Mart came on the scene.

Given statistically identical aggregate incomes, Nassau has twice the retail sales as Queens.

9News gets a councilwoman to speak gibberish:

Councilwoman Melinda Katz, head of the City Council Land Use Committee, said she received a call on Wednesday from Vornado's attorney that it had made the decision Tuesday night, and that it is looking for other tenants.

Katz said the deal may have fallen through because of Wal-Mart's track record on labor issues.

"Vornado may very well have a project that could be a good project in the area, and they wanted to go forward based on the substance as opposed to getting caught up in the issues that Wal-Mart seems to bring to the table," she said.

Huh? You mean, councilwoman, that your government, pressured by unions, would have gotten in the way at every step. Just making things clear.

The AP notes that WM never signed a deal with the developer.

Posted by Kevin on February, 28 2005 at 10:19 AM