Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Can we please let go of Wal-Mart??

Am I the only person in this town who is ready to drown myself in Windsor Lake just to escape the whining and moaning about Wal-Mart's decision to build in Timnath rather than here? Dear god, get over it!

I was not against Wal-Mart coming here; neither was I in favor of it. Had the store been built here, I would have shopped at it. It's not here, so I'll continue driving the very short distance to any one of four other Wal-Marts should the urge overcome me. It's not a big deal.

Building a big-box store near a school is stupid. It's an idea lacking in all important areas: logic, safety, reason. Champions of the idea of becoming home to a Wal-Mart Supercenter are grieving the loss of revenue. But you can't lose what you never had, and we never had that money. The possibility was there, but if it was meant to happen, it would have happened. It didn't.

It would be easy to say that Windsor is divided into two camps: those who want development and those who don't. But that would be an unfair simplification. Smart growth is one thing; jumping at an opportunity that presents itself at the wrong time and in the wrong place is another. It's not as if Windsor is the only community ever to fight back against Wal-Mart. Consider that in 2002, Wal-Mart planned to build 40 new Supercenters in California. Inglewood was one town that did not welcome the retailer. Its citizens lobbied city council, claiming it would be a net-loss for the community (and there are many studies that back up this claim). Two years later, Inglewood residents went to the polls and opposed Wal-Mart's initiative with a resounding 60.6% to 39.3%. Wal-Mart, undeterred, moved on. More importantly, so did Inglewood.

This is exactly what happened here in Windsor. Wal-Mart wanted in, clearly Windsor was not united in its views on the pros and cons of such an endeavor, and Wal-Mart went elsewhere. It's time to move on.

Yes, we need new schools (and here, I would argue that, given just the information that is available on the Internet, a K-8 makes much more sense for this district's needs in every way than does renovating a fossilized middle school and building other schools, but the task force has decided it would be too hard to convince us simpletons of the benefits of a K-8 configuration. But this is fodder for another column.). But Wal-Mart was not going to be the answer to all our prayers. Study after study shows that in the long run, Wal-Marts reduce overall wages of a town's employees, cost taxpayers billions of dollars each year because many of its workers can't afford the company's health insurance, and seriously drain smaller local businesses, including supermarkets. And...there's a reason Wal-Mart is so anti-union.

So let's get past this ridiculous mourning of a retailer that, in the long run, was not going to do us any favors. Let's focus our energies instead on figuring out other ways to build new schools and get the other things this community needs.

[For some interesting reading on Walmart, cut and paste this URL into your browser: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/walmart/]

On another note: The school board is in the process of selecting candidates for a task force to revamp the student discipline policy in the district. Think they'll give me a call?

4 comments:

Jen said...

I agree that we need to let it go. However, it is difficult to swallow the fact that a town just a few miles away will reap the benefit of tax dollars instead of us. Yes, the matter is complex, but my feelings are that we have cut off our nose to spite our face on this one. The fact remains that Windsor did vote to allow developement on the very land that WalMart wanted to build on, but we made our voices heard too late and WalMart decided to move on. Much has been made of WalMarts wages..or supposed lack of wages and the fact that they are not union; however, given the opportunity to form their own union, employees voted "no". Also, I have spoken with several senior citizens who would welcome the opportunity to shop locally, as it is difficult for them to get transportion out of town to go shopping. Unfortunately, those against WalMart were far more vocal in the early stages than those in favor. No big deal for them to build somewhere else. I'm just afraid that we have now set the presidence for future big companies that may have been interested in our town and we have put out the 'Not Welcome' sign.

Anonymous said...

I hate to break it to you, Rebecca, but I don't think you will be high on the school board's list for the discipline task force either (I'm assuming you weren't "chosen" for the sex ed task force ;-) ) I am sure there will be alot of "cronyism" in this branch of "government" too! YOU should run for school board!!! I'm sure there are SOME educated, sane and realistic people SOMEWHERE in Windsor that would support you!! What do you think, fellow bloggers?!

Jen said...

I'm sure there would be scores of us that would support Rebecca if she ran for school board...But, would we be throwing her to the wolves? Whadda ya say Rebecca??

Jen said...

I'm sure there would be scores of us that would support Rebecca if she ran for school board...But, would we be throwing her to the wolves? Whadda ya say Rebecca??