Archive for Thursday, March 15, 2007

City discussion turns to Wal-Mart

March 15, 2007

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Whether a new Lawrence City Commission would be more receptive to allowing a Wal-Mart at Sixth Street and Wakarusa Drive is still an open question.

City Commission candidates at Wednesday's Voter Education Coalition forum were split on whether they would agree to reopen talks with the developers who have sued the city over a denial of building permits for a Wal-Mart store at the northwest corner of Sixth Street and Wakarusa Drive.

A trial for the case is set to begin in Douglas County District Court about two weeks after the April 3 general election. One candidate, James Bush, said he would like the city to explore reopening talks with developers to see whether a mutually agreeable plan for the property could be reached.

"I would be willing to reconsider that," said Bush, who said it "reflected poorly" on the city to have to settle its conflicts in court.

But the two incumbent commissioners seeking re-election - Boog Highberger and David Schauner - both told the forum crowd at City Hall that they were comfortable with the case going to trial.

"The city makes rules and expects everyone to follow the rules," Schauner said. "And I think going to court actually is a very civil way of resolving conflicts. It beats the heck out of massing armies."

Highberger also said he thought a settlement was unlikely. He said the city previously tried to settle the suit with Wal-Mart, but that fell apart when Wal-Mart brought back a plan for the corner that was "nowhere near" what the city expected.

That plan was denied on a 3-2 vote in October. Highberger, Schauner and outgoing Commissioner Mike Rundle voted against the proposal, meaning all three seats that decided the issue are up for election.

Candidate Carey Maynard-Moody on Wednesday told the crowd that the Wal-Mart lawsuit was unfortunate, but that it was important to protect neighborhoods. She said she was willing to allow the suit to go to trial if that's "the only recourse."

Rob Chestnut said he was concerned about the mounting legal costs the city was incurring, and said that he thought they could climb significantly because he believed Wal-Mart and the developers likely would appeal the case if they lose the upcoming trial in district court. But Chestnut said he wasn't going to comment on whether a settlement would be appropriate because he was uncertain that it would be possible to reach one at this stage of the process.

Mike Dever stopped short of saying he would reopen settlement talks, but said he did think both sides should strive to come up with a site plan that works for everybody.

"What is best for Lawrence is not to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on this," Dever said.

Homeless issues

Candidates split on funding for homeless issues. Highberger said the city should make it a goal to fully fund the recommendations previously made by a city-appointed task force, but said it would take a combination of public and private funding.

Schauner said he wanted the city to look at the model used in Topeka, which includes a significant effort from the faith-based community.

Chestnut said he thought a future report from the city task force would provide much-needed information on what a new homeless shelter might include, and could include innovative funding methods.

Bush said he thought the issue would require the community to get creative, and likely would have to include encouraging more volunteer activity and an education program for businesses who might be able to hire homeless individuals.

Dever said the city needed to designate a lead agency to coordinate a homeless services plan, and said some consolidation of services to create more efficiency should be examined.

Maynard-Moody said she was looking forward to seeing the task force's next report, and said she would encourage the community to be creative in how to address and fund the issue.

The entire candidate forum can be seen on Sunflower Broadband Channel 6 at: 8 p.m. Friday, noon Saturday, 8 p.m. Tuesday, and 9 p.m. March 29.

Comments

Michael Capra 8 years, 2 months ago

900 thousand in legal fees wasted tax dollars

How many people could that feed for a year

The Merc dosnt pay as well as Walmart whats up with that Boog,Moody,Rundle and Schauner

kcwarpony 8 years, 2 months ago

"As for "real value," our taxpayer dollars subsidize Wal-Mart, and I big to differ on defining that as "real value." If you have to exploit others to offer a price, there is something dishonest about the price. Once again, CostCo manages to charge the same prices without exploitation."

Yes, they do it by charging an annual membership of $50 per year.

blackwalnut 8 years, 2 months ago

Speaking for myself, I don't want ANY big retail store at the NW corner of 6th and Wakarusa.

The SW and SE corners are full, the NE corner is going to be filled with shops in another deal, and the high school generates a lot of traffic at that corner. That is all the traffic and commerce that corner can handle.

We don't need a Target #2 any more than we need a Wal-Mart #2 - ANYWHERE. Any new retail ought to be new brands, so we could have more choices.

abby 8 years, 2 months ago

What is Schauner talking about..."massing armies"? Not surprised a lawyer would think the best way to resolve differences would be in court rather than a civil and level headed discussion! This is part of the problem with the current commission...it is us vs. them. We need a more level headed commission that can navigate issues for the betterment of Lawrence. Enough already!

SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years, 2 months ago

The free market should determine whether Wal Mart can come to town.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 2 months ago

"Mike Dever stopped short of saying he would reopen settlement talks, but said he did think both sides should strive to come up with a site plan that works for everybody."

Wouldn't that be "settlement talks?"

"What is best for Lawrence is not to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on this," Dever said.

Translation-- It would certainly be best for Compton and Newsome, major contributors to Dever's campaign.

abby 8 years, 2 months ago

Boy would I love to have the money this commission has spent on legal fees and consultants to be used for more constructive uses in this community. How about help for the homeless or better streets or better athletic facilities or more after school programs...the list continues. What are we talking...may a half million dollars in fees for attorneys and consultants...Maybe that is the job growth these incumbants keeps talking about. You just need to be an attorney or a consultant in order to work in Lawrence!

jafs 8 years, 2 months ago

While I agree that the city should watch unnecessary spending, I think this is a valid issue.

It's my understanding that the prior approval for the Wal-Mart was given despite plans for the store being in violation of existing zoning regulations. And, that an attempt was made to reach an agreement with Wal-Mart, but failed.

If this is the case, we shouldn't let Wal-Mart strong-arm us into letting them build whatevery they want just because they're willing to go to court. They've done that in many other communities.

The market is only one piece of the puzzle - if the city has certain zoning regulations in place, they should be followed. If enough people don't agree with those, they can be changed through the political process.

JohnBrown 8 years, 2 months ago

If Wal-Mart gets their way the cost to the taxpayers will be many hundreds of times the cost of the lawsuit. The intersection, and 6th street will need to be widened further, at a cost of over $100,000 per acre (bought from Walmart or Compton) since Wal-Mart's plan will obsolete the new road and intersection.

An ROI (return on investment) by the city concludes that its much cheaper for taxpayers to fight them in court than to let Compton and Wal-Mart have their way.

You can be sure, the actions of Wal-Mart and Compton are based on their own ROIs, with no thought as to the impact on taxpayers.

Pursuing the lawsuit is the cheapest option for the city.

introversion 8 years, 2 months ago

I still don't understand why we need ANOTHER Wal Mart in this town.

This company claims to be community oriented, but they are dissatisfied with the fact that they only have one location. Apparently, if Wal Mart really is community oriented, they think that more than one store will make Lawrence a better place.

It'll be a better place to fight for $9.00 an hour, that's for sure.

blackwalnut 8 years, 2 months ago

We do not need another Wal-Mart!

If we must have another big box store (which I do not believe the community needs), at least let it expand our choices and give us variety! A CostCo would be welcome. CostCo has a wider selection than Wal-Mart, more upscale items (organic and gourmet food) and big-ticket items, prices as cheap or cheaper than Wal-Mart, and they pay their employees much, much better than Wal-Mart, starting at $13 to $17 an hour depending on the city. I'm told it's impossible to get a job at a CostCo because nobody ever quits! There are several CostCo stores in the Kansas City area. That's what Lawrence needs: GOOD employers. Those wages will all get recycled back into our community.

The traffic study conducted at 6th and Wakarusa was completely irrelevant because it was conducted in the summer, when Free State High School was not in session! Anyone who travels that intersection when school begins/ends or at lunch time knows how busy that intersection gets at those times. That corner is at capacity for retail space already, and there is already a deal to put more shops and restaurants in the cornfield at the NW corner.

The lawsuit is the fault of Wal-Mart, not the city. Wal-Mart just will not take no for an answer. They are not wanted in NW Lawrence, but they have the money and lawyers to get their way anyway simply by wearing down the limited resources of our city which does not have the money the corporation has.

It's the job of Lawrence citizens to prevent a big corporation from controlling the city we love.

The only way is to elect commissioners who will fight for our city and its citizens, not the people who want to make money off Lawrence taxpayers.

NO TO WAL-MART

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 2 months ago

"Pursuing the lawsuit is the cheapest option for the city."

It should be pointed out, yet again, that it is Walmart, Compton and Newsome who have brought the lawsuit. The city is merely defending itself.

blackwalnut 8 years, 2 months ago

"The free market should determine whether Wal Mart can come to town."

It isn't a free market when a store uses predatory tactics to force out competition. There are anti-trust laws that are decades old, designed to prevent exactly that. I don't know why they haven't been applied against Wal-mart.

It isn't a free market when a company uses the power of the purse to hire lawyers to force its will on a city that does not welcome it.

A isn't a free market when a company pays its employees so little, and makes its health care so expensive, that most employees cannot afford it for their families - and the taxpayers pick up the tab for food stamps and Medicaid and HealthWave for the store's employees.

It isn't a free market when a community says no, and Wal-Mart bribes, sues, and bullies its way in.

Wal-Mart is a corporate bully. It is a metaphor for everything that is wrong with America. CostCo proves a profit can be made without mistreating employees and abusing communities. Wal-Mart wants more, more, more profit and will do anything, abuse anyone, to get it. I can't believe this conscientious community allowed even one Wal-Mart to build here.

Corporations are controlling America at every level. It is very sad to see it come down to the local level as well.

ilovelucy 8 years, 2 months ago

Mornin Bozo: patiently waiting for the reports that you were discussing last week. Why haven't I heard from you yet? Lucy

jafs 8 years, 2 months ago

Pilgrim,

That's not what I've heard - it would be good to know what really happened.

Also, if a city commission gives approval based on certain regulations, the next one changes those regulations (well within their authority, I would have thought) before any action has been taken, I wonder what the correct outcome would be.

Perhaps Mr. Brown can shed some light on this question.

And, I'd recommend the book "The Bully of Bentonville" for clear documentation of Wal-Mart's activities countrywide. They are clearly not interested in the communities in which they build their stores.

The book was written by a journalist who writes for The Wall Street Journal, by the way, hardly a bastion of liberal rhetoric.

blackwalnut 8 years, 2 months ago

Wal-Mart is forcing the city to spend tax dollars defending itself from lawsuits initiated by Wal-Mart and those who stand to make money off the city via Wal-Mart.

Blame Wal-Mart for the lawsuits. The city is only defending itself.

Wal-Mart has already hurt Lawrence, and cost us taxpayers plenty.

blackwalnut 8 years, 2 months ago

Liberal:

There are two issues, in that you are correct.

  1. Should any big box store appear at 6th and Wakarusa?

NO!

  1. Do we want another Wal-Mart in Lawrence, anywhere?

NO!

Is that clear enough?

blackwalnut 8 years, 2 months ago

With apologies for posting so much on this thread, just one more comment:

You can find comparisons in the way Wal-Mart and CostCo treat their employees and run their businesses just by Googling on both store names. It is extremely interesting, from a business perspective.

Here's one article on that: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/17/business/yourmoney/17costco.html?ex=1279252800&en=8b31033c5b6a6d68&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

blackwalnut 8 years, 2 months ago

Blackwalnut:

Who is "we"?

Marion

Everyone I know! Everyone!

roger_o_thornhill 8 years, 2 months ago

Lots of folks like to pick on the city officials in this case of the Walmart @ 6th and Wakarusa, but if it were more important for Walmart to open an additional store and not so important for them to flex their legal muscle, they would have come up with a proposal that would have satisfied enough people for the thing to go ahead. Closed minded thinking is the real enemy. Of course, that is true with most of life.

MyName 8 years, 2 months ago

Judging by the fact that there are a number of people on this board who see this issue in starkly different ways, perhaps it is right that that the conflict is decided by a neutral party. I mean if we can't even agree on what really happened before talks broke down, and none of us really has any of our own money at stake, I guess it shouldn't be a surprise that the people who have vested interests should be unable to come to an agreement.

Eileen Emmi Jones 8 years, 2 months ago

"...none of us really has any of our own money at stake, I guess it shouldn't be a surprise that the people who have vested interests ..."

This issue has the potential to affect everyone. We are not talking about another McDonald's. We are talking about a store that will fundamentally change a neighborhood, require a huge outlay in modifying the infrastructure, and impact many, many other businesses.

Wal-Mart at 6th and Wakarusa will fundamentally change this town. To see how, look at Wichita and Topeka - and if you can remember those town before their downtowns died, you'll see how sad it is.

All it takes is a few empty storefronts downtown, then lower-rent businesses fill the spaces, and the character of downtown changes, foot traffic decreases, crime increases, and it all goes to pot.

Downtown is the heart of Lawrence. The university is its soul, and downdown is its heart. The university won't prevent the town from deteriorating into something like Topeka if the downtown dies. Lots of university towns have virtual slums surrounding the college.

At stake is much more than another place to shop, or the traffic that will ruin 6th & Wakarusa.

Eileen Emmi Jones 8 years, 2 months ago

Bottom line:

Mike Dever and Rob Chestnut are backed heavily by developers.

Follow the money.

Do you want developers making the decisions for Lawrence? Or people who love this town?

altarego 8 years, 2 months ago

Walmart at 6 and Wak would save me fuel. This would be beneficial to the environment. The people against Walmart do not love the planet, much less this wonderful town.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 2 months ago

The new Wal -Mart would pull retail dollars from the 31st and Iowa area which would not necessarily be healthy for revenue generation. Lawrence has been advised that retail is over built by 30%. Of course those who own land do not care. BUT empty retail space or space not generating enough tax revenue falls on the backs of homeowners to make up aka it costs taxpayers money.

Just because speculators purchase property does not guarantee that construction will be allowed for it is NOT the duty of the taxpayer or local government to maximize profits for speculators. Speculating=gambling. Land speculators know these things. Buying property does not come with the right to develope on demand. There must be a need otherwise homeowners get screwed. All new real estate increases the Cost of Community Services and/or negatively impacts existing resources.

New retail is suppose to create NEW ADDITIONAL revenue and NEW ADDITIONAL employment for a community NOT merely spread current retail dollars to the point where nothing NEW or ADDITIONAL is realized. Certainly it is not to merely replace existing retail for nothing is gained. Otherwise taxpayers realize TAX INCREASES to cover the cost of additional demand on community services.

Specific projects should be accompanied with independent Retail Impact Studies,Economic Impact studies,Traffic Impact Studies,Residential Impact Studies etc etc to provide guidance and prevent over loading.

There is no such thing as Free Market. There is endless talk about the free market and its virtues. Entrepreneurs compete on level playing fields and the public benefits. The chasm between such fantasies and reality is acute and growing wider. The existing free market depends heavily on taxpayer subsidies and bailouts. Corporate welfare far exceeds that which goes to the poor and needy.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 2 months ago

Wal-Mart "Always Low Wages" does it's part to keep wages low in a community. Why would anybody want that?

Eileen Emmi Jones 8 years, 2 months ago

That mess on South Iowa is the fault of the city commission that preceded the current one. I absolutely hate driving over there, shopping over there, fighting the traffic, viewing the ugliness.

We'll always need stores. We need them to be placed where they won't ruin traffic and make the town ugly. That mess on South Iowa was not the solution.

Highberger and Schauner have steered growth in the right direction, with greenspaces and concern for existing businesses.

If it weren't for the developers trying to make a buck, we wouldn't have this huge flap over Wal-Mart and the $30 million library.

The citizens/taxpayers of Lawrence should be deciding what they want and need, and what they can afford - NOT the developers.

Chesnut, Bush and Dever will just deliver the goods to the developers who funded them. They don't care about the city in the long run. They'll take the money and run.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 2 months ago

"Mornin Bozo: patiently waiting for the reports that you were discussing last week. Why haven't I heard from you yet? Lucy"

The only cure for your willful ignorance lies within yourself, Lucy. The reports are available on the website-- If you're really interested, you'll take the time to make your own assessment. But you don't really want to know, do you?

Eileen Emmi Jones 8 years, 2 months ago

what reports? is it something we should all be aware of?

Don Zimmer 8 years, 2 months ago

You should see the new WMT in Lincoln, NE, all brick, excellent and extensive landscaping. If it did not have WMT on the building you would think it was the most exclusive retailer on the block.

Make WMT pay if they want to play in Lawrence as they did in Lincoln and other locations. But stop spending mony on lawsuits that most attys I know say Lawrence will lose. It is another case of businesses chasing a moving target who wants to locate in Lawrence and our anti-business reputation.

BTW not everyone can afford nor choose to pay $150 for a Patagonia or Northface fleece vest downtown when they can buy one for $29 at target or wmt.

Come on April.

Eileen Emmi Jones 8 years, 2 months ago

"It is no coincidence that the Wal-Mart project was denied in an election year. If Boog and Rundle and Schauner had done what was right, Boog and Schuaner would have lost all support and for sure would not get elected."

This statement fascinates me. So, you're saying, that "what was right" is the OPPOSITE of what the citizens/voters/taxpayers want?

Seems to me, our elected officials are supposed to implement the wishes of the citizens who elect them. That's pretty much the definition of a democracy.

Or are you hoping Lawrence will become an oligarchy, which is the direction our country is heading?

Richard Heckler 8 years, 2 months ago

Dever,Chestnut and Bush are heavily funded, far beyond any previous Lawrence experience, with nearly all of the money coming from the growth and development industry. And their stands are perfectly consistent with their funding: they oppose the provision in Horizon 2020 that calls for limiting growth in retail space to growth in sales . They refuse to support the City's position against WalMart. They oppose impact fees on developers which could lower property taxes. They refuse to support traditional neighborhood design. They are also uniformly opposed to other progressive positions, whether insituting a new domestic registry or maintaining the existing living wage ordinance.

If even one of these candidates win, the balance on the City Commission will flip towards the interests of developers.

blackwalnut 8 years, 2 months ago

"BTW not everyone can afford nor choose to pay $150 for a Patagonia or Northface fleece vest downtown when they can buy one for $29 at target or wmt."

Exactly what is keeping you from driving or taking a bus to Target or Wal-Mart, or buying a cheap jacket online? You have plenty of choices in Lawrence. If you had a CostCo here you'd be in an even better position - another choice!

(Off topic, but that $150 Patagonia coat will last 10x as long as your $29 Wal-Mart jacket, and Patagonia will repair it for free forever. Do you know about the Patagonia outlets in various cities, including Dillon, Montana, that will ship unlimited items for a flat $5 shipping fee, and have 40% off everything on major holidays? There are more creative ways to stretch a dollar than buying shoddier crap at WM.)

JSDAD 8 years, 2 months ago

Merrill Lawrence has been advised that retail is over built by 30%.

anyone know where we stand on apartments?

We keep letting devlopers build them

Eileen Emmi Jones 8 years, 2 months ago

"BTW not everyone can afford nor choose to pay $150 for a Patagonia or Northface fleece vest downtown when they can buy one for $29 at target or wmt."

If you spend time downtown, you know you can find fantastic deals in the second-hand shops. You also know you can find tremendous end-of-season sales at some of the high-quality stores. Why would you pay $29 for a jacket that won't keep you warm and won't last through the season? You aren't really saving money that way.

You could find your $150 Northface jacket for $29 on eBay, you know. Much more fun than enduring Wal-Mart, where the weary-looking people are on food stamps and the customers are rightfully irritated.

Quantity over quality: it's what's wrong with America!

SoundMind 8 years, 2 months ago

I keep seeing people claim that Lawrence's retail is overbuilt by 30%. Can anyone provide a cite to back that up? Thanks.

opinion 8 years, 2 months ago

Oft used quote on this board: "if you don't like Wal-Mart, don't shop there"

I don't like Wal-Mart and don't. However, I trust that there are others in town that work hard for their money and want to spend it where THEY want to.

EmJones, you seem to believe that most in this town don't want a Wal-Mart and the 3 are protecting us from the big bad corp. I am not so convinced of that.

Eileen Emmi Jones 8 years, 2 months ago

"EmJones, you seem to believe that most in this town don't want a Wal-Mart and the 3 are protecting us from the big bad corp. I am not so convinced of that."

Everyone I know personally is opposed. When the discussion comes up in public, everyone expresses opposition. What I read in the papers and letters to the editor: mostly opposed.

I think there is so much money behind the developers' and realtors' boys that one of them will get on the commission. That's how it works in America: money drives everthing. Now it's going to ruin Lawrence. Lawrence will become like Topeka.

concernedparent 8 years, 2 months ago

I don't think 1 walmart is going to turn Lawrence into Topeka. And EmJones, just because you don't think spending 29 dollars on a jacket that won't last you all winter is smart doesn't mean you're right. For some people its easier to have 29 dollars 3 times in a winter than it is to have 150 dollars all at once. And lots of people are also buying for families, not just one person. And not everyone is privledged enough to have a computer or internet to shop on ebay.

blackwalnut 8 years, 2 months ago

It's a little ironinc that these developers made a fortune packing in the new houses west of Wakarusa, and now they want to make that neighborhodhood deteriorate by oversaturating it with retail stores and making a traffic mess.

The developers west of Wakarusa took the money and ran. Now they want to ruin what they built.

Watch out, Lawrence. The developers aren't in this for what they can do for the town. They're in it to take what they can and run.

Eileen Emmi Jones 8 years, 2 months ago

concernedparent: I raised 3 and I know all about stretching a dollar! Sounds like you could use some help with that! Don't you know you can get on the internet at the library for free? Or that a better jacket will last through 3 kids?

As for Wal-Mart turning Lawrence into Topeka, it will indeed happen. Too much retail on 6th will kill downtown. Topeka is a wasteland precisely because its downtown died. It's happened in many cities. Many of us who have lived elsewhere has seen it time and time again.

When that happens, I'll find another Lawrence, but I will be sad to do it.

Eileen Emmi Jones 8 years, 2 months ago

"Most people do their jobs for money."

And most taxpayers hope their money will be well spent, and not wasted.

blackwalnut 8 years, 2 months ago

It isn't just a Wal-Mart issue. 6th and Wakarusa is going to have retail on 3 corners when the cornfield becomes a shopping mall which is a done deal already. That intersection can't handle the 4th corner turning into a big box store. If Wal-Mart is determined to bully its way into Lawrence with store #2, let it find a different location.

Don Zimmer 8 years, 2 months ago

"You could find your $150 Northface jacket for $29 on eBay, you know. Much more fun than enduring Wal-Mart, where the weary-looking people are on food stamps and the customers are rightfully irritated"

Maybe, if you have the time, computer, and credit cards and size you are looking for.

Lawrence will not become another topeka and joco because they have something Lawrence does not have, well paying jobs, so relax.

And the internet is something that all professions, not just retail, should be aware of and adopt their business models. Overseas doctors reading x-rays and lab reports.

Don Zimmer 8 years, 2 months ago

Using your logic of quality over price why do people not buy a BMW, Lexus, or mercedes?

Could it be that a chevy costs $20,000 vs $80,000 for more quality

Or a entry level home over a million dollar custom.

people should have choices.

Don Zimmer 8 years, 2 months ago

I'd like anyone in their work to try to follow rules that keep changing in the process.

Moving targets.

Come on April.

Lifelong_Lawrencian 8 years, 2 months ago

You know Pilgrim, it's amazing how quiet this blog gets when you ruin everyone's fun by sticking to the facts.

Party pooper!

mechman 8 years, 2 months ago

think back the city also refused to allow LJW to build there!!!!!!!!!!!!! just offices NOT production

blackwalnut 8 years, 2 months ago

You acknowledge, then, that a downtown dying leads to a less livable town. Therefore, anything that kills downtown would be not such a good thing for the town, right?

As far as I know, nobody has suggested taking away Lawrence's Wal-Mart. All of you who wish to shop there, can.

The issue is whether a big box store should be built at 6th and Wakarusa.

It's easy to get side-tracked by these side issues, e.g. whether Wal-Mart is a good corporate citizen or not. I've said I'd love to see a CostCo in Lawrence - but not at 6th and Wakarusa which has all the retail stores and traffic it can handle!

As for "real value," our taxpayer dollars subsidize Wal-Mart, and I big to differ on defining that as "real value." If you have to exploit others to offer a price, there is something dishonest about the price. Once again, CostCo manages to charge the same prices without exploitation.

Goodnight everyone. This will all be settled in April and, I believe, the money will throw it the way of the developers.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 2 months ago

"You know Pilgrim, it's amazing how quiet this blog gets when you ruin everyone's fun by sticking to the facts."

It gets mighty quiet when he spams the thread with the "facts" he makes up, you mean.

Walmart's entire legal case rests on a previous commission sh*tcanning the then recently approved provisions of H2020 because they were wetting themselves over the prospect of a Lowe's or Home Depot going it at that spot, even though that would have been just as inappropriate as a Walmart would be.

I'm sure their buddies and political patrons, Newsome and Compton, did all they could to fuel that little fiction, knowing all along that they could use the confusion of stupid zoning decisions to put whatever they wanted there, regardless of the effects on the rest of the community. As long as they make a buck or a million, they couldn't care less.

The city may very well lose this case against Walmart because of the stupid actions of a previous commission who just didn't give a sh*t.

That's exactly why Newsome and Compton want a new commission of rubberstamps just like the old one-- and their names are Dever, Chestnut and Bush. It looks like Bush will be going to work for them even if he doesn't get elected.

XTC 8 years, 2 months ago

I am always amazed at the number of comments the slam Mr. Compton. It appears to me that he is a vigorous businessman that knows how to turn a profit. Could someone be jealous of him???

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 2 months ago

"It appears to me that he is a vigorous businessman that knows how to turn a profit."

Translation: marry rich, treat your employees like sh*t and buy as many politicians as you can.

Thats_messed_up 8 years, 2 months ago

where can i send some money donations to Dever, Chestnut, and Bush?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 2 months ago

"But that's not the Doug Compton I know."

So there's two Doug Comptons in town?

XTC 8 years, 2 months ago

Would attitudes be different if Target wanted to locate at 6 and Wakarusa and not a Wal-Mart store?

altarego 8 years, 2 months ago

"Marry rich, treat you employees like S**t , and buy as many politicians as you can."

You can say that again.

altarego 8 years, 2 months ago

Ya'll throw mud at successful local businessmen, and I would trust you any better? And it's unbelievable how many traffic engineers there are on this board. While all you experts decide what a man can do with his property, explain to me how this "sprawl" you're dead set against is worse than the disgusting condition of the "traditional" neighborhoods. Seriously. I drive through olwest and east lawrence, and I'm trying to figure out where you people are coming from. Aside from the occasional well kept home, most of these neighborhoods are a disgrace. Do you have no self respect? Do me a favor. Before you hang these developers and real estate people for being successful, how bout picking up your damn yard and sweeping your sidewalk. You don't want to "subsidize" sprawl and I don't want to subsidize your laziness and shame.

Seriously, I'm trying here.

jafs 8 years, 2 months ago

Pilgrim,

According to bozo, and what I've heard previously, the previous commission granted permission despite the proposed development being in violation of existing zoning regulations. In other words, the Horizon 2020 plan would not have allowed it.

If this is true, it's different from the scenario you present, and significant to me on both a legal and moral level.

We already have a large Target, and an enlarged Wal-Mart, as well as Kohl's, JC Penney's, Sears, etc. Why do people want more of these stores? Aren't there enough?

And, you have to keep in mind that across the country, when Wal-Mart comes into a community, studies have shown the net effect to be zero, in that they put other stores out of business, and thus do not increase jobs or tax revenue, but just shuffle it around.

Also, their low prices come from low wage, part-time jobs without benefits. Thus the people who work there go to emergency rooms or are covered by tax-payer supported health programs.

So, to me it does make a difference whether it is Wal-Mart or some other company - when considering what's in the best interests of a community.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 2 months ago

"Aside from the occasional well kept home, most of these neighborhoods are a disgrace."

It would appear that I spend a lot more time on this side of town than you do, and I see it exactly the other way around-- mostly well-kept homes, with the occasional disgrace. Most of the "disgraces" tend to be the slum-lord owned rental properties.

zikzak 8 years, 2 months ago

All I know is that Target also owns land over on that side of town.......just laying in wait.....evil laugh

63BC 8 years, 2 months ago

Worth noting, the planning commission staff, unanimously recommended approval of the latest design submitted by Wal-Mart. The city is overruling its own professionals.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 2 months ago

If Wal-Mart made a few fairly minor adjustments to its plans, it could have the go-ahead regardless of how the election goes.

This has nothing to do with who is trying to put an inappropriate operation at that intersection, and everything to do with what they are trying to put there.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 2 months ago

Compton and Newsome (with their Walmart partners) are being drama queens about this because they want to dictate to the city what their development plans will be, and not the other way around.

jafs 8 years, 2 months ago

People are driving to Topeka or KC instead of across town?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 2 months ago

"There will be enough when we quit bleeding so many retail dollars to Kansas City and Topeka. "

A new Walmart at 6th and Wakarusa will have likely have zero effect on the amount of retail sales to Lawrence shoppers in Topeka and KC.

altarego 8 years, 2 months ago

"Posted by scenebooster (anonymous) on March 16, 2007 at 9:11 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Um, alterego, I won't speak for any other neighborhood except for OWL, but either you have a penchant for hyperbole, or you are confused about where OWL is."


Well, driven to hyperbole is entirely likely, but the third possibility is that I don't share your relaxed standard of "well kept".

I have a new rule. Before anyone is allowed to use the word "sprawl" in the context of "managing" growth, I will inspect their home and property against abuse of either said. For the particularly arrogant, be forewarned. I'm bringing a level.

I'm looking back across old stories of anti-growth activism in this town, and I don't like what I see.

Case 1) Elkins Praire. Interesting situation. A landowner plows his land. Ok, maybe he WAS a carpetbagger, and maybe it WAS a crime against nature, and maybe the indignation was justified. While trying to gain a little understanding of this and other past issues in Lawrence, I asked some people who have been here long term (some for generations) where Elkins Praire is. Not ONE cuould give me better than a general idea. (6th and tfcway/K10?). Makes it ring like a handful of loudmouths trying to stick it the man. The asphalt looks great, by the way. Good job, guys.

Case 2) Oh, the indignation when Douglas County Bank had to sneak into the night to clear their own land before building their building. While the resulting codes are healthy for the neighborhood, It can't be said that the battle was lost and the war was won. The war has just begun, and will be fought along the artificial battle lines drawn by loudmouths trying to stick it to the man.

Case 3) Trafficway. You know what? There's so much in this debate, that I can't tell who is lying, if not everybody. Trying to sort through it is an exercise in sorting out the loudmouths trying to stick it to the man.

Case 4) Walmart. Question for you geniuses. If another Walmart is going to kill downtown, then why can't I ever find a parking place now? Guess what. Doug Compton is a wealthy man. Get over it. He is using the tools available to him to maximize the return on his investment. This is what he is supposed to do. It's what you would do if you were in his shoes. I hear a lot of Simons/Compton bashing iin this town. Sounds like a bunch of disgruntled loudmouths trying to stick it to the man.

All in all, the primary has given me a hint of where ya'll stand. If you think you can dictate what happens out here (a park every quarter mile - give me a break) from your ramshackle old broken down porch, I will rise against you.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 2 months ago

"I have a new rule. Before anyone is allowed to use the word "sprawl" in the context of "managing" growth, I will inspect their home and property against abuse of either said. For the particularly arrogant, be forewarned. I'm bringing a level."

Nothing but a long-winded strawman argument. Just because someone in an older house in an older neighborhood doesn't share your tacky-tacky chem-lawn sense of aesthetics doesn't mean that the negative effects of sprawl are somehow negated.

Case 1)-- What possible difference does it make if they can give you the precise location of a piece of property that has since been surrounded by new development? Why not just get to the point, which is that preserving one of the last few pieces of native prarie in Douglas County is meaningless to you?

Case 2) Is Lawrence really better off with that hideous bank and asphalt rather than the century old houses that were bulldozed to make way for them? Are you the Man? Do you feel that people are trying to stick it to you?

Case 3) The case is really pretty clear. If you don't understand what's happening, it's most likely because you want more concrete and asphalt for your convenience. Nothing much else matters to you, so you'll ignore anything that conflicts with your desires.

Case 4) OK, so you declare that unbridled greed and narrow self-interest should be the only determinants of the future of Lawrence, and that those who are the greediest and most narrowly self-interested, who can throw the most money at buying the candidates of their choice, should have complete descretion in doing whatever serves them best, regardless of how it affects the peons and peasants not lucky enough to live on your side of town.

Lucky for you, there are three wannabe-sycophant candidates who share your vision-- Bush, Dever and Chestnut.

altarego 8 years, 2 months ago

Ok, I'll play.

Case 1) No, what I'm saying is that preserving one of the last few pieces of native praire doesn't matter to YOU if you can't simply tell me where it is.

Case 2) I don't know. I do know that someone sold the century old houses to Douglas County Bank.

Case 3) No it's not.

Case 4) If you are the alternative, I'll take them. The affects on the peons and peasants is less clear to me than it is to you. There's a lot of silly assumptions on this board. As if every bozo on the bus is personally going to "subsidize" the new Walmart. Nice work, bozo. And there is no luck in choosing where to live. Luck is for losers. I can tell you, though, that there are a whole lot less snobs over here. Incredible. Hey, bozo, good luck with your election.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 2 months ago

Case 1) Sounds like a rationalization for your not caring about it to me. If you don't care, just say so- don't try telling someone else they don't care just because they don't meet your silly little rules about what constitutes caring.

Case 2) I guess that's all that matters then.

Case 3) So what isn't clear to you?

"I can tell you, though, that there are a whole lot less snobs over here."

I know of at least one snob out there.

monkeyhawk 8 years, 2 months ago

Wow! boozo , it appears that you are feeling a lot of angst in anticipation of losing control. When did it first hit you that the majority of people don't really like the way OUR city is being run?

"Just because someone in an older house in an older neighborhood doesn't share your tacky-tacky chem-lawn sense of aesthetics doesn't mean that the negative effects of sprawl are somehow negated."

Did it ever occur to you that because some people prefer a lawn that looks like a lawn, rather than "native prairie grass", it is purely their own choice? Just because some would not like to live in a neighborhood where it is okay to park your beaters on the lawn, and have all your work equipment stored on your backyard, it is a personal choice. Just like the ones you express way too often in your paid blogathons. Who are you to decide what is aesthetically pleasing?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 2 months ago

"Wow! boozo , it appears that you are feeling a lot of angst in anticipation of losing control."

Lawrence will be the worse for it with a return to full-blown, good-ole-boy cronyism as its form of government. Yes, that causes me a bit of angst, because I know we can do much better, and deserve much better, but life will goes on, and there will be another election in 2009.

"When did it first hit you that the majority of people don't really like the way OUR city is being run?"

Gawd are you deluded. The fact is, the higher the turnout, the less likely that your guys will win. And even with a "high" turnout, the vast majority will express absolutely no opinion on how the city is being run. Perhaps it will take a return to the bad ole days to get people who aren't using government strictly to promote their narrow commercial interests to get off their duffs and vote.

"Did it ever occur to you that because some people prefer a lawn that looks like a lawn, rather than "native prairie grass", it is purely their own choice? "

There are certainly myriad negative environmental and economic impacts from the choice of a chemlawn golf course for a front yard, but I was primarily responding to Altarego's judgmentalism towards anyone who lives in an older house and neighborhood. But I know you can't resist any opening for an ignorant, knee-jerk response, so I forgive you.

monkeyhawk 8 years, 2 months ago

It seems somehow unfair to accept forgiveness from someone I pity, but if it makes you feel better....

What gets me about you , boozo, is that I can imagine you holed up in your older house with weeds in the front yard, dreaming up your next cryptic response to anyone who challenges you. I doubt that you ever see the light of day, let alone get out and actually spend money. All the while, dictating how and where the rest of us should live, and how and where we should spend our money. Not to mention what we should like in general because YOU think that way. You are quite intolerant (or is it intolerable?)

coolmom 8 years, 2 months ago

massing armies sounds like fun. lets all put on our cheap vests and meet for battle plans and dinner somewhere good lol

budwhysir 8 years, 2 months ago

Wal mart?? what is this walmart everyone is talking about. We have a wal mart on the edge of town that people can go to. Do we need another one???

jafs 8 years, 2 months ago

I live in an older neighborhood, try to take reasonably good care of my house and yard, and spend quite a bit of money in Lawrence.

We shop here, buy gas here, eat out here, buy clothes and supplies here, etc.

That's just to prevent monkeyhawk's critique.

It is very unfortunate to me that we have become a divided community, and more unfortunate that the first casulaty of this debate seems to be a broader view.

In other words, the discussion gets collapsed into whether you are an "East" or "West" Lawrencian, questions of style, etc.

What's best for Lawrence as a whole, or in the common good, or as a community are the questions I'd like to see discussed.

If you prefer to live in newer houses on the west side of town, fine. If you prefer the older sections, fine. If you want your lawn to look like Astro-turf, fine. If you want it to look more natural, fine.

Should we be subsidizing new growth? Should we be subsidizing downtown? Is new growth going to broaden our tax base enough to pay for itself? What are our priorities as a city? What would we like Lawrence to look like in 5 years?

Etc.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 2 months ago

"What gets me about you , boozo,"

Very curious that everything that followed in that paragraph was about your imagination, not me.

Rather than obsessing with what you imagine about this bozo, perhaps it would be more constructive to answer jafs' very pertinent questions--

"Should we be subsidizing new growth? Should we be subsidizing downtown? Is new growth going to broaden our tax base enough to pay for itself? What are our priorities as a city? What would we like Lawrence to look like in 5 years?"

jafs 8 years, 2 months ago

Who are these people and where will they come from just to shop at the 2nd Wal-Mart store?

We already have one (recently expanded) Wal-Mart.

Topeka and KC have plenty of shopping opportunities.

Aren't people who want to come into Lawrence to buy things at Wal-Mart using the existing store now?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 2 months ago

"Aren't people who want to come into Lawrence to buy things at Wal-Mart using the existing store now?"

Almost certainly, they are. Most of the sales at the new Walmart will come at the expense of the old Walmart, Dillons, Hyvee and other retailers. There will be little, if any, net increase in sales tax collections.

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