[ mailto:owner-ELECTRONIC-LAN@listproc.cc.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Burress, David A
Sent: Tuesday, May 01, 2007 2:55 PM
Subject: Opposing WalMart
It is important to show up at City Hall tonight and testify against the proposal to roll back city policy and settle the 6th and Wakarusa lawsuit on terms favorable to WalMart. Here's why and why not and how.
1. Why not: one should have no expectation of persuading the city commission against this rollback. Four of five commissioners have clearly signaled their intent to support WalMart, and they are very unlikely to back down.
2. Why: there are four important reasons:
a. Reduce the generosity of the give-aways to WalMart. If there is sufficient political pressure, this commission may feel a need to "compromise" with Walmart by not giving it everything it wants.
b. Prepare the basis for a lawsuit. If the neighborhoods care enough to collect $10,000 to $20,000 for a lawsuit in district, there is a reasonable chance that this development could still be stopped. It will probably take weeks or months for the commission to finish its action; that is enough time to gather funds for a suit in district court. The testimony placed in the record tonight is an important part of that lawsuit, because it will help the neighborhoods show the commission had inadequate basis for its action.
c. Reduce the power and willingness of this commission to aggressively pursue its rollbacks.
This commission is committed to right wing rollbacks on a number of fronts; however they are likely to moderate their aggressiveness and begin to feel besieged if they come to understand feel that a majority of the community is strongly against them.
d. Begin to prepare for the next two elections. The electorate needs to have the rollback agenda dramatized over and over again so that the current commissioners cannot be re-elected.
3. How: It is important that testimony be strategic.
a. Obey the rules and customs. Otherwise what you do will backfire.
Do not attack the commission or the commissioners. Do not attack staff.
Do not attack developers personally. Do not refer to anyone's motives.
(Possible exception: give structural reasons why developer's studies are likely to be biased.) Stay on the question of whether this development is good for Lawrence and within the law. Take Major Hack's possibly unfair rulings in good grace.
b. Politely defend your testimony as admissible.
Mayor Hack may attempt to rule your testimony out of order if she thinks it is repetitive. Head this off by politely explaining that you are expanding on a nuance that the prior speakers couldn't get into because of the time limits she will probably impose.
Mayor Hack may attempt to rule your your testimony out of order if it mentions Walmart as opposed to "land use." Politely point out that WalMart has been defined as a specific land use because it is included by name in the development plan.
Also point out that attempts to limit the record will look bad if there is a law suit. It will provide a basis for introducing new evidence at the trial she would not allow. Explain the need for a complete record.
Also remind folks that the First Amendment provides a right to petition government. While its exact meaning is contested, there is a place in democratic heaven for public officials who interpret it broadly.
Point out that impact of WalMart on other business is a legitimate landuse concern becasue it appears in the comprehensive plan.
If mayor Hack cuts off one speaker, another speaker could explain why they think the stated basis is incorrect and politely ask to testify on that same point.
c. Focus on information helpful for the court case.
elaborate points on the debates about conflicting vacancy and impact studies.
explicate the comprehensive plan and subdivision regs and case history if you are knowlegable.
testify about personal experience with traffic impacts.
explain the difference between economic development and economic displacement.
point to very specific examples of stress in each and every shopping area that is under stress. Say that contrary studies do not pass the "duck" test (if it walks like a duck etc. it is a duck).