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WALMART: Proposal hardly a ‘jobs’ project

Letter by Dave and Vergia Seabrook, Tacoma on Sep. 5, 2011 at 12:42 pm with 33 Comments »
September 21, 2011 11:42 am

Re: “Council right to be cautious about proposed Walmart” (editorial, 9-2).

We applaud The News Tribune for supporting the reasoned and thoughtful approach pursued by our City Council’s slow-down approach. The council acted with reasonable and prudent deliberation with respect to the proposal for a big-box Walmart development for the Tacoma Elks’ property bounded by South Union Avenue and South Cedar and 23rd streets.

There is no objection to competition; in fact, we applaud it. However, the assertion that this is a “jobs” project fails the smile test. That same type of neighborhood retail businesses exist across the street (plus a few additional specialty shops which depend on their location to the current high volumes generated by the Top Foods and Target stores).

It is also quite certain that traffic impacts in the area need evaluation. If, as the developers say, this is a jobs project, then we might expect traffic in the area to double. Even if the traffic does not double, the impact of a 150,000-square-foot retail center on traffic needs to be evaluated, since it would appear that different and probably disruptive patterns would be created.

Finally, if we are going to create jobs, lets make them meaningful ones that give folks an opportunity to earn a sufficiently significant wage so that they can support their families and educate their children.

Leave a comment Comments → 33
  1. tree_guy says:

    “Finally, if we are going to create jobs, lets make them meaningful ones that give folks an opportunity to earn a sufficiently significant wage so that they can support their families and educate their children.” Dave and Virginia Seabrook

    That lot has been for sale for years. Why didn’t the Seabrooks buy it and open a business that would provide opportunities for folks to earn sufficient wages? Oh, I forgot, that’s somebody elses job.

    Gandhi weights in: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

  2. Mlindholm says:

    A Wal-Mart in on that part of South Union would choke a street that already sees a near constant stream of traffic every day. A hospital and clinics are already there, as well as a high school, several apartment buildings, a retail center with Target and other major stores, not to mention on and off ramps for the highway. Top that off with the University of Puget Sound just down the way, and putting a big box store there simply becomes insane.

    The low wage jobs a Wal-Mart would bring will scarecely make up for the daily impact on the lives of people already living and working in the area. Will better paying jobs be lost as a Wal-Mart siphons business from the existing retail there? Hard to say, but I know where I’d put my bet.

    Mlindholm

  3. stetsonwalker says:

    Mlindholm, you are 100% wrong on all points!

  4. beerBoy says:

    stetsonwalker – demonstrate your claim that another poster is 100% wrong – otherwise you are just 100% hot air.

  5. stetsonwalker says:

    Already have on previous posts but I will repeat, the naysayers said the same thing when Walmart went in Yelm as well as Spanaway. Did anybody go out of business? A few, but for every one that did 5 new upstarts began into busy businesses. Both areas have seen growth beyond the past histories and the communities are thriving despite the economy!

  6. concernedtacoma7 says:

    “analysis suggest that much of the conventional wisdom regarding Wal-Mart’s nefarious effects on local communities is off base, at least in relation to measures that the public and policymakers often use to gauge community health. The analysis is also absent any discussion of the savings local consumers realize by having Wal-Mart in town (see further discussion).”

    http://www.minneapolisfed.org/publications_papers/pub_display.cfm?id=3033

    Not too current, and not Washington State, but this paper from North Carolina is pretty interesting.

    http://www.ag-econ.ncsu.edu/VIRTUAL_LIBRARY/ECONOMIST/novdec05.pdf

  7. blakeshouse says:

    Everyone seems to conveniently forget that Wa. has a much higher min wage than the fed min and that walmart pays well above that for their starting wage.
    It never turns out to be the doom of every other business or traffic that the naysayers screech every time someone talks about building one.
    Unions have wanted in for yrs but never can get a foothold. THAT is the problem!!!!!
    It amazes me how much the “NASTY EVIL CORP” is willing to invest, over and over , when the benefits have been shown in each and every previous showdown.

  8. KARDNOS says:

    I wonder if Walmart was to build right across the street or next door to a property that someone leased to a convenience store owner who was hammered out of business…….naaaaaaaah….no one would complain, would they?

    I love the analogy that “you need to buy the property and do it”…..

    Wait until a black smoke company wants to build next to someone recreational property and watch the NIMBY effect kick in….

  9. KARDNOS says:

    I’ve got it.

    Let Walmart build, but make them responsible for widening both sides of Union Avenue and Cedar Street so that there will not be a traffic impact. There should also be additional traffic enforcement costs and a study of the ability of emergency vehicles to navigate the area during construction.

    Just make sure that all additional costs incured by the city are passed along to Walmart in one nice big invoice.

  10. tree_guy says:

    I wonder if Walmart was to build right across the street or next door to a property that someone leased to a convenience store owner who was hammered out of business…….naaaaaaaah….no one would complain, would they?

    Kardnos, I wish I owned some property across from a thriving WalMart. Those places generate awesome traffic counts. In the commercial leasing business traffic count=money in the bank.

  11. alindasue says:

    KARDNOS said, “Let Walmart build, but make them responsible for widening both sides of Union Avenue and Cedar Street so that there will not be a traffic impact. There should also be additional traffic enforcement costs and a study of the ability of emergency vehicles to navigate the area during construction.”

    Cedar Street traffic isn’t that bad. A light with turn lanes would probably be enough to control that traffic.

    On the Union Street side, the traffic situation is already a mess in need of organizing. At every Walmart I’ve seen, road improvements are put in to accommodate the expected traffic. I don’t know how much of that is paid by Walmart (I expect a fair amount), but I do know that any improvements they make to accommodate Walmart would benefit the traffic flow through the rest of that block too.

    What it comes down to though: if it were a Fred Meyer or huge medical/retail campus (as originally planned) that would generate just as much traffic, would you still be arguing against it?

  12. alindasue says:

    Dave and Vergia Seabrook said, “Finally, if we are going to create jobs, lets make them meaningful ones that give folks an opportunity to earn a sufficiently significant wage so that they can support their families and educate their children.”

    When the starting wage at all the other stores is “a sufficiently significant wage”, then I’d understand singling Walmart out.

    Right now, I’d prefer to see a list of ANY retail or discount stores that pays their low level employees a sufficiently significant wage that each employee from that job alone (without spouse’s income needed) can support his or her family and educate his or her children.

    If such businesses exist, they deserve a shout out! Let the list begin!
    I am honestly (without sarcasm) looking forward to seeing the places listed.

  13. xx98411 says:

    “Right now, I’d prefer to see a list of ANY retail or discount stores that pays their low level employees a sufficiently significant wage that each employee from that job alone (without spouse’s income needed) can support his or her family and educate his or her children.”

    A company or a business needs to pay the going rate for a position. If the position is relatively unskilled and is considered occupied by a “low level employee” that rate will be on the lower end of the wage scale.

    Yes, it is more difficult to support a family at the lower end of the wage scale than it is at the higher end. Hence why it is your responsibilty to do what is needed to promote yourself to a position that pays more to provide more.

    As has been said, retail is not the place for high level wages. When you make something and the more intricate and specialized it is to make that item, the more money you will make. It is generally that simple. (wrench here -more money until the technology is invented that can reduce the manpower needed to make that widget, then wages tend to drop at their is an oversupply of that individual with that skill)

  14. harleyrider1 says:

    So all the businesses including fast food employers, that pay minimum wage according to law, should be banned? Have you actually knowledge of what businesses in Tacoma pay more than minimum wage compared to the numbers that don’t?

    I don’t know of any business that pays minimum wage to an employee that can raise a family and send their kids to college on – do you Seabrook?

    And how is WalMart at fault for the “minimum” wage? Idiot.

  15. KARDNOS says:

    alindasue – I live in South Thurston County….off exit 99 of I-5 where they built a huge truck stop across the freeway from another truck stop…..more than tripling the truck traffic. Because of inadequate traffic controls and roads, we constantly face traffic backed up off the ramp onto the freeway. I’m waiting for the fatalities to start. That being said…..

    EVERYONE THAT IMPACTS TRAFFIC, should be held responsible. Oh and NO….the local municipality doesn’t always charge for that service because some of the electeds are in bed with or financed by said businesses.

    Medical usage would not create as much impact….if for no other reason, most medical, unless a hospital or urgent care, are not open other than M-F days.

  16. KARDNOS says:

    “A company or a business needs to pay the going rate for a position. If the position is relatively unskilled and is considered occupied by a “low level employee” that rate will be on the lower end of the wage scale.”

    xx has hit it perfectly. We are in a race to the bottom to lower the standard of employment in the United States. Skilled labor is being sent to countries where labor is cheap because life is cheap.

    Another decade or so of soft real estate/development will spur a change, if change is possible by then. Meanwhile lets all applaud minumum wage jobs and tell each other “it could be worse”.

    The United States is being “sold off” to the lowest bidder.

  17. KARDNOS says:

    Oh…and just so that we don’t miscontrue……

    Fred Meyer, Albertsons, Costco, Safeway and others pay union wages to union workers and compete in the marketplace……for now.

  18. Kardnos,

    You just hit one of the reasons I shop at those stores but not at Wal-mart and Target.

  19. xx98411 says:

    “xx has hit it perfectly. We are in a race to the bottom to lower the standard of employment in the United States. Skilled labor is being sent to countries where labor is cheap because life is cheap.”

    The little psychotic from Texas… I am talking about Perot, ran his… whatever it was…. campaign and talk about the fact that we don’t make things anymore like we used to.

    Short version, after WWII, the world was in relative shambles and the US, after being geared up for war, was in a position to take advantage of the world demand for stuff. Hence the memorable 50’s as well as the relative prosperity of the 60’s.

    During the 70’s, Japan, after 25 years of practice, made something we didn’t, a small economical car and was positioned when the gas thingy hit in the early 70’s. First the car market… the TV market… the whatever market… things, stuff… the world makes it now, not just us. You can thanks Deeming for that and the fact the we, the US does not make slaves of conquer nations.

    Now I can attest to IT services. As an IT worker, I compete with Haiji in Bangalore, India. He is good… and hungry literally and for American jeans. Haiji is building and contributing to the rising middle class in India. Repeat this process for other countries… China…

    A second thing was a moving graphic I saw on Fareed’s GPS. In a nutshell, it visually showed the growth of countries. Again after WWII, being well positioned to make stuff, world demand, etc… The US growth rate shot ahead of the other countries.

    Though the growth rate continues at a significantly slower pace for the US, the difference and what you are seeing is that the world is catching up. Their growth rate is double digits at times. The world is catching up in capacity, skill level at a lower rate of pay.

    I heard a commentator ask the question. What do you think is easier, to raise the world standard of living as well as wages to the level it is in America… or is it easier to lower our standard of living and depress wages to a lower level…. From discussions like these I think you all know the answer.

  20. xx98411 says:

    Skilled labor is being sent to countries where labor is cheap because life is cheap.”

    reread this part again…

    The world will have worker rights campaign, standards and wages will eventually rise… but for now… sorry.

    Second, The AFL-CIO, Andy Stern and company talk about a world vision for labor. Anybody got a guess on the growth rate of unions and union membership in other countries?

  21. stetsonwalker says:

    KARDNOS,
    Costco only pays union wages to a certain few employees, they are for the most part non union. This is not something I really care about, but it is still a fact!

  22. beerBoy says:

    What do you think is easier, to raise the world standard of living as well as wages to the level it is in America… or is it easier to lower our standard of living and depress wages to a lower level….

    Interesting how Jerry Brown – during his first go round as CA gov – was ridiculed by the Right for claiming that smaller is better. And Cheney, around 5 years ago, claimed the American way of life was non-negotiable and why ridiculing conservation as policy. Now, it seems, The Right thinks we are supposed to accept cuts in pay without “whining” to our Union reps…..

  23. xx98411 says:

    My statement was not a left nor right statement. On that note, responding align the lines I think you mean…

    If you mean smaller government, then yeah that is better.

    The American way of life is non-negoiable on the world stage, I believe he was talking about freedom, rights, principles, you know that sort of stuff.

    Conservation as in the environment???

    I am not sure your belief about the “Right” is accurate. You can whine all you want to your union rep. How is that going to help you compete. Again we are competing on the world stage and we better figure out how to compete.

    Lowering wages is a symptom, but it doesn’t need to be an end result.

  24. Cheney was talking about energy policy and the American way of life based in wasteful use of petroleum.

  25. The energy policy… OK

    American way of life… OK

    wasteful use of petroleum…. umm, is that his term or yours?

  26. I paraphrased with a bit of editorial sprinkled on the side….

    “Conservation may be a sign of personal virtue, but it is not a sufficient basis for a sound, comprehensive energy policy.”
    Dick C.

  27. LarryFine says:

    “I paraphrased with a bit of editorial sprinkled on the side….”
    .
    No, you made it up.

    The Cheney quote isn’t close to your “paraphrase”.

    btw, don’t even lecture anyone in the future about “context”… or “parsing quotes”.

  28. xx98411 says:

    Given the context of what you wrote, I am not seeing a bad thingy here. But then again I don’t take the extreme that if you not “conserving” you are not necessarly wasteful. Their is a balance.

    “sprinkled” that’s funny…

  29. tellnolies says:

    http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/new-economy/2011/0824/In-China-land-of-cheap-labor-a-push-for-robots

    Foxconn is going to “outsource” to robots. Robots work more efficiently, accurately, and cheaply, than human labor ANYWHERE.

    What’s happening is the old “world system” is fundamentally unable to handle the new reality brought on by technological change. No amounting of tweaking
    will fix the system, it’s been outgrown and needs to be replaced.

  30. theglovesRoff says:

    Fred Meyer, Albertsons, Costco, Safeway and others pay union wages to union workers and compete in the marketplace……for now.

    And Target is now stating to add full scale grocery to their stores, with non-union workers. That will siphon business away from the standard grocery chains.

    Why aren’t the Leftisits going after Target?

    And the starting “Union” wage at the name brand grocerey stores is about minimum wage. Sure they have contract negotiated steps, but it takes twice as long now to move up a level as it did 10 years ago.

  31. beerBoy says:

    LF – maybe you should go with Buffalo Bob for your next name as you are quite an active member of the peanut gallery.

  32. LarryFine says:

    … kooky, the pot keeps seeing his reflection in all the shiny kettles…… so Please………try to own your own behavior for a change.

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