Thursday, June 15, 2006

Another Intelligent Letter

Yet another intelligent Letter to the ADE Editor that begs to be preserved longer than 2 weeks. The letter makes several important points:

1) New Village board members were fairly elected and board decisions have been based on reason and facts
2) Some disaffected area residents are acting immaturely
3) Individuals of all income levels, natives and 'transplants' may be for or opposed to a huge Wal-Mart located on Lake Flower Ave.
4) Wal-Mart is not the only solution to Village retail development
5) Wal-Mart does not care about you or me or our Village
6) We should be able to all work together, CARD included

The new village board was elected fair and square. Contrary to what some say, decisions that the board has made thus far are based on fact and reason, not on emotion or conspiracies.

It’s disappointing to read baseless accusations against our democratically elected officials and to hear fourth-grade-level nonsense on local radio. At least one new board member has received rude e-mails as well as a couple of vulgar “salutes” out on the streets of our town. This juvenile behavior will not make anyone’s life better and certainly doesn’t help the cause of these disgruntled individuals.

There is a perception among Wal-Mart supporters that “wealthy transplants” are coming in and “telling natives how to run things” or that “the rich are walking all over the poor.” This is short-sighted and uninformed. In fact, folks on both sides of the issue are natives and non-natives, pro-APA and anti-APA, full-time and part-time residents, professional and blue-collar, old and young, and people of all income levels.

The “native vs. non-native” labeling is arbitrary. What does “native” mean? Born inside the Blue Line? Born within village boundaries? Does a native resident of Paul Smiths, Vermontville or even Old Forge have more right to an opinion than a “transplant” who has lived in Saranac Lake for 10 years? What counts is what you bring and give to your community. What do you do to make Saranac Lake a flourishing and welcoming place to live?

There are many possible solutions to the retail problem, not just one. We have a chance to work together to bring in a store that will serve our needs while preserving our small-town character. How can anyone be against that? Discontented Wal-Mart supporters say they will now boycott Saranac Lake businesses, but if they already don’t shop here, what exactly will they boycott, and how does that help their town?

Here is a fact. Hundreds of towns across America are launching campaigns to keep Wal-Mart out of their communities. Why is that? Talk about a wealthy non-native coming in and running things. Five members of the Walton family are worth more than $18 billion each. Why can’t they afford to pay all of their workers a salary above the poverty line with full benefits (while they grieve their taxes, pollute and kill all the competition)? Do you honestly think they give a rat’s behind about you?

After the vote to stop the rezoning process, certain members of CARD said they would have no part of the cooperative effort to bring in a suitable retailer. That’s unfortunate. I understood CARD to be Citizens’ Advancement for Retail Development. If that’s the case, I hope to see them at the public forum on June 22, where we’ll look at better ways to advance retail development. If not, they should consider changing their name to Citizens’ Advancement for a 121,000-square-foot Wal-Mart, if that’s the only thing they actually support. I hope it’s the former.

Annette Scheuer

Saranac Lake

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