Friday, July 28, 2006

Opposing Opinions: Facts vs Fiction

There are two 'guest editorials' printed in todays Adirondack Daily Enterprise (UPDATE: Links have now been added). Both are well written, but couldn't be more different. They are not different because they disagree on Wal-Mart locating to Saranac Lake.

One editorial is by Mr. Lee Keet, replying to a guest editorial written by Susan Seaward earlier in the week. Unlike Ms. Seaward, Mr. Keet uses facts and figures from specific sources to explain why he thinks Wal-Mart may not be in the best interest of Saranac Lake and the surrounding communities. Mr. Keet ends his editorial asking area residents to work together to bring a retail business that will be consistent with the character of our community.

The other editorial is by Mr. Donald G. Perryman. He points out that generations (natives) of 'adirondackers' have taken care of our environment and resources, not the 'tree huggers', 'preservationists' and 'do-gooders' (transplants). So we should trust their judgement in "managing and planning regarding the park". "The larger villages provide a kind of oasis in the wilderness where residents can acquire the goods and services that fulfil their needs". So it makes sense that any retailer that wants to locate here should be welcomed with open arms. If the experts say they need a 121,000 sq ft facility, that should be good enough for us. They are the experts you see. Welcoming Wal-Mart is an opportunity to 'revitalize' the Village of Saranac Lake. The local merchants will benefit from this. Mr. Perryman tells us what he 'thinks' will happen.

Do you see the difference between the two editorials? Fact vs wishes (maybe even fiction), certainly facts vs 'what I think' or, in the case of Ms. Seaward, what Wal-Mart tells me.

This is the basis of the debate about Wal-Mart locating to Saranac Lake. At least 60% of village residents are concerned about the possible effects of a large Wal-Mart on our community. They have read articles, reports etc that justifies their concerns.

On the other side, Wal-Mart supporters want a cheap, one-stop place to shop period. They don't really care about the possible effects of a super retailer on our community. But they can't just come out and say that. So they come up with 'soundbites' based on 'what they think', truthiness or wishful thinking.

Let's see some facts, independent of Wal-Mart, that show how Wal-Mart will be good for Saranac Lake. That's what 3/5's of the Village Board want also.


Anonymous said...

Yes, Mr. Perryman gave us HIS OPINION. But unfortunately in this debate opinions mean absulutely nothing. I would challenge him and all the other Wal-Mart supporters go out and visit all the little town and villages that got a Wal-Mart. Many were devestated. I have seen the photographs of empty business districts, the boarded up buildings. It wasn't pretty.
In the documentary Up Against The Wal done by Steve Alves you get to see the photo's on the screen. In one town over the business district remains boarded up after about 9 years. There was a revitalization committee that attempted to obviously revitalize the business district. AFTER 9 YEARS THEY GAVE UP!! The signage the revitalization committee had simply went into storage and quietly disappeared. The boarded up store fronts have all been painted with murals, etc. but they STILL REMAIN EMPTY AFTER 9 LONG YEARS.
If you think this community is the exception, think again. What is the exception is business districts
THAT DO WELL AFTER WAL-MART ARRIVES. Wal-Mart of course knows this but don't expect to hear it from their lips. They are expert at their facts and figures and how they will benefit the community. Al Norman calls it Wal-Math. In other words 2 + 2 NEVER EQUALS 4. It is either 3 or 5 or 6, but it NEVER EQUALS 4.
Mr. Perryman's commentary is simply Wal-Math. He believes that Wal-Mart will benefit everybody. But he has no facts and figures to back up what he feels.
Do we need a department store here? Yes. But lets get something built that is smaller, downtown, and something that won't DEVESTATE OUR SMALL TOWN AND WAY OF LIVING. Let's let WAL-MART TAKE THEIR DEVESTATION SOME PLACE ELSE!!

Anonymous said...

Facts, from what poll did you get the "fact" that "At least 60% of village residents are concerned about the possible effects of a large Wal-Mart on our community. They have read articles, reports etc that justifies their concerns." Just the facts please!

Adirondack Wal-Mart said...

#1. The SL mayor and two trustees, who are cautious about allowing a Wal-Mart into the community, were elected by over a 60% plurality.

#2. Polls by the Enterprise, although not scientific, indicate that over 60% of people also are cautious about Wal-Mart locating in the Village sandpit area as well as the size of the store.

#3. I stand corrected. I can only assume that most of the above people read articles and reports about Wal-Mart that justifies their concerns.

Anonymous said...

Amazing how the liberal elitist demand that their opponents (pro-wal-MARTYRS) base comments and opinions on facts but do not hold themselves to the same standards. Way to go rev!

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous?? Liberal elitists??? Are you kidding me?? Stop the name calling and learn the FACTS!!! Did you not read about the election? The VILLAGE spoke! NO ONE OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE VOTED. Why is this concept so hard to get?? Hundreds of communities across the USA are fighting WM as we write, they do suck communities dry and if you really think WM gives a crap about Saranac Lake and it's hard working residents, well guess again!! Arkansas doesn't CARE about the people in our community, they are about profits! Does Anonymous really think WM will still be here after 5 years?? We don't have the demographics to carry a store of that size. Wake up and smell the Wal-Mart!

Anonymous said...

According to Al Norman who wrote
"The Case Against Wal-Mart" -one out of every 3 communities where Wal-Mart wants to go are fighting them. Visit his web site: and read for the stories for yourself. Go to "news flashes" and see what you find. I suspect the 1 out of 3 communites figure is higher now.
In 1993 when Wal-Mart wanted to go into Lake Placid we knew some negative things about this corporation. But 13 years later we know a great deal more. If anyone wants some facts about Wal-Mart and their practices I suggest you begin by reading:
1) The Case Against Wal-Mart by
Al Norman
2) The Wal-Mart Effect by Charles
3) How Wal-Mart is Destroying The
World And What You Can Do About
It by Bill Quinn

Another excellent book which unfortunately is out of print is:
In Sam We Trust by Bob Ortega.
I would also suggest reading a new book called "The Bully Of Bentonville." I haven't read it yet, but the title says it all doesn't it?
Facts are very easy to come by concerning this company. You just need to know what to read and where to go on the web. Don't bother to try and find anything positive about Wal-Mart because there isn't much. Many Wal-Mart supporters unfortunately seem to base their arguements on THEIR OPINIONS. Unfortunately, opinions here mean nothing. And even what Wal-Mart is telling us is THEIR OPINION. Want some facts? Read even one of the books mentioned. You'll get plenty of facts. And by the way if Wal-Mart is such a great company to work for why do they have to replace 52,500 employees every single month? THIS IS A FACT FROM AL NORMAN'S BOOK. Want a Wal-Mart? Read his book and get SOME FACTS.

Adirondack Wal-Mart said...

"pro-wal-MARTYRS"??? I know some people worship at the alter of Wal-Mart but I didn't realize that they become 'martyrs' when we 'liberal elitist' oppose them. BTW, notice the name calling that pro-wal-MARTYRS need to resort to? I'm proud to call myself a liberal but how is wishing for a better life for the poor of the world elitist?

Anonymous said...

And just wht "facts" are the pro-wal-MARTYRS (that's a good one) basing their comments and opinions?... c'mon - let's see them! I'm curious as to what pro-wal-MARTYRS are calling "facts". Perhaps their definition of "facts" will be necessary as well.

by the way - who or what is "rev"? I don't get that one.

Anonymous said...

BTW, notice the indignant tone of the one who is offended by what he perceives as name calling. Don’t for a minute pretend that you are concerned about the poor of the world. If you want to whish for a better life for someone, start with those in your backyard. There are people suffering in this village and community. People who want a Wal-Mart not for what it is but for what it will provide them. This is why I support this store coming to our Village. The people whom you claim are worshiping at the alter are simply individuals who are having a hard time making ends meet, people who are scared and are looking for a little relief.
You commend Lee Keet for using facts; it is people like Lee Keet who only have one goal in mind, that is to protect their way of life. I remind you that Mr. Keet is the one who bought the Lake Colby drive property which prevented Wal-Mart from coming last time. When he did it was not the poor he was concerned about, nor the Chinese people, what he was concerned about was how the lighting would affect his view and, oh yes, let us not forget the loons. So in closing, I challenge you Mr. Adirondack Wal-Mart, if you are truly concerned for the poor do something substantial to help the poor in this community. Work with them to get affordable sustainable shopping which will fulfill their basic needs.

Anonymous said...

Is their even one successful company out there that is not concerned about their profit. Wake up and smell the economics. As for the election, the Village did not speak, less than 50% of the registered voters turned out, and yes people who do not live in this Village voted. Check the voter roles, there are many who live outside but are registered here because they own property. Look at the list of Donators to the Democrats. A large majority do not live here, Mr. Lee Keet who does not live in this community was the top $ giver to the Democrats. What is he getting in return? Think about it. You say the Village Spoke. Did you notice that the Democrats, whom I voted for where speaking out of both sides of their mouths. The Mayor, during the campaign, told me in my own home that, and I quote, “Wal-Mart is a done deal and taxes will not go up”. He lied! Fontana, who as soon as she sat at the Trustees table said she is against Wal-Mart, signed and handed out a flyer, during the campaign which was also distributed in the Enterprise, that said and I quote (I have copies) that she / they are in favor of any Large Sustainable Retail store INCLUDING WAL-MART coming to our Village. These are all facts. They won because they lied, take a walk through the high rise and ask those residents how they feel now. They went down collectively to vote for the Dems because the Dems told them that they would not appose a Wal-Mart, and that Wal-Mart was a done deal, they LIED! These are the facts, do the research yourself.

Adirondack Wal-Mart said...

I guess I'm being told that the only way to help poor people in Saranac Lake is to exploit another set of poor people somewhere else. I'm sorry, but I can't buy into that philosophy.

peterH said...

My understanding of what most of the "Dems" said was that they werent opposed to Walmart per se, but wanted to make sure that any large retailer fit with the long range plans of the village. This seems like a very responsible approach to me. We certainly wouldnt want property taxes to go up to subsidize Walmart (for example). And as many many people have pointed out, we wouldnt want Walmart or any large retailer to damage the tourist economy.

Anonymous said...

To the anti-Dem....Has Wal-Mart become some sort of God?? Will WM come in and "save" our doomed town?? The last time I looked...Saranac Lake has improved greatly. Think back to 20 years ago, much has been done. The "Dems" did not LIE! Read AGAIN...they are doing what they should be, addressing all the issues BEFORE something is built! Tom Michael has NEVER said he is against a Wal-Mart! And guess what, the village did vote! Do you really think "outsiders" own a bunch of property within the village? I hope you are not talking about our local store owners (renters), certainly people who live in Vermontville, Bloomingdale, aren't outsiders...are they? I mean what would that make Rick Gonyea? And it's funny how the numbers at Dechantel worked out to about 40% for a WM and 60% against. Or are you saying that the other highrise had enough voting power to carry the "Dems" to office? Wow, the building must be bigger than I thought. Bottom line, this isn't about a department store, it's about Wal-Mart. You did say "these are the the research yourself" Well, try doing the research and learning the facts about Wal-Mart. As we speak hundreds of communities across the country are facing this same issue. Tell do people survive in Long Lake, Blue Mt., Indian Lake, Newcomb?? How do the live without a supercenter?? I'd love to hear your answer.

Catherine Zipperle said...

I shudder to think of what a walmart would do to the community. It would certainly harm the tourist economy. Who would shop at the local general stores, the bookstore, the clothing shops, all the locally owned places if they could get the same products for a cheaper price at walmart? Walmart will suck the money out of the local economy: locals will lose income and the merchants their jobs.
The jobs that Walmart would provide are not worth having. Talk with someone who has worked for them. Employees are not treated as humans, but as so much machinery. They aren't allowed to stand and talk to a fellow employee for more than a MINUTE because it "detracts from their work output." An actual employees told me that. And it is not a few malcontents who say these things. I have talked in person with people in several states about Walmart and it is pretty much universal. Please don't let walmart come to Saranac. I may not be a native, but I love the town no less for it and would not see it come to harm.

Catherine said...

Whoops, sorry about the typos. How embarrassing.