Friday, May 19, 2006

OH NO!!!

Ok, well not really. Have a good weekend.

But there is a pretty amusing letter in todays ADE here.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Interesting Letter in Today's ADE

Interesting enough to post the whole letter which can be found here:

I wanted the people of Saranac Lake and the surrounding communities to know what is happening in regard to a department store in downtown Saranac Lake. The Save Saranac Lake Coalition has formed an “Alternative Options” committee. We are a team of residents researching options for the downtown area. We have investigated existing small department stores all over the country and the possibility of starting a community-run department store. On this front we have good news. In late June we will be hosting Sharon Earheart from the Chamber of Commerce in Powell, Wyoming. Powell, Wyoming is the home of the Powell Mercantile, a small department store that is run by the community. In addition we are in contact with people in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Maine that are also in the process of opening locally run department stores. Sharon, along with others, will be part of a panel discussion the week of Jun 19th about the feasibility of such a thing here in Saranac Lake. Keep an eye out as details develop. The future of downtown Saranac Lake is bright!

Jamie Konkoski

Saranac Lake

This is a group of people that believe in action. I have stated my desire to invest in a community department store. I blogged about this option on Feb 24th and Feb 25th. It is definitely an idea worth discussing. One big advantage of such a store is the money REALLY is kept in the community.

Wal-Mart Threatens FL Landowners

Wal-Mart has apologized for being 'overly agressive' in telling rural landowners in Putnam County FL that if they don't sell their land to Wal-Mart it will be taken by eminent domain. Read about it here.

A letter to the landowners gave them until 5 p.m. Thursday to agree to a deal with the company.

John Williams, 61, a retired corrections officer who owns a mobile home on the road, said he doesn't want to sell the land he worked for years to buy. But he fears he might not have a choice.

"They are the big bear, and there's nothing we can do about it," Williams said. "The big bear comes in and takes whatever they want."

Wal-Mart spokesman, Keith Morris claims it's all just a little misunderstanding.

ALSO: Hitting the news today is a story about how Wal-Mart contributes to poverty. This story actually concerns the study "Wal-Mart and County-Wide Poverty" that has been linked on the side of this blog for a couple of months. It's an academic study and maybe it's in the news because it just got published in Social Science Quarterly.

ADE Poll Update

As of 10:00 PM:

30.3% In favor of Wal-Mart on Lake Flower Ave.
This is likely the group of residents that want a 121,000 sq ft Wal-Mart and are unwilling to compromise their position.

23.1% In favor of Wal-Mart (or possibly retail development other than Wal-Mart) in Depot St. area.
This is likely the group that wants a smaller sized Wal-Mart or other retail store. They are willing to compromise. They obviously do not want it built on Lake Flower Ave.

8.8% In favor of Wal-Mart (or possibly retail development other than Wal-Mart).
It's a bit harder to tell what these voters are about. Maybe someone can help out here.

37.8% Are opposed to Wal-Mart or any other large scale retail development in Saranac Lake.
This group must be the 'transplants' to the area (who have no right to an opinion) and all those people with 'disposable' income.

The problem here is determining the definition of 'large scale retail development'. Anything larger than the old Ame's department store?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Another ADE Wal-Mart 'Poll'

The Adirondack Daily Enterprise is doing another of their infamous Wal-Mart web polls. Go to the ADE homepage here and scroll down to the lower right hand part of the page. Then vote your opinion.

Results of the poll can be seen here.

At 1:15 PM this afternoon:

38.4% were in favor of a Wal-Mart locating at the Lake Flower Ave. site
24.4% were in favor of a Wal-Mart locating between Depot St. and Broadway
10.5% were in favor of some other site
26.7% did not want a large retailer at all

Web Poll comments can be viewed here.

Only 38.4% in favor of Wal-Mart at Lake Flower site (although this could certainly change)

Wal-Mart would have few problems building in Saranac Lake if they would only consider the downtown area. Although, I suspect there are still problems with the size of the store Wal-Mart wants to build. Wal-Mart considers 121,000 sq ft one of their smaller sized stores.

Last Night's Village Board Meeting

Read about it in the ADE here.

About 100 people attended and it was a very 'civil' meeting. The meeting was evidently a disappointment for some because there was no real discussion about Wal-Mart. It was a meeting to determine how the SEQR process on the Lake Flower Ave. village sandpit site is going.

The majority of discussion Monday was directly related to the SEQRA process, but separating the two issues still became a difficult task. Earlier in the night, many in the audience held up signs that read “CARD supports Wal-Mart,” a reference to the grassroots group Citizens for the Advancement of Retail Development. Others wore pins for and against Wal-Mart.

Many Wal-Mart supporters left the meeting when they heard there was not going to any direct discussion of the store.

Later in the meeting, the two Republican members of the board criticized Mayor Michael for not informing them about a meeting held last week with Wal-Mart respresentatives.

“But what really upset me was the fact Harrietstown was invited to this meeting and the town of North Elba was not,” McEneany said. “In my opinion, this board, the mayor or any one of its trustees has to represent the village as a whole, and that includes the three towns that make up our village.”

Michael said he wasn’t sure why the board didn’t know about it because it was well publicized in the media, including prior to the meeting, and that Harrietstown wasn’t invited. Miller had asked to attend.

UPDATE: You can read about the meeting last night at WNBZ radio here. The articles are much more informative than those in todays ADE.

Throughout the meeting, Mayor Tom Michael had stressed that rezoning the sand pit was not “project specific” and could be done without selling the property.

But several audience members said Wal-Mart’s plans have to be taken into account as part of any decision to continue. Mark Kurtz said the board needs to consider reality. “The reality is something is going to happen with the property,” he said. “The problem with only changing the zoning and allowing that to happen without acknowledging the ramifications of it, I think is not moving ahead in a way that’s appropriate for the community.”

A small sample:

Kurtz asked the board not to rezone the sand pit until the village goes through an upcoming comprehensive zoning and land use code update.

But Wal-Mart supporters, like Rick Gonyea of CARD, urged the board to plod ahead. “We need a place to shop, that’s why we’re here,” he said. “We’re behind you in rezoning this property for the business that wants to come in.”

Monday, May 15, 2006

Can Wal-Mart Help Us Get Universal Healthcare?

Wal-Mart Watch Board Chairman and SEIU President Andy Stern gives some insight into his 'war on Wal-Mart' here. It seems to be about Universal Healthcare.

Also, go here and click on the map of the USA in the upper right corner. Then see how Wal-Mart has spread across the USA like the red tide.

While at the latimes website you can read a three part series on Wal-Mart: An Empire Built on Bargains, An Obsession With Costs and Unions Battle to Stop Invasion.

SL Village Board Meeting Tonight

Tonight is the night. Mr. Andrew C. Abdallah, PE from Architectural & Engineering Design Associates PC is scheduled to answer questions about the rezoning status of the Lake Flower Avenue (and potential Wal-Mart building site) village sandpit. Mr. Abdallah was hired by the previous Village Board to advise in rezoning the sandpit site from residential to commercial.

Representatives of three local groups, Save Saranac Lake Coalition, Voters for Change and Sound Adirondack Growth Alliance will presumably there as well. All three groups have found problems with the SEQR document that is necessary for the rezoning. A pro-Wal-Mart group , CARD (Citizens for Advancement of Retail Development) will surely also be in attendance.

The groups also argue that the 'spot' rezoning process of the sandpit area should stop and become part of the future Comprehensive Master Planning process which the Village and Town has requested grant funding.

It should be a lively meeting. The meeting is being held at the Saranac Lake Volunteer Firehouse, to accommodate a larger group, at 7 PM.