Saturday, June 10, 2006

Has Wal-Mart Been Prevented From Locating in Saranac Lake?

Simple answer, absolutely not. First, there are two possible building sites located in the downtown area. Second, eventually the village sandpit area will most likely be rezoned commercial and likely put up for sale.

Wal-Mart obviously thinks than can make big bucks by building a store in Saranac Lake. But only by building a 121,000 (or 100,000 downsized) sq foot store that stocks 60,000 or more items? A more reasonable sized store located in the downtown area cannot be profitable?

Wal-Mart is not interested in compromise nor are its local supporters. They must not want a store very badly.

And the Letters Begin...

In todays Adirondack Daily Enterprise, two 'woe are we' letters not really worth a comment (although the implication that our students wouldn't leave Saranac Lake if there was a Wal-Mart in SL is an original hypothesis). Here and here.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Whose Fault is It? Part IV

This mornings TOT on WNBZ (7:50 AM Mon - Fri):

To sum it up, it's the fault of the small business owners of Saranac Lake. The best thing to do now is to boycott these stores and put them out of business. That will open the way for Wal-Mart to come to town.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Whose Fault is It? Part III

This mornings TOT on WNBZ (7:50 AM Mon - Fri):

First call: Elected trustees and Mayor were for Wal-Mart and then changed their minds. Actually no. They all stated that they would want much more information before they made a decision.

Second call: Wal-Mart would have been a big boost and would have helped the small businesses. We need to vote Democrats out. Actually no. Most academic studies show that Wal-Mart is bad for small town businesses. Democrats were elected with very healthy majorities indicating that most people agreed with thier viewpoints.

Third call: Empty stores downtown, people going to Plattsburgh, boycott SL shopping. Saranac Lake is screwing everyone from what they deserve to have (Wal-Mart). There might be empty stores downtown, but they are difficult to find.

Fourth call: Democrats were wishy washy about whether they supported Wal-Mart or not. Saranac Lake is full of people with disposable income. They come from other places (during the last 20 years) and pay 2-3 times what a property is worth. The majority voters did not seem to agree that the Democrats were wishy washy. Are you saying voters in SL are stupid? Is the answer to prevent any new people from locating to SL? Should they be forced to pay less than what a property is worth? Are you willing to sell your property for less than it is worth?

Fifth call: Wish suitable place for Wal-Mart was found, opposed to Lake Flower Av site. Just as most SL residents apparently were too.

Sixth call: Let's boycott SL. There's an idea. Let's destroy the small businesses of SL. That should help the tax base.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Perfectly Stated

Opinion column in todays ADE:

Finally, let me address the issue of being an integral part of a community. What a subjective beauty this term is. It is a concept that seems to somehow get tied to the length of time a person lives in a community rather than the actions of that person while they are there. If time were the factor, none of the local residents who spend half the year in Florida would be integral. All of the residents who live in a community 12 months a year would be integral. Who is it that determines who is and who isn’t integral? This issue is a two-way street. There’s responsibility on the part of the new person to make the effort to integrate into the community, but there is also responsibility on the part of the existing community to welcome them and encourage them to become part of it. Calling them “elitists” or “outsiders” is not a good start. Fortunately, we have great neighbors and new friends who have done their share to make us feel a part of the neighborhood and community. While we don’t have a checklist on how to be integral, we do help wherever and however we can, and we don’t demand much, if anything, in the way of services from the schools and the government. We frequent and support local businesses, attend and support our local church, help local charities and, in general, seem to be doing all the things that we’ve always done wherever we’ve lived. I’m sure there are “flatlanders” who do more and some who do less. At the same time, I’m sure there are some locals who could do more for their community or could do a better job of welcoming the new people to the neighborhood. Being an integral part of anything has very little to do with time.

It is time to focus on the real issues, unite people to solve the problems and to stop creating classes that divide and provide no solution.

Whose Fault Is It? Part II

On WNBZ's Talk of the Town this morning.

1. Rich people
2. People who live here but don't work here
3. Democrats
4. Rich people who elected the Democrats
5. Rich people political machine
6. People that don't understand that Wal-Mart is a force for good
7. People who want to keep the poor people down because this is a playground for the rich
8. People that only live here in the summer
9. People that did not grow up here
10. People that did not live here during the good ole days (50's)

Whose Fault Is It? Part I

From Plattsburgh Press Republican:

Wal-Mart says:
Wal-Mart said it was disappointed in the board's decision, singling out Michael and saying the sand pit and the surrounding commercial properties it planned to buy make up the only suitable site for a Supercenter in Saranac Lake.

"Thousands of signatures were submitted supporting retail development in Saranac Lake, and we have recently received hundreds of cards in support of our project," the statement said.

"Unfortunately, the board's decision has effectively prohibited Wal-Mart from locating in Saranac Lake."

Typical response from poor beleaguered Wal-Mart. Everyone is picking on us. No one likes us, even though we are a force for good. Wal-Mart is not prohibited from locating in Saranac Lake. There are two perfectly good building sites available. And, even with the rezoning process postponed, eventually the property will be zoned commercial. Future hopes in preventing big box syndrome lie with village zoning restrictions on retail building size as has been done by several towns in Maine that care about their community character. Wal-Mart is now sulking and refuses to return calls to the Plattsburgh Press Republican.

Wal-Mart also places the blame on Saranac Lake Mayor Tom Michael, a man who won the election with a decided majority and who cast the deciding vote on the rezoning issue.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Community Department Store Presentation - June 22

That didn't take long at all. Mark your calenders. A Pro-active group is doing something about retail development already. The Save Saranac Lake Coalition is sponsoring a public forum to learn about Community Department Stores. The presentation will be held at 7 PM, June 22nd in the Harrietstown Hall, Saranac Lake, NY. Representatives from two operating community department stores will be there. More info at

Stay tuned for the reaction. Will there be wailing and gnashing of teeth or a joining together to do something positive?

What's Next???

The possibility of Wal-Mart building a store in Saranac Lake in the near future now seems to be unlikely, at least at the Lake Flower Ave. sandpit site. However, Wal-Mart probably has better than majority support to build a smaller store at another location in the downtown area of Saranac Lake. But how likely is that? Probably 100% unlikely since Wal-Mart wants what it wants and is known for not listening to anyone. So Wal-Mart the ball is now in your court.

The ball is also in the court of the Saranac Lake community. Most area residents do want a new department store, so what's next? Wouldn't it be great if SAGA, The CSave Saranac Lake Coalition, and CARD got together and determined what everyone could agree on and support concerning retail development? If CARD (Committee for Advancement of Retail Development)is really interested in retail development and not Wal-Mart per se, there is every reason to believe that the groups getting together could happen.

There are sure to be some angry letters to the ADE and calls to TOT concerning last nights vote to stop the sandpit rezoning process. The SL mayor and two village trustees are going to take some serious heat during the next week or so. Hopefully they will remember that they were elected by a substantial majority of voters. Hopefully they will do all they can to encourage reasonable retail development in downtown Saranac Lake.

I'm still ready to put my money where my mouth is concerning a co-operative retail store.

Wal-Mart Derailed in Saranac Lake

Last night the SL Village Board voted 3-2 to stop the rezoning process for the village owned sandpit site that Wal-Mart is interested in purchasing. Hear all about it at

Read about it here in the ADE.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility

The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) is a coalition of 275 faith-based institutional investors with over $110 billion in combined assets. Founded in 1971, ICCR is a major force in bringing advances in corporate social responsibility, corporate governance, and economic justice through organized share-owner advocacy.

See what they have to say about Wal-Mart here.

To Whom Much Is Given Much Is Expected, a few sermons.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Sandpit Rezoning Revisited - Mon Vil. Brd. Mtg.

The issue of whether to rezone the Lake Flower Avenue village owned sandpit area will be discussed at Monday nights village board meeting. One question that has been raised is whether the issue of Wal-Mart should enter into the decision to rezone the sandpit site to commercial or to wait for the planned re-evaluation of the Village’s Master Plan and zoning regulations.
In an article published in last week's ADE the following was written:
McEneany said that when he considers whether to continue with the rezoning, Wal-Mart will not be part of his thinking; he will consider the parcel only, not future sale of it.

Village Trustee McEneany has one way of thinking about the rezoning issue. The issue is only about rezoning and whether Wal-Mart might want to purchase the sandpit site to build one of their stores should not be considered.

A Letter to the Editor written by Ms. Gloria Volze has another way of looking at the rezoning issue:
If this is truly not about Wal-Mart, then there should be no problems in stopping the rezone at this time. We have nothing to lose but everything to gain by looking at our future with a renewed comprehensive plan.

Clearly, Ms. Volze has a valid point. What's the hurry if the rezoning issue is not about Wal-Mart? And again, with up to two years of sand remaining in the sandpit, what is the hurry to rezone?

The decision to rezone the sandpit site should be postponed until the Village Master Plan is updated.