June 22, 2004
A nice victory for Citizens for Open Government (COG) in the fight to stop the Wal-Mart distribution center in Beaver Dam. (I represent COG, so keep that in mind as you read this.)
Last night, citizens of the town of Trenton, where the distribution center would be built, filled the town hall and for nearly three hours peppered the Wal-Mart attorney from Foley & Lardner, two engineers, and two public relations people, with questions. Guess what? No answers to the tough ones. Where will the dirty run-off water go? Who pays for road repair when 800 trucks per day go round-trip? If the trucks cannot get in to unload, where will they park?(Answer: "We are making space for 18 trucks.")
In the end-around legal maneuver to have Dodge County zone the prime ag land to suit Wal-Mart, no one could explain who will get the property tax money--Beaver Dam or Dodge County? No one would say what happens to home values in the area that will plummet. One could only think of the old lines about "How many Wal-Mart suits does it take to change a light bulb? A lawyer to explain that there may not be a light bulb; two engineers to say that it is a work in progress; two public relations men to spin it into the socket."
The citizens were teriffic. This is their home, their community and they want to save it from the ravages of Wal-Mart. With the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporting that Wal-Mart has plans for 65 Supercenters in Wisconsin, every community had better listen to COG. The town board refused to recommend the Wal-Mart zoning request to the county board. The vote was unanimous.
Now it is on to the county board. Stay tuned.
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