You may recall from elementary school the transitive property of equality:
If a = b, and b = c, then a = c.
This works in math. This almost never works in life. As in:
If Amy likes Bill, and Bill likes Cassie, then Amy will like Cassie.
If the Astros beat the Braves, and the Braves beat the Cubs,
then the Astros will beat the Cubs.
Or, and my point:
If I join a Facebook group called Stop the Heights Walmart,
and Stop the Heights Walmart morphs into a an anti-Annise Parker organization,
then I oppose Annise Parker.
Andy Icken may be a chump for being snarky in emails, and perhaps not altogether clear on the definition of the word effete, but that does not change how I feel about Mayor Parker. For the two or three of you who care, here’s where I stand:
- I am upset that the Yale Street development will have a Walmart both because of Walmart’s labor practices and because I, selfishly, am annoyed that one more north/south route out of our neighborhood will now be clogged with traffic.
- I am not categorically opposed to the use of 380 agreements when it gives the city a chance to exert some modicum of control over infrastructure development, and when there is a chance that the city might not have to reimburse the developer if sales tax and other benchmarks aren’t met.
- I continue to be baffled by how many people conflate Ainbinder (the developer) with Walmart (the tenant) when talking about the city’s involvement in this process. While I have no doubt that city officials are being lobbied by Walmart staff, I also understand that the signatories to the agreement are Ainbinder and the city. Only.
- My membership in the Stop the Heights Walmart Facebook group should not be construed as opposition to the Mayor. My membership in that group reflects only my desire that a Walmart not be built in this location.
I will continue to oppose the Heights Walmart by not shopping at the Heights Walmart. I will continue to be a member of this group on Facebook so I can stay on top of their positions and actions.
I do not think, however, that anyone should assume that the 6,000+ people who are members of that group oppose anything other than the placement of a Walmart in/near/next to the Heights. Furthermore, if the group begins to use its membership number as leverage to accomplish other goals, that will not be cricket.
That is all.
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#2 – the Ainbinder 380 does neither. It is not a tax abatement, but a reimbursement agreement. There are no benchmarks to be met other than operating the Walmart for 15 months. The City gives up control – it gives up the right to enforce Ordinances.
#3 – their plan worked: JULY 21, 2010 “We need to decide on when and how we are going to announce the 380 agreement. We need to separate the development from Walmart; they are the main concern.” – Tim Douglas, Deputy Director of Economic Development
Read the 380 – you may change your mind about the Mayor when you find out it doesn’t say what she says it says: http://www.houstontx.gov/koehler/koehler380.pdf
Thanks for posting – I have to re-read, and will admit to have been working on old info. I have to say that the more I think about Icken’s email attitude (and some others), the more annoyed I get. Aside from the issue (and I don’t mean to dismiss the issue), who ARE these people who say stuff like that in work email, especially when they work for a government entity. Clearly, I’ve posted some mild to moderately snide comments on my blog (I think it is a rule that you have to if you blog), but I’m aware that I’m doing so, and am putting it all out there knowing that whatever I say will be attributed to me and may come back to bite me on the something. I’d hate to see this be the issue that tanks an entire administration, but I wouldn’t mind a few people taking some heat for it.
Just got another comment that I think highlights how sticky and bigger-than-Walmart this whole issue has become – this from an anonymous poster:
We’re all getting a bit frayed around the edges waiting for National Brotherhood Week! But seriously, it is fascinating (and a little frightening) to see how many issues the Walmart fight serves as a proxy for, which is why I didn’t want to just delete this anonymous comment.
It’s weird how many people are “for” the Walmart because it harms the Heights. They hate the people of the Heights so much that they don’t care that they have to spend $6M + uncapped interest to stick it to the “effete”.
Another recurring theme is “if you are against the Heights Walmart then why weren’t you against Target, why aren’t you against Whole Foods, if it were HEB you wouldn’t feel this way etc.”.
And somehow having bought a townhome excludes a whole group of people from legitimacy. For the record, I think there are quite a few people who live in older homes who are against the Walmart too. Full disclosure – I live in a patio home in the First Ward – most people would call it a townhome.