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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Let Them Eat Low Prices

Apparently, if you opposed a proposal to trade Northside Park with Wal-Mart for a new park, you are an elitist that could care less about the poor and a racist who doesn't care about East Gainesville.

At least, that's how the losing side of the debate tried to spin it Tuesday. And let me stress – the losing side of the debate.

There were many reasons to oppose the idea – the neighbors didn't want to replace its park with a mega-sized retail center; the location is a poor choice for a supercenter, and it has drainage problems; and many people just have cognitive disconnect when you mention giving Wal-Mart a park, no matter what the retail giant has put on the table in return.

I opposed it purely because government has no responsibility to use tax money to confer massive financial favors to corporations, because the taxes are needed for real public purposes, because the companies don't need the money, and because incentives to corporations are never doled out fairly, but rather in a pattern of political favoritism.

The trick pulled by Wal-Mart and former Gainesville City Manager Wayne Bowers was to attach a second supercenter to the trade – give Wal-Mart the park, and the city will get a bigger park and a supercenter in East Gainesville. It was a rather large bone to throw the East Side, but a bone nonetheless. Wal-Mart is willing to bring its low prices close to home, as long as it get something in return.

So when the trade for the park was nixed Monday night, the trade proponents tried to make it into a civil rights issue. This, despite the fact that the commission also passed a resolution – unanimously, mind you – in support of Wal-Mart developing on a specific site on Waldo Road. Still, the elitism and racism accusations have been repeated, and will be again I'm sure.

It is an absurd accusation, especially the racism part. Helping locate a Wal-Mart in East Gainesville is not a significant public service – it is a commercial development with a store that has lower prices, so they say. Wal-Mart is free to locate a store at several locations in East Gainesville, whether the city likes it or not.

Any work the city does to entice Wal-Mart is corporate welfare. Let the so-called free market be free of government involvement and my tax money.

Spam, Comments and Spam

Thanks to the wonder of the Internet, I now have an easy way to publish my writing and random spam advertisements.

I have deleted the ones I saw, but you might have caught a few of the advertisements posing as comments on a few posts. "Great blog! Click here to learn about penis enlargement." That sort of thing.

So now if you want to leave a comment, you'll have to take an additional 4.6 seconds off your life and fill in a verification field. That way spambots cannot leave advertisements on the blog.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Is Smith Off (His Party) Base?

I actually agree with state Sen. Rod Smith's comment, from an idealistic standpoint. Judges should pay attention to law and precedent and not to ideology.

Maybe Smith is playing to the soft conservatives, trying to get them to switch if he wins next year's Democratic gubernatorial primary. Whatever his reason for taking this position, he has now put the issue of abortion into the race, because choice advocates obviously oppose Roberts for the Supreme Court in fear he will make abortion illegal.

It'll be interesting to see how (or whether) Smith defends a woman's right to choose -- because he'll be asked, and real soon. With his comment seeming to support Roberts nomination, Smith will be under pressure from pro-choice groups to strongly support choice, else alienating a large voting block that also happens to be very politically active.

He will make some sort of statement in support of choice in the next few days, if he's smart. Opposing choice might help Smith in a general election, but it will likely cost him the nomination.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Meow! Reow! Hisssss!

Florida Dem gubernatorial candidate Scott Maddox took a rather accruate pot shot at state Sen. Rod Smith, an Alachua resident who is one of Maddox's two opponents for the Dem nomination next year. He said:

"Rod Smith has a Republican voting record. And while he votes with us on some of our things, on lots of them he doesn't, like the living wage. And I think he's going to throw a screen pass. He's a good speaker, he'll run an inventive campaign, but when he gets in the end zone, even though he's wearing my uniform, I ain't sure he's on my team."

According to the St. Pete Times blog, The Buzz, Smith shot back that Maddox was not a factor in the race.

Alternative blog post headline: Nanny Nanny Boo Boo, Stick Your Head In Doo Doo.

Swift BS

Frank Rich writes in the NYT about how the right-wing personal attacks on Cindy Sheehan didn't work, but I think he is being too enthusiastic about the political damage Sheehan has done to Dubya. I read many such articles at this time last year about the torture scandals, the poor economic news, the mess in Iraq, etc., that pronounced Dubya's agenda DOA. Yet there he still is, re-elected.