Editorial: Land use -- that's what the Walmart decision is

December 3, 2011

The Walmart expansion decision is in the hands of City Council now (details, page A1), but recent heated discourse on this development deserves a bit of perspective.

The company's expansion request needs to be considered as what it is, a land use matter. Many perspectives have been shared about Walmart's personnel policies, investment, operations and even ethical practices. None of that, favorable or unfavorable, is germane to the issue of whether or not the company should be allowed to add a grocery store to its existing facility.

Nor is the question one to put to a vote, as some quarters suggest. Businesses' decisions to settle, move, or expand are based on market forces. Such actions require some level of governmental approval, but they remain matters between the companies and the appointed or elected bodies.

Walmart's expansion request is physically large, as is the sense of politics around it, but it is a land use decision, not a political one.

However the City Council rules, businesses in the community will continue to do what they do, or adjust to the marketplace and local retail landscape.

We may not all agree on how a business conducts itself, how much it pays its employees, where and how it obtains its merchandise, and what happens to its profits. Thus, reactions to such concerns should be addressed by vote of the feet, or to put it another way, a vote of an open or shut wallet.

Flags Lowered

Buddy R. Herron

Gov. John Kitzhaber on Friday ordered all flags at public institutions to be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Monday Dec. 5, 2011, in honor of Correctional Officer Buddy R. Herron.

"I, along with all Oregonians, was shocked and saddened by the news of Correctional Officer Buddy R. Herron's death. Even in a time of such sadness, I cannot help but be inspired by the way lived - serving the public, helping others and safeguarding lives," said Governor Kitzhaber. "Mr. Herron's family and friends are in our thoughts."

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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