Friday, September 23, 2005

Wal-Mart, BJ's and the Race for Speaker

We've been thinking a little more about the BTM/Gateway project and its potential impact on the Speaker's race. As we previously posted the land-use application will come to the Council in December. If the non-union box store issue isn't resolved by then Joel Rivera will be saddled with some heavy baggage.

As it stands, if the development is approved as is, there is absolutely nothing that will prevent Wal-Mart from becoming a tenant (The Daily news reported about this possibility in 2004). The sources that tell us that Target is the department store tenant may be wrong and the ambiguity here is a direct result of Related's careful policy of coyly refraining from actually announcing who the Gateway retailers are. When we combine this calculated coyness with the Wal-Mart policy of not commenting on any of its prospective site deals, well, you can see the potential problem here.

In addition, the EIS for Gateway calls for FIVE box stores and, if the rumors are true, only three are accounted for (BJ's, Home Depot and Target). There's plenty of room for the Walmonster, another indication of the problems that are created when a project proceeds with a total lack of transparency.

As far as the Speaker's race is concerned, does anyone remember Angel Rodriguez? Our recollection was that the Angel's fall from grace (at least before he went to jail), was due to his failure to generate labor support. In particular, we remember that the WFP was extremely active in Angel's demise.

So here comes the hard-charging Joel in December with a non-union box store albatross, perhaps even a Wal-Mart. We can just about hear Juice Newton singing, "Just call me Angel in the morning."