Thursday, November 03, 2005

Wal-Mart Denial: "Words Uttered Under Coercion"

In today's Daily News story on the City Planning Commission's hearing on the Bronx Terminal Market James Masyr, lawyer for the Related Companies, emphatically denied that the company had any plans to site a Wal-Mart at their Gateway Mall. All of which brings to mind Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes' famous put-down of loyalty oaths (he felt that any committed communist would have no trouble simply lying about his affiliation and signing such an oath). As Holmes remarked, "Words uttered under coercion are proof of loyalty to nothing but self interest."

In an analogous fashion, the oath uttered by Masyr is equally as self-serving and unbelievable. This is made even more so by the fact that Masyr and Related have consistently refused to let the public know who the tenants will be on the five proposed box store sites at the BTM.

Equally as questionable are the utterances of elected officials who have also consistently denied that BJ's will tenant the mall development. In fact some of these same officials have turned around and tried to surreptitiously bring back this particular box store to the failed site over in Soundview. All this means that there is a credibility gap as wide as the Grand Canyon in the Bronx.

The lack of truthfulness leaves opponents with no choice but to assume the worse about the character of the BTM development. This necessity is underscored by the nature of the zoning law itself. Once the BTM site is re-zoned there is absolutely no way to preclude Wal-Mart or BJ's from the site (And if you read the News story there is no categorical denial from Masyr about BJ"s--hmm).

The cold truth here is that while Masyr says, "There is absolutely no plan for a Wal-Mart in this project," if the approvals are obtained there will be nothing to impede the already truth-challenged developer from changing its mind. This is simply something that opponents of the Walmonster and their retail clones must avoid at all costs.