Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
Fri, Jan. 24

Wal-Mart failed its own reputation

If the legend is true, George Washington got it right.

He shouldn't have cut down the cherry tree, but given the fact he did, the smart thing to do was to own up and get it behind him.

When he was living, Sam Walton, the founder of

Wal-Mart, seemed to get it, too.

But some of the people now acting in his name don't get it. Wal-Mart is coming to Prescott Valley, and clearly most of the people there think it's a good thing. Although the margin of victory on the referendum sought mostly by representatives of Local 99 of the United Food and Commercial Workers union might not have been as wide had Wal-Mart not spent $275,658 to sell its view point to the electorate, things probably would have gone the

same way.

The point is, that even if the voters would have sustained the rezoning to make way for Wal-Mart anyway, all of the voters had a right to know before the election who was whose. They knew how much Protect Prescott Valley, the union-backed, anti-Wal-Mart group, had received from the union and spent to fight the rezoning. Friends of Prescott Valley, Yes on 400 did not file a timely report of campaign expenditures before the election, so even though everyone knew Wal-Mart was paying most of the bills for the pro-400 effort, they didn't know how much.

Sam Walton developed a strong corporate culture of making things right for customers who weren't happy.

The actions of lawyers representing Friends of Prescott Valley, Yes on 400 is the antithesis of what he would have done. The committee still could face a $30,000 fine for missing that filing deadline.

The $30,000 figure compared to what the completed store will net during its first week in business is analogous to a belch in a tornado. The lawyers probably have billed more than that in this protracted exercise.

They are not doing the company's carefully cultivated reputation much good.

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