A Word From Wal-Mart…

Wal-Mart wants to tell its side of story in the battle over the company’s plans to build a Supercenter in Bel Air and close an older store in Abingdon. In a Friday afternoon email from the company’s public relations firm, The Dagger was offered an opportunity to ask questions in a meeting with Wal-Mart’s director of media and community relations, who will be in town next week. According to the email, the meeting is intended to give Dagger readers Wal-Mart’s point of view on the move – a move that has sparked fierce opposition from area residents.

The Dagger accepted Wal-Mart’s invitation to meet on Tuesday, and in keeping with our commitment to community journalism, we now offer a related invitation to our readers. If you have questions for Wal-Mart, please pose them in the comment section below. Where possible, we will seek answers to your questions, along with answers to questions of our own.

The uproar over Wal-Mart is focused on the Bel Air Supercenter, proposed to include an automotive center, pharmacy with drive-thru, groceries (with a separate market entrance) and garden center. The new store would be located south of Plumtree Rd. with a main entrance off of Route 924, and could be open 24 hours a day. Traffic to and from the store could hit 10,000 trips per day, according to a company representative who spoke at a community input meeting held in July.

Wal-Mart has solicited support for the Bel Air store through phone calls, surveys and mailers. Offering 100 new jobs, additional tax revenue, and energy-saving initiatives in the new building, the Wal-Mart mailer to area residents cited a study finding that Wal-Mart saves the average household more than $3,100 per year.

Opposing the new store, residents have picketed and spoken out at public meetings, citing traffic, public safety and other concerns. Yard signs reading “No Bel Air Walmart” pepper the landscape; a mailer opposing the store has been sent to area homes; a coordinating Web site has been formed (nobelairwalmart.com) and protesters have lined Route 924 in recent days, urging passing drivers to honk their horns in a display of solidarity.

The moves are a buildup to a Development Advisory Committee (DAC) meeting Wednesday between Wal-Mart and county and state officials. DAC meetings are held by the Harford County Department of Planning and Zoning to review development proposals and to ensure compliance with development regulations. County zoning does allow for a Supercenter or similar store at the proposed Bel Air location.

The DAC meeting on the proposed Bel Air Wal-Mart Supercenter will be held on October 17th at 9 a.m. at 212 S. Bond Street, Bel Air, in the County Council Chambers. DAC meetings are open to the public and a large turnout is expected at the meeting Wednesday. According to a planning and zoning official, public comments at DAC meetings are generally solicited after the developer’s plans have been presented and DAC members have had the opportunity to ask questions and make comments. Public comments should pertain to the plan presented.

In the meantime, the minutes of a closed door meeting held last week between Wal-Mart and the Abingdon Community Council have been released and appear below. The meeting notes offer the most detailed explanation to date for the company’s plans to build in Bel Air, rather than expand at its Abingdon location, as area residents and elected officials have urged:

“Ms. Albert [Wal-Mart director of community affairs] explained the conditions for expanding at the current location are not viable for several reasons:

1. The parking lot slopes so no expansion can occur to the front.
2. A viable business is located to the rear of the property
3. To expand to the west side would reduce the number of required parking spaces
4. Expansion to the side would also interfere with a storm water management buffer

Ms. Albert stated that Wal-Mart would not close a store for remodeling because jobs would be lost. She further explained that no store is closed and relocated without a very thorough thought process.”

Below are the full meeting minutes released by the administration of Harford County Executive David Craig:

Comments

  1. Annie Brock says

    Questions for Walmart:

    1) Has the Walmart Corporation given any thought to putting a Sam’s Club at the Abingdon location when/if it is vacated? If so, what is the likelihood of this occurring? I have visions of a Sam’s Club going into that location, putting BJ’s out of business – the thought does not please me.

    2) I haven’t reviewed other stores’ policies, but it’s disappointing to hear that Walmart will only give to the community in proportion to what the community spends in its store. “The “Giving” budget is based on store performance.” (Oct 8th mtg minutes) Instead of “Give and you shall receive,” Walmart lives by “Spend and you shall receive.” Please comment on this.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 8
  2. says

    1) What is being done to address the traffic coming from northern Bel Air/Churchville/Forest Hill? The “other end” of 924 needs to be addressed as well.
    2) Would WalMart be able to “Switch locations” with BJs and take over their warehouse location to create a Super Center, and give BJs their spot in the Abingdon Shopping center?
    3) Have these “traffic studies” been done at various times throughout the day?

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    • Christopher Quinn says

      It important to consider that Aberdeen, Falston and Whitemarsh are Super Walmart Centers. “Small” town Bel Air, is a thriving town with its local merchants and adds to the appeal of residing in this area of Harford County MD. Walmart would infringe on the businesses all ready staking ground in this area. Please do not allow this placement in Bel Air and preserve the integrity of this town!!! Walmart is like a epidemic of greeding and deceiptful outbreaks in any given state. I would encourage the sheep to boycott all stores if this one goes in place. I sure will and have already used other stores in competition of the big W .

      Well-loved. Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0
      • Brenda says

        I agree 100% with you Mr. Quinn! I have been boycotting “The Big W” for over two years now…and will continue to do so! Sam Walton would turn over in his grave if he knew what his corp has been pulling all over the place.

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      • CDEV says

        Zoning is not a judgement on the viability or the quality of the product offered. Simply a function of appropriate for the space according to the zoning. If you wanted a small buisness than it should have been zoned that way. These arguements should have been made at the re-zoning hearing.

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      • Just Saying says

        Local merchants? Do you mean Target? Best Buy? Barnes and Noble? Outback Steak House? Shoot, even Giant isn’t local. There are only a few local merchants left in Bel Air because all of these other places and more were let in a long time ago. Do you only shop at local merchants? I find that hard to believe considering it’s almost impossible to take care of all of your needs with just mom and pop shops these days.

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  3. LOL says

    You people live under a rock. “Traffic” studies, and 1,000 page reports have been going on in this county since the first dump truck poured out asphalt.

    Geesh.. All about the “TRAFFIC STUDY” IS THIS WAL MART THE ONLY THING IN HARFORD COUNTY THAT’S EVER HAD A TRAFFIC STUDY? OMG!!!

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  4. Steve Tobia says

    Instead of listening to Wal-mart tell us why the Constant Friendship store cannot be expanded, I would like to hear them say what would need to be done to remodel and expand it. Ms. Albert mentions that a very thorough process takes place before a store is closed. I would like to refute some of her points.
    1) There is no need to expand to the front of the store (which is the West side of the store).
    2) There is 110 feet of level grass to the rear of the store. This area could be paved and used to move equipment and construction supplies. When the store is complete the paved area would be used to deliver to the additional loading docks needed for food.
    3) Ms. Albert mentions expanding to the West. I think she is referring to the South side as the front is the West side. The South side of the store (this would be the garden area side) cannot be expanded without reducing parking which is true. There is no parking to the other side of the store.
    4) The North side of the store has 170 ft. of level ground. Building the North side out 140 ft. would add 40,000 sq. ft. making the store the same size as the Fallston store. There will be plenty of room for groceries but not for an auto center. Wal-Mart needs to make a concession. Like the Fallston store there would be no auto center.
    Again, I would like to hear what needs to be done to convert this store to an approximately 156,000 sq. ft. super center. Not why it can’t be done. The below is a preliminary proposal:
    1) Temporarily close the store to do a facelift to the front of the store. A new entrance would be added to the South of the existing entrance. The existing entrance would be temporarily closed while the North expansion takes place. Existing Wal-Mart workers would be used to rearrange shelving to accommodate the new layout. Property to the rear of the store would be paved as mentioned above.
    2) The store reopens with the new entrance to the South which would be away from the construction area. Part of the parking lot would be closed for the movement of construction equipment. Once the expansion is complete, the store would again be temporarily closed to cut numerous openings/passages in what was previously the old North exterior wall to allow access from the old store to the new area which would house the grocery section.
    3) The existing storm water pond is to the West of the expansion. If the storm water pond needs to be enlarged I would think digging a larger ditch is possible. In this country we build skyscrapers amongst skyscrapers. It is hard to believe that the country’s richest corporation cannot find an architect that can expand a single story building.
    4) Advantages: The land is already clear and the parking lot in place. The existing structure would be used vice abandoning. While the facelift to the old store is being done, existing employees would be used to reorganize the store. When the facelift is complete the store reopens and the associates resume with their normal duties. The new section would be isolated from the existing store while construction is taking place. New employees would be hired as the new section nears completion. The above results in minimal store down time and existing employees would not need to be let go. Building a new store in Bel Air would be averted and the Constant Friendship store would not need to be sold.
    5. Please ask Wal-Mart if the above is feasible.

    Well-loved. Thumb up 12 Thumb down 4
    • Bel Air Mom says

      I’m with Steve, excellent point. You have (most of)the community upset about this proposal. Why didn’t you protest when it was re-zoned then, I keep hearing… honestly, most of us are so busy working and raising a family, we don’t keep up like we should with decisions about zoning, and county budgets. But we’re all paying attention now, Walmart. So: why not buy yourself some good press to counteract all the worker protests you’ve experienced, and find a way to expand your current location? Frankly, I can’t see why we need any stores bigger than the entire Harford Mall.

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      • Bailey says

        Yeah, we should have paid more attention but isn’t that what we elect people to do, look out for the community and what is best for it? Somebody said there wasn’t much opposition at the zoning change. People work for a living and can’t be at meetings that happen during the work day. Not many people showing up is not a good reason to approve anything.

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        • ALEX R says

          It was approved because there was little to no opposition. That would have been because we all said to ourselves “Heck, I’m too busy to be involved in that. Whatever. I will deal with it later if it becomes an issue that impacts me in a way that I don’t like.” Too bad for you. Too bad for me. Too bad for all of us. What lesson have you learned? We can all throw our little tantrums now but we have what we have because we allowed it to happen and our little tantrums now won’t change that.

          Well-loved. Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1
          • Unless says

            The surrounding community did not comprehend the consequences of the zoning change. Members of the County Council didn’t either: they apologize to the community for not realizing a big box store could build there when they rezoned it (Baltimore Sun, October 3, 2012).

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          • Eric says

            Unless

            How do you know that people didn’t understand the consequences?

            I think they knew full well the zoning implications and as did the people who bought homes nearby.

            You need to get over yourself and realize you don’t own this commercially zoned property “unless” of course you went out and bought it.

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        • CDEV says

          Yes but even they need feedback. They gave you an oportunity and a forum to provide that and you did not take advantage of it.

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          • Unless says

            CDEV: The Harford County Council is the people’s link to understanding the issues they vote on. The council was unaware of the implications of the zoning change. For that reason, the zoning change should be revisited. At that point, the County Council members will be able to vote on the zoning change with full realization of the consequences.

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          • CDEV says

            If the Wal-mart falls through then that would be legal……But as of now they are complying with the law and the law says you can not rezone without grnadfathering in their exsisting case!

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  5. D says

    Questions for Walmart-
    Does Walmart own the other large parcels in the Plumtree location? Do they plan to add a Sam’s Club and Gas Station at the Plumtree location in the future? If so, will the current traffic study be amended to include this additional traffic?

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    • Bailey says

      They don’t own anything yet. There will be two parcels on the same site closer to Bel Air South Parkway if they buy the property they want.

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  6. Old Timer Harford County says

    With all the people calling for Wal-Mart to expand where there are at, how does it fix the issues with getting out of that center? A Dagger article is below if you need a reminder of people calling 911 to get out of there. Now you want to expand there?

    http://www.daggerpress.com/2010/12/24/massive-traffic-jam-in-constant-friendship-traps-drivers-for-hours/

    That center should have never had approval with only one exit. No other center in the county, even smaller ones like Bel Air Town Center, has to have two exits or more. You complain about the 924 traffic, but expanding in the center would be crazy. The three exit plan, with some of those egresses heading straight across to 24 is much, much smoother than any plans that can get you out of Constant Friendship.

    For other businesses that may be watching this, please note that Harford County is not more anti-business than other Maryland counties, it just seems that way. We really do want and need jobs to come here. Do not let the opinion of a few well meaning people make you believe that this is the make up of everyone in my town. It’s not. They are interlopers who believe that should be the last ones allowed to move in.

    Well-loved. Thumb up 12 Thumb down 4
      • Bailey says

        We the taxpayers spent 23 million dollars improving that entire interchange to provide better local access and a bypass for commuters. Do you want to spend another 23 million having to widen roads well beyond the few intersections Walmart’s traffic study covers that will be negatively impacted to a standstill?

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  7. Interested says

    Why not just leave the Wal Mart where it is and put a Super Center in Forest Hill. This would serve the out lying areas that need a store that’s convenient.

    Well-loved. Thumb up 10 Thumb down 4
    • Bailey says

      85% of the residents of Harford County live in the development envelope. Forest Hill is not part of that, but the Route 40 corridor is and they don’t want to move there where it would make sense.

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  8. concerned citizen says

    In Mr. Walton’s book he states that there are plenty of towns that would welcome a Walmart. If they come up against opposition in one town, they move on to the next one. Why are they still pursuing this location with the opposition they have met?

    Well-loved. Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1
  9. Rob Thornton says

    didnt the county council rezone this land for commercial development a few years back? if that is the case Walmart has every right to be there. End of story.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 14 Thumb down 11
    • Bailey says

      It was rezoned in an appeal made by the owner, who is now appealing zoning across the street at Plumtree/24 to build a big apartment complex. The problem is these zoning meetings take place when most people are working, Wednesday mornings at 9AM.

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  10. Joshua M says

    My question: When will the new WalMart open? I’m tired of driving to Fallston to go to the Super WalMart.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 8
  11. me first says

    I NOTICED those people protesting with signs. Only Harford county teachers are allowed to do that.

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  12. Jones says

    WalMart was able to remodel and expand at it’s current Abingdon location some years ago without closing. It remodeled and expanded it’s Aberdeen location without closing. Many other stores have done the same in our area including Target and ShopRite. WalMart is using scare tactics to say that they would need to close and people would lose jobs if they were to remodel/expand at the current location.

    Why are they unwilling to look at all the options? Why can’t they see that the Bel Air location would be a nightmare for anyone traveling, working or living in that area?

    If they absolutely, positively refuse to expand the current location why can’t they look at other parcels of land available outside of already overcrowded Bel Air?

    Our community does not need 2 WalMarts 5 miles apart.

    Well-loved. Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1
    • concerned local says

      Don’t all of you see this is a done deal. No matter what they say at walmart and our county people. Walmart have had people submit quotes for all aspects of building. The builders know this why not us. Think about it. Money, money money and local greed. We all pay our taxes here and our say seems to not mean anything. Sad is it not?

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  13. Confused Bel Air Resident says

    For the love of GOD get over it already. Unless someone on this board is willing to pay them a ton of money to not open the store than shut up about it. They purchased the land and have every right to put their business there. In America the way you get a business to not be in a given location is to NOT shop there. If Walmart wasn’t doing a killer business in Harford County they would move out. Since most normal citizens enjoy their convenience and low prices they feel the need to expand and provide more services to more people.

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    • D says

      FY_–they DO NOT OWN THE PROPERTY at this time. In the CIM Walmart stated that it does not buy property until after all approvals are in place. They stated this was standard industry practice.

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      • Fact Check says

        No but some developer owns the land and is going to make a good deal of money when Walmart does buy it. That middle man will also get screwed if the deal doesn’t go through so they are someone elese that will be pushing hard to get this done.

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        • Bailey says

          The developer has sat on this property for decades and doesn’t live anywhere in the area, appealed for this property to be rezoned to high density business and is now appealing for property at 924 and 24 across the street to be rezoned to accommodate an apartment complex. As much as they have spent on litigation to try to change the property to meet whatever buyer wants to build is hardly hurting financially.

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    • concerned local says

      I thought this was a free country. Our comments do matter. And people will not shut up about it. Just because things aren’t the same in our country as before, and if you question this? You should should move out of this country.

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  14. Teresa says

    Why is Walmart so insistent upon opening a new store in a community where it is clearly not wanted?

    Obviously, we have no true say in the matter. The county wants it, Walmart wants it. You might as well say god wants it. It will be built.

    Getting to Bel Air is already hell. I really can’t wait until this monstrosity is built and the traffic on a 2 lane road is at a standstill.

    How many of you are going to boycott this Walmart when it is built? Very few, I suspect.

    How many of you are going to boycott all Walmarts when this one is built? None, I suspect.

    I haven’t shopped at Walmart for a few years. My personal choice. My personal boycott. Do they notice? No, of course not. It’s about principles. I only ask that those who oppose Walmart do not become hypocrites when the store is right down the street. Don’t fight the company and turn around and give them your money.

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    • ALEX R says

      Teresa, Here are your questions and you answers:

      Why is Walmart so insistent upon opening a new store in a community where it is clearly not wanted? It is wanted and the proof of that will be when they are open and the parking lot is populated and they are doing a great business. Just because you don’t want it doesn’t mean it won’t be successful.

      Obviously, we have no true say in the matter. The county wants it, Walmart wants it. You might as well say god wants it. It will be built. But you the community did have a say in the matter when the property was rezoned. And the community spoke then and said yes. Or, perhaps, to be more accurate, the community said we don’t care enough to speak out either for or against.

      Getting to Bel Air is already hell. So then don’t go to Bel Air. You have no God given or even legally bestowed right to get to Bel Air in a manner that you consider convenient.

      You have answered your last two questions for yourself and you got the answers right.

      Well-loved. Thumb up 12 Thumb down 6
      • Unless says

        The new site was zoned commercial without the surrounding community being aware of the zoning change or comprehending the consequences. That zoning is now being challenged.

        County council members have apologized for not realizing a big box store could build there when they rezoned it (Baltimore Sun, October 3, 2012).

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        • CDEV says

          You mean you all ignored all the signs put up all over the place and where to lazy to find out!

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          • CDEV says

            The people who drove by all those zoning signs everyday and didn’t think to look into them, what was occuring and maybe go to a meeting. When the property was rezoned there where signs up well in advance. Probably people ignored them. That is their fault and Wal-mart and the property owner should not pay becasue the locals where lazy!

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          • Unless says

            It’s not laziness. The County Council didn’t even know the consequences. They didn’t let the people know as a result (see the article in the Baltimore Sun October 3rd). Jim McMahan would have had this zoning issue at a Coffee Talk if he knew how rezoning could affect the community. Billy Boniface said each of the councilmembers thought it would be something more in keeping with the existing character of the street, such as office buildings.

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        • none says

          Five of the seven council members are just trying to save face. They all knew what they were doing when they voted for the current zoning.

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    • Kharn says

      Because getting to the Abingdon store is worse than the Plumtree location will be.

      If you don’t like it, start accepting donations and buy the land from the developer for more than Walmart has offered to pay.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2
  15. BRAC Family says

    many children walk to Patterson Mill School via Rt. 924. We are very concerned for their security and safety as the proposed Wal-Mart will increase commercial truck traffic making early morning/afternoon deliveries, increasing the possibilities of injury all student “walkers.” We propose the following:

    If construction goes ahead, eliminate all entrance to Wal-Mart on 924 (similar to the Festival design,) and prohibit truck deliveries during the hours of 0700-0900 am and 230-430pm. To further ensure their safety, those commercial delivery vehicles should be required to access the building from Blue Spruce Drive off Bel Air South Parkway; those roads already exist in a predominantly retail environment, that is designed for commercial vehicle traffic.

    Additionally, we are concerned about protecting children from a criminal element that will likely be attracted to the Wal-Mart for petty-crime opportunities. Why not have Wal-Mart be directed to pay for increased Harford County Sheriff protection for the children as they walk to and from school.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 11
    • ALEX R says

      Just like every other business and every other citizen in the community they will pay for HCSO protection thru their taxes.

      Well-loved. Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0
      • BRAC Family says

        This is politics; if they want to do business here, they should be willing to pay the piper.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3
          • BRAC Family says

            I’m a realist. Industry has no hesitation for tax abatements or special deals from the county when they are planning a project. Why then is it wrong for the county to ask for special provisions from a developer in return for setting up shop? It is totally legal and above board to do so.

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    • Kharn says

      Please show how Walmart is a source of petty crime against persons walking on the right of ways near the store.

      Well-loved. Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1
      • BRAC Family says

        I’m worried in advance about our children. Stores bring crime, our kids are walking past the store on the way to school. They need police protection. If others aren’t concerned about the safety of our kids, that is their right, and I respect that. I am, however worried about it. Hence my comment.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 9
        • TRUTH says

          Then move, people do that all the time for the same reason. Just admit that it inconveniences you a bit so you want the rest of us to side with you on it.

          Don’t want big giant stores near you? Don’t buy houses in areas that they would like to be built in. Sorry it sentimentally devalues your commute a bit, then save 100k and move to an identical house in Norrisville and never worry again about a Walmart getting built.

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 6
          • BRAC Family says

            I don’t have to admit anything to anyone. You have your opinion, I have mine. I’m concerned about the safety of my children. If it isn’t a concern of yours, that is certainly your God-given right to feel that way, and i respect that.

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 1 Thumb down 8
          • David A. Porter says

            If you do not care to maintain the standard of living in the area that you live in and do not mind the encroachment of activities that cause a decline in your quality of life – fine, no one will stop you from enjoying what you have chosen to accept. When someone chooses to protest what they feel is an impending problem that will affect the community they have chosen to live in, it is foolish to tell them to move someplace else just because you are willing to lower your standards (from their perspective) to accommodate the pending reality.

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 7
      • Bailey says

        They don’t even protect the customers who are on their parking lots. Why would they care about sidewalks next to it? Those security cameras aren’t there for customer protection. They are there for Walmart to have a record in case they get robbed. They aren’t even manned regularly.

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        • Kharn says

          If the Supreme Court says that even the police do not have a duty to protect any one person specifically, but only society as a whole, where does the responsibility of the shop owner to protect his/her customers from third parties come from?

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    • none says

      How about taking some personnel responsibility and teach your children not to walk in the road, only cross at the crosswalk and to look both ways before they cross a street.

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  16. yeah says

    Yeah, another comment and personal agenda of the “it effects me so let’s do something about it”

    I guess those people aren’t concerned when they are speeding down 22 in Aberdeen in the mornings and afternoon, lots of children walking and crossing the road. It’s not rare to see a few run a red light.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3
    • yeah says

      And please tell me why wal mart has to pay for security and alter delivery times? Kids walking to school on every other road in Harford seem to be doing ok? Do big daddy loud noisey trucks only drive on a small stretch of 924 or something? LOL

      Well-loved. Thumb up 9 Thumb down 3
      • BRAC Family says

        Why? to protect our children. If Wal-Mart cares about kids, they’ll listen to these suggestions. If they do not, they won’t. pretty simple.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 10
        • TRUTH says

          Tell your kids to cross at cross walks and look both ways before crossing the street. All of us down by Route 40 have to do that all the time. There’s no double standard.

          Well-loved. Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1
        • ALEX R says

          If you haven’t taught your kids how to walk safely on the sidewalk and to cross safely at intersections maybe the problem isn’t Walmart.

          Well-loved. Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0
          • yeah says

            Hell yeah dude.

            According to brac family wal mart is going to bring an immense amount of crime, we may as well build a police station next door, but have wal mart pay for it. LOL

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          • David A. Porter says

            In a community that justifies busing kids within seven blocks of the Middle School and High School, I certainly support your notion that walking to school is safe under most circumstances. Bel Air is not most circumstances. Bel Air has a high population density and under developed roads supporting too much traffic at too high a rate of speed. It’s no wonder you want to pay the money to bus the kids and pollute your environment and contribute to the traffic congestion that we have today. I believe “The Eagles” have a song which says “Call something Paradise, kiss it good bye”. The root complaint here is there is no sense in the approach taken on development in this community. People have talked about it for years but they are blinded by the offer of cheap goods and low paying jobs so long as we are willing to compromise our communities to do it.

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        • yeah says

          Here’s an idea.

          Teach your children how to negotiate busy traffic.and keep their eyes glued on the road.

          How about enrollling them into martial arts if you are worried about their safety? Walking tall is much better than trotting like sheep.

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  17. Gary Ambridge says

    This meeting (October 8, 2012) was a farce. It did nothing but solidify Wal Mart’s purpose to destroy our neighborhood for more profit and the County just nods its head, shrugs its shoulders and smiles while saying, “They have the zoning.” Council President Boniface admitted that a mistake was made in the zoning.

    The Abingdon Community Council was the wrong group to ask for “community” input as they do not live in Bel Air. The Bel Air South Community Foundation is made up of us who actually live here and have a real interest in the safety and health of our community. It is beyond my understanding how (county Chief of Staff) Aaron Tomarchio could think that the earlier meeting in July at the Patterson Mill High School with Wal Mart wasn’t “productive” if the purpose of that meeting was to “…meet with community members and hear what they have to say.” Wal Mart did hear what the community had to say, it was unequivocal and crystal clear: WE DO NOT WANT A WAL MART IN BEL AIR.

    Now the County is re-arranging the deck chairs on the sinking Titanic of our community and hoping the voters will think that they did what they could to save us from this run away truck’s breakneck careening over our lives. Every communication with the community that is directly involved in this monstrous store has given “…an open and honest discussion…” of our concerns and for the County Executive and the County Council to disregard them so that Wal Mart can have its way is both dishonest and despicable. Politicians can make statements supporting us, pass non-binding resolutions to the State Highway Administration, but the proof is in the pudding. I can assure them that we will hold them responsible their lack of action to save us from this nightmare.

    To force this Wal Mart upon our community is wrong and will lead to nothing but traffic gridlock, millions in highway improvements at county expense and danger for our children: WE DO NOT WANT A WAL MART IN BEL AIR.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 8
    • Bailey says

      It reeks that the only group Walmart would meet with are a group of people who are appointed by the County Executive. What kind of message does that send?

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 5
      • ALEX R says

        I guess it sends the message that the CE has enough influence and is polite enough that Walmart would agree to meet with him rather than the rabble rousers that don’t want to do anything but shout and demand and dictate. But the CE wasn’t the only person there and you know it. You might just be peeved that you weren’t invited. And since you now are suggesting that Walmart buy all of the homes nearby I guess the message to Walmart is clear and that message is that nothing reasonable is going to satisfy the local community so why should Walmart meet with them at all.

        Well-loved. Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1
        • Bailey says

          The CE wasn’t there according to the minutes. I don’t even think this was a “legal” meeting. Why wasn’t anyone else able to come to this meeting? Even the press was shut out. And they are going to have future meetings like this AFTER the DAC meeting.

          Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3
          • Bailey says

            Walmart can afford to shut down the Abingdon store while they rebuild.

            Walmart Facts

            Wal-Mart is the world’s largest retailer, and America’s #1 private employer.
            The retail giant employs 1.4 million workers across the country. In 2007, it had $374 billion in sales, and made more than $12.5 billion in profits. Through the third quarter of 2008, sales were $293.3 billion, with a profit of $9.6 billion.

            Despite a flagging economy, Wal-Mart’s profits are growing.

            In fact, in October of 2007, Wal-Mart’s Chief Financial Officer Tom Schoewe said it’s because “tough times are actually a good time for Wal-Mart.” [AP 10/24/07]

            Wal-Mart offers poverty level wages.

            Using Wal-Mart’s figures, a “full-time” employee at 34 hours per week, making the Wal-Mart average wage of $10.86 per hour, will earn $19,200.48 per year. The federal government’s definition of poverty for a family of four is $21,200. [2008 Wal-Mart Employee Handbook; 2008 HHS Poverty Guidelines]

            Wal-Mart’s health care plan fails to cover nearly 700,000 employees.

            Wal-Mart reports that its health insurance covers only 51.8% of their employees. [UFCW analysis of Wal-Mart health plan, March 2008] This forces many Wal-Mart workers to rely on state-sponsored healthcare. In fact, in 21 of 23 states where data is available, Wal-Mart forces more employees to rely on taxpayer-funded health care than any other employer. [“Disclosures of Employers Whose Workers and Their Dependents are Using State Health Insurance Programs,” Good Jobs First, 6/26/07]

            Wal-Mart admits public assistance is a “better value.”

            Despite over $12 billion in profits, President and CEO Lee Scott admits, “In some of our states, the public program may actually be a better value – with relatively high income limits to qualify, and low premiums.” [Transcript Lee Scott Speech, 5/4/05]

            Former Wal-Mart CEO H. Lee Scott is the highest paid retail executive.

            The value of Scott’s 2007 Compensation Packet was around $31.6 million. H. Lee Scott’s compensation package rose by roughly $2 million in value compared to previous years. [Women’s Wear Daily, 7/24/08]

            The Wal-Mart wage gap widens.

            An average “full-time” employee at Wal-Mart would have to work roughly 1646 years in order to accumulate what the Wal-Mart CEO receives for one year.

            The Walton family is now worth over $100 billion.

            With over 1.7 billion shares, or 43% of Wal-Mart stock, the Walton family wields enormous control over the company. Even by Walton standards, 2008 has been a good year for the family. From November 2007 to September 2008, the stock prices rose by over $21. This means the Walton family made around $35 billion off the stock price increase alone. [Forbes 400 Richest People in America, 2008].

            The Walton family could afford to raise wages.

            That same $35 billion could provide every Wal-Mart employee with a $14 pay increase for one year or raise the company’s minimum pay to $24 an hour for one year.

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 5
          • BRAC Family says

            The Maryland Open Meetings Act. More at the link below, but here’s an extract from the law:

            “Which government meetings are open to the public?

            The law states that a meeting is a gathering of a quorum of the public body for the transaction of public business.

            Notable exemptions to this definition include:

            - public bodies acting in an administrative, judicial or quasi-judicial capacity unless the public body is meeting to discuss:

            - granting a license or permit;
            - zoning laws;
            - chance encounters or social gatherings.”

            Read more: http://sunshinereview.org/index.php/Maryland_Open_Meetings_Act#Which_government_meetings_are_open_to_the_public.3F#ixzz29OePQC3k

            Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2
          • CDEV says

            Since the pupose of this meeting was not to actually make any zoning changes it does not need to comply with the Open Meeting act. No buisness was transacted.

            Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1
      • says

        Bailey,

        Community council members are not political appointments. We have never discussed party affiliations or politics, but I’m almost 100% certain that our members represent a variety of political views, both those that may agree and disagree with the County Executive. Community councils are designed this way purposely to be effective groups in their community. Look at the Edgewood and Joppa area groups who direclty oppposed Craig and the county plan to put a transfer station in that area– all of those council members were also “appointed” by the administration. The truth is it is much more an effort of volunteering to be on the council, rather than being “appointed”. Applications for community councils are freely availabe on the county website for anyone to complete and submit.

        We volunteer hours of our time to work for the benefit of the community area we are assigned for the purposes outlined in the bylaws.
        I don’t expect a lot of thanks or Christmas cards in the mail, but I also don’t expect people to question our ethics. Many people from the Bel Air, Bel Air South, Emmorton, and Abingdon communities came to our public meetings or contacted us and we took their feedback into the meeting with Walmart officials. Members of the council asked to have other members of the community in the meeting and our requests were denied. This is reflected in the minutes of the 10/8/12 meeting where the issue came up again.

        Whether or not you beleive your concerns were delivered to Walmart, I can assure you that they were. Each of our council members attended the CIM meeting 7/19 and stayed almost to the end. Our council vote to oppose the relocation to Plumtree was unaminous. We take our responsibilities as outlined in the bylaws seriously and do our very best to work for the good of the entire community and to represent the people in it.

        I understand you are frustrated with your representation at the county level, but please do not question the ethics or motives of your fellow residents volunteering their personal time on this and many other issues, because of a desire to impugn the Craig administration.

        Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1
        • Bailey says

          Why did the community council even agree to a secret meeting? Why didn’t you all walk out when Walmart said they wouldn’t agree to any community agreement? Why even have future meetings?

          Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2
          • says

            Bailey,

            —”Why did the community council even agree to a secret meeting?”

            We held our noses and agreed to it because we felt it was the only way to get the concerns of the community, your concerns, directly in front of people who mattered with the development.

            —”Why didn’t you all walk out when Walmart said they wouldn’t agree —-to any community agreement?”

            I can only speak for myself, but it seems important to maintain contact with Walmart officials throughout this process, despite their official position on community agreements, because there are a lot of issues remaining to resolve regarding the CF site, the relocation, etc. Not having a dialogue would be unproductive for the community.

            —”Why even have future meetings?”

            Like my point above, there is much to discuss and resolve still, and we are tasked with being a voice for the community so, in my opinion, it is best to maintain a dialogue until the matter is resolved, which hopefully means finding a way to have an even better Walmart store for everyone at CF.

            I’d invite you to come to our next meeting and find me afterwards if you’d like to discuss this further.

            Given the amount of opposition to Walmart’s plan, the many unanswered questions people seem to have, and all the attention to this issue, it’s disappointing that more people haven’t posted questions for Walmart officials to answer here.

            I encourage everyone be your own voice and get your own answers. Get concerned about and involved in your community.

            Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1
        • Joan Hamilton, Abingdon Community Council says

          The Abingdon Community Council did not exist when this property’s zoning was changed to high density business. It has only been in existence for 20 months.

          We were offered an opportunity to meet with Walmart representatives by the County Executive’s office. We took the opportunity to express the community concerns and opposition, as well as discuss a possible community agreement if they got approval to build on the proposed site.

          They immediately said they would not enter into a CA and they don’t engage in legally binding CA’s. We listened to their reasons why they feel they cannot remodel or expand the current site without closing the store and why the proposed site is the only site in Harford County that meets their needs. We expressed every concern that we are aware of in both our conversations and the document we presented to them. We agreed to future meetings after the DAC meeting when it’s likely Walmart will make some adjustments to their published plans for the site to incorporate feedback given at that meeting. The County Executive’s office has informed us that future meetings will not be initiated by, or include his office.

          If you are not on the Abingdon Community Council mailing list, you can write to abingdoncc@gmail.com to get a copy of that presentation and to stay informed of issues that affect the community.

          I echo what Mr. Grey has stated that we have never discussed party affiliations or politics and that our members represent a variety of political views, both those that may agree and disagree with the County Executive. We don’t give up our rights as private citizens to free speech or to express our own personal opinions at public forums such as County Council or DAC meetings to serve on the community council, but as a council we represent what the majority of citizens have expressed to us. The bylaws that we abide by are at this link- http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/CommunityCouncil/ByLaws.pdf

          Well-loved. Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0
      • Unless says

        There’s a Subway across the street in The Festival.
        That would make 2 Subways in 2 blocks.
        And 2 grocery stores in 2 blocks.
        And 2 tire stores in the same block.
        And 3 pharmacies in 3 blocks.

        Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
        • none says

          Have you ever been to New Jersey? I saw three Star Bucks on the same intersection in one location. Two Staples within a block of each other. Same with Dunkin Donuts. Free Enterprize thats what it’s all about.

          Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1
    • Brint says

      Sorry for the late reply, but I just discovered this thread. Gary is not correct. Abingdon Community Council (ACC) has a vested interest on two counts: (1) many in their community want to keep Walmart in it’s present Abingdon location; (2) the Harford County map of community councils shows ACC’s area extending as far northward as Patterson Mill Rd and Plumtree Rd. So the new Walmart is in ACC’s designated area of representation. On another point, it is misleading to compare the Bel Air South Community Foundation with ACC. The Greater Bel Air area has no community council due to lack of interest, especially since Town residents have their “community” representation via Town government. Those of us who live north of ACC’s area but south of Bel Air have no Community Council to represent us to county government. Councils are appointed by the County Executive and serve as focal points for communication between County Executive and the community. Mr Tomarchio told me that David Craig would be willing to re-visit the boundary issues and even, perhaps to appoint members from our area to a council. I have made a plea to my community association and to BASCF for interested people and have discovered ONE other person who is interested. I believe that enough of us should come forth to form a council to represent our area and to become aware, much earlier, of potential issues and problems that will cause us much concern in the future. There’s no doubt that BASCF has been quite effective in spreading the word about the proposed Walmart, but community involvement came late, making it very challenging to do anything within the framework of the law at this time. But this will not be the last time that a proposed development threatens the well-being of our community, and we should organize to deal with the County Executive’s office in a more effective way.

      Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0
  18. Bailey says

    Re-posting since my original post seems to have gotten lost by the moderators.

    I find it humorous that Walmart thinks discussing this with the community through the Dagger forums is productive or constructive. These forums regularly draw people who are rude, disrespectful and anonymous. There is no way to know if the people making comments are from the community directly affected by the new store, from people that live nowhere near it, or from Walmart headquarters. Walmart was afraid to have another face to face meeting with the public and is agreeing to secret meetings in county office buildings or through the Dagger where they can’t be confronted directly. Are they afraid of the community where they want to put this monstrosity? Why would they want to build in a community that they fear to talk to?

    This store will be BIGGER THAN THE ENTIRE HARFORD MALL and they want to put it in the middle of a residential community and think widening the roads for a few intersections nearby is going to alleviate nearly 50% more traffic every single day, not counting holiday traffic. The math just does not compute.

    If Walmart really cared about our communities and what the residents think they would know building at this location is going to forever change the community and turn it from a pleasing suburban area to the equivalent of a big city with constant gridlock. 924 is already filled with traffic backups from people just trying to get to and from their homes to go to work. Whether you are traveling from 924/24 or from Route 1, you might get through one light before you are stopped at the next light. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist or need a Traffic Study to go look at the location during rush hour to see 50% more cars with a only a small stretch of extra lanes near the site is not going to cut it. Again, this store will be BIGGER THAN THE ENTIRE HARFORD MALL

    They want full access with a traffic light on 924. Take a look along 924 and see who has full access with a light. No other business along 924 has that. Even Festival doesn’t have it and this Walmart wants to add auto, drive up pharmacy, and food. Why should they have access that Kleins, Mr. Tire, Kohls, restaurants, fast food, Walgreens, Verizon and a multitude of other stores in the area do not have? Walmart will direct compete with all of these nearby businesses. Their own study shows they don’t even have enough space for the required parking spots for a project of this size and they want a variance to this too.

    Imagine living directly across from this site. Suddenly you are living directly next to an expanded highway with constant traffic jams, constant noise, constant pollution, a store lit up 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. People will no longer allow their kids to walk to schools but will start driving them back and forth for their safety adding to the traffic mess. The new fire department will have to fight the traffic gridlock to get out to answer calls. Real estate values will plummet. Insurance rates will go up. Homes are already on the market in anticipation of this store and it hasn’t even been approved yet.

    There is plenty of property in Harford County where a store of this size and magnitude have the infrastructure within the development envelope and need for a store like this. They don’t want to build there because of the “demographics” they want to reach. That is code for more affluent. Mr. Slutsky from the council grandstanded about area residents worried about possible crime being brought to the area and took on anyone who belittled “those people” he represents but Walmart openly says they don’t care about “those people” who will have to travel further away to get to a store that caters to their financial situation. If Mr. Slutsky actually cared about “those people” he would be trying to convince Walmart to build in his own area where low prices and any job at all is welcome, even those with the low pay and benefits Walmart provides.

    If the County Executive really cared he’d be looking at tax breaks and ways to sweeten the deal for Walmart to stay where they are or build somewhere better suited for a store that is BIGGER THAN THE ENTIRE HARFORD MALL than a residential area.

    Walmart is currently putting up Walmart Express stores in between their big box stores. These are smaller stores that don’t carry the entire line of products and services. That would be a much better alternative to the biggest 7×24 supercenter in the county, BIGGER THAN THE ENTIRE HARFORD MALL, in a residential neighborhood.

    Walmart won’t commit to anything to this county or the residents that are directly affected. Their reputation is to make promises and then they don’t deliver once they are in the community.

    The CIM meeting in July, in the middle of dreary rain and thunderstorms, brought in the largest crowd ever over a proposed development- nearly 1,000 people who live nearby and whose lives will be changed forever, their property values devalued, their quality of life changed. No one was for this store that will be BIGGER THAN THE ENTIRE HARFORD MALL.

    Residents have continued to send the message to elected representatives, in county council meetings, in Letters to the Editor, with protests and rallies and an organized opposition. If this store goes through not only will Walmart be boycotted by growing opposition, but every person on the County Council and the County Executive will forever be associated with destroying a residential area with a store that is BIGGER THAN THE ENTIRE HARFORD MALL. Not very good for re-election campaigns or campaigns for higher office.

    If Walmart really cared about the community, they would be abandoning plans for this location and looking at other locations more suited for a store BIGGER THAN THE ENTIRE HARFORD MALL. They would be talking directly to people in the area that are affected and understand this isn’t about Walmart. It’s about a store that is BIGGER THAN THE ENTIRE HARFORD MALL smack up against a thriving residential neighborhood that will create public safety issues, traffic issues, environmental issues and a host of other issues. Together those issues should be evident that this is a horrible location for a store that is BIGGER THAN THE ENTIRE HARFORD MALL.

    Walmart, all of the reasons and concerns the citizens have will affect your business and your bottom line. If residents can’t easily get in and out of their residential developments off 924, getting in and out of this location will also affect your customers. Why would any store subject themselves to gridlock when they can get to the other superstores quicker even though they are further away?

    Sam Walton, in his autobiography, said, “If some community, for whatever reason, doesn’t want us in there, we aren’t interested in going in and creating a fuss. I encourage us to walk away from this kind of trouble because there are just too many good towns out there that do want us”.

    Walmart, instead of coming to an open forum full of anonymous posters, listen carefully to the residents in the community where you want to build. They are speaking loudly that they do not want Walmart, or anything of this size/scope at this location. This is not the right location for a store BIGGER THAN THE ENTIRE HARFORD MALL. About the only thing that might make them change their minds is if you buy all of their homes so they can move away from what you will create and destroy.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 5
    • Fact Check says

      Bailey,

      Harford Mall is half a million (500,000) square feet. http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/harford/belair/ph-ag-harford-mall-1012-20121012,0,5332300.story

      The largest Walmart in the U.S. is in Albany, NY at 260,000 square feet.
      http://www.albany.com/news/walmart.cfm

      Are you telling me that the Walmart in Bel Air will double the size of the current largest Walmart (which happens to be a two floor store)?

      Ok, I’m setting you up because it’s not. The proposed Walmart is 186,000 square feet, which is 314,000 square feet small than Harford Mall. That means that Harford Mall is more than 2.68 times larger than the proposed Wal Mart.

      Since that seems to be your entire basis for your opposition, I guess you’ll be supporting the new store?

      Well-loved. Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0
      • Bailey says

        Well it looks like the article conflicts the size.

        The opening paragraph says- Forty years ago today (Friday), on the site of the town’s former horse racetrack, Harford Mall in Bel Air opened its doors to thousands of shoppers with 1970s mainstays like Montgomery Ward and Korvettes at either end of its half-million square feet.

        The article then says- Hecht’s expanded the mall to 140,000 square feet in 1994.

        The half-million probably is the entire lot and includes the parking lots because I don’t know of any changes to the mall since 1994 that added 360,000 sq ft to the mall.

        The Walmart store alone is 186,000 sq ft.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5
        • Kharn says

          Where in the world have you been? New Jersey?
          The entire H and J wing (Five Guys, Qdoba, Lane Bryant, Bonefish Grill, etc) was just added within the last five years.

          Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0
        • ALEX R says

          Bailey,

          Please do your research before you post stuff that only embarrasses you. And don’t please cite anything from the Baltimore Sun or The Aegis. They are both clueless.

          As of 2008, the latest date for which the owners have published data, the total retail area of Harford Mall was 441,923 and stuff has been added since then. The GLA (gross leasable area was listed in 2008 at 505,372 sq ft. Source: CBL & Associates Properties, Inc. The total area of the mall property which includes parking, etc., is 47 acres plus or minus. 47 acres is 2,047,320 square feet.

          Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1
        • TR says

          The total retail floor space of the Harford Mall is 505,372 sq ft. If you think the Walmart will be that big you are absolutely crazy. Exaggerating to absurd levels does not help your case.

          Well-loved. Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0
        • Joan Hamilton, Abingdon Community Council says

          Per Lance Johnson, Senior Leasing Manager at CBL & Associates Properties the mall is 505,344 sq ft including the anchor department stores. The small shops total 181,168 sq. ft.

          Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
      • D says

        Perhaps we should also include the Sam’s Club and the Sam’s gas that they want to build next in the square footage discussion.

        Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1
      • Unless says

        Nina Albert of Walmart states indirectly that Walmart Corp. does not want to increase the footprint of the Abingdon Store. This post from Fact Check suggests a two-story Walmart is a possibility. Is Walmart considering expansion at Abingdon to make a two-story facility?

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
        • Kharn says

          It would be cheaper to demolish the current store and pour a new foundation designed for a two-floor layout than to add a second floor on the current building.

          Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
          • Fact Check says

            And it would require the closure of the Abingdon store for at least 6 months to a year, which is also contrary to what Walmart does. They wouldn’t want to lose out on the market for that long. I guess when Walmart does move out, the Target there which has always seemed to struggle will make out like crazy, along with the other Target in Bel Air. And if another two years, Target will be able to sell groceries.

            Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
          • Unless says

            It wouldn’t be too much of a struggle to drive a few miles up the highway to the Walmart in Aberdeen or a few miles down Rt #1 to the Walmart in Fallston until the new two-story Walmart opens at the Abingdon location.

            Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1
          • CDEV says

            UNLESS, Your employer has announced he is closing you and your husbands office and going to lay you off for 6 months and not pay you. Is that OK?

            Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
          • Kharn says

            Except Walmart wouldn’t carry those workers for the construction period, they would lay them off, and Walmart has said they’re not interested in any plan that results in lack of store operations in the Abingdon/Bel Air area for any period of time.

            The area is a money maker, losing market presence there would be a significant blow to their district numbers during all three phases (closure, demolition/construction and post-reopening). The cost to buy a new property and sell the existing one is less than that projected lost revenue.

            Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  19. Unless says

    Reasons Why Walmart Should Not Move to the “New” Site

    There is overwhelming community opposition to the new Walmart site (Daggerpress, July 19 2012; exploreharford.com September 13, 2012)

    Harford County Executive David Craig publicly stated he does not want Walmart to move to the new location (Baltimore Sun, August 1, 2012, Daggerpress July 31, 2012). Walmart ignores the request of our highest-elected county official.

    Members of the County Council publicly stated they support the citizens in opposition to the move (Daggerpress, July 19 2012). Walmart ignores the request of the citizen-elected council.

    The new site was zoned commercial without the surrounding community being aware of the zoning change or comprehending the consequences. That zoning is now being challenged.

    County council members have apologized for not realizing a big box store could build there when they rezoned it (Baltimore Sun, October 3, 2012).

    The new site is less than 3 miles from the current site (moving the store is a great waste of resources for such a short move).

    The new site is in a residential & lighter commercial area and not on an arterial road.

    The neighboring residential community members will face additional traffic congestion and fear they will lose pedestrian and biking ability in this area (Walmart officials estimate an additional 10,000 cars per day at peak times – Bel Air Patch, July 20, 2012)

    The proposed Walmart plan shows over 16 acres of young forest converted to impermeable roof and parking lot, draining storm water runoff into Plumtree Run and Wheel Creek. These streams flow into the Harford Glen Environmental Center’s marsh (where all Harford County Public School students spend time learning about the environment), Winter’s Run, and the Bush River. There are active and ongoing remediation projects along this waterway to restore water quality. The Walmart site plan will compromise stream health and degrade conditions at the environmental center where our students go to learn about nature and guardianship of the Chesapeake Bay.

    Reasons Why Walmart Should Stay at the Current Site

    The current site is zoned heavy commercial with easy access to I-95 (appropriate for large volume automobile traffic)

    County Executive David Craig made a statement that he is willing to work with Walmart to meet their needs to enlarge to keep them at their current location (Baltimore Sun, August 2, 2012)

    The new site means that Walmart will move away from an area that is in greater need of a grocery outlet, while moving into an area that has ample grocery/tire/pharmacy/etc. services. This is in opposition to one of Walmart’s initiatives to provide groceries to food deserts and services to areas lacking them.

    Walmart argues the move will allow it to employ 100 additional people and increase tax revenues to Harford County, but this could also happen if they expand the Abingdon store.

    Walmart argues that a new store will have more energy-saving initiatives. Energy-saving initiatives could be better implemented by overhauling the old store. Abandoning a facility and building a new facility consumes excessive amounts of nonrenewable resources: this is not an energy-saving initiative.

    Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4
  20. Unless says

    Did you know that October is Bully Prevention Month? The definition of bully is: Using superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants.
    Sounds like Walmart fits the bill.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 7
    • ALEX R says

      Would that be like some of you folks trying to intimidate Walmart to not do something that they have every right to do just so you will stop harassing them? You are the bullies.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 9
        • The Money Tree says

          And have no question that Walmart is a bully – a commercial and retail bully that rolls over small local businesses using predatory and strategic pricing targets that run small businesses into the ground and have rendered small towns downtowns ghost towns across this country. Ask any manufacturer how Walmart plays – they’ll tell you how much margin you’re allowed to have if you want to sell your goods through them. If you don’t agree they’ll tell you straight out your competitor gets the business. I know because I worked for a big corporation and we had and then walked away from Walmart because it actually cost us more to supply material than they allowed us…unless we were willing to slash our labor costs and you know what that means; it ought to be obvious – poverty wages for all. So it isn’t just that Walmart pays poverty wages for their own employees; it’s that they’re very business practices result in poverty wages for everyone. There are absolute and ironic consequences for racing to the bottom in terms of lowest cost to the customer and over the long term it erodes our collective quality of life.

          Well-loved. Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2
          • JtowneJeff says

            Oh, money tree, you almost had me there. and then you dropped this “poverty wage” thing. and followed that up with some “collective” well-being nonsense.

            what is a “poverty wage”? Does wally world pay it’s employees below the federal minimum wage? Or is it simply that low-skill labor only merits a low-skill paycheck?

            And what is this collective crap? aren’t you an individual, capable of making your own choices and living with the results of those choices, for better or worse? Or would you rather surrender your own liberty if you thought it meant that the “collective” would benefit?

            Guess what? when the givers support the takers, eventually the givers run out of assets to give, and the takers consume all the assets they were given, and then guess what? then you’re all poor, miserable leaches looking for someone else to suck dry.

            no thanks. greece tried that method. it didn’t work.

            Jeff

            Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5
          • noble says

            We’ve all had that Walmart is evil conversation before, but I will make the following note for all: With the recent labor strife and potential strikes by Walmart workers (Google it), Walmart recently came out and said that most of their hourly workers make at least $10/hour. That is a decent wage for hourly retail work, to be honest, and some people do have the opinion that if you chose a career at Walmart you aren’t going to live like a hedge fund manager.

            However, what they don’t also tell you is that 10x40x52=$20,800 /year.

            That annual amount of income would qualify someone for government subsidized housing in almost the entire country, and depending on their family circumstance most likely would qualify that family for other government social programs as well. Even if you maintain an “intact” family unit of two parents/workers with 1 child they would still qualify for some programs. Maybe that’s normal and okay and maybe it’s not.

            And some poeple are inclined to say that’s fine but we already qualify too many people for those benefits and overspend on those programs– that is probably true (due to fraud). However, the income guidelines that qualify people are not overly generous because they are designed to work in tandem with the market rate for rents so that people don’t pay much more than 30-40% of their income to rental costs– the same standard banks use for mortgage approvals by the way (or should). That would mean finding a one bedroom apartment for $565– not exactly an easy thing to do. Find a website and try it yourself.

            So if their job doesn’t pay them enough to afford a place to live and we don’t want to help them afford it, what do we do?

            Ultimately, we’re subsidizing the profits of companies who pay low wages for the benefit of low prices. If people want to argue we should have the low prices and those people are on their own, then okay, but realize you can’t tell them to get off their rear and go find a job because they already have one.

            There are plenty of ways to resolve these problems but none of them are very pretty and people should understand the reality of the consequences of policy choices candidates for office talk about.

            I’m not saying Walmart should cough up money and pay those workers more than any other store would pay them. I’m just saying we should think about our choices as consumers, and as voters, because in many cases they are intertwined in ways we don’t always realize.

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          • The Money Tree says

            Noble that is exactly my point. If every consumer choice we make is driven by low price and only by low price then there has to be a correlation to cost and pressures across an entire economic stream. Walmart as retail “king” sets the prices that others must chase or be driven from the marketplace. If raw material costs are fixed and relatively even across purchasers one of the only remaining cost drivers within the ability of a retailer to control is wage. The tendency then is to suppress wages across a very large spectrum. I’m not telling anyone what to do but we all ought to recognize cause and effect. Where you shop determines who succeeds and who prospers. If you’d rather save $5.00 and skip the locally owned mom and pop that your neighbor owns and is the source of feeding his/her family in favor of Walmart don’t be surprised when your neighbor declares bankruptcy. As to the previous commenter who seemed aghast that anyone would use the word “collective” I’d suggest it’s a word that only means to be shared among a group – to be paranoid over a word because it’s associated with communism is just plain silly; it’s a little word and it’s in the dictionary – I’m doubting Websters would be seen as a subversive organization.

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          • Kharn says

            Noble,
            Walmart jobs aren’t for raising a family, they’re for teenagers and other unskilled people. If a person is only skilled enough to stock shelves and say “Welcome to Walmart”, maybe they should look for job training oppertunities before trying to move out of mom’s basement or start a family.

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          • The Money Tree says

            Really Kharn? With the real unemployment rate at nearly 14% you don’t think adults with kids to feed take Walmart jobs because thier kids are hungry? Of course they do and sure seems to me if you work 40 hours a week you ought to at least be able to afford to feed your family – if not then there’s no question the public is providing food stamps for other forms of aid. Noble’s point is since we know that does occur then you in essence are subsidizing Walmart’s low wages…putting those funds in the pockets of the Walton family and last I checked they owned 4 of the 10 spots on the list of the wealthiest people in the US. We have two issues here really – most oppose Walmart only in terms of this proposed move and it’s location. I oppose Walmart for much more than just this location.

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          • The Money Tree says

            One interesting little factoid to consider. The wealthiest 6 in the Walton family have a combined net worth (in the hundreds of billions) that exceeds the combined net worth of the bottom 30% of the entire US population…that’s 6 people with greater wealth than the combined net worth of nearly 100 million people. You can bet within those 100 million are virtually every single Walmart employee. Is it legal? Of course…is it right? Personally I don’t feel like buying food stamps for Walmart families because the wealthiest family in America can’t see to it to provide for the very people who make them rich and getting richer in the first place.

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          • Occupy Walmart says

            Money Tree -

            We need to strip these robber barons of their wealth and give it to the workers and those non-workers who need it.

            Occupy Walmart, today…

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          • The Money Tree says

            Not on board with stripping anyone of thier wealth – it’s legally obtained therefore there would be no justification. However, I would think morale people, business owners who profit through thier own employees would recognize that at some point it’s pretty darn greedy to squirrel away billion and billions of dollars – so much money that you can’t spend it knowing all the while that you have employees of your company who can’t afford to feed their kids.

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          • Kharn says

            Money Tree:
            Fronting shelves and repeating a phrase every time someone moves within your cone of vision isn’t worth what it costs to raise a family. When your position can be replaced by reprogramming an animatronic fish and a pallet jack (like warehouse stores), you do not deserve more than $10 an hour. They should be paid much less than that, but federal minimum wage laws prevent paying people what their efforts are really worth, and have contributed to the outrageous inflation in our economy, all because politicians can buy stupid voters (and give their union friends a gigantic pay raise, since many union scales are based on a multiple of the minimum wage).

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          • The Money Tree says

            That’s such an insulting and elitist comment. So in your opinion you only need be an idiot to work at Walmart so they don’t deserve a living wage. Stand on your feet all day at a cash register dealing with people with attitudes such as yours…it’s a lot tougher than you think it is. The level of stress in dealing with the public is much greater than many jobs that pay much higher salaries – studies prove that stress is greatest when employed in situations where you have little personal control. Service jobs where the customer is always right (and rightfully so) produce among the greatest levels of stress.

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          • PROUD TO BE LIBERAL says

            Money tree: you wrote “The level of stress in dealing with the public is much greater than many jobs that pay much higher salaries – studies prove that stress is greatest when employed in situations where you have little personal control.”

            You are correct and only those who have very little compassion for their fellow human would think otherwise. Matthew 25:31-46 “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”

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          • JtowneJeff says

            MONEY TREE –

            I am not ‘paranoid’ about the word collective. I am, however, concerned by the context in which you used it. ” So it isn’t just that Walmart pays poverty wages for their own employees; it’s that they’re very business practices result in poverty wages for everyone. There are absolute and ironic consequences for racing to the bottom in terms of lowest cost to the customer and over the long term it erodes our collective quality of life.”

            Our collective quality of life? My quality of life does not depend upon, or even correlate to, what wally world pays their employees or how much they charge for their products. Perhaps to the extent that I shop there, and experience first hand the quality (or lack thereof) of their products. However, They also a large variety of name brand products from poptarts to televisions, and they generally do so at a lower cost than superfresh or best buy, respectively.

            No one employed by wally world has a gun to their head forcing them to work for the wage they were offered, nor is anyone a patron under the same circumstances.

            You still haven’t explained or defined what ‘poverty wage’ is, either. Presumably because it’s arbitrary at best and a complete fallacy at worst.

            Collective, in the context you used, seemed to indicate walmart’s pricing and wage policies have a direct negative effect on the community; the ‘collective’, if you will. I find that to be an illogical assumption and wholly untrue, as I explained above. Will some people be negatively impacted by walmart’s move? sure. Will some people benefit? absolutely. The same will be true regardless of what business fills that land.

            But perhaps that’s the underlying issue. Like so many other Harford residents, especially the ones who’ve been here for a long time, concrete, brick, and pavement are evil to you? So many up here want the open spaces, forests, peace and quiet of the country, but still want the benefits of a suburban community, like a reasonable commute, good public schools, reliable emergency services, etc.,

            Guess what? you can’t have your cake and eat it to.

            Jeff

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    • Occupy Walmart says

      We must occupy the Walmart site.

      Let’s get our tents, campers and yurts and commandeer the real estate.

      We can get support from all the Occupy Wall Street groups, Earth First!, Sierra Club, Voluntary Human Extinction Movement and Earth Liberation Front.

      We must protest, and protest loudly.

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        • Occupy Walmart says

          @Karn -

          ELF is a social justice liberation group, no matter what the government says.

          Occupy Walmart Today! It’s the only way to win this battle and then the war.

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          • JtowneJeff says

            Don’t be a dolt. Social justice is a farce. Take your socialism elsewhere.

            What “battle” and what “war” are you fighting, exactly?

            All of the groups you mentioned are radical left-wing organization, many of which have strong ties to socialism and communism. If that is your desire, I hear Venezuela is nice this time of year.

            God Bless,

            Jeff

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  21. Get Over It says

    I can’t wait for the NEW Bel Air Walmart! I sent my survey in supporting it and I supported it on the phone survey! and, I am approximately 1/2 a mile from the proposed location!

    Get over it people. It is going to happen.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 14
  22. Frustrated Parent says

    Well some of us dumb people have lived here for years and couldn’t necessarily sell our houses when our kids were in school and housing market tanked. Several people I know who want to move or get out are the taxpayers you would want to keep here – the ones with no kids in school. Not too many people are going to want to move here now and maybe the development envelope will get reopened to north harford because that will be where people want to live – unintended consequences. Also many of my neighbors’ car insurance has gone up because of all the accidents in this area so traffic and development doesn’t come with an increased cost. It will be coming soon to most people in this county. Learned years ago Walmart are the masters of bait and switch. Advertise items that they don’t have in stock and get in the store and they are out of it.

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    • Bailey says

      Two weeks ago at the council meeting they talked about the Tier designations required by the State Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation and how those in the rural areas of Harford County will be affected by lowered property values. Council people said “We have to do something for those folks”. The Council should be just as concerned if your property is a townhouse or a 1/4 acre lot as the huge property owned in the rural areas.

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    • Harford Lassie says

      Walmart sells everything that is in and around Festival and they offer lower prices. If everybody shops at Walmart there goes the rest of the businesses and people will be left with Walmart and nothing else. Between that and lower property values people will have to drop the prices on their houses dramatically to get out. The nearby neighborhoods will no longer have the same economic makeup that is there now. Will Walmart then move again and keep following the people with the dollars and leave the neighborhoods that really need their low prices?

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      • ALEX R says

        A bit of an exaggeration to say the least. Walmart does not sell EVERYTHING that the Festival sells. And I suppose the Festival will just have to lower prices. Oh, well. Pesky competition.

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      • CDEV says

        Wal-mart has a make your own potery place, sells wings in a sports bar, has a child pizza place, sells high quality Oak Furniture, etc?

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      • Phil Dirt says

        If all of the people who pledge to boycott Walmart follow through on their threats, the Festival will thrive.

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      • Eric says

        @Harford Lassie

        OMG! I had no idea that Walmart caused the great recession?

        So Walmart has caused the national debt and deficits to grow, unemployment and under-employment to increase, our home values to drop and food to taste bad.

        And I was complaining about President Barack Obama and should have been mad at Walmart.

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  23. ellis says

    The minutes seem incomplete. No start time listed, and was Mr. Craig there? Any other elected officials?

    If so, it’s quite possible the MD open meetings act was violated.

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    • says

      Ellis,

      I was in the room at this meeting and the minutes published by the county accurately display all of the people in the room for the entirety of the meeting.

      For those three hours I missed dinner with my family and putting my son to bed which is the highlight of most days. Most of the people invited probably make 3 to 10 times more than I do and all I got out of it was a 6oz mini bottle of water, so take my word for it.

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    • Joan Hamilton, Abingdon Community Council says

      Mr. Craig was not in attendance, nor were any other elected officials.

      Mr. Grey is correct that the minutes accurately reflect the discussion. The only thing missing is the document the Abingdon Community Council gave to Walmart and that was published in the Dagger the evening we met.

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  24. ellis says

    If people are disgusted with this I hope they remember it during election time…and when the store opens.

    I’d wager most of you that are upset will forget in a couple years and re-elect the politicians that are “sitting on their hands.”

    The only thing at this point that is going to stop the Walmart are lawsuits from local residents that will be losing value on their homes.

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    • ALEX R says

      Good luck with the lawsuits. May I suggest you see if you can hire an attorney on a contingency fee basis? That means you don’t pay unless you win. And I seriously doubt you will find an attorney so confident in your position that they will risk their fee. Remember, Walmart has staff attorneys. You don’t.

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          • ALEX R says

            Well, PTBL, I wondered when we might hear from you. No, I don’t work for Walmart and PTBL quite well knows that. I work for freedom and liberty and the rule of law and personal responsibility.

            Well-loved. Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0
      • PROUD TO BE LIBERAL says

        When one says, “I work for freedom and liberty and the rule of law and personal responsibility…” its purpose is to infer that his opponent does not. That is, of course, a cheap verbal trick: it is called ARGUENDO.

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        • Paul Mc says

          Hey Proud,

          “When one says, “I work for freedom and liberty and the rule of law and personal responsibility…” its purpose is to infer that his opponent does not.” – Wow, so now, not only are you the authority on the English language, but you are also a mind reader, who knows exactly what everyone means when they say things? Man, you are the bomb!

          “That is, of course, a cheap verbal trick: it is called ARGUENDO.” – Hmm, arguendo actually means for the sake of arguing, or for argument’s sake; such as, in the legal field, “Let’s assume arguendo that what you stated is correct…”

          Now, to be fair, I did a google search to see if I could find some sort of verbal trick called arguendo, and I could not find one. I, of course, could be mistaken.

          Anyways, have a nice day Mr. Proud to be a Tea Bagger.

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          • ALEX R says

            Paul,

            I didn’t mean to infer anything about anyone else. As you know very well I don’t beat around the bush so to speak about anything. “Infer” would be way to subtle for me. PTBL and I disagree on just about everything when it comes to politics and I have told him so often. To bring this back to the “Walmart or No Walmart” issue before us

            I support Walmart but let me be very clear about the one and only reason I do support them. The law, in the form of zoning regulations, is on their side. Zoning is not on the side of those who oppose Walmart. I don’t believe we can have a group of people rise up and say that they don’t care about the law because they don’t like the results. We don’t take people’s rights away because we don’t like it when they actually exercise those rights.

            Well-loved. Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1
          • PROUD TO BE LIBERAL says

            I see “PUERILE PAUL the McCREEPY STALKER having a nice day sucking on tea bags” is out of his lair. If anyone is guilty of ARGUENDO arguments it is you.

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5
          • Unless says

            Alex R: your tone, defensive posturing, and the content of your posts suggest you are a Walmart exec.

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          • Paul Mc says

            Hey Proud,

            “I see “PUERILE PAUL the McCREEPY STALKER having a nice day sucking on tea bags” is out of his lair. If anyone is guilty of ARGUENDO arguments it is you.” – Responding to an argument by attacking the person and not addressing the issue at all. Isn’t that one of your ad hominem attacks, Mr. Proud?

            Anyways, have a nice day.

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          • PROUD TO BE LIBERAL says

            I make an exception for PUERILE PAUL the McCREEPY STALKER. You see there are three kinds of democrats: yellow dog, blue dog and me, attack dog. When a tea bagger such as you attacks me, he should expect double back. When you are civil, then I will be. Since you initiated an attack then expect me to retaliate.

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 7
          • Paul Mc says

            Hey Proud,

            “I make an exception for PUERILE PAUL the McCREEPY STALKER.” – Your exception seems to be the norm, Proud.

            You see there are three kinds of democrats: yellow dog, blue dog and me, attack dog.” – I am sure others would say there are more types.

            “When a tea bagger such as you attacks me,” – I am not a member of the Tea Party, nor a member of the Republican Party. As for the attacks, please, don’t flatter yourself. I simply corrected you, yet again.

            “he should expect double back.” – How about a triple back next time.

            “When you are civil, then I will be.” – I have tried to be civil in the past yet you continue to use derogatory terms such as tea bagger and make excuses for the use. Assuming arguendo the term Tea Bagger at one time was used by the Tea Party, everyone now considers it offensive and yet you still use it. That is not civil, so don’t try to take the high road, Proud.

            “Since you initiated an attack then expect me to retaliate.” – Its an ongoing battle which you started. Of course, you will say I started it, but you constantly use the term Tea Bagger. That is the term that has led to all this. Your term. I simply call you the term in an affectionate way. You stop using the term, so will I. Until then, oh well.

            Anyways, have a nice day Mr. Proud to be a Tea Bagger.

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2
          • PROUD TO BE LIBERAL says

            And you have a good day too PUERILE PAUL the McCREEPY STALKER having a nice day sucking on tea bags.

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 1 Thumb down 7
          • Paul Mc says

            No no no, Proud to be a puerile Creepy Tea Bagger. You have a nice day with those t-bags banging on your chin.

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          • PROUD TO BE LIBERAL says

            That you are sucking on PUERILE PAUL the McCREEPY STALKER having a nice day sucking on tea bags

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 8
          • Occupy Walmart says

            Proud to be Liberal

            You must attack all Tea Party/Conservative/Libertarians they are the scourge on the world. We must go after these capitalists by any and all means possible.

            Occupy Walmart and punish the 1%.

            Are you with me?

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          • ALEX R says

            Occupy,

            And when you do that ‘rising up’ that you encourage you will notice two things. First, that the searing pain in your foot is a self-inflicted wound. Second, that PTBL and folks like him will now be encouraging the targeting of the top 2%, then 3%, then 10% until there is no one left and nothing left for anyone.

            When a goose is laying golden eggs you treat it well and encourage it to lay even more eggs. You be thankful that the goose is producing wealth and is sharing that wealth and that we are all benefiting from it. You do not eat it for Christmas dinner then wonder why we have no eggs on New Year’s Day.

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          • Occupy Walmart says

            Paul Mc

            Proud to be Liberal must attack you where is counts. You are part of the 1% upper class.

            Proud to be Liberal is for the lower classes. He champions wealth redistribution and social justice. He inspires me.

            Occupy Walmart, today…

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          • Paul Mc says

            Hey Occupy,

            “Proud to be Liberal must attack you where is counts. You are part of the 1% upper class.” – I am part of the 1%? I wish my bank account knew that.

            “Proud to be Liberal is for the lower classes. He champions wealth redistribution and social justice. He inspires me.” – That’s nice.

            “Occupy Walmart, today…” – Er…umm….ok.

            Anyways, have a nice day.

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          • PROUD TO BE LIBERAL says

            PUERILE PAUL the McCREEPY STALKER having a nice day sucking on tea bags. Since you have said that “I simply call you the term (tea bagger) in an affectionate way….’ I shall as well.

            I’m sorry you cannot accept the fact that it was the tea party that began using the term “tea bag” in the first place. Remember when I wrote this to you? “You are so correct when you say I use the term to annoy the hypocrites of the Tea Party. Their foul, disgusting posters and hate filled rants so repulsed me that I can’t help but rub their collective noses into their own ignorant choice of terms. Michelle Bachmann used a tea bag on March 11, 2011! You do know she is their poster child? As soon as they stop their racism and lies, I will stop referring to them by their own symbol. I make no apologies either!”

            So don’t expect me to stop referring to these creatures by their own name. If it is offensive, that is just too bad because everything about the tea party is offensive to me.

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  25. says

    I encourage everyone to continue to submit questions that Walmart has agreed to answer. They agreed to answer all of the questions submitted at the CIM meeting on 19 July, the transcupt reflects this, however no questions were answered eventhough all of the questions were submitted to planning and zoning. (note cards).

    Out County Executive has the authority to call any parcel of zoned property into an emergency review outside the normal 6 year period if the community believes it was zoned in error. The fact that the community believes this and he refuses to act, makes it look like what he is saying to us in the letter he sent out in August was / is nothing short of politicking….words without substance.

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  26. says

    I encourage everyone to continue to submit questions that Walmart has agreed to answer. They agreed to answer all of the questions submitted at the CIM meeting on 19 July, the transcupt reflects this, however no questions were answered eventhough all of the questions were submitted to planning and zoning. (note cards).

    Our County Executive has the authority to call any parcel of zoned property into an emergency review outside the normal 6 year period if the community believes it was zoned in error. The fact that the community believes this and he refuses to act, makes it look like what he is saying to us in the letter he sent out in August was / is nothing short of politicking….words without substance.

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    • BelairBob says

      The reason the zoning was changed to allow a WalMart was specifically because the community believed the original zoning was incorrect. You can’t have it both ways, unless people really are as stupid as you think they are.

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      • D says

        This property was rezoned by David Craig and his snow job on the County Council for the express purpose of putting Walmart there. He and his real estate buddies had this planned before the land was rezoned. Discussion of Section 8 apartments at the site was just a ruse so they could bait and switch an Avenue at Bel Air with the SuperWalmart. What’s the quid pro quo Mr. Craig?

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        • Kharn says

          So would you vote for me if I ran for County Council on a platform of changing the plot’s zoning to allow high-density low-income housing?

          Everyone that objects to the current zoning forget something: The property is privately owned, and the government can’t force the owner to keep it undeveloped without purchasing it. (If Craig tries to purchase it, everyone will cry about the price just as they did for the waste transfer station)

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    • Fact Check says

      If it was a mistake in zoning it from heavey residential to heavey commercial, do the residents support moving it back to heavey residential? Even if it is not section 8, I’m not sure if they want an apartment complex that is the same size as the proposed Walmart moving in there either. I just want to make sure the argument isn’t a we want nothing built there, and is actually against it being heavey commercial to begin with, because saying it was zoned in error would revert it back to that.

      I think a new apartment complex, especially of that size, would have a worse impact on the neighborhood when it comes to crime than a Walmart, but I also don’t understand the argument that stores bring crime. Nobody sticks up a Walmart. Too many cameras. There are those perverts that go to Walmart to lick toes, so I will give you that.

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      • CDEV says

        I tend to agree with you but I don’t think one can rezone just because at this point. If the Wal-mart falls through than maybe.

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  27. GoBaltimoreBirds says

    When you, Walmart, build the new Super Walmart off of Plumtree Rd, Will this building blend in with the surrounding structures? I would hate to see you erect a large white/gray concrete building, like the old Constant Friendship location, among building of brick and/or stone. Not everyone is against you. For if you meet all the county requirements, I honestly don’t see how they can stop you. The original Harford Countians didnt want all the new homes built here either.

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  28. Joan Hamilton, Abingdon Community Council says

    There has been discussion about the comparative size of the Harford Mall to the new Walmart store. Per Lance Johnson, Senior Leasing Manager at CBL & Associates Properties the mall is 505,344 sq ft including the anchor department stores. The small shops total 181,168 sq. ft.

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  29. BelairBob says

    I am still confused about the mission on the ACC. I am a member of the community. I am all for WalMart moving to plumtree. I’m tired of driving to Falston or Aberdeen to the super stores and the price of gas isn’t exactly a bargain. There are many people like me. What are you doing to represent us?

    Bob.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3
    • PROUD TO BE LIBERAL says

      Anonymous people such as myself are not represented by the ACC. If you attend meetings and vote you’d have a good shot of representation, but your unsigned posts cannot be taken seriously.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 7
      • BelairBob says

        Interesting how you confess to everyone here that you are not to be taken seriously.

        Apparently PROUD TO BE LIBERAL is also proud to be a troll.

        Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1
          • ALEX R says

            C’mon, PTBL. You can do better than that. You are smart enough to stick to the issues. Don’t grovel in the personal attacks. BELAIRBOB is just as entitled to his opinion as you and I. Unfortunately for those opposing Walmart he doesn’t agree with them and the group has decided upon an anti-Walmart stance rather than representing both positions.

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    • The Money Tree says

      I would ask you then Bob why did you move where you currently live? Clearly if Walmart is that important to you in terms of convenience there were existing Walmarts or other big box retail where you could have decided to live within closer proximity. If you made a mistake and now regret how far you are from shopping would you consider others don’t agree and those are your neighbors? I find it odd that you demand the shopping come to you – move next door for your convenience when most of your neighbors didn’t make that same mistake you made – they bought where there was no retail and made a choice to be less convenienced in exchange for the quality of life that surrounds them. You don’t find it a tad selfish that your mistake justifies support for ruining thier dreams, the quality of thier community? If you want to live next to Walmart why don’t you sell your house and find a neighborhood right next to an existing store – in this market I’m sure there are many because trust me homes unfortunate enough to be next door to enormous shopping centers are darn cheap because next to nobody wants to live there – certainly if there are children in the home.

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      • BelairBob says

        I have lived here for 40+ years. Walmart and the other bigbox stores didn’t come here then because there weren’t enough people. Now the rest of you have moved here (which by the way I think is wonderful because my home is worth 15x what I paid for it) walmart too wants to move here. See we don’t have to go to them they come to us. That’s how the world works. Now if there is anything else I can explain to you, please don’t hesitate to ask.

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        • The Money Tree says

          So we can then conclude you could care less about your neighbors wishes, it’s all about you and your convenience and heck with anybody else. Got it.

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 5
          • BelairBob says

            I think you may have sprained your reading finger cause the fact is they don’t care about my wishes and it’s all about them and their conveniences.

            You should widen your perspective, It’s not all about you.

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          • The Money Tree says

            Bob; you’ve made it clear from very early on you are in support of the Walmart even though at least on Dagger you appear to be in the minority. Do you not understand you are the one supporting a change in the neighborhood and for your convenience. Your neighbor supports status quo. You made your choice as did your neighbor when you chose to purchase your home where it is…and you want the change to come to you. Do you not see the difference? There are lots of places you could move that are more densely populated with lots more retail so why don’t you move there rather than insist your neighbors suffer because you want convenience. Makes no sense.

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          • CDEV says

            I don’t see it. Alot of people see it that we have laws, rules and procedures. The zoning and rezoning of this property was done in accordance with those procedures. Now because the neighbors, the same ones who did not want to be involved in any of the process until now, don’t like the result they want to change the rules in the middle of the game when Wal-mart is playing by the rules and wishes to use the land for it’s marked purpose. If the Wal-mart deal falls through than change the rules or change them for the future but you can not change the rules at convinence. What if we decided to change the rules retroactively for other things like taxes and decide your home was worth more than assessed 5 years ago so you owe more taxes now. Is that fair?

            Well-loved. Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0
          • ALEX R says

            No, Money Tree, it is all about what the regulations and the law says and the heck with people who couldn’t be at all concerned until something might happen that inconveniences them. Then at that point they want to bend and break and ignore all of the regulations and laws for their personal whims. Little children throwing tantrums because they don’t get the world to stop and say “Oh, wait, I’m so very sorry you are unhappy. Let me make the world and everyone in it conform to your personal desires at their expense.”

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          • The Money Tree says

            Somebody needs a nap. The residents of this county have every right to express frustration and opposition – it’s the American way. I might remind you it’s legal to hunt, but many oppose. If the only thing that matters is a strict interpretation of existing law with no allowance for protest we’d still have slavery. It is my right to let Walmart know that my feelings and the feelings of many others is they’re welcome where you are, but we don’t want that great big store in this other location. If you disagree; fine, but you certainly have no right to suggest others remain silent when the outcome of this Walmart expansion affects thier convenience, thier neighborhoods, thier quality of life, their property values…and yes even in some cases the safety of thier families. Respectfully pound sand.

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          • ALEX R says

            I never suggested you remain silent. Just don’t expect anyone to stop the world and make all of your wishes come true. Have a nice shout. I would suggest you target your shouting at someone who might actually be able to do something. Just a suggestion. Of course you are free do do what you want. Within the bounds of the law. Oh, and about that nap comment you made? Sounds like you guys were the ones napping when the rezoning was taking place. No that you have awakened from your slumber, sleeping beauty, how does the coffee smell?

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          • ALEX R says

            I never suggested you remain silent. Just don’t expect anyone to stop the world and make all of your wishes come true. Have a nice shout. I would suggest you target your shouting at someone who might actually be able to do something. Just a suggestion. Of course you are free do do what you want. Within the bounds of the law. Oh, and about that nap comment you made? Sounds like you guys were the ones napping when the rezoning was taking place. Now that you have awakened from your slumber, sleeping beauty, how does the coffee smell?

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          • The Money Tree says

            You describe opponents as “shouting” and “having a tantrum”. Really? I would hardly agree that community opposition to a developement project that will have profound affects on adjacent neighborhoods is akin to having a tantrum.

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  30. Phil from Joppa now in Bel Air says

    The development envelope pretty much has determined every square inch of available land will at some point be developed with houses or business. If it wasn’t walmart at the old mcnutt place it would have been some other kind of retail. A person who moved out of the area 25 years ago and returned today would not recognize the Abingdon/South Bel Air area with the additional businesses, houses, schools, etc. The price of progress – good and bad – now being paid.

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    • BRAC Family says

      But that’s true everywhere. The NJ town in which I grew up 40+ years ago is far different in terms of development now, than it was then.

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  31. BelairBob says

    Money Tree the fact that you believe only your opinion counts and all those who don’t agree should move elsewhere is not a principle of what this great country was founded on. The basic issue here you and most others do not get is this.

    The reason Wal-Mart wants to build another store in our neighborhood is the same reason you go fishing where the fish are. Walmart isn’t the illness it’s merely a symptom.

    If you do not want Walmart in your hood you should think of moving but where ever it is you go I’d bet they will eventually follow you. Get it?

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    • The Money Tree says

      Of course Walmart or any other retailer follows populations but that’s where planning comes in. The selection of this site for a Walmart is what’s being discussed – most don’t oppose Walmart just this site because it’s out of scale for the neighborhood and has minimal opportunity for road improvement without seizing real property owned by others in the form of people’s yards and driveways. Emminent domain wasn’t supposed to be used to allow private businesses better access to thier parking lots – it’s a sad day when we’ve allowed for that but the existing roadways absolutely will not support the increased traffic without destroying ingress/egress into some local neighborhoods.

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    • noble says

      Sounds to me like you both think the other person thinks they can ignore your opinion. And you’re both right, even though you shouldn’t. Here’s what matters

      1. Who has the money to buy the land? Walmart.
      2. Who owns the land? Not us.
      3. Does Walmart’s plan meet regulatory requirements?

      The answer is in number 3. Our opinions about whether we like it or not matter somewhere near the bottom of the list where lame politicians and greedy corporate executives feed. Politicians don’t care unless it makes votes and Walmart won’t care until it hits their bottom line. They really don’t care what you think otherwise.

      The question isn’t really much about how many BelairBob’s or Money Tree’s are out there. The question is, do they want to do it, and can they? That’s it. So for all the people out there think a Walmart there is a fantastic idea, that’s great. Nobody cares what you think if they can’t build it. And for everyone who thinks it sucks, nobody cares what you think if it gets approved.

      By all means have your opinion. Try to change somebody’s mind even. But don’t live under the impression that your opinion matters right now. What matters is regulatory mumbo jumbo and if you aren’t interested in wading into the thick of the details, you might as well just shout at walls.

      Find information. Go to the DAC meeting tomorrow and share your information. Have a beer and relax afterward basking in the glow of your civic glory. Well done.

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      • The Money Tree says

        Believe me Noble I’m not delusional enough to believe this thing is pretty much a done deal unless the community makes it so utterly obvious to Walmart that it would be extremely damaging to thier image to continue to push this. There have been a few success stories where communities have been successful at keeping Walmart out – this is quite different however in that Walmart is already here and in multiples, each location within reasonable convenience to anyone with a car. That’s the key difference – just how far will Walmart push and be willing to jeopardize existing good will. Remember good will and a customer base has a huge calculable value…if they screw that pooch it won’t matter where they move.

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        • noble says

          All true. But also remember that the population changes over naturally over time. And if they build it, maybe faster, so within 5-10 years new community members will be moving in who don’t care about the Walmart being there.

          And when they build one of these stores, they are thinking long term, so slightly lower returns in the near term might not matter as much as the increased returns down the road.

          It’s a hard sell, but maybe they will listen eventually.

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      • ALEX R says

        Noble,

        Well said but I believe you are casting pearls before swine. Some folks are determined that there will NOT be a Walmart and the reason that Walmart shouldn’t build there is because some people don’t want it. What nonsense. Some people want Walmart and the reasons are all over the map. Fine, but their reasons don’t matter either.

        If I wanted the Walmart there I would be quite encouraged that those who oppose it are spending so much time and energy on matters that are of no significance to the final outcome while they spend hardly any time, money or energy on the key issues that will matter – what you call regulatory mumbo jumbo. My money is on Walmart but it will be interesting to see if Walmart can be rebuffed and even more interesting to see how it is done. The only real dog I have in this fight is making sure that the rule of law and regulations are not trumped by the “I don’t care what the law says, this is not convenient for me” crowd.

        Well-loved. Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1
  32. Yo Dolan, Gooby Pls says

    No need for another WM when we have many within a few minutes

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 5
  33. Erin says

    I understand that it is now zoned for a business and at the time, we weren’t aware of the implications our inaction would have. However, instead of having a large Walmart that is unnecessary in this community, we should be encouraging more small, local businesses at that site. We have several Walmarts in Harford county and if you want to shop there, go to one of them. Don’t cause more traffic on an already congested road.

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    • Eric says

      @Erin

      Government doesn’t get to pick what specific businesses open and neither do you or anyone else.

      Consumers ultimately decide what businesses thrive and which fail by using their feet and pocketbook.

      My prediction is Walmart will be a terrific success in this location which is on properly zoned and privately owned property.

      Eric

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      • ALEX R says

        Oh, Eric, there you go with that zoning and private property stuff. Don’t you get it? No one cares about that. It’s all about what is inconvenient for them. I just don’t understand why the local government can step in and make some kind of pronouncement that since some people are opposed to Walmart on Plumtree then all of the rules and regulations and laws are suspended and these people get their wish. I mean the regulations and laws are okay most of the time but when I don’t like them then someone should just make them go away.

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        • PROUD TO BE LIBERAL says

          So Alex you are OK with the County expanding Rt 924 to SIX lanes to accommodate the increased traffic? I thought you were against spending tax dollars, and this would cost millions.

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          • TR says

            Proud,

            Rt. 924 is a state road not a county road, so if anyone is widening it it’s the state. If you don’t like it then you need to call Martin O’Malley.

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        • PROUD TO BE LIBERAL says

          SARAH: You don’t live in Maryland? As far as I know I pay state taxes ae well as county taxes and tax money comes out of my hide no matter who pays for it.

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          • ALEX R says

            Oh, my! PTBL is now all of a sudden very interested in how his tax money is being spent. PTBL, we have to widen the road for the children. We have a crisis on our hands. Actually, we have to widen the road so people who need to shop at Walmart, and most of them are the poor and otherwise disadvantaged that you say you support, can get to Walmart to shop because that is where they most often do and must shop because of their economic circumstances. I truly apologize that helping these folks will not only take some of your tax money but also be an inconvenience to you.

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        • PROUD TO BE LIBERAL says

          ALEX R: And I’m truly happy to see you want your tax money to help those more unfortunate than you. So now you’re in favor of extending health benefits to all and increase aid to dependent children. How about providing more funds to education? I’m so proud of your 180 degree turnaround from a selfish GOP/Tea Party to a Democrat.

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  34. CDEV says

    I had to go to Patterson Mill last night. I drove through the area and almost hit a protester who stepped off the curb. That said where are these children who are in danger walking from to get to school? I could not see any residential places except for a senior community and the neighborhood across patterson mill road and they would not need to walk to Wal-Mart.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 5
    • Belairmom says

      Bright Oaks mainly, the development that is directly across 924 from the proposed sight and will share a traffic light with the main entrance. You can see one of their courts from 924.

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      • The Money Tree says

        It’s not just Bright Oaks either…that traffic won’t drop from the sky at the entrance a tremendous increased in traffic from all directions on 924 because the primary entrance will be a 2 way road that runs in front of numerous development entry ways. People won’t be able to pull out of thier developements. Expect a number of accidents as people pull out in front of others in frustration.

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  35. Paul Mc says

    Hey Proud,

    “PUERILE PAUL the McCREEPY STALKER having a nice day sucking on tea bags. Since you have said that “I simply call you the term (tea bagger) in an affectionate way….’ I shall as well.” – Wow, you stated earlier that when I was civil, you would be. I didn’t respond to your last post nor have I called you any names since your last post and yet you wish to attack me here.

    “I’m sorry you cannot accept the fact that it was the tea party that began using the term “tea bag” in the first place.” – Using the term Tea bag and calling themselves tea baggers is two vastly different things. However, you already knew that.

    “Remember when I wrote this to you? “You are so correct when you say I use the term to annoy the hypocrites of the Tea Party. Their foul, disgusting posters and hate filled rants so repulsed me that I can’t help but rub their collective noses into their own ignorant choice of terms. Michelle Bachmann used a tea bag on March 11, 2011! You do know she is their poster child? As soon as they stop their racism and lies, I will stop referring to them by their own symbol. I make no apologies either!”” – You continue to use derogatory terms even when none are used against you. You wanted the last word, you had it, then you had to get more words in. I didn’t respond to your last post. Another did. I responded to them and said nothing about you in my post. You had the last word, Proud, but you had to continue this hate. Why is that, Proud?

    “So don’t expect me to stop referring to these creatures by their own name. If it is offensive, that is just too bad because everything about the tea party is offensive to me.” I don’t expect you to. Also, i am not a member of the Tea Party.

    Anyways, have a nice day.

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  36. PROUD TO BE LIBERAL says

    B: “So, was Kennedy really a forerunner to Reagan and Bush? Or are supply-siders just cynically appropriating his aura? The Republicans are right, up to a point. Kennedy did push tax cuts, and his plan, which passed in February 1964, three months after his death, did help spur economic growth. But they’re wrong to see the tax reduction as a supply-side cut, like Reagan’s and Bush’s; it was a demand-side cut. “The Revenue Act of 1964 was aimed at the demand, rather than the supply, side of the economy,” said Arthur Okun, one of Kennedy’s economic advisers.

    This distinction, taught in Economics 101, seldom makes it into the Washington sound-bite wars. A demand-side cut rests on the Keynesian theory that public consumption spurs economic activity. Government puts money in people’s hands, as a temporary measure, so that they’ll spend it. A supply-side cut sees business investment as the key to growth. Government gives money to businesses and wealthy….Like scripture, it seems, John F. Kennedy can be quoted for many purposes.”

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    • Eric says

      First of all Kennedy has more in common with Reagan, Bush 1&2 and Romney than he does with Obama.

      Obama is more like Upton Sinclair.

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    • B says

      Thats pretty spin Proud, but bs. The tax cuts that Kennedy proposed had the same effect that the cuts Romney proposes will have… Let people keep more of their own money. Would you call Kennedy a “tea bagger” since his policy was the same as proposed now?

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      • PROUD TO BE LIBERAL says

        B: I believe there is a difference between billionaires’ tax cut and middleclass’ tax cut. I guess you think Romney’s tax cut for billionaires will be good for you as well?

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    • ALEX R says

      PTBL,

      With a whole bunch of post-graduate economics courses under my belt – maybe 60 or so of the old style credit hours – let me tell you that John M. Keynes is widely regarded as quite wrong. The term Keynesian is now a term of derision for someone who thinks economic problems can be fixed by spurring public sector spending. It is like giving morphine to address pain – okay in the very short run but meanwhile the cause of the pain is getting worse and worse unless addressed. And the cause of our economic pain is deficit spending by the government. Liberals and Socialists love Keynes not because his economic writings are correct but because his writings fit well in to their desire to further control all of the economy centrally and thereby furthering controlling the populace, making the populace ever dependent on government and keeping themselves in power. One of my professors at the London School of Economics in the ’70′s always cautioned that the Keynesians had, in the final analysis, little to fear but the revolution that would eventually and surely come with the people demanding to rid themselves of government domination. Orwell was quite prescient was he not? Except that the pigs are your heroes.

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        • Eric says

          @PTBL

          You should be impressed with Alex’s explanation and opinion on Keynesian economics. It was very well written.

          What Alex left out is that the liberal/progressives only execute Keynes formula half-way. They spend during bust or recessionary periods, but they never save during economically prosperous periods.

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