History, politics, people of Oly WA

Month: September 2007 (Page 1 of 4)

Wal-mart effect comes to Yelm?

QFC closes in Yelm:

Is this the first of other Yelm stalwart businesses that will close because the Wal-Mart Effect did them in?

Can Wal-Mart’s employee wage scale and large use of part-timers replace these full time Yelm jobs at Kroger?

Here’s an interesting related observation from a Lacey planning review board meeting when Wal-mart was being debated closer to my home:

Took unofficial poll. Majority of residents favor Wal-Mart. It would be of economic help to have Wal-Mart close. If QFC is having trouble, Wal-Mart will bring in more people to shop at other stores.

I’m for Wal-Mart. QFC doesn’t have business because their prices are too high. I like to economize. If you put in a big box store that has higher prices, it will not do business either.

Bill Virgin back in 2002 points out that this might be one battle in a long war between Kroger and their QFC brand and Wal-Mart:

The Kroger Co. has a problem. Sales growth has been sluggish at best, earnings have been weak, and the company faces tough long-term competition on prices from Wal-Mart.

Furthermore, QFC seems lost in the shuffle of a huge concern like Kroger. Just consider the number of store brands Kroger operates, aside from its namesake and those mentioned above. According to the Kroger Web site the company’s brands also include King Soopers, City Market, Dillons, Fry’s, Kessel, Baker’s, Owen’s, Cala Foods Bell Markets, Pay Less, Gerbes, Jay C and Hilander — not to mention warehouse, convenience and warehouse store chains.

Virgin makes a lot of good points, the entire piece is worth the read. But, the essential point I got is that maybe if QFC had been smaller and leaner, not owned by another mega company like Kroger, the QFC in Yelm might have survived.

Criticism of Wal-Mart
The Wal-Mart Effect

Re: Private libraries: a novel idea (“Let’s fix our own problems”)

John over at the Washington Policy Center posts up about the Jackson (OR) county library system joining forces with a for-profit firm to get the libraries back open.

Good for Jackson to get their libraries going again, but I’m afraid I can’t swallow what John is pushing (an embrace private libraries). It seems that there are some nuances he’s overlooking.

LSSI (the private firm) will operate the libraries on about half of what the county had been spending. But, the county hasn’t found a permanent source for those funds and most of those savings seem to be coming from lopping off hours of operation and cutting retirement.

I can’t also but look at other places LSSI has either come into or been rejected from. In New Jersey, one person carries the heart of the matter for me:

“Let us fix our own problems,” said Leticia Acosta, president of the newly formed Friends of the Library group. “Don’t send our tax dollars to Maryland.”

Jackson county brining in a company to run their libraries is essentially a “we can’t do this.” The original closure of the libraries came when federal funds dried up and the community couldn’t come together to locally fund the system. Now that LSSI is in the picture, if local communities want full service libraries, they’re going to have to pass higher taxes anyway.

And, how libraries are run is also outsourced under LSSI. In a Texas example, the details of LSSI’s response to a public request for proposal is secret.

I agree with the Daily Tidings here, that its great to get the libraries back open. But, it would be even better if it was the communities themselves who did it. Rescuing libraries may be profitable, but running libraries in the long term isn’t something you should be able to make a profit on:

Public libraries, by their very nature, are classic ‘market failures’ — as are highways, schools, police, firefighters, and national defense and security. They are not profitable activities that a free market place will support. Privatization is not a mere management tool; it is a grave public policy shift. Privatization advocates must be challenged. If the core democratic values of libraries are glossed over in the name of efficiency, economy, and creative management, how will the public interest be served?

When LSSI Comes to Town
Fargo Public Library Drops LSSI Contract

Ball hitters get revenge on our man Jorge


Mariners right-hander Jorge Campillo left the first game of Wednesday’s doubleheader with the Cleveland Indians in the sixth inning after getting hit in the right arm by a line drive from Casey Blake.

With the bases loaded and no outs, Blake lined Campillo’s pitch back to the mound. The ball ricocheted off Campillo’s lower forearm over to third baseman Mike Morse, who threw out Blake. Victor Martinez scored on the play to give Cleveland a 10-2 lead.

Jorge just can’t win. After beaning one of the best ball-hitters, the ball-hitters of North America got revenge by hitting Campillo back.

TVW and flash is right around the corner

What I really love about TVW is the communication I get from them over the weekend. Scott, the IT director at TVW comments on a post down below about flash:

I would like to If I may, elaborate on the flash issue. We have reasons for not jumping into all flash on tvw.org right now; like I mentioned in the email, we will not move to flash for our video content until the release of flash ver 9. Currently flv video files for a 2 hour event are nearly 500mb each, and a flash server to comparably handle the traffic streams we serve is not free (http://www.adobe.com/products/flashmediaserver/productinfo/pricing/#ft2).
We cover over 300 events in video and almost 700 in audio a year and soon that number may triple, so you can very quickly see how a 500mb file can be a problem.

TVW’s library of content exceeds 60,000 hours and as you know it keeps growing. We do not intend to remove media from the site so we have to be smart about making the right choices and balancing between what make sense to both our infrastructure/limited resources and the delivery mechanisms that allows the content to get out there on the web.
That said, Windows media server is free, and the file size for the same video is 150mb and the quality is much better.

There is light at the end of the tunnel since flash will soon support mpeg4. This format is lower in file size and much better quality than flashes flv format and arguably the windows format as well. We have a really great interface we are working on for the flash player when we implement it. Let me know if any of you want to test drive it before we launch (feedback is always welcome)

I really do appreciate your dialog; it helps us keep in touch with users of the site and helps us also be the best in the country for what we do. We should all be proud of what we have in WA State. Because there’s not many states with “TVW’s” that offer the amount of content and breadth of coverage TVW offers Washingtonians. My hope is that more us get involved and use tvw’s resources!

Thanks Scott!

Fred Moody, where are you?

Warshal’s Sporting Goods closed.

Almost Live is off the air.

Emmett Watson is dead.

I saw Raban today in the PI. Not just like his horrible piece from crosscut awhile back, but it just reminded me just how much we’re seeing ourselves through his eyes nowadays and it reminded me how much I miss you Fred.

Fred, please come back. Write stuff for us.

Just because Warshal’s closed, doesn’t mean we all shop at REI. I walk past the Outdoor Emporium after every Mariners’ game.

What I’m saying is that REI can still be there, Raban will always be a gifted writer and he’ll write about Washington. But, the guys who are heading out to Forks will stop out the Outdoors Emporium for corkies and yarn on their way out of town and I’ll always want to read you.

Paul Allen does not own Qwest Field

More chatter on MLS in Seattle leads to speculation that Paul Allen is part of the new ownership group. That’s great, but then this:

In grabbing the franchise, Roth and partners outmaneuvered a group called Atletico Seattle Management, who’d proposed building a new $135 million soccer stadium. For now, the team will continue at the Allen-run Qwest Field.

The Seahawks may be the major tenant of the facility, but Allen in no way “runs” Qwest Field. The Washington State Public Stadium Authority

was created by voters in 1997 when they passed Referendum 48 authorizing public financing for a stadium and exhibition center. The referendum established the PSA as the owner of the stadium, exhibition center and parking garage, and made the PSA responsible for overseeing the siting, design, construction and operation of the $430-million complex.

With construction complete, the chief role of the PSA is to ensure the public’s interests are represented and protected in the facility’s operation. The PSA Board is comprised of seven civic members from across the state appointed by the Governor.

Internet based fan owned teams spread

In addition to myfootballclub and Save the Victory, there are a couple of other options out there if you want to get a piece of a soccer club.

Fan Power
points to myBUFC and BuyaClub.co.uk. MyBUFC is trying to buy a low level club in England. The advantage is they only need 5,000 investors (instead of 50,000 at myfootballclub and at most 20,000 with Save the Victory. The level of entry is also lower at about $50 for their non-league club, compared to about $70 at myfootballcub and $100 Save the Victory.

BuyaClub seems to be an almost exact copy as myfootballclub, but they’re having a harder time getting people on board. Probably because they’re asking for the money up front.

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