I had a chance to attend last night’s meeting on the proposed West Side Wal Mart. A large and boisterous crowed turned out, largely in opposition to the project. Interestingly-enough, about half the opposition, including the most vocal opponents, came from the Bosque School which is located between the Rio Grande and the proposed Wal Mart.
I won’t go through all of the arguments presented against the store, but the evening boiled down to a bunch of people who have the financial resources to pay more than $18,000 annually to send their kids to school (in addition to what they pay to APS, but that’s a different story) who oppose the location of a store that primarily serves middle and lower class Albuquerqueans (including your humble non-profit President).
The facts are simple: the land is zoned commercial, so some kind of development was inevitable. This means traffic and all of the visual/environmental issues were bound to arise. Somehow I don’t think a Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s would generate the same opposition.
Also, while opponents note correctly that Wal Mart has three stores on the West Side, is it really up to them to decide how many stores are “enough?” If Wal Mart thinks it can turn a profit and their customers show up, then apparently there are NOT enough stores.
So, if the Bosque School simply can’t tolerate being next door to a Wal Mart, why don’t they do what the Academy has done over the years and buy all the surrounding land so that nothing is located next door? That would be one pro-freedom way to address this issue, but it seems like the leadership of Bosque would rather use their wealth and connections to manipulate the political process in their favor.