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September 22, 2009

Are Walnut Creek's Neiman Marcus foes like Wile E. Coyote?


Contra Costa Times' Tom Barnidge makes an amusing, but probably accurate, comparison in his column today between the “irrespressible” Wile E. Coyote of Road Runner cartoon fame to those Walnut Creek residents who, with the help of a deep-pockets developer, are trying to derail the proposed Neiman Marcus in Broadway Plaza.


Those Walnut Creek residents would be a group with the Acme Corp.-esque title, RAMPART (Residents and Advocates for More Parking and Reduced Traffic). RAMPART’s leaders are Selma King and Ann Hinshaw, but they are receiving financial backing from Taubman Company, the owner of Sunvalley Mall and a developer involved in San Ramon’s effort to build its long-awaited city center.

This is what Barnidge says about Mr. Coyote--and about the RAMPART folks:

When a missile launcher failed to propel him to his target, he hopped onto a rocket sled. When a stick of dynamite couldn't stop his prey, he reached for a hand grenade. When the boulder he dropped didn't flatten the bird, he tried again with an anvil.

Sure, he was a failure, but you need to look past that. He was a study in relentless tenacity.

The only force we've ever seen rival his gritted-teeth perseverance is the group trying to derail the Neiman Marcus project, even as the Walnut Creek City Council beep-beeps its way toward welcoming a new store to Broadway Plaza.


Check out the rest of Barnidge's column here.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

SM,

There are lots of anvils, grenades and rockets in Taubman's arsenal and lots of mud left to sling. Let's hope their weapons continue to miss the mark. Their goal is to turn downtown into a desert.

Beep! Beep!

Soccer Mom said...

Anon 7:28. Fun comment, and it was a fun column by Tom Barnidge.

And, oh, yes, maybe we should start a poll on when the next anvil will be dropped.

And by the way, what purpose does an anvil have? I always wondered that watching Road Runner.

Anonymous said...

By all means, let's mock our opponents. Barnidge makes fun of opponents for allying themselves with an out-of-town business interest...huh? Isn't that what both sides are doing? He doesn't acknowledge that people are upset with the city council for ignoring the master plan, and he doesn't acknowledge that this is just the latest frustration of citizens who are belittled and mocked and ignored by the city council when they try to oppose a project which they feel is ill conceived (library, Homestead Hilton for two).

Anonymous said...

8:52 am......

Must be nice to have the power of the press behind your cause as the city council does on every decision that is even slightly controversial.

Funny how the Times doesn't bother to cover local issues until they become full blown controversies. And they never seem to acknowledge that the reason issues become so controversial is that the council virtually ignores any reasonable opposition or suggestion for improvements from people who appear before them. The council always has to find a "bad guy" to justify their mistakes rather than admitting that they haven't listened and responded to their constituents. The only people who really have their ears are developers and downtown interests who have the money to make things happen their way.

Clever as this column may be, it is not a fair representation of good, honest people in Walnut Creek who just happen to disagree on the future direction of our city. These people are at least straighforward in thei concerns and are not easily swayed by promises of the pot at the end of the rainbow as our city council is.

I, for one, am glad that those who have pursued the NM issue so doggedly have done so. Now that the project seems to be a go, we have a much better plan that was originally approved very quickly by our council who had stars in their eyes and saw dollars in the till.

Thanks to all of the "bad guys" who have been steadfast to their cause.

Anonymous said...

I'm just so tired of this new approach of a small minority to become extremely vocal and then claiming that the government either local or federal is not listening to its opponents. By definition if you listen to all your opponents nothing can ever get done.

Anonymous said...

10:14 Regardless of the position, it's important that "small minority" voices be heard. In this case though we don't really know whose opinion is in the minority. In the case of the library, more than 50% of the Walnut Creek population opposed the plan that was approved. So your objection on the "small minorities shouldn't have a voice" argument can't really apply.

"By definition if you listen to all your opponents nothing can ever get done." The logical failings of this statement do nothing to help your argument.

Like Barnidge's column, the above statement attempts to shut down discussion rather than move forward with collaborative discourse. I agree with anon 9:09 that we have a better plan for the NM project as a result of the discussion.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:16,

You Big Whopper approach doesn't work for the library. 61.7% voted Yes on Measure R to pay taxes for the library but it did not reach the 2/3 vote required to pass. Likewise, 60% voted Yes on Prop 81 to fund libraries statewide. Unfortunatwely the Statewide vote did not make the 50% required.

Anonymous said...

11:16 so please let me know your solution. I for example support the NM project as it stands,as a matter of fact I see it as a compromise since I would have supported the earlier project as well. You seem to opose it. You feel that by allowing the constructions your voice has been ignored. I feel by not allowing the construction my voice has been ignored.

And no I don't accept the argument that the City Counsel has to no right to deviate from the General Plan for a project such as the NM proposal.

Anonymous said...

I agree with anon 9:09. Thanks to Taubman and their allies, we have a better plan (think valet only parking plan). In lieu of amending the General Plan, maybe we can get an even better plan with a real plaza or roof garden or something unique for WC. Macerich sure appears to have the money to spend.

Bob said...

Thankfully, when a strong majority of Walnut Creek citizens vote Yes on Measure I on November 3rd, all this bickering will calm down.

For those against the project, will you allow democracy to work? Some, like Hambrick and King probably will continue to wail and gnash their teeth. Like their hero Wile E. Coyote, they will never give up. Most concerned citizens will say, "OK, the citizens have spoken and it's time to move on". Then we can beat our swords into ploughshares and return to sanity. We have enough problems to solve already.

Maybe there will be a tee-shirt at Neiman Marcus to celebrate: Egyptian cotton, no neck labels, built to last, $99.95.

Anonymous said...

Bob, that's a good price. When is that store opening?

Valued Sony Customer said...

Wasn't there a Neiman Marcus store there that closed in the late 80s/early 90s? I'm pretty sure several dozen of us sat in front of the damn thing waiting for the bus after school...