Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Environmentalists Start to Push Back Against Costco Subsidy

We are beginning to hear rumors that environmentalists and perhaps smart growth advocates are starting to push back against the Costco subsidy in Wheaton. This email to the council from a Wheaton resident who is a long-time environmental activist may only be the beginning.

-----Original Message-----

From: Anne Ambler
Sent: Tuesday, January 19, 2010 11:22 AM
To: Elrich's Office, Councilmember; Andrews' Office, Councilmember; Floreen's Office, Councilmember; Knapp's Office, Councilmember; Ervin's Office, Councilmember; Berliner's Office, Councilmember; Leventhal's Office, Councilmember; Trachtenberg's Office, Councilmember; Navarro's Office, Councilmember
Subject: Please do NOT pay Costco to come here!

Dear Council President Floreen and Councilmembers:

I have just learned that County Executive Leggett has proposed paying Costco $4 million to open a store at Westfield Shopping in Wheaton. With all due respect, this is a flagrant waste of our county's scarce resources. If Costco wants to come, it will, with no bribe. Research has shown that such payments do not work well long-term for the communities that pay them.

But why would we want Costco to come here anyway? It would undercut the stores already in the mall, possibly drive Target out, and then there we are again with an empty store. I'm sure if we have an extra $4 million floating around, there are far better ways to spend it. How about creating jobs in energy retrofitting? Or stream protection? Or keeping classroom size down? Or even filling the potholes in the roads.

I urge you not to spend any of our scare funds on trying to lure Costco to Wheaton.


Anne Ambler
Ambler wrote this as an individual, but she has been a leader on environmental issues in the county for over a decade. If someone of her background is raising questions about the subsidy, could the rest of the environmental movement be far behind?