The editorial page of the Olympian came out against
the values ordinance today:
Council members should allow the proponents of the community values ordinance an opportunity to speak their mind and air their proposal. But council members should not waste staff time or city resources pursuing this feel-good measure that is unlawful, unworkable and just plain silly.
is the text of the proposed ordinance.
Some things to note about the piece:
- The main source is David Schaffert, president and chief executive officer of the Thurston County Chamber of Commerce. He calls the ordinance "subjective."
- The piece contains the claim that only "a core group of about 15 people" are behind the proposal.
- The piece claims that "Under the proposal, those businesses that don't measure up would have two months to leave town." What the proposal actually says is that those businesses with a score below 50 must stop local operations in two months, rather than "leave town." One presumes that if they reapply and score better, the business can reopen.
- The piece raises the question of equity, claiming that because the ordinance only applies to large business, it is discriminating against stores like Wal-Mart. It doesn't mention the inequity in resources that these corporations have brought to bear against small towns like Olympia. In perhaps the most interesting quote, Schaffert states:
"Our community wants to embrace diversity, yet when it comes to businesses, some people in this community want to put all businesses into 'good' or 'bad' categories based on subjective measures.
OlyBlog's view: It is convenient for Shaffert to call the proposal "subjective". In fact, it seems quite objective. By the numbers: do these businesses contribute a specified percentage back to the community? Do they contribute a specified percentage to health care? Etc. Finally, rather than call names (silly?), perhaps the Olympian should engage in a discussion about the ordiance. Rather than use a single source, Schaffert, the Olympian should solicit input from the wider community. Perhaps the Olympian should examine the underlying value that the ordinance expresses, that big businesses should be good citizens in this community, and contribute something back.