The following quote is from earlier in the year:
“The Village of Newport and the people of Derby voted overwhelmingly to support having a place to buy underwear so we don’t have to go to Littleton,” said Sen. Robert Starr.
Senator Starr (D-Essex/Orleans), was addressing the fact that in 2010, 85 percent of voters supported the idea of a Walmart being built in Derby.
Well, when it was announced Wednesday that a deal had been made between developer Jeff Davis, Preservation Trust, and the Vermont Natural Resources Council, that there would be no opposition against the new Walmart store so long as Davis pays $200,000, we should all have felt a little insulted.
If you read between the lines, the message is that bribes and blackmail will be tolerated by us locals, so long as in the end we have a place to go buy underwear. After Wednesday’s payoff, Davis has won the fight, and can now ride into town, the hero, throwing underwear at us locals. He can throw a few hundred thousand dollars at the so-called conservation groups, which, is a very low amount compared to the money he will be taking away from local businesses like Pick & Shovel. Supposedly, everyone wins.
There is more to this deal than most people realize, because it sets a new standard of using the permitting process as a way to extort money. Both sides have used the people of Derby and Newport as a guise for making a large amount of money, in the end, both getting what they want.
VNRC and Preservation Trust win an easy payday, literally getting $200,000 for doing nothing, developer Jeff Davis will make plenty of money as we all flock to Walmart, getting our share of the prize…underware.
We are worth more than that, and Vermont should pride itself on being a state that has not been bought out by big businesses like Walmart. We still have a tradition and a culture around here that is free from the likes of superstores and corporate giants swallowing up every little business in its path.
If VNRC and Preservation Trust have agreed to stand down in opposition of the project, that does not mean that everybody else has to.