Thursday, February 27, 2003

Would You Buy A Used Car From These Editors?

Today's Commercial Appeal contains this editorial stating the paper's approval of a new mall project in Collierville. It contains so many qualifiers, weasel words, suppositions and good-faith assumptions that I wouldn't trust anyone who offered me anything with this much wiggle room.

Let's strip away the foo-fa-raw and list the hedges:

If that promise is kept
that's a big if
officials insist
real estate observers seem to agree
need not
Developers promise
they say
officials will have to hold the developers strictly to their agreement
developers are responsible
guarantees...must be met.
Officials also will have to
expectation that
surely would want to
not likely to
could set a useful precedent

Does that sound promising?

Basically, the developers of Carriage Crossing were forced to scale their project way back -- by almost a third. But it's still a jumped-up strip mall on a regional mall scale. Any commercial project of that size and intent will draw more commercial develoment.

All we have is the promise by developers not to take advantage of the situation and the hope that elected officials will take a hard line against any attempted broken promises. But we've already seen, time and again, here in Memphis and Shelby County how officials cave to the needs of developers over the desires of the citizens. Developers are a potent and unexamined influence in this area -- as they are in every city in the country. What they want will happen.

The CA knows this. They also know who provides a rather healthy chunk of their profits. Take a stroll thru the paid regular and classified ads. Developers, builders, landscapers, realtors, banks, insurance, home furnishings and appliances. Without all that building, they'd have no need to sell. It's a comfortable death-lock.

That's why they've soaked this editorial in weasel words: to cover their asses so, a few years from now, they can moan about the broken promises and failed restraint without being complete hypocrites. They know exactly what's going to happen, but can't really anger anyone who actually might affect profits.

They'll only be partial hypocrites.

No comments: