Wal-Mart editorial needs clarification
Two weeks ago on this page, the Review ran an editorial titled, “Wal-Mart debate reveals rifts.” While the piece was meant as an appeal to unity in the Oberlin College and town community, it seems to have only further solidified the very rifts it was discussing.
While any discussion of issues this contentious can be expected to foment a certain amount of controversy, in this case, an unclearly written section of the editorial has been misinterpreted and requires clarification for the benefit of our readers.
A passage which reads, “The decision to bring Wal-Mart to Oberlin...by a group of former council members, has been widely recognized for its failings...” may lead readers to believe that the decision was made by council alone and that council members were uniformly in favor of a Wal-Mart in Oberlin.
In reality, several members of council actively campaigned against the Wal-Mart and the decision made by council was not a development agreement with Wal-Mart but a decision to zone the property for commercial use. Our characterization of the agreement as opaque was not directed solely at council but at all parties involved in the process.
Secondly, another section of the editorial deals with the city council election of two years ago and states that “with the election of Dan Gardner, Eve Sandberg and Charles Peterson...Oberlin’s residents were promised a departure from secrecy and cronyism.”
This sentence was meant to characterize the views of the “slate” at the time rather than endorse them. Whether this characterization is correct is a matter for debate.
In no way was the editorial meant to accuse any current or former members of council of being corrupt or unqualified and we apologize for any offense this poorly worded section may have caused.
It is also highly inaccurate to say that the writing of this editorial was influenced in any way by current council members or candidates. All opinions expressed on this page are entirely those of the Review editorial board.
With the exception of these two sentences, the editorial board firmly stands
behind the argument put forth in that editorial, that the tactics and arguments
used by many of Wal-Mart’s opponents only serve to undermine a rational
political process and the sense of community that the town will need to survive
this type of corporate encroachment. This paper will continue to provide
up-to-date and comprehensive coverage of this fascinating and quickly-developing