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The Petty Tyrannies of Heber City

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If the petty tyrants of Heber City, Utah have their way on Election Day, Wal-Mart won’t be coming to town.

Aghast when the city council voted last April to allow “big box” retail stores as large as 150,000 square feet to establish business in Heber City, a group called Put Heber Valley First launched a petition drive and successfully put the zoning issue on the ballot. Even though the ordinance doesn’t specifically mention Wal-Mart, everyone knows limiting the size of retail stores to 60,000 square feet will effectively stall the retail giant’s proposed supercenter on the south end of town.

Supporters of limiting the size of retail stores claim a Wal-Mart will intrude upon the “local flavor” of the community, bring crime and traffic and put local stores out of business. Their claims aren’t new or unique; rather, they’re the tired and trite arguments of activists who haven’t realized that, for the most part, having a Wal-Mart is an asset to the city and surrounding communities by bringing more competition, jobs and an economic boost to the area.

Despite their concern about what would happen to Heber City and existing businesses, the voter referendum is nothing more than a chance for a handful of vocal residents to act like petty tyrants who don’t like the retailer or change, to deny Wal-Mart the right to compete.

Most residents of Heber City want a Wal-Mart. And you don’t need a poll to prove it. Despite the city’s tremendous population growth, retail sales are flat. Many Heber residents are refusing to support local businesses and are taking their dollars elsewhere by driving 20 miles to Park City or 25 miles to Orem to shop at – surprise! – Wal-Mart and other retailers where business is booming. Estimates have put the outflow of resident’s shopping money to surrounding retailers at nearly $100 million.

And who can blame them? The decision of many residents to drive over 20 miles to find some decent shopping shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s visited Heber City. Though it has a “small town” feel, it also lacks obvious and convenient places to shop. In fact, there are only a handful of chain stores in the entire town. Wal-Mart would simply give Heber residents and visitors an alternative – one that many would gladly welcome not only for the competition it would bring to this community but also for the convenience.

A retailer should be allowed to succeed based on the votes of people’s pocketbooks instead of the ballot box. If the proposed Wal-Mart store is built, residents will simply be given another choice where they can shop. If enough people feel that supporting local stores is important, those businesses will thrive and Wal-Mart will close its doors.

But the freedom to choose is something the petty tyrants of Heber City don’t believe in. Instead, they’d rather force every resident of this town to live in what they consider to be the ideal town, even if that means forcing others to drive long distances to shop for less expensive groceries and other items.

The “local flavor” the Put Heber Valley First people support is that of inconvenience and tyranny. Heber City residents would be wise to allow the free market to function.

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About Abel Keogh

  • troll

    Les asks – *And whom are your anarchists going to base their revolution on?*

    three answers jumped to mind in the following order:

    1 – reformed Russian land owners (self explanitory)
    2 – illegal immigrants (as it’s a dirty job that most US workers refuse to do)
    3 – the newly emerging class – that of human beings (as you say I favor a utopian solution)

    gonzo – imo ‘cancer’ better fits as a description of the boom phase of the business cycle

  • troll sez – “stagnation’ might not be such a bad idea for parasites…some might call it sustainable growth”

    others might call it cancer…

    and then – “…and save us from proletariat dicks – we’ve seen where they can take us”

    Quoted for Truth


  • Les Slater

    “…and save us from proletariat dicks…”

    And whom are your anarchists going to base their revolution on?

  • troll

    ‘stagnation’ might not be such a bad idea for parasites…some might call it sustainable growth

    …and save us from proletariat dicks – we’ve seen where they can take us

  • but communism is the Path to stagnation…imo

    until and unless someone can show me a better outline of a Society than the secular covenant of the U.S. Constitution (and intent of the Declaration), i’ve gotta stand by upholding and defending the olde bit of hemp parchment signed by those wacky Founders

    it does Require an engaged Citizenry, and that’s been lacking since WW2, imo

    takes time, but the paradigm shift is occurring, as i noted previously around here…the first of those greedy Boomers are applying for Social Security…this silver tsunami will shift the political priorities in the U.S. away from the “Reagonomics” model into something a bit Left of Center

    speak up, be Involved…and let’s see how all of U.S. can work it out and solve some Problems

    could just be me


  • Les Slater

    Left? anarchy is the road to communism?

    This is just utopian. The capitalist class will not go away without being smashed by the dictatrship of the proletariat.

  • troll

    time to take a left turn…anarchy is the road to communism

  • Les Slater

    … and if we don’t push it back, and ultimately, overthrow it, capitalism will be at odds with democracy.

  • troll

    ‘Democracy is the road to socialism’…the other marx

  • in the Article it’s said – “A retailer should be allowed to succeed based on the votes of people’s pocketbooks instead of the ballot box. “

    why do you hate Democracy?

    here i had thought that the smallest form of government, a town…should indeed be able to set it’s desires via the ballot box and zoning laws in order to maintain control by the Citizens over their immediate environs

    so which is it..the Right of people to govern themselves…or the “right” of Big Money to do as it pleases with no regards to the Will of the People?

    i’ll side with the Voters every time, but what the hell…i like Liberty

    your mileage may vary


  • I hate Wal-Mart. I come out of there feeling as if I need a bath. Yet I don’t hate America. In fact certain parts of it are really rather nice, like Yosemite and Pier 39. This is confusing. Please enlighten me.

  • m3412

    People who hate Wal-Mart hate America.