Tuesday, May 09, 2006

One Reason Nothing in South Carolina makes the 50 Smart Cities list

by Ken Houghton

One of the things I noticed about the Kiplinger list that Kim referenced (and to which Tom linked in comments) is that the Carolinas appeared underrepresented. No Raleigh/Durham, no Charlotte, no Columbia, SC, not even Greensboro. Only Asheville, the "artists area," made the list. (One may presume it is an artist's area because of its less expensive real estate, leading to the conclusion that the Kiplinger list is more "where do you want to have a second home" than "a better place to be.")

By all accounts, those are beautiful, relatively affordable areas. (Full disclosure: I worked in Charlotte for several months; being in sweater-optional weather during Xmas Week has its advantages.)

But there are always the intangibles, such as the matter of Wal-Mart's employment policies, (via Shakespeare's Sister).

Fair enough, you say, but there is a court system that ensures that Wal-Mart makes a reasonable effort to settle the case.
After her daughter told her what happened, Hollins returned to the superstore the next day to speak to a manager and was offered a $25 gift certificate as a token of concern, according to the complaint filed in Richland County.

Well, at least the courts will adjudicate.
After approximately nine hours of deliberations over two days, the jury sided with Wal-Mart's defense team, who argued the company was under no legal obligation to investigate Randall's criminal past and insisted that, while the hiring process the retailer followed when employing Randall was not perfect, it was "reasonable."

It was a reasonable process that just couldn't discover that he was a registered sex offender.

And it's not as if Wal-Mart knew anything about it while he was in their employ?
Probation records show that Randall informed a probation officer that he was seeking counseling for his sexual deviance through Wal-Mart.

Ah, well, it was just an isolated incident, no?
The win for the $300 billion company may have done more than just save it a $5 million payout. The retailer is facing similar suits in six states, according to Massey, who is suing the retailer for an incident in Orangeburg, S.C.

No, just the Corporate Equivalent of William Zan(t)zinger.
I notice that quite a few states were shut out: CA, HI, AK, WY, ME, NH, CT, NJ, OH, OK, LA, FL, AR, SC, MD. I suppose this isn't surprising in a list of 50 Cities, and obviously some shut-outs (e.g., AK, HI, CA) are completely predictable given the weight put on housing costs and cost of living.

I do, however, find it odd that appx. 5 PA, 4 IN, and 2 MI cities make the list, but no OH cities, unless you count Lexington, KY. Aren't (Western) PA, IN, MI, and OH all pretty much the same thing? (ducking)
It must be because I'm from one of the non-listed states, but I finally got your S. Carolina reference that you, Tom, recently left on my blog. D'oh!

Kim: I think all of the suspects you mention have some parts rust belt, some parts Bible belt, and some parts Other. I don't think OH has an answer to Ann Arbor, for one thing. Then again, to suggest that cheap housing makes State College better than Madison is just teh crazy.

JR: Um, I only mentioned it since you'd blogged a possibly illegal-in-some-states package a while back.
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