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Steve Gilliard, 1964-2007

It is with tremendous sadness that we must convey the news that Steve Gilliard, editor and publisher of The News Blog, passed away June 2, 2007. He was 42.

To those who have come to trust The News Blog and its insightful, brash and unapologetic editorial tone, we have Steve to thank from the bottom of our hearts. Steve helped lead many discussions that mattered to all of us, and he tackled subjects and interest categories where others feared to tread.

Please keep Steve's friends and family in your thoughts and prayers.

Steve meant so much to us.

We will miss him terribly.

photo by lindsay beyerstein


deering: "NYT - Wal-Mart Chief Writes Off New York"

5 minutes of concepting by Wal-mart's revolving door of ad agencies, no doubt

Thanks to deering for spying this piece - we know how Steve loves Wal-Mart!

Wal-Mart Chief Writes Off New York

Published: March 28, 2007

Wal-Mart to New York: fuhgeddaboudit.

An ad in Wal-Mart’s campaign to open a store in New York City.
Frustrated by a bruising, and so far unsuccessful battle to open its first discount store in the nation’s largest city, Wal-Mart’s chief executive said yesterday, “I don’t care if we are ever here.”

H. Lee Scott Jr., the chief executive of the nation’s largest retailer, said that trying to conduct business in New York was so expensive — and exasperating — that “I don’t think it’s worth the effort.”

Mr. Scott’s remarks, delivered at a meeting with editors and reporters of The New York Times, amounted to a surprising admission of defeat, given the company’s vigorous efforts to crack into urban markets and expand beyond its suburban base in much of the country. In recent years, Wal-Mart has encountered stout resistance to its plans to enter America’s bigger cities, which stand as its last domestic frontier.

Much of the opposition to Wal-Mart in cities like New York is led by unions. Organized labor, fearing that the retailer’s low prices and modest wages will undercut unionized stores, have built anti-Wal-Mart alliances with Democratic members of city councils.

Yesterday, labor leaders, upon learning of Wal-Mart’s apparent retreat from New York — or at the very least Manhattan — returned Mr. Scott’s sentiment.

“We don’t care if they’re never here,” said Ed Ott, executive director of the New York City Central Labor Council. “We don’t miss them. We have great supermarkets and great retail outlets in New York. We don’t need Wal-Mart.”

For Wal-Mart, New York City has long loomed as a tantalizing prize — the home of more than eight million consumers and attention-grabbing stores for just about every major retailer in the country.

But Wal-Mart, a cost-minded retailer known for its dowdy merchandise, and New York, a city of excesses known for cutting-edge style, have long had an uneasy relationship.

Wal-Mart executives have argued that low prices would be the universal language that bridged the gap. So far, they have not.

During the questioning, Mr. Scott repeatedly referred to New York, but after the meeting a Wal-Mart spokeswoman, Mona Williams, called to say that Mr. Scott was referring to only Manhattan, not the entire city.

Wal-Mart, which has nearly 4,000 stores in the United States, has sought to open stores in Rego Park, Queens, and in Staten Island, but both plans fell through in the face of intense union, community and political opposition.

Mr. Scott said yesterday that the opposition to Wal-Mart in New York, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles and other cities had a common thread: “The glue is the unions.”

- posted by deering

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