In a letter today to the Lewiston Tribune, Larry Cernik of Troy, Idaho writes:
“I note with interest the position in opposition to the proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter in Moscow taken by the vice president of the local [Moscow branch of] American West Bank. On a petition to the board of directors of the Latah Economic Development Council, the signature of B. J. Swanson appears with others gathered from the local business community who oppose the new store. Perhaps those at the headquarters of the bank, located in Spokane, would clarify why they believe they have a dog in this fight . . . ”
I would like to note with interest that Larry Cernik, along with the rest of Moscow’s most vocal and vitriolic pro-Supercenter voices — among them Dale Courtney, Doug Farris, and Andrew Crapuchettes — are all members of Moscow’s controversial Christ Church. Does Christ Church’s headquarters and its pastor, Doug Wilson, have a dog in this fight? Are Wilson and associates really so desperately in need of cheap deodorant and toilet paper?
B. J. Swanson is not just an executive at a local bank; she is an individual. She has a constitutional right to voice her opinion wherever, whenever, and on whatever she likes. Furthermore, she has the right to speak her mind without facing what seems to me to verge on tortious interference with employment. Swanson and others who have publicly opposed the WalMart Supercenter have been subjected to public and professional abuse. This must stop. It is morally and ethically wrong, and quite possibly illegal to boot.
I am an American West Bank customer, a Moscow resident, and an opponent not only of the proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter but also of coordinated campaigns of personal and professional harassment. I am pleased to have Swanson’s reasoned, rational, and well-informed voice engaged in the debate over Moscow’s retail future. She is a well-respected and active member of this community. Cernik, Courtney, and Farris are . . . not. I am dismayed that anyone would try to punish Swanson for speaking out, particularly a motley assortment of back-stabbing cowards.