Thursday, May 1, 2014

Wendell Young lies and I can prove it.

On a Pennsylvania Cable Network call-in program (you can follow along here) on Tuesday, 29 April UFCW Local 1776 President For Life Mr. Wendell W. Young IV* made the following statements.

At approximately 5:50 into the show, Mr. Young says: “The typical store in Pennsylvania stocks 3,000 to 6,000 items. Our smallest stores stock 1,500 to 3,000 items and our specialty stores, our largest stores stock 5,000 to 10,000 items.” He then goes on to say: “We carry 30,000 items in the inventory...”

We have billllions and billlions of items.
Nice story, but the online database provided by the PLCB as of 30 April lists only 4,262 total regular items; out of that, 1,017 are close-outs, or holiday items not in stock leaving 3,245 regular items available. There are 11,661 items listed as “Luxury Items,” of which at least 25% are not in stock anywhere in the state; thousands more have only a few bottles available, leaving maybe 7,000 items at most somewhere. If they aren’t at a nearby store, you have to pay to have them shipped in -- just like a private store -- so no real benefit there.

So, according to the PLCB itself there are around 10,500 items in stock. We're not done, though. Then there are the inventory mistakes. Items like 34191 (Ehler's Estate 120 80 Red Blend St Helena 2010) are listed, but are not in stock, according to the inventory. Maybe strike a few hundred, conservatively, because of that. me, slick.
But what about those "largest stores"? Mr. Young says that there is a store out there somewhere with everything Pennsylvania stocks, all 10,000 items that are left after the close-outs, not in stock, and inventory mistakes are taken out. I’d like to know where that one store is. Probably next to the store that carries the additional 15,000 items he says are in inventory...that the PLCB's own database  says are not. Looks like Wendell lied.

At 16:45, Mr. Young continues with: “When you look at every state that had a system like ours and two that were very similar to ours, Iowa and West Virginia, went through the same kind of transition at the lobbying efforts, because of the lobbying efforts of people like Kevin (Kevin Shivers NFIB PA State Director) and the folks he represents. Neither of those states ever recovered from what they lost in revenue.” Well, that sounds pretty damning. But for Iowa, at least, it just isn’t true. As I documented in this story, the Iowa Department of Revenue says they made $95 million more because they privatized their retail. Mr. Young lies again.

Privatize, and every job in the state is lost.
When you get to 17:10 in the story, Mr. Young says: “The jobs that Larry talked about will not be there, Sandra the caller was right. The retailers that will take most of these licenses, the big chain store retailers, they are just going to rearrange some of the...shelf space in their stores, reuse the same workforce that they have most of them who are part time, minimum wage or slightly above, WalMart, Target, the supermarket chains mostly non-union chains. Now, you don’t have to take my word for that, the Governor conducted a study on this, he went out and hired a company to study it –they told him the same thing. They said little or no jobs are going to be created by privatizing this.”

The study Mr. Young is talking about was for a completely different plan and has no bearing on current plan under discussion. More relevantly, every place on the continent that has privatized some or all of their liquor system has seen an increase in employment. Jobs tripled in Washington and Alberta, the last two which fully privatized. They doubled in Iowa, and even increased in West Virginia. In any case, 33% of the PLCB workforce is part time already, and that percentage is growing. Another set of lies from Mr. Young.

He goes on to talk about HB790 from last year saying how the bill claimed it would get $800 million for the sale of the system and that at 17:58: “$500 million of that approximately was from licensing wholesalers, an estimated 30 wholesalers in Pennsylvania. Every other state in the country they have 2 or 3 wholesalers.

Hold on, Wendell. Let's check that. I admit I didn’t look at all 50 states, I just looked at the one because I knew he was lying about it. New York has 150 active licensed wholesalers.You can look for yourself here. Washington now has over 500 licensed importers and distributors. I think I see a pattern. Mr. Young lied again. 
I'll spin you right round, like a record, baby.

Of course, not everything he says is a lie. Sometimes he likes to do his second favorite activity and toss in some spin. Disingenuous might be the kindest thing you can say about that. An example of that is at 18:20 when he says: “And think about the Governor's study; said that it would take a billion four to unwind the system.” Of course, he fails to mention it would take over $2 billion to keep the system using those same numbers. Way to walk the fine line, Wendell.

One of my favorites occurs at 19:53 when Mr. Young tells us that: ”The PLCB runs about 20 stores in grocery stores and they would like to have more, but because of Mike Turzai and Governor Corbett they’ve put, they’ve refused to allow changes to the way the liquor board operates that would allow them to put more stores closer to supermarkets, next to them, or inside supermarkets.”

So if I understand what he is saying, the PLCB, which makes its own decisions on where to put and how many stores there are, can’t put more stores near or in grocery stores because of the current administration, even though they have no input on store placement, and have only been around for three years? The PLCB did the first “store in a store” 33 years ago and the have about 20 (I’m pretty sure the number is 17 at the moment) and yet somehow it is the Corbett administration who is holding up doing more. Another lie, a double lie.

That is only the first 20 minutes of an hour long show and Mr. Young continues on about the same pace for the rest of it. But I got tired of listening to and transcribing his lies. If Mr. Young wants to refute any or all of this he knows where I can be found.

Full Privatization is the only REAL Modernization.

*We've jokingly called Wendell "President for Life" at times, but of course that's not actually true. Young's father was president of UFCW Local 1776 for 43 consecutive years, till 2005, and Wendell IV has been president ever since, which might lead one to believe that it's a hereditary position, but he just keeps getting re-elected in free and fair elections. So it only looks like he's the Hereditary President for Life, much like a dictator in a corrupt, oppressive third world nation. He's not, really. He just looks exactly like it. Especially with that haircut.


Anonymous said...

All PLCB real estate transactions are handled by the GSA. The PLCB real estate division was eliminated a while ago.

Lew Bryson said...

Are you saying that the PLCB has no say in where the stores are placed? Otherwise, I fail to see the relevance of this comment.

Albert Brooks said...

Of course, the average Total Wine, not the largest ones but the regular size ones carry 11.000 wine and spirits (the big stores are much more). They must know how to sell things if their average store is bigger than Pennsylvania's largest stores.

Anonymous said...

The PLCB selects their own sites and processes the lease through the Department of General Services. DGS rubber stamps the lease.