TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: A Couple Points From Recent Discussions

A Couple Points From Recent Discussions

Bill Hendley (
Wed, 21 Feb 2007 19:48:04 -0600


A couple of points for you:

1. To answer a question raised by Lisa Hancock:

Not all Centrex systems required consoles. The Pacific Telephone company
Centrex in Los Angeles was handled from cord boards for some years until
1972 or so. I have also seen (not many) customer Centrex systems with a cord
board. On the other hand, many Centex systems had no consoles, only a 1A2
KTS Call Director with ten or so lines in hunting behind the primary.

2. Regards your complaints about Walmart:

Wal-mart can be beaten. I live in a northwest suburb of Plano, TX.
My neighbors about three miles east defeated a Wal-Mart Supercenter
two years ago on the basis of there not being sufficient land for
parking, the store, and a buffer zone between the store property and
the adjacent residences.

The residents were not going for the claimed benefits as the
sewer/water/fire/police infrastructure were already in place in a
neighborhood of $200K-$400K homes which had been built out for three
or four years and no one wanted Wal-Mart for a number of reasons, not
the least of which is that there are two other Wal-Marts and one Sam's
Club in a five or six mile radius. The City did not like it but they
had to rescind the approval for the store as the residents cited the
City codes with respect to nuisances from adjacent property. Wal-Mart
finally decided to build a "neighborhood market", whatever that is.
Driving by today, it looks about the size of an average supermarket.

Bill Hendley

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: But in small towns like ours, as
generally economically depressed as our town, and losing in
population, jobs, etc, the city fathers look at Walmart and think
it means a Savior has come to rescue the place. We had twenty thousand
people living here in the 1930's era, and many good job opportunities
at places like Amoco in Neodesha (Kansas), plus our own Sinclair/Arco
here in Independence; Even up to the 1980's we had more than our share
of reasonably good employment opportunities. We even have
here in town.

Southeast rural Kansas was oil country; Arco's national headquarters
was located here in our town; Harry Sinclair was a constant
presence. Then Arco reorganized and moved out to somewhere in
Texas. People moved out of town to wherever the oil company sent
them. From twenty thousand residents we gradually fell to about eight
thousand; Coffeyville had seventeen thousand residents in those days;
they are holding on now with about twelve thousand hardy souls, but
their downtown is totally shameful, with mostly vacant buildings. Our
entire (Montgomery) county has only about thirty thousand residents
now, with twenty thousand of them in Independence/Coffeyville; the
remaining ten thousand scattered through about ten or fifteen other

Three years ago, the city fathers in Coffeyville bit the bullet and
condemmed and tore down over five hundred empty houses where tax had
gone unpaid for a few years. The old house where my grandparents lived
in Coffeyville is now just a vacant lot; the _entire_ block is all
empty. Independence is _trying_ to do better; but sadly, whenever a
catastrophe strikes -- let's say a house burns down -- (obviously, at
that point taxes quit being paid on the property) city tears it down
and leaves the lot vacant, although the empty lot is cared for, by the
city if necessary, so you might say we keep a good face on things, at
least better than Coffeyville. Better to have a flower garden and
bushes growing than just an empty lot with rubble or a burned out

But the signs are all beginning to show: too many vacant storefronts
downtown, too many 'for sale' signs in front of houses. I estimate we
may have another thirty years as a community, even though the city
cracks the whip and insists on making people paint their houses and
cut the grass and promptly and properly dispose of their trash,
etc. Our high school graduating class gets smaller and smaller each
year; this past year we had 79 graduating students; most all of them
moved out of town in the weeks following graduation looking to make it
in the 'big city', i.e. Wichita, or Tulsa or maybe Kansas City. We all
subscribe to our _eight-page_ daily newspaper, the Independence
Reporter, and when the newspaper or the Chamber of Commerce begins
making sounds about a 'new business coming to town' i.e. Walmart,
everyone either lines up at the personnel office to see about getting
a job, or maybe they take a shopping cart to go shopping. Naturally,
the city tries to be very accomodating -- at least at first -- to all
these new promises we are given. When the promises turn out to be
empty -- like Walmart -- and more trouble than they are worth, people
around here just shrug their shoulders and go back to life as usual.

They'll keep our 'crown jewels' (i.e. Arco Building, at four stories
the second largest building in town and the Riverside Park and Zoo) in
good repair until hell freezes over, I suspect. When newcomers move to
town, they are infatuated by the unreality of the place, a drug store
with a soda fountain downtown, and fall in love with us -- then, if
they stick around a few years and are observant, and read our
eight-page Independence Reporter each day, they'll begin to see that
things are _not quite_ what they appeared to be when they first
arrived. Some clues: our sidewalks are in _horrible_ condition, and
there are far too many 'for sale' signs in front of occupied houses,
etc, at least one on each block; far too many blocks with vacant lots
in the middle of them, etc. Like many small rural towns, 'meth' has
been a killer here, more so than other drugs of record.

So the Walmart Company shows up with a fantastic offer, what do you
suppose the people will say? PAT]

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