By Hillel Aron
Tomorrow, City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee will take up a motion by Councilman Ed Reyes to halt Walmart’s proposal to build a supermarket in Chinatown. The motion is cleverly written to avoid mention of the words “Wal” or “Mart.” Instead, it temporarily halts new retail establishments bigger than 20,000 square feet.
LA Times Editor-at-Large-and-in-Charge Jim Newton calls the debate a “clash of principles.”
Um, really? A company wants to build a supermarket in a city that needs jobs, in an area with zoning regulations that permit it. If it were any other company we wouldn’t even be having this discussion. How is this not a simple clash of self-interest and knee-jerk reaction politics?
Strangely, the LA Times editorial board steps in as the voice of reason, arguing for the project’s approval and writing, “The real issue behind this debate is organized labor’s antipathy toward the giant retailer.”
If City Council is allowed to ban all the businesses it finds distasteful, pretty soon we’re going to be left Musso and Franks, Cafe Gratitude, and a bunch of laundromats. And maybe a football stadium.