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The strange politics of superstores

Walmart wants to sell groceries in California, like they do in many parts of the country. When they announced plans to build a superstore in Inglewood California, the city passed "an emergency ordinance ... that barred construction of retail stores larger than 155,000 square feet that sell more than 20,000 nontaxable items, such as food and drugs." The site, located between Hollywood Park Racetrack and the Great Western Forum, is described in this LA Times story as "a crumbling asphalt parking lot." Voters yesterday rejected a referendum that would have allowed Walmart to circumvent the ordinance and start building.

Meanwhile, in Fort Worth, Texas, local politicians are pitching a $40 million dollar subsidy to lure a Cabelas Sporting Goods Superstore to their city. This brings to mind the Mississippi subsidies for a Bass Pro Superstore/baseball stadium project discussed a few posts below. There is a precedent here, and it does not bode well for taxpayers.

Regardless, it's a mysterious process that bans one flavor of superstore, and grants another millions in subsidies. What a country!