LoCal Big Box Ban

The [San Diego] City Council voted 5-3 to ban stores [i.e. Wal-Mart] with more than 90,000 square feet that use 10 percent of their space to sell groceries and other merchandise not subject to sales tax.

The promised mayoral veto won’t matter because the council has enough votes to override it. But hey, just because they banned it, it doesn’t mean councilmembers have anything against WM:

Councilwoman Toni Atkins, who supported the ban, emphasized that the city has nothing against Wal-Mart but wanted to limit how its stores affected neighborhoods and small businesses. “This policy is not going to affect negatively people’s ability to choose where they want to shop. If they want to shop at Wal-Mart, please do,” Atkins said.

Um, but you kinda just banned the grocery-selling variety of WM. I guess San Diegans are still free to travel 150 miles to the Supercenter in Rosemead. And don’t talk to former Councilwoman Valerie Stallings about chipper employees in blue vests:

“It’s true that the big boxes may be less expensive and they do offer affordable prices to many families, but they do not provide the kind of friendly and individual service that a smaller business can,” she said.

Here’s a scatter shot justification for the ban:

Art Castanares, who served as [Councilman] Hueso’s election campaign manager, has long advocated for the ban. “The issues haven’t changed. It’s still about visual blight of the large unattractive boxes,” he said. “It’s still about the lack of landscaping and open space and acres of parking and the devastation of the local economy when you build these huge stores.”

Methinks this might have a little more to do with it:

A group of labor leaders and grocers proposed the ban three years ago …

Good ol’ competition-stifling incumbents strike again! Article here. Related: How civilized societies (e.g. South Korea and Germany) ban the box