Lancaster, California: Garden Spot

A few months ago, the city of Lancaster used their power of eminent domain to condemn a 99-Cents Only Store that had opened up in the same shopping center as the CostCo there. CostCo claimed that they needed the space to expand, and threatened to move out of town if they didn’t get it.

The city caved, citing “possible future blight” (because legally they can condemn a building to eliminate blight). A judge has frozen the action, saying that it was one of the most naked examples he’d even seen of using public power to hand property over from one private party to another private party. The city vows to appeal — I saw an interview with the city attorney, where he said that CostCo paid 10 times the tax to the city as the 99-Cents Only Store, so “Which store sounds more important to you?” Property rights and Rule of Law be damned, I supposed.

Sean’s only comment on the whole sorry affair: “Only Lancaster could be blighted by the removal of a CostCo.”