Today Drudge linked to a story about eminent domain that’s worth looking into. The city of Hercules, California is nestled next to San Pablo Bay in the greater San Francisco Bay area. Money.com lists the median household income for Hercules at slightly over $80,000 with a median home price of almost $450,000. The Hercules city website gives its history as a company town, originally in the business of manufacturing gunpowder.
Enter Wal-Mart. I’ll pause to give liberals time to hiss.
As the San Francisco Chronicle reports, Wal-Mart bought 17 acres of land in Hercules and planned to place a typical big-box store on the property. Early this year, the city planners gave a thumbs-down to Wal-Mart’s plan because it didn’t fit well with their planned community. When Wal-Mart withdrew its plan, the city placed an offer for the land. Wal-Mart didn’t leap to accept the offer, so I wonder if the city tried to buy the property back for less than the amount Wal-Mart had given to purchase it.
Wal-Mart later proposed an altered plan:
Wal-Mart’s new proposal, which is still hotly opposed by some residents, calls for a general retail and grocery store, as well as a pedestrian plaza, two outdoor dining areas and other small shops and general merchandise stores, including a pharmacy.
Since Wal-Mart isn’t going quietly and the city planners aren’t getting their way, the city of Hercules is debating whether to use the power of eminent domain to take the property from Wal-Mart. Thanks, Supreme Court, for the 5-4 ruling of Kelo vs New London, giving towns the ability to seize property under some tortured definition of eminent domain. But in a perverse way, I really hope that Hercules goes ahead with the plan to take 17 acres away from Wal-Mart, for the simple reason that Wal-Mart has the deep pockets to fund a fight all the way to the Supreme Court.
And it’s about time that Kelo was overturned.