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The Los Angeles Times reports that the L.A. City Council will consider next week an ordinance that would require Wal-Mart and other large retailer to pay for a detailed economic analysis every time they want to open a store in one of the city’s neighborhoods. These analyses would be designed to show if the proposed big box store would eliminate jobs, harm existing local business or depress wages.

While the ordinance is not specifically targeted at Wal-Mart, there is no doubt that its consideration is a reaction to the company’s aggressive expansion plans to build 40 supercenters in California over the next few years. The company has had mixed success in pursuing its goals there; in nearby Inglewood, for example, in the shadow of Los Angeles International Airport, the company lost a referendum that would have allowed a store to be built there.

Two City Council committees already have unanimously approved the ordinance, which is a modification of an outright ban of such stores that was on the docket a couple of years ago.

Speculation is that Wal-Mart will file a lawsuit to challenge the ordinance, but the company says that at this time it plans to “wait and see” how the full council votes.
KC's View:
We suspect that if the ordinance passes – and the odds of this happening seem to be pretty good – Wal-Mart will both file suit and push for some sort of ballot initiative on the matter. California, after all, is the poster child for government by referendum (also known in some quarters as democracy run amok).