Just a quick update on yesterday’s post about West Oakland involving Kroger’s plans to build a store there. Last night, the City Council unanimously approved changes to its eminent domain policies to allow the city to condemn the property necessary for the planned project.
While reports of the hearing have somewhat different tones, it is fairly clear that the meeting was well attended, and that audience members were passionate, regardless of which side of the issue they supported.
As the Sean Maher reports it for the Contra Costa Times in "Oakland City Council changes eminent domain policy":
The issue raised a passionate debate in the crowd at the meeting, with some arguing that eminent domain is the wrong way to handle the issue, others doubting a Kroger store is the right solution to the food problem and others saying West Oakland is desperate for access to healthy food and that need should take precedence.
The response was framed somewhat differently by Evan Wagstaff of OaklandNorth in "City Council approves eminent domain option to land West Oakland grocery store":
Members of the public burst into applause at the Oakland City Council’s Tuesday meeting when council members unanimously agreed to allow use of eminent domain to bring a large grocery store to West Oakland.
Either way, it’s important to note that the City’s action does not mean that it plans to condemn the property; rather, the City merely amended its eminent domain policies so that it could someday condemn the property if a voluntary acquisition cannot be negotiated.