On Tuesday, the Burbank City Council will vote on whether to appeal a court ruling that rescinded Walmart’s building permits and prohibits the city from allowing Walmart to move into the former Great Indoors store at the Empire Center until a number of issues are addressed.
The judge’s ruling came down to this: The City Council and its staff failed in their duty to protect the interests of the public. This is the essence of why the city should not appeal; it would just be another mistake in a string of doozies. The judge’s critique was emphatic and well-reasoned and it makes for fascinating reading. (You can find it here). This is an extremely important issue not only for what it means to the ongoing controversy over Walmart’s presence in Burbank, but more importantly, for what it says about the way all of us think about economic interests, public interests and government.
We’re falling down on the job of making sure that economic development works for everyone, and the Burbank Walmart fiasco is a perfect example of that. While former city staffers and past city councils fell short, those mistakes don’t have to be repeated.
The good people of Burbank who devote themselves to countless hours of public service can rededicate themselves by following the path laid out in a wise and judicious ruling. Let’s hope they don’t appeal it and instead move forward.