boxes, they'll be hitting the towns.
At least one politician has wasted no time in suggesting a local
advantage to the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that cities may
exercise the power of eminent domain in a far greater range than ever
To suggest, as Costa Mesa City Councilman Eric Bever has, that
eminent domain may be a viable solution to the folly that is Triangle
Square is one of the most reckless attempts at abuse of power that
has been witnessed in a long time.
Eminent domain is to be used in extreme, rare and otherwise
exceptional instances where a public works project is so urgently
needed to further the common good that it is necessary to displace
the private property that stands in its way. In the 20 years I have
lived in Costa Mesa, I can recall next to no instances where eminent
domain has been exercised; one was to widen Victoria Street.
Eminent domain is not to be used to hasten the demise of a poorly
run business. Triangle Square is, in my opinion, a poorly run
business. It so happens that the city has a number of poorly run
businesses. The difference is that Triangle Square occupies some
prime real estate, and its failure to make a proper return on the
investment is that much larger because of its location.
The blame for Triangle Square's troubles does not lie solely with
the landlord. It was a host of city officials, from the Planning
Commission to the City Council, who many years ago approved this
project. And apparently, they did so without securing a long-term
marketing plan that would ensure that the owner or owners would
dedicate the necessary resources to maintaining the proper occupancy.
For example: If a bank loans money to a new business, one of the
requirements is that the business develop a marketing plan to help it
flourish. Without marketing, no business can survive.
So either the city of Costa Mesa did not require an ongoing
marketing program from the owner of Triangle Square or the one it
approved is inadequate. Either way, the city cannot run from its
share of the responsibility for this debacle.
Finally, it should be noted that there is one huge advantage that