The Chicago Tribune reports that a city alderman, Joe Moreno, plans to block Chick-fil-a from opening a store in his district in Chicago because the alderman doesn't agree with opinions the company's president, Dan Cathy, expressed about same sex marriage in an interview. Putting aside the content of Cathy's opinions, can government officials really just decide to prevent businesses from operating in a city because the officials don't like those particular businesses?
I understand, of course, that businesses require various licenses and permits to operate, but I was under the impression that those licensing and permitting processes had to be conducted to advance some specific public purpose -- a public purpose defined in the law establishing the licensing or permitting process, and not just some commissar's assertion of a public purpose made up ad hoc --but I'm not a lawyer, perhaps I'm just wrong about that.
Mayor Emanuel is backing-up the alderman saying "Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values." Well so what? Does one have to agree with Mayor and neighborhood aldermen on matters of philosophy to operate a business in Chicago? Apparently so. The article also reports that the alderman had "block[ed] plans for a Wal-Mart in his ward, saying he had issues with the property owner and that Wal-Mart was not 'a perfect fit for the area.'"
This is an abuse of power.