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One of the City Council’s more preposterous actions took place recently when it passed a highly greased bill handing $850,000 in cash to a multi-billion-dollar company.

Winn-Dixie is the recipient. All the company has to do to “earn” the money is open a grocery in the Gateway Shopping Center.

Paying a private business to do what it does is called “economic development” in City Haul.

Ever more preposterous is the justification: It was necessary to prevent a “food desert,” the politicians claim.

This nonsensical term is bandied about by liberals. As defined in Jacksonville, it means there is no grocery within one mile.

Because driving more than one mile is a hardship?

The handout was so important that it had a dozen sponsors, including the mayor, when it was introduced as an “emergency.” (Ten council members can pass a bill.) It whizzed through council in two weeks.

Publix has a grocery at the Northside shopping center but it plans to close it, presumably because it is not making a sufficient profit because not enough people choose to shop there.

Winn-Dixie won’t have that problem, at least for a while, thanks to the generous Christmas gift from the city of Jacksonville’s taxpayers.

Both stores claim to have the lowest prices, so it isn’t clear why shoppers are more likely to shop at Winn-Dixie, unless Winn-Dixie uses the free money to lower prices, which seems unlikely.

People aren’t starving in the so-called “desert” so if they have been buying food at Publix they have been buying it from the dozen other groceries within a few miles of Gateway. Unless they are growing their own food, of course.

The money comes from the NW Jacksonville Economic Development Fund-Supermarket Incentive Program. The council sponsors were Reggie Gaffney, Sam Newby, Rory Diamond, Matt Carlucci, Garrett Dennis, Al Ferraro, Terrance Freeman, Aaron Bowman, Ron Salem, Tommy Hazouri and Ju’Coby Pittman.

Winn-Dixie may be “the beef people” but in this case it looks more like pork.

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Lloyd was born in Jacksonville. Graduated from the University of North Florida. He spent nearly 50 years of his life in the newspaper business …beginning as a copy boy and retiring as editorial page editor for Florida Times Union. He has also been published in a number of national newspapers and magazines, as well as Internet sites. Married with children. Military Vet. Retired. Man of few words but the words are researched well, deeply considered and thoughtfully written.

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