In an unsigned editorial, the Chicago Tribune took the city’s leadership to task for not allowing Wal-Mart to open a second store on Chicago’s South Side. The paper attempts to paint a picture of choosing either happy shoppers or trash-filed swampland.
I think Chicago has more creative minds than that.
You would think the City of Chicago would want more… jobs. More sales and property tax revenues. More convenient shopping opportunities. You would think the city would want fewer vacant lots.
You would be wrong.
An unusual clause in the Chatham Market redevelopment plan gives the city the right of refusal to anyone proposing to build a store larger than 100,000 square feet. This month Chicago said no (again) to Wal-Mart’s proposed 195,000 square foot Supercenter store for the 50-acre South Side site, which once housed the Ryerson Tull steel plant.
Why didn’t the city say yes to such a needed development? Because that would have reignited Mayor Richard M. Daley’s still-smoldering battle with organized labor over the controversial Big Box ordinance. The City Council—with labor’s frenzied support—passed that ordinance requiring big-store retailers to pay workers higher wages and benefits in 2006. Mayor Daley vetoed it.
Of course, the city wants more jobs, tax revenues, shopping opportunities and fewer vacant lots. Any city would.
But I don’t think the editors of the Tribune are so naive as to think that 300 jobs are 300 jobs. I also question why the paper thinks it is a good idea to suck money out of the local economy so that manufacturers in China can keep their mistresses in better apartments.
This is the kind of editorial I might have expected from Chicago’s Sun Times, but maybe the journalism scene has changed in Chicago since I was last there.
What have you heard?