This Friday I will appear on a cable show called Trick City on channel 19 at 8 p.m. The show was taped about a month ago and features mayoral candidate Bill “Dock” Walls. If you missed seeing him this past Sunday on City Desk, here’s your chance to hear from him regarding his vision for the City of Chicago. Bill “Dock” Walls was the first to suggest the idea of using Washington Park as part of Olympic plan for Chicago. He mentioned that idea to Daley during the budget hearing meetings. You can see it by going to www.wallsformayor.com.
Daley promptly stole that idea and announced it on TV. And speaking of our mayor, why wasn’t he at the opening of the only Wal-Mart in this city? I saw him on TV bogarding his way to get besides Oprah for a photo-op after the women’s lunch, but since the grand opening was held at 7 a.m., where was he when the ribbon was cut? Is the mayor like those missing 10,000 applications I wrote about last week-“scurred” to come to the West Side? Or was he just ignoring the West Side like he normally does?
Speaking of why we got so many less applications for our store, a young man I talked with wants to know why Wal-Mart hired so few men for the store? He told me he wasn’t being sexist, but with so many black men out of work, he just wondered why so many females?
Speaking of being out of work, the news is not good concerning our local Cub Food Store. Their parent company is leaving the Chicago area and reports say that the stores will close in early December. That means the store at Cicero and North avenues will close and those union jobs will be gone. Add those jobs to the ones that were lost when Jewel Foods closed the 1700 N. Kostner store and then ask yourself, “Are the $7.50/hour jobs at Wal-Mart worth it?” For every person who got a job, we now have another person losing a job.
For the record, store closings don’t just affect stores in the black community. The Jewel Food Store at Belmont and Laramie, which was rebuilt two years ago to serve the Hispanic and Polish community up there, has also announced it will close. But within eight blocks of that store, there are several other grocery stores that can still service that community. When a grocery store closes in our community, on the other hand, usually that’s it for us!
The news report says that the Cub Foods in Washington Square Plaza will re-open under new ownership. So I must again get on the bandwagon about how, as a community, we need to pool our money and begin to fund our own stores. Every time we depend on others to supply the food we need on a daily basis is another opportunity for us to be devastated when those stores close. Major corporations want a large profit margin. If there is an economic downturn and the Cub store doesn’t reopen, what then? Will we have a huge empty storefront? Wal-Mart has milk, but what about fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, etc?
I understand from a good source that Wal-Mart is planning a super center for the land where the Bel-Aire drive-in once stood at Cicero and 31st Street. In the meantime, we need from our political leadership initiatives that will bring grocery stores to our community. Do we have any political leaders who have ideas how that can be done?
Yes we do. The cable show I taped with Bill “Dock” Walls is one where he spoke of his plans to bring grocery stores to the neighborhood every 1.4 miles-grocery stores that are community-owned, grocery stores that can employ people from the community, grocery stores on our major business strips so that you can walk to the store, grocery
stores that will stock on their shelves items made by people in the community.
If your block is like mine, you have 30 houses on it. If each house has four people, well that’s 120 folks a day needing food. Then count the number of cars we have driving through Austin every day. If we can make just one dollar profit off of each and every car that passes through Austin, what kind of money could our stores make? No need to calculate. They will make thousands.
Each and every Sunday I host a conference call for folks to call in and speak their mind. Call 605/772-3200 (this is long distance so use your cell) and enter this Access code: 806598#. For cellphone users, this is just like a local call using your nighttime minutes.