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Joseph Finn / July 30, 2009 11:33 AM

No, because it's in Chicago's best interests not to allow companies with a well-documented record of sexism and anti-labor practices to get even more of a foothold here.

Ramsin / July 30, 2009 11:35 AM

Nope.

Chicago Garden / July 30, 2009 11:40 AM

Yes.

If people don't like the quality of the products Wal-Mart makes, they shouldn't shop there.

If people don't like the way their employees are treated, then they shouldn't shop there and most importantly, they shouldn't work there.

Unless you live in one of these depressed neighborhoods where the only places to shop are liquor stores and gas stations you shouldn't get a vote as to whether or not Wal-Mart should be allowed into them.

Lindsay / July 30, 2009 11:43 AM

My instinct would be to say NO. Wal-mart has a bad track record of choking out local competitors, and unfavorable working conditions.

But there are communities, particularly on the south side, that would benefit from any type of investment, and once a major store like Wal-mart opens, other developers and retailers might see potential and also open near them.

If there were a way to ensure a number of factors, then I would be inclined to say maybe. Things like constructing the building so that it could be re-used if Wal-mart ever left, guarantee of # years open, # of jobs w/ benefits & decent pay, hiring local workers, encouraging transit use (near bus or rail line/ less parking), green building practices, etc.

Actually, I'm surprised that Wal-mart hasn't jumped the band wagon of local produce and made rooftop gardens of vegetables -- given their HUGE flat roofs and all. That would be cool.

Ramsin / July 30, 2009 11:49 AM

Really, Chicago Garden? You want to set a precedent of only people who live in a ward or neighborhood getting to pick what kind of business or developments go in? Like what kind of housing? Or what kind of people? Or what kind of polluters? I think we need to move past that kind of feudalism and realize we are one city with common interests.

WM is not the solution to the problem of food deserts and local investment. The 83rd & Stewart site is not in a food desert, first of all, there are groceries near there. Secondly, the 83rd & Stewart site is in a huge "lifestyle center" with a freaking Potbellies.

WM will not encourage investment; it will discourage local ownership forever. It's a short-term fix that will have negative long-term impacts.

Good Luck / July 30, 2009 12:12 PM

"You want to set a precedent of only people who live in a ward or neighborhood getting to pick what kind of business or developments go in?"

As opposed to corrupt politicians, union stooges, and general elitism picking what is best for the "people"?

Frankly, its not up to either to chose, but given that the people in a ward/neighborhood would do business with the company, they have the ultimate control over the success or failure of the venture.

Carlotta / July 30, 2009 12:15 PM

Are they asking for a city subsidy to build this, as they were in the past? If so, then definitely not!

Gordon Gekko / July 30, 2009 12:38 PM

Yes,the city should allow Wal-Mart to open more stores in Chicago.

Greed is good.

Chicago Garden / July 30, 2009 2:01 PM

@Ramsin,

Like Good Luck points out, it is already being done. The "what ifs" you post make me wonder what neighborhood you live in and how much time you've spent in poor neighborhoods in Chicago.

Do you see many welding or machine shops in Lakeview?

A few years ago I worked in the Old Town area and there was a daytime reality show called "Second Chances" or something like that. It was like The Real World, but for women--who were down on their luck. When the show wanted to move into the Old Town/Gold Coast are the residents pitched a fit and the production was instead moved up north to either Edgewater or Rogers Park, I can't remember.

Residents all over Chicago get to pick and choose what goes on in their neighborhood, except for the poor who are lucky enough to have people decide what is best for them.

Mucky Fingers / July 30, 2009 5:08 PM

I suspect many Chicagoans who oppose this are north-siders who aren't so interested in protecting local, smaller businesses as they are interested in enriching their self-image of being a terrific do-gooder who actually does nothing to improve things but complain about them.

Wal-Mart wants to expand on the south side and west side.
Their success is partially founded upon the know-how to go where they're wanted. Don't worry kiddos; Wal-Mart won't be sizing up you lakefront softies anytime soon.

Ramsin / July 30, 2009 10:10 PM

I'm not in Lakeview, nice try at that kind of reactionary baiting though. I've spent plenty of time in what you call poor neighborhoods--though, Chatham isn't poor--how much time have YOU spent there? Are you just assuming its poor because its on the South Side and predominately black? How does it feel to get baited like that?

The 83rd & Stewart site ISN'T in a food desert? There's two groceries within short driving distance of the site--a site which, by the way, isn't an industrial wasteland, but a big lifestyle center with boutiques, a Potbellies, and a Loews. WM isn't trying to service a food desert, they're trying to move into an existing, serviced market and undercut their competition. When those other nearby grocers close--the Sav-A-Lot on 79th and the Jewel on 87th (again--do YOU know that neighborhood?)--the food desert problem will be exacerbated.

This is a "movement" led not by the grassroots in those communities, either. This is a handful of religious leaders and politicians taking money from corporate interests to speak for "the people".

I agree that it isn't right to let "corrupt" anybody make the decisions of what goes where. But you proved my point. We can't just say, "The locals are the only ones affected and should have 100% of the choice." Because then you end up with redlining, you end up being unable to build half-way houses, rehab clinics, or anything, because the locals will always oppose it. There is a general good--pretending there isn't one jnust because in this instance it doesn't serve you is intellectually dishonest. Wal-Mart's business model relies on milking taxpayers for every possible benefit to subsidize their profits, as they lower wage standards in a market and force competitors paying a reasonable wage out of business. Study after study has shown how much WM costs taxpayers, how they lower wage standards, how negatively they impact markets they move into--but Free Market whack jobs like GL work hand in hand with the politicians with their hands out to force these bad-growth behemoths down people's throats. What about all the good paying jobs that will be lost? Should they suffer because the locals around 83rd & Stewart (supposedly) want this store? Who decides the boundary of who is local, or effected? The "corrupt politicians"? Or are politicians only corrupt, GL, when they don't agree with you?

Wal-Mart is not just any company. They are the largest private employer in the nation, and allowing them into a market will have a profound effect on that market--not just the neighborhood they're moving into. And it will impact tax payers, independent businesses, and employees, union or otherwise--all negatively. Do those people not count? Or let me guess--they don't count this time. Because they're in the way of something you want?

David / July 31, 2009 11:13 AM

Walmart is built on a fundamentally unstable business model in which, due to its extreme size and leverage, it is able to demand that everyone in their supply chains lower costs by X% year on year or face termination.

They don't ask how their suppliers, manufacturers, shippers and distributors lower these costs, and they don't care.

If you're comfortable with a company which relies on actively pitting its suppliers against each other simply to provide a customer with the lowest possible price, then by all means go ahead and support Walmart.

If, however, you're concerned with SUSTAINABLE and responsible business growth which generates long-term benefits, then you won't want Walmart within a hundred miles of Chicago.

Chicago Garden / July 31, 2009 12:05 PM

@Ramsin, I asked a question. You're the one with the knee jerk reaction. I didn't say you lived in Lakeview I asked you how many of those polluting shops you'd seen in Lakeview. It is possible for you to be familiar with a neighborhood without having to live there.

I would have asked the Gold Coast or LSD but real estate in those areas price out polluters, and unlike in poor neighborhoods, you're not likely to see auto shops, welding shops, small factories and the like in between residential properties there.

I'm familiar with the area having grown up in Chicago and have family and friends in all corners of it.

I live in Lawndale, where do you live?

peanut / July 31, 2009 12:24 PM

What this comes down to, in my opinion, is another example of government making the decisions for citizens. Wal Mart should be allowed to set up shop in the city, and if it's the best option for consumers, based on whatever values the consumer decides to weight their decision on, consumers will choose to shop there. If it presents the best job opportunity for employees, they will choose to work there. Although maybe not known as a stellar employer, jobs would be provided, and let's face it, we all have free choice - I might complain about my job but I'm not forced to work here- I choose to. I think we need to have a little faith in the power of the free market in determining what succeeds and what doesn't - We're all big boys and girls, I don't feel that these are decisions our city needs to make for us.

Gerald / July 31, 2009 1:06 PM

"I think we need to have a little faith in the power of the free market in determining what succeeds and what doesn't."

I can't believe that people are still hanging their opinions on this stupid canard. The fact is that city government already makes thousands of choices that affect you daily, but nobody says boo until it negatively affects them. Without some kind of plan or uniting vision, a city will grow unchecked, and in potentially negative ways.

But fine, let's go ahead and let the free market decide. While we're at it, why don't we get rid of those overly restrictive zoning laws? My barbed wire factory can go right next to your daycare, right? Or those pesky fire codes. I mean, if somebody wants to live in an apartment that was built with the cheapest possible materials to maximize developer profit, who are we to stop them? And if a few die here and there, well, that's just the free market at work.

Please. We hold manufacturers liable for making dangerous products, and we hold builders responsible for shoddy and potentially lethal mistakes. Why should we hold Walmart to any less of a standard? It's been shown time and again that, in the long run, Walmart kills local competition, puts small mom'n'pop places out of business, depresses wages, and harms local communities. I don't want that for ANY neighborhood.

printdude / July 31, 2009 1:09 PM

No.

Wal-Mart is the Black Hole of merchants, franchised and independents alike.

Nuff said, I say.

Good luck / July 31, 2009 1:30 PM

It is interesting, in that the mechanisms you describe as being unsustainable for Walmart are precisely what would be foisted on the healthcare market by the federal government via Obamacare.

This is why its hard to take you guys seriously. You don't really grasp real economics, just platitudes based on political leanings.

Whatever variation of a command economy you prescribe (and they are always different because of the lack of real world examples of prosperity under such a system) it relies on a belief that some committee can properly manage the trillions of transactions that are the result of wants and needs of complex organizations and individuals. No person or group of people could ever have all of this information at one time, or be able to project this information into the future, so the thought of one person or group of people effectively managing such a complex system is ridiculous.

Gerald, stop being so dramatic. You make the strawman argument that only collectivists believe in safety, which is equally ridiculous.

peanut / July 31, 2009 1:51 PM

Gerald, please. Zoning laws and fire codes are not an appropriate parallel to whether the market is capable of determining the success or failure of a Wal Mart. I would not be able to walk into a house and know for myself if it's been properly constructed. That's a safety issue that requires some type of regulation and oversight in order to keep the public safe. My point is this Wal Mart issue is another example of how government is making decisions for citizens that they are perfectly capable of making on their own.

David / July 31, 2009 2:28 PM

Good Luck, I think your condescending attitude sucks.

The "command economy," as you put it, can only exist when the state controls ALL major sectors of an economy and has ultimate authority to make all decisions on the use and outcomes of those sectors. You're entirely correct about pointing out a lack of examples of prosperity in such a system. But you're absolutely wrong in saying that the Obama healthcare plan would create a "command economy."

So get off your high horse with your "platutides based on political leanings." Your arguments are intellectually dishonest, and the ends you derive from them are as ridiculous as they are vacuous. You haven't offered even a single affirmative idea here; you've only succeeded in pointing out that Chicago has corrupt politicians.

Brilliant AND incisive!

Good Luck / July 31, 2009 3:30 PM

I'm not saying that Obamacare woud create a command economy, I'm pointing out that what you describe as unsustainable business practices for a company would be implemented as general practice for medical care in this country if that bill became law. If it doesn't fit your narrative, fine.

Yes, a total command economy would be that the state controls everything. Unless you started from scratch it is very unlikely that you'd ever have that system. That is why there have been so many variations.

The reason why there are always these different variations of the command economy is that people who believe in it always think that they have magic formula; that they know just how to regulate certain industries just right and modify other markets, how to promote "responsible growth" in this area, and and so on. You have a whole industry built on people creating new names like "food deserts" and "community reinvestment" in order to justify experimentation The system never works well, so the argument is made that the model needs tweaking rather than being scratched all together.

Its all theory with a lot of excuses.

Peter Zelchenko / July 31, 2009 4:46 PM

(Read my two cents, in case anyone cares...)

Dennis Fritz / July 31, 2009 5:24 PM

No, because Wal-Mart not only mistreats its employees, it also drives other companies out of business and saddles the state with providing insurance for its workers. We have to stop allowing large retailers to hold us hostage with vague promises of "jobs."

One thing I would like to see, however, is unions making a strong, sustained effort to organize Wal-Mart instead of just trying to keep it out.

dm60462 / July 31, 2009 6:42 PM

Really enjoying the comments! But, since I refuse to shop in Cook Co because of high sales tax, I go to the shiny new Wal-Mart in Lemont. Nice place. Close to the gun range, so we take the kids and make a day of it.

VoteChatham / August 1, 2009 8:41 PM

I love to hear the whole "Walmart kills mom & pop shops & small businesses" argument. Too bad it doesn't hold any water because people have seen for themselves how the Walmart on the west Side store not only did not not drive businesses out of business, it attracted and attracts business! CVS.. bank of america.. food 4 less & more have opened. an aldi's is on the way! Anyone who wants to know the kind of impact walmart has on the community should call alderman mitts whose ward has the walmart. That city council would rather listen to unions who bankroll their campaigns instead of the people who voted for them is really quite sad and i imagine, will bite them in the long run.

EssJay / August 2, 2009 6:24 PM

Mmmm. Local jus' folks mom and pop businesses like CVS (Rhode Island, 2008 revenue $87.47 billion, ), BOA (of N Carolina, 2008 revenue $113 billion) and Aldi (Essen Germany, $58 billion)

Margaret / August 6, 2009 9:33 AM

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