There's a mystery at City Hall. It's not your old-fashioned whodunit. It doesn't even have much intrigue.Here's some stats!
But solving the mystery matters, both for the job-starved South Side and a city dealing with a massive drop off in tax revenue.
It revolves around the City Council Rules Committee, which is where an ordinance to allow for a long-awaited Wal-Mart in Chatham sits.
The chair of that committee, Ald. Dick Mell (33rd), apparently told Wal-Mart officials and the alderman pushing for the Wal-Mart, Howard Brookins (21st), that the Rules Committee would consider the Wal-Mart ordinance in July.
Well, time is running out -- and no one seems to be able to get an answer from Mell, this page included.
The last chance for a Rules Committee vote is July 28, the day before the full City Council's July meeting. Notice for a rules meeting must go up no later than Friday.
We urge Mell to solve this mystery and allow for a Wal-Mart vote next week
The first and only Wal-Mart in Chicago, which opened in Austin in 2006, has been a boon for that neighborhood and the city. In its first two years, Wal-Mart says, it generated $10.3 million in new sales tax revenue and created more than 400 permanent jobs. The average hourly wage, excluding managers, is $11.30.Worth a decent read!
We know Wal-Mart has its problems and unions vehemently oppose the chain. They say Wal-Mart mistreats its workers and doesn't pay a decent wage. And they're most concerned that a Wal-Mart with a grocery department will depress wages in local supermarkets.
We share those concerns, but we also see some improvements at Wal-Mart recently, including a major expansion of employee health care last year and new plans to label all products to reflect their impact on the environment.
UPDATE 4:51PM: I just found this Sun-Times article which has Mayor Daley's comments on Wal-Mart...
After accepting a $700,000 Wal-Mart grant to create “green jobs” for ex-offenders, Daley lauded the world’s largest retailer as a “great corporate citizen” that is “responding” to concerns about wages and health care that have fueled union opposition.Another good read!
The mayor said it’s “up to the citizens” to pressure their aldermen to give Wal-Mart the go-ahead to build its second Chicago store — and first super-center that sells groceries — at a former Chatham industrial site at 83rd and Stewart.
But, Daley left little doubt where he stands.
“It’s OK in Evergreen Park. It’s not OK in Chicago,” the mayor said, accusing union leaders of hypocrisy.
“People need jobs. … Labor had better understand that. ... It’s something that they better come to grips with because people do need jobs.”
If he feels so strongly about the need for jobs and shopping choices, Daley was asked why he refused to give Wal-Mart administrative approval to build a second store in Chatham.
“If I start doing that, you would write a headline, ‘Mayor is arrogant. He’s usurping his power. Mayor starts changing the law for his own benefit because, one day he likes Wal-Mart. The next day he’s liking something else.’... I’m not gonna fall into that trap,” Daley said.
UPDATE 4:56PM: More news from Clout Street!
Ald. Richard Mell (33rd) said today that he will "re-refer the [21st Ward Wal-Mart] item to the committee where it belongs, the Finance Committee" when his Rules Committee next meets July 28.
Asked if his move will make it seem like he's passing the hot political potato, Mell said, "That's true, to a certain extent."
But Mell said the real reason he is passing the Wal-Mart issue Ald. Ed Burke's Finance Committee is procedural. Mell's rules panel is a "committee of the whole." That means all 50 aldermen are members and if one opponent asked to verify there was a quorum present, they would need at least 26 council members there to have a vote.