Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Bill Brady on big boxes and inner-city violence

This post is not an endorsement of Bill Brady, I just want to present his comments on those issues that are affecting us currently. As always you have the ability and the right to address his comments. As a matter of fact it is definitely welcomed!

Over the weekend the GOP nominee for Governor state Sen. Bill Brady (from downstate Bloomington) had invited some bloggers to discuss some issues. I got wind of this event courtesy of Bill Baar's West Side. But most of the comments I have blockquoted are from Illinois Review.

To be fair, if Pat Quinn has any thoughts to share on these issues whether or not it's uttered in the press or any other means it will be posted on this blog as well.

Let's start with the big boxes as this is the hot story right now and there are proposals to place a Wal-Mart (well that's the main box for whom many have expressed opposition) in either Pullman or Chatham. I will excerpt from Illinois Review:
Placing union leaders' demands over community welfare is one issue that soundly resonates against Democrats in communities hit hard by unemployment and business closings, he said. “A clear defining difference between us and the Democrats is if you just take business, and look at the 'big boxes' that want to be built in Chicago,” Brady said, “They’re willing to put the livelihood and the quality of their citizens at bay for their political interests because they want to win favor with union leaders.”

"Big boxes" has become a term commonly used to describe retail chain stores such as WalMart, who often hire non-union workers.
“It helps us with minority communities, it’s truth, it’s real,” Brady said. “It points to the dynamic differences between the political fiefdoms and the continuation of power for a few against the people they represent,” Brady said. “It really bothered me when – to counteract this -- they actually put $10 million into last year’s budget to help alleviate the “food desert” problem. We could have made hundreds of millions in tax revenue by letting the private sector alleviate the food desert problem.”

And ironically, those “food deserts” – the term used to describe economically-depressed areas major fresh produce retailers avoid because they drain major grocers’ financial resources – are a key element of First Lady Michelle Obama’s emphasis in fighting childhood obesity.

Allowing corporate entities like WalMart or Target doesn’t just bring in discount sales items, big box supporters argue, they most often serve as the center of a productive economic resource that can change a community. Discount providers like WalMart or Target hire non-union personnel.

“By the way, you won’t find too many free-standing big boxes. Generally, we developers are willing to give land to a big box just to make the land sales of the surrounding properties. Because once you get an anchor like that, dry cleaners, fast food and all the other benefits come in,” he said. “Construction, revenue and all the permanent jobs are a fraction big boxes will have on the area.”
Bill Barr on his blog discusses Brady's comments with regards to the recent wave of violence during the course of the past week:
I asked Brady on how we go about growing Illinois when we have nine shot dead and another eighteen wounded within 12 hours. He responded with schools and economy on the fundamental solution to reducing violence but also mentioned the need for collective police work among city, suburbs, and State. Also letting violent offenders out early doesn't help much.
Here's more on his take on what to do with the schools over at Illinois Review:
Brady said school choice and term limits are also topics about which Chicago and Cook County voters are interested in hearing more. Minority communities understand firsthand the failure of schools, how it affects their children’s lives and their neighborhoods. They know how frustrating it is to have overbearing political personalities bully away campaign challengers. Folks in those communities are now understanding the need for term limits.

But it’s not the issues that’s the challenge, Brady said. It’s that the Republicans have historically failed in presentation of the message.

“Our message has to resonate and be inviting to minority communities. We have to collectively reach out and invite them to join our cause,” Brady said. “I think Rev. Meeks is helping us with his voucher legislation. It’s helping us on the big box issue. We’ll pick a couple of key issues that speak to specifics, but more so to general philosophy. We have to tell them what’s in it for them – fresh food, affordable food, jobs, a say in your child’s education. “
BTW, Rich Miller at the CapFax writes about this event as well. Of course what he writes about is more less about the political aspects. This is what he says about Brady talking the issues that affect our community:
Having a Republican candidate talking about issues impacting minority areas is a positive thing. But this isn’t about winning that vote. It’s about winning.
I wrote about Brady on a few occasions about one proposal to ban "big-box ordinances" and his visit to Chatham Market during the course of his campaign. While I don't think Rich Miller is incorrect in his analysis, I do hope that during the course of this campaign both Brady and Gov. Quinn can pay a visit to our community and address the issues of economic development, violence and schools.

The main thing here, however, is that there must be a solid plan to address those issues. It's especially important when either of these gentlemen start their terms in January 2011.

BTW, if you were invited to this event either as a blogger or as a citizen, are there any other questions you would like to ask Bill Brady or Pat Quinn? Be as tough as you'd like!

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