Saturday, May 20, 2006

ILLINOIZE: Big box ordinance or Wal Mart ordinance?

ILLINOIZE: Big box ordinance or Wal Mart ordinance?

I haven't been following the Wal-Mart in Austin story for a while then I see this post from Illinoize I just had to blog about this.

First and foremost there does seem to be a war against Wal-Mart in this country. It seems to involve wages and benefits. The unions seem to dislike Wal-Mart. I've really yet to figure out why and the forces on the city council couldn't care less about struggling communities such as the recipient of this new city Wal-Mart Chicago's 37th ward.

Check out what 37th ward Ald. Emma Mitts said in the Chicago Defender...
Mitts and people from her community said the council should honor the wishes of the 37th Ward. Two years ago, the council granted zoning approval for Wal-Mart to open a store in Austin, but passage of the Moore's ordinance would halt the development if the company refuses to pay the higher wage.

"I don't think it's a good idea to just target Wal-Mart. Don't support me on one end and then turn around and back-door me on the other end. That's not right, and they can't really tell me why they're doing that," Mitts said of her fellow council members who support Moore's ordinance.
And then here's another article Bill Barr linked to and this is a kicker to me...

...this past Friday I got an eyewitness account of how the city does it. I was at LaLa Banquet Hall. LaLa’s is John Young’s newest business venture. Most everyone in Austin knows John. He owns the Citizens National Bank building at Laramie and Chicago avenues. You know the place (he has a 20-foot picture of himself on the sign for the building so that everyone can know what he looks like). Anyway, there I was when two people with badges and a laptop came in. They were from the city’s Dept. of Revenue, and they were serious. The wanted to check his licenses and snoop around to make sure everything was in order.

I asked them if the city were really serious about cracking down on those violating the laws, when would they begin to rid the sidewalks of those "corn carts" that are now popping up at every other corner in Austin—you know, the carts where the people have no running water to wash their hands, no bathrooms to go to and have the audacity to serve room temperature mayonnaise with who knows what kind of bacteria growing in it. The woman snapped at me and wanted to know if I owned the place. I told her no, but my journalistic nature was curious. She shot back and told me when they get complaints about it, they will do something.

So I watched while she pored over every document, making sure the "I"s were dotted and the "T"s crossed. She checked for the food handler’s license. She checked for the business license. She called someone on the phone and sounded disappointed that everything was in order. John, who has had several strokes, began to get visibly upset about the city picking on his business. I have since learned that the city likes to visit them regularly. And from what I saw, it looks more like harassment rather than enforcement.

With black businesses being held to the letter of the law, arrested, fined and closed while others are overlooked, we cannot afford to continue to "be in denial."

Interesting, this reminds me of a scene in a movie Once Upon a Time When We Were Colored. Honestly though I'm not totally sure what to make of this situation.

1 comment:

Bill Baar said...

thanks for the link!

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