Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Updated August 31, 2004 at 9:55 pm, revised Sep. 1 at 12:45 pm

Leadership, Rodney King and Chicago's Mayor Richard M. Daley, who seems to be saying, "Why can’t we all just get along, i.e., can’t we just make a deal. For example, let's have the City essentially impose a union contract on Wal-Mart, but not on its competitors." Wal-Mart's response? It says it might take its bat and ball and look for another diamond. Ah, competition, the patron saint of the consumer.

The Mayor’s dad, Mayor Richard J. Daley, once said, “Let us go on to higher and higher platitudes." Commenting on the City Council’s proposed Big Box ordinance, which is likely to have the unintended consequence of keeping Big Box stores [like Wal-Mart] and their jobs out of the City, the current Chicago Mayor leads the City Council by talking about the “bad PR for Wal-Mart,” which Da Mayor thinks would result from Wal-Mart’s decision to drop its development plans in Chicago due to the proposed ordinance. The current Mayor Daley needs to start thinking more about a friendly job environment for the City of Chicago and less about PR, or he might just face some credible opposition in 2007.

Bruce Dold [Chicago Tribune Editorial Page Editor]: The City [Chicago City Council ] is going to vote tomorrow whether if you are a certain type of store, in this case if you employ a lot of people, because this would only apply to very large stores [Big Box stores], you are going to only do business in Chicago if you meet “our rules,” which means you have to pay far more than the [Illinois] minimum wage [which exceeds the federal minimum wage], you have to pay a certain benefits package, and under one of these ordinances, you have to have a certain amount of your product made in the United States, and Wal-Mart is looking-- I think looking and saying-- we can go to Skokie; we can go to Hickory Hills; we can go to Berwyn, [to] Cicero; we can go down south and Chicagoans will follow us, they already do. A lot of Chicago people go out [of the City] to get the lower prices, so Wal-Mart said today we are not so sure we are going to do the Southside [of Chicago] project that we want to do.
Phil Ponce [WTTW]: …Speaking of public relations, Mayor Daley weighed in on the Wal-Mart story and here is what he had to say: “Well, it is kind of sad, I mean then it is bad PR for Wal-Mart. I mean, how much bad PR can they take. I mean, they are making millions of dollars, the executives, all of them, I mean, let’s understand, there’s always two sides to an issue and let’s be able to discuss it.”
WTTW’s Chicago Tonight, August 31, 2004, which will air again tonight at midnight, and also early Wednesday morning at 1:30 am and 4:30 am.
Jeff Berkowitz, host and producer of "Public Affairs," can be reached at JBCG@aol.com