Lincoln Square Ald. Eugene Schulter (47th) says he?s ?very sympathetic? to an alderman who?s seeking City Council approval of a second Wal-Mart store in Chicago, but Schulter says he?s concerned about the big-box retailer?s latest push to expand in Chicago.
?I am a big proponent of entrepreneurship, and I fear the philosophy of Wal-Mart coming into an area,? says Schulter. ?What?s to stop them from coming up and developing a mini-Wal-Mart [in Lincoln Square]? That would be absolutely devastating, because we all know the philosophy of Wal-Mart is to go into an area and see what kind of products are being served and then undercut those prices of the local merchants. They couldn?t care less about the local merchants in the area.?
The City Council is gearing up for another Wal-Mart showdown in May. Ninth Ward Ald. Anthony Beale wants to develop the South Side?s Pullman Park into a mixed residential and commercial center that includes two big-box retailers, one of which would be a Wal-Mart store. The plan has already received approval from the Chicago Plan Commission and now heads to the City Council?s Committee on Zoning, which is expected to convene on May 7. If the zoning committee?which Schulter sits on?gives the development the thumbs up, then it could go to the full City Council on May 12 for a vote. Schulter says he doesn?t know how he?ll vote on the Wal-Mart proposal if it comes up for a vote in the zoning committee.
?They are very devious people, and you can?t really trust them, so we?ll see what kind of ideas they?ll come up with,? he says.
Ald. Freddrenna Lyle (6th) has also introduced a ?living wage? ordinance, which would require Wal-Mart and other retailers that employ 50 or more employees and receive financial assistance from the city to pay at least $11.03 an hour to its employees. Schulter says he hasn?t decided if he supports Lyle?s ordinance.
?I don?t know if I?m for it yet, but we are studying it,? says Schulter.