Survey reveals 74.4 percent are in favor of second store
by Lesley R. Chinn
The push for a second Wal-Mart continues to heat up.
Supporters say Wal-Mart will help bring jobs, but critics say the jobs are not paying a livable wage.
However, 21st Ward Ald. Howard Brookins Jr. debunked the opposition. “Black and brown people in this city are disproportionately suffering due to this economic downturn,” Brookins told the supporters. “The union leaders are the people who have been fighting me regarding bringing a Wal- Mart, 500 jobs, and millions of dollars in tax revenue to the city—already have a job,” Brookins said. He was joined by Ald. Emma Mitts, whose ward houses the city’s only Wal-Mart on the West side. Other businesses like a CVS Pharmacy, Menards and a Bank of America are also in her ward. The Wal-Mart store, which opened in 2006, has attracted more than 400 jobs to the 37th Ward, Mitts stated. “Young people who are out on the streets now have a job. They are able to work,” she said. “We’re talking about wards all over the city where people can go to work and putting revenue in this city.”
Although Wal-Mart supporters continued their rally for a Wal-Mart, it wasn’t enough to grab the attention of City Council members during a Rules Committee meeting last Wednesday to consider an amended redevelopment agreement that would have paved the way for a second store on the South side. The ordinance moved to the Finance Committee only to be deferred until the City Council’s next meeting in September, which is a month before the International Olympics Committee decides whether Chicago will host the 2016 Olympics.
The rally also comes after a wardby-ward survey, supported by Wal- Mart and conducted recently by Xpress Professional Services. The survey reported that nearly 1.2 million residents were called to get their feedback about a second Wal-Mart store. The results revealed more than 75,347 residents participated in the poll. About 74.4 percent said they wanted a Wal-Mart store on the South side while 15.4 percent rejected the idea. Among the people surveyed, 10.2 percent said they were undecided about having a store in the area.
John Bisio, a Wal-Mart spokesman, said he was pleased by the reinforcement of the numbers. “The people have spoken and they are not buying the rhetoric from the detractors.” Bisio hopes that the survey will convince aldermen who are opposed to Wal-Mart or sitting on the fence to support a second store on the South side.
Ald. Freddrenna Lyle (6) said she had no comment about the survey and defended her stance against the giant retailer because of concerns she had about the negative impact on local businesses in her ward.
South side resident Lorraine Thomas said it has been a “longtime coming” for a second Wal-Mart in the city. “They have them every place else and it’s time for another Wal-Mart in the area,” she stated.
Another resident Lorraine Butler envisioned job opportunities not only in retail, but also in janitorial services and security. “It would create lots of jobs for a variety of people.”
21st Ward resident Cedric Wright questioned the true impact that the store will have on the community in terms of traffic, small businesses, and infrastructure issues. “I have not yet seen an environmental impact study that addresses those issues. So why is [there] a rush to Wal-Mart when the community has not got balanced and objective information,” Wright asked?
Westside resident Ellyson Carter said he believes Wal-Mart should pay a livable wage and offer benefits. “That’s not too much to ask for the richest company in the world,” he stated.
Wal-Mart stats reported that the company pays an average full-time hourly wage of $10.83 an hour. In Chicago, an average wage is $11.52 an hour. About 92.7 percent of employees have health care insurance.
By Miesha Glover
Social networking is turning into a youth dreamland. According to a press release on comscore.com , Facebook took over the global lead among social networking sites in April 2008. Some other sites, including Facebook, Myspace, and Tagged, give us a chance to stay connected and talk to friends— but at what cost?
In many situations, these sites are being used in inappropriate ways and to remedy that, companies that host them, should implement an age requirement that can be enforced.Case in point— last year, an 18-year-old Wisconsin man was allegedly charged with using Facebook.com to exhort sex from boys by threatening to expose nude pictures of them he obtained by pretending to be girls on the site. This situation shows how vulnerable young people really are and how they expose themselves to becoming friends with anybody without knowing the whole story.
According to Pip1.com, which collects hundreds of millions of profiles from social networking sites, women who visit these sites tend to be younger, while men tend to be older. At the same time, it appears that the people visiting social networking sites are becoming younger and younger. But how young and how old a person is may be hard to measure on the Internet. People lie about their ages. Sometimes, those who want to be older lie and those who want to be younger do not tell the truth. A young person who wants to remain safe should not lie and should think that if you have to lie, you probably should not be on the site.
Another problem is the inappropriate use of language and pictures by teens. Many of these sites have links that you can click on to report inappropriate behavior. However, from my experience, these links are pointless and when I reported a picture which I felt was inappropriate, nothing happened and the picture remained on the site for at least a couple of weeks until the person who posted the image finally changed the picture.
Cyber bullying poses another problem. A discussion on dcspost.com indicated that 32% of teens on the Internet are victims of Internet bullying. Teens who share their identities and thoughts on social networking sites are more likely to be targets than are those who do not use social networking sites according to makeadifferecneforkids. com. Also on this site are different stories about teens that have died or committed suicide due to cyber bullying.
Addressing suicides which occur as a result of social networking sites, Pope Benedict XVI, who has more than 27,000 fans of his own on Facebook, said while some sites foster friendships and understanding, “obsessive virtual socializing can isolate people from real interaction and deepen the digital divide by excluding those already marginalized.”
Providing direction for parents and their children, Enough.org, helps teach the safest way to browse the Internet. The organization has setup ‘Rules and Tools’ which implements safety and software to protect children online. Some suggestions include keeping the lines of communication open while experts suggest parents establish an atmosphere of trust and work to supervise computer use and other Internet devices. Parents are also advised to keep their children’s computers in an open area of the home and protect personal information posted online. Using privacy settings to restrict and limit access as to who can view profiles and searching blog sites other children visit to see what information their own children are posting, are also good ideas. Other precautions include discouraging the use of webcams, knowing the child’s online activities and friends, instructing the child never to plan a face-to-face meeting, and teaching children to never open, read or respond to messages from a cyberbully. By establishing online rules and an agreement with children about Internet use at home and outside the home, parents can prevent future problems.While the Internet is here to stay and people will likely continue to rely on it, it’s going to take a combination of everyone working together, parents, business and the young people who use it to help keep surfing the Net safe.
by Lesley R. Chinn
Last Thursday, President Barack Obama invited Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Cambridge, MA. Police Sgt. James Crowley for a beer at the White House to discuss their differences, but on last Saturday Black leaders at The Today’s Black Woman’s Expo called the meeting a “bru-ha-ha.”
Leaders used the discussion about Gates to tackle racism and to address ways to rebuild and maintain the African-American community— both economically and socially. Gates was arrested recently by Sgt. Crowley at his Cambridge, MA home after returning from an overseas trip. The arrest sparked national attention from President Obama and generated dialogue about race relations in America.
Author/radio personality Rev. Michael Eric Dyson stated the Gates’ situation should be a wake-up call and “a beer in the White House,” is not going to solve the problems on race relations alone. “That’s a bru-ha-ha,” he said. “We must say that what happened to Gates was wrong…but what happens to other poor ‘Negroes’ who are not seen?”
Dyson encouraged individuals to continue the dialogue on race if they ever want to see change unfold and not just leave it up to Obama.
Panelist, Rev. Janette Wilson, said Gates’ and the police are the least of her concerns. She called for changes in the criminal justice system, education, and increased economic development in Black communities. “I’m concerned about Skippy on the street whose struggling to get through college and can’t pay his momma who is working three jobs [while] his daddy is in jail. How will he be racially profiled?”
Wilson added, “Our children cannot speak English correctly, cannot do math or read at grade level, but yet we are pushing them out of school as if they are ready to deal with this world.”
PUSH leader Rev. Willie Barrow and actor/comedian Dick Gregory rounded out the discussion to call on Black people to support each other.
The discussion at the Expo was part of a town hall meeting entitled, “Preserving Our Black Heritage, Legacy and Pride.” The group met to address ways Blacks can work together to rebuild communities, self-esteem and families.
With Over a Billion Dollars Collected in Child Support
Payments, Custodial Parents Worry It’s Still Not Enough
by Shanita Bigelow
As the recession looms and unemployment soars, good news is hard to come by. Casting a sliver of light through the heavy clouds of economic uncertainty is the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS), which recently announced the state’s fifth record breaking year for the collection of child support payments. Although the $1.38 billion collected in child support is luminous, for some, that sliver is distant and dim.
As custodial and non-custodial parents face the possibility of job loss, job change or pay cuts, child support collection faces new challenges. To deal with these difficulties, HFS uses tried and true programs that guarantee results, programs that “[make] it harder for noncustodial parents to go about everyday activities,” Annie Thompson, HFS spokesperson said.
Partnerships with the Department of Natural Resources and the office of Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, which reject hunting and fishing permits and suspend driver’s licenses of parents who avoid paying child support, have also garnered much success. HFS also uses the Deadbeat Parent Website, which posts the pictures of parents who owe $5,000 or more in overdue child support as well as the amount due. Posted amounts range from a little over $10,000 to nearly $250,000.
The New Hire Outreach Program is another effort, which requires employers to submit information regarding new and rehired employees to the Illinois Department of Employment Security’s (IDES) New Hire Directory and the National Directory of New Hires in order to check them against Illinois child support files. If there is a match, HFS Division of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE) has the power to issue an Order/Notice to Withhold Income for Child Support.
Despite these efforts, many broken families are still falling through the cracks. Forty-nine percent of those ordered to pay child support fall behind on payments, while their children struggle for the necessities of life, forcing many custodial parents onto public aid, according to Jesse White’s office. Cynthia Prewitt, a mother of three who has spent 30 years in the child support system, contends that many say, “go get on public aid” when non-custodial parents dodge child support payments, “but that’s not a solution.” With child support, one-third of single parents on welfare would be completely independent, according to Jesse White’s office. “It’s not fair,” Prewitt said.
Over the span of 30 years, Prewitt has continually “deal[t] with the same issues.” She spent ten years looking for the non-custodial parent to no avail, until she contacted a non-governmental child support organization, which found him after two years. With the non-custodial parent only paying when he wanted to, Prewitt was forced to hire an attorney “…because [they] do what the state won’t do,” which includes calling the state and the non-custodial parent’s employer every two months. “It’s maddening,” she continued as she described her frustration with the state, which had to “literally” dig for her files.
“The case workers and state’s attorneys are way over burdened with cases…So many of our calls go unanswered and unreturned. Usually by the time we can get into court, we have already gone 6 [or more] months without support… Many [non-custodial parents] cry hardship…and the court just believes this with no proof,” said Michelle Deihl, mother and site moderator for Child Support in Illinois, a non-profit organization determined to aid custodial and non-custodial parents, which she joined due to her struggles with the child support system.
“In my…case, my son’s father said he only made $25,000 a year…I filed my own paperwork… and went before a judge to request that my [non-custodial parent’s] bank records be subpoenaed. The subpoena was approved and I found out my [non-custodial parent] was spending double his child support… every month and making an excess of $70,000 [a] year…Situations like this happen very often….More needs to be done to verify assets and income…,” she continued.
There is a solution and it is “simple,” according to Cecilia Raymond, whose ex is “thousands and thousands behind in support.” The state has the power to intercept tax refunds and incarcerate offenders amongst other penalties, she added.
Deihl, who has been battling for child support for over seven years, is finally seeing some justice due to the arrest of the non-custodial parent. “He has now paid every payment for almost [two] years,” she said.
HFS works with both the custodial and non-custodial parent “…to try to find an arrangement that is best for the child,” Thompson said.
With the children in mind, many custodial parents continue to battle only to “…feel like…failures…[in] a system that’s not fighting for [them],” Prewitt said.