It's official Mayor Daley has used his veto for the first time in his administration on the bix box ordinance on September 11th. According to today's Sun-Times article he has procured at least four votes to maintain his veto over the ordinance.
Also brought up today was the references to a racial aspect of this ordinance...
"Not one mayor or alderman has ever been threatened in the suburban area. ... Only on the West Side. Only on the South Side," Daley told cheering supporters at 119th and Marshfield, vacant site of a Target store placed on hold after the City Council's 35-to-14 vote in favor of the ordinance.
"It was all right for the North and Southwest sides [of Chicago] to get big boxes before this. No one said anything. All the sudden, when we talk about economic development in the black community, there's something wrong. ... This issue defines whether or not you stand for economic development on this site or are you going to let this site stand idle? That is unacceptable."
I must admit I like this quote from big box opponent Ald. Bill Beavers from the Chicago Tribune...
"I think the mayor did the right thing," said Ald. William Beavers (7th). "I voted against the ordinance because I felt that $7 an hour was better than no dollars.
"It's a union issue, but the unions need to get off their behinds and organize instead of coming to the City Council to try to get us to organize for them," Beavers asserted.
Anyway, this charge was denied by Chicago Federation of Labor President Dennis Gannon...
"We're looking to bring people out of poverty and pay them a living wage. We're not looking at whether they're black, white or Hispanic. We're not trying to be divisive in any community in Chicago. For him to say that is not fair," Gannon said.
Gannon said the coalition that includes Jobs for Justice, ACORN, the Grass Roots Collaborative, Service Employees International Union, and the United Food and Commercial Workers came together to fight the Austin Wal-Mart and stayed together to push for higher retail wages.
"We thought we had more collective strength here in the city than in the outlying areas," Gannon said.
Daley was able to get the support of Aldermans, Danny Solis, Shirley Coleman (who's ward may get a Wal-Mart store at some point, George Cardenas, and then there's Helen Shiller. Helen Shiller didn't actually vote on the ordinace but she lined up to support Daley in his veto. Check out the why part...
On Tuesday, Ald. Helen Shiller (46th) agreed to join in upholding the veto. Shiller was the only alderman who did not cast a vote in July. She said she made the decision to oppose a living wage she has long championed, not to save the Target store she hopes to bring to the Wilson Yards project in her ward, but because she thinks the ordinance was too narrow.
"A different ordinance I would have supported and supported all the way through. . . . The majority of smaller boxes who don't pay a living wage -- including restaurants and all of the fast-food places -- none of them are affected by this."
Finally don't think this is going away. 6th ward Alderman Freddrenna Lyle is seeking to continue to fight for this ordinance...
What's next for the big box movement after the City Council sustains Mayor Daley's veto? How about a citywide referendum on the Feb. 27 ballot.
Ald. Freddrenna Lyle (6th) said she plans to introduce a referendum at today's Council meeting to prove a poll showing 71 percent support for the "living wage" was no fluke. If the poll and referendum results mirror each other, supporters plan to introduce a citywide minimum wage ordinance not confined to big box stores.
"This is not a defeat. This is just a delay. We're not going to go away," Lyle said.
Lyle's ward was the recipient of a big box chain, Target back in 2003. So I'm kind of surprised that she supports this ordinance although for the most part the 6th ward of Chicago isn't exactly a struggling community.