Chicago’s South and Western sides have witnessed a mass exodus due to the escalating crime rate and the dire economic situation. Local residents are now in a difficult situation. Many of them struggle with food insecurity. This is a stark contrast to the communities of old.
The city government may be ready to fill in the gap left by private companies who are leaving the area because of the low profitability and high violent crime.
Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson is exploring the possibility of opening a city-owned supermarket. This idea has been supported by activists who want to help neighborhoods that lack good shopping options, but it could face stiff economic challenges.
Johnson announced that it would be partnering with the Economic Security Project in order to investigate the possibility of the city owning a grocery store. The city has not provided a timeframe for the feasibility study.
“All Chicagoans deserve to live near convenient, affordable, healthy grocery options. We know access to grocery stores is already a challenge for many residents, especially on the South and West sides,” Johnson said in a statement. “A better, stronger, safer future is one where our youth and our communities have access to the tools and resources they need to thrive. My administration is committed to advancing innovative, whole-of-government approaches to address these inequities.”
The problem of food insecurity is not new.
Mayor Johnson appears to be ready to take up the slack left by the loss of grocery stores. The city government can now address the issues faced by residents who live in “food deserts”. On the left, this may seem like a bold move. Others may see it as a government expansion that won’t ever provide the quality of the private sector if allowed to flourish.
In collaboration with the Economic Security Project, the mayor will open city-owned grocery stores using economic development grants. His office has claimed that this initiative is not funded by taxpayer dollars. It will instead tap into funding at the national and state level – still taxpayer dollars. This move is meant to provide residents with quality food.
Others have countered, pointing out that the true problem in these areas is the increase in crime. These businesses have been driven away by the high number of violent crimes. Sam Sanchez, owner of a Chicago-area restaurant, believes that addressing the crime problem will encourage businesses to move into the area.
It’s not a good idea, but a noble intention. The grocery stores will lose money and operate in the red.
Business will follow if you can control crime.
Nobel intention but not a good idea. This groceries stores will be operating in the red and loosing tax payers money.
Control crime and business will come. https://t.co/hWi5jitCto
— Sam Sanchez (@samsamco) September 13, 2023
Chicago isn’t the only city where businesses have shut down or moved to safer pastures because of rampant crime. San Francisco and other large cities with far-leftist governments are experiencing the same thing. It seems strange that in the Windy City local government prefers to open grocery stores with substandard products compared to the free market solution rather than crack down on crime.
In fact, the government’s role is to protect the rights of people, not sell them groceries. If Chicago’s leaders truly wanted to make sure that residents were able to access quality food, they would target the criminal elements who are targeting residents and not let them get away with their crimes. If they did their job, they wouldn’t have the chance to have the local government take control of the food service in these areas of the city.