Hooper's Store Opens in Chicago
Mayor Brandon Johnson aims to turn fiction into reality
Imagine, if you will, searching for an abode. The real estate agent takes you to several homes, apartments, and condos in a neighborhood for you to view based on your price range. You have a list of amenities that are must haves, until the sticker shock of homeowner association (HOA) fees brings you back down to reality. Paring down the dream is sometimes difficult, but priorities need to take precedent. For example: Do home buyers really need a garage or car, for that matter, if a new home is located near public transportation? If you cook regularly, is it essential for you to reside near a strip of bars and restaurants? Where, potential home buyers might ask, are the closest banks and grocery stores?
These are some of the typical questions real estate agents can expect from those seeking to purchase a new home. However, if you are living in public housing, you get whatever is available. For those that have never really spent any time in the “bad neighborhoods” on Chicago’s South and West Sides, many neighborhoods in those areas are filled with shuttered apartment buildings, vacant houses, and boarded-up banks, drug stores, and grocery stores.
Should a child fall sick, residents are unable to make a quick run to pick up Tylenol for their fever.
However inconvenient this truth may be, the fact of the matter is that crime is what caused the Mad Max, post-apocalyptic look of these neighborhoods. It is not that businesses were unable to flourish in the past. Rather, it is that criminals were allowed to maraud freely and thugs repeatedly emptied shelves of stock to the point it was no longer advantageous for stores to stay in business . Most recently in April, Walmart publicized the closure of four Chicago locations. In a statement announcing their decision, Walmart identified their reasoning:
“The simplest explanation is that collectively our Chicago stores have not been profitable since we opened the first one nearly 17 years ago – these stores lose tens of millions of dollars a year, and their annual losses nearly doubled in just the last five years.”
It is not difficult to see the link between the rise of crime and its connection to Soros-backed Cook County State’s Attorney, Kim Foxx. When Ms. Foxx entered office in 2016, she came in with the intention of creating justice reform, carried it out quite well, and crime skyrocketed. Of course, Foxx did not act alone. Governor J.B. Pritzker tipped the scales of justice by passing a law (SB2129), which allowed prosecutors to attempt to reduce sentences for those incarcerated. In addition to weakening sentencing laws, Pritzker’s recent revision to the SAFE-T act allows for no-cash bail, basically cementing Foxx’s revolving door of arrestees being quickly returned back to the streets.
For those who need convincing of how devastating Foxx’s tenure has been, page through CWB Chicago for the latest headlines and it is a cornucopia of various crimes. A judge released a man who had robbed wine from the same store five times; a 12-year-old boy was amongst those who performed a carjacking; five armed robberies committed in 20 minutes; a man was released on electric monitoring under the no-bail provisions after killing his wife and leaving her body on the street. The list is endless. It is also impossible to forget Foxx botching the high-profile case of Jussie Smollet.
Though Ms. Foxx has stated she is proud of her two terms and will leave the office next year with a strong sense of accomplishment, in the aftermath of her departure, Chicago residents will be left to dig themselves from the rubble of a city ridden with crime and no consequences for the perpetrators. As of August, WGN News reported about 1,500 shootings and 363 murders since January, while carjackings have risen to three times what they had been a decade ago.
Additionally, the effect of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) riots following the death of George Floyd in police custody caused billions in losses for Chicago businesses. Chicago retail stores were particularly hard hit. Of the 1,500 arrests made in the wave of rioting and looting that enveloped Chicago in the summer of 2020, a mere 392 cases were originally expected to be prosecuted, yet by 2021, only 33 made it through the courts.
Foxx will leave office with crime up across the board and a higher percentage of younger juveniles involved in crime, yet due to “equity,” few prosecutions have taken place. With cashless bail ushered in by lawmakers in Springfield, Chicago should brace for crime across all categories to increase.
While Foxx has deservedly been assailed for her lenient policies, where she has been most negligent in the prosecution of crime is her stance on retail theft. A significant driver of crime in Chicago and throughout Cook County, Foxx took office and immediately raised the threshold for the prosecution of retail theft to $1,000.
A serious problem which has grown for the duration of both her terms in office, Foxx was in her element by blaming the victims rather than the perpetrators for the sharp rise in retail theft. When the issue was addressed in June by WGN’s Ben Bradley and Andrew Smith, the two wrote:
“Foxx’s office declined WGN Investigates’ offer to be interviewed for this story but defends raising the threshold for charging retail theft as a felony by saying it allowed prosecutors to focus on the drivers of violence. Foxx’s spokesperson also said frequently it’s retailers who fail to cooperate in investigations or show up for court, forcing prosecutors to drop cases they do charge.”
Well, Ms. Foxx, the drivers of violence are greed and a lax system of incarceration.
It is against this backdrop that retailers of all kinds are retreating from areas of the city ravaged by crime. There are consequences for poor actions, regardless of what Father Michael Pfleger says. If a business opens in an area where residents are in need of commodities sold and the business is constantly ripped off by criminals -- and fraudulent clergy or community activists consistently declare the victimized business will recover losses as a result of insurance -- eventually a loss of profit and higher insurance premiums will drive them out of the neighborhood.
God forbid our leaders deal with crime. Instead, grand socialist ideas spill forth. On top of being a celebrity mayor, Brandon Johnson wants to be Mr. Hooper on Sesame Street. To become the beloved Mr. Hooper, Johnson’s plan is to create equitable city-run grocery stores in Chicago’s food deserts. Johnson intends on working with the Economic Security Project to make this dream a reality.
It should come as no surprise that the Economic Security Project is another organization rooted in socialism. A visit to their website reveals it has virtual offices in New York, Illinois, Washington, D.C., California, Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas. Their stated mission is to end the “Inequalities rooted in racism, justified by outdated economic ideas, and maintained by a wealthy few, have left us all less secure and resilient.” You have to give Mayor Johnson credit: He is nothing but consistent regarding the socialism he continues to push on our city.
This notion of free community grocery stores is nothing new. Brad Paisley and his wife Kimberly Williams-Paisley partnered with Belmont University to create a food bank called The Store in Nashville. It provides a grocery store feel to promote the dignity of those who need help. Nevertheless, people are only allowed to get groceries for one year. In other words, it is a means of helping people get back on their feet. Santa Barbara also has the Unity Shoppe which provides food, clothing, school supplies, and toys. They also are there to support people temporarily.
Here in Chicago, however, it seems that a city-run grocery store will be a new form of welfare without end paid for by taxpayers. The idea that citizens can find work, provide for their own families, and get themselves out of poverty no longer appears to be a goal. The concept of a city-run grocery store under the conditions Johnson proposes and his plan to partner with the Economic Security Project should frighten every taxpayer in the city.
Constantly feeding billions of dollars to government programs and a welfare system that does not work is money down the drain. We are facing a Catch-22 situation. Without a strong educational system, graduates have little chance at meaningful employment. Without employment, people rely on welfare. When dependent on welfare, people are forced into public housing. Once in public housing, some turn to a life of crime and others become victims of crime. Criminals should pay the price for poor choices by facing incarceration. Imprisoning those who deliberately choose a life of crime is a proven method to make Chicago safer. Instead, Mayor Johnson, Kim Foxx, Toni Preckwinkle, and their ilk denounce calls for criminal prosecution and falsely claim jail terms and lengthy sentences for violent crimes are unjust and motivated entirely by racism. This furthers their agenda that those born in poverty will remain in poverty and require government assistance from cradle to grave. And it’s not only our citizens that will be living off the government, it will also be illegal immigrants.
We all recognize the game being played. Chicago needs constant crises in order to receive federal dollars, which have already been spent before the ink has dried on the checks. In a city that has a $500 million shortfall in its budget, the idea of creating city-owned grocery stores only makes sense to the grifters who are leading us and will open the door to other city-owned establishments.
Mayor Johnson believes his governing will be the savior for impoverished communities. But if privately-owned businesses cannot keep thieves out of their stores, why should we expect anything different from Johnson’s socialist grocery stores?