Chicago Mayor Plans Reckless Experiment: Using Taxpayer Dollars for City-Owned Grocery Stores in Crime-Ridden Areas

 September 15, 2023

Mayor Brandon Johnson's recent announcement to explore the possibility of opening city-owned grocery stores in Chicago has stirred controversy.

While the initiative aims to address the lack of grocery options in areas hit hard by business closures, it raises critical questions about the role of government and the use of taxpayer dollars, especially in neighborhoods already grappling with high crime rates.

Misplaced Priorities?

The mayor's office, in partnership with the Economic Security Project, plans to conduct a feasibility study for these city-owned stores. However, this move has many questioning whether the administration is focusing on the right issues.

"A better, stronger, safer future is one where our youth and our communities have access to the tools and resources they need to thrive," Johnson stated. But can this future be achieved without first addressing the rampant crime that has led to the withdrawal of private businesses?

The Real Issue: Crime Rates

Major retailers like Walmart, Walgreens, and Aldi have closed multiple stores in Chicago. While the mayor's office suggests that the grocery stores would be funded by state and federal grants, critics argue that these funds could be better utilized to combat the underlying issue of crime. "Control crime and business will come," opines prominent Chicago restaurateur Sam Sanchez.

Voices from the Community

Residents of the South Side, who are directly affected by these closures, have mixed feelings. While some appreciate the mayor's efforts to provide grocery options, others echo Sanchez's sentiments, believing that tackling crime should be the priority.


While Mayor Brandon Johnson's proposal to open city-owned grocery stores may seem like a proactive step, it sidesteps the root issue that has led to the closure of private businesses in the first place: rising crime rates.

Addressing crime would not only make neighborhoods safer but also create a more conducive environment for private businesses to operate, thereby naturally filling the void in grocery options. In essence, tackling the crime problem at its core could yield a more sustainable and comprehensive solution for the community's needs.

"Control crime and business will come."

Sam Sanchez
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