clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Chicago, it’s time to bring jobs to every neighborhood

Rather than providing incentives to lure big companies downtown — where many want to be anyway — we should work to bring jobs back to neighborhoods.

The Ida B. Wells-Barnett House on South King Drive in Bronzeville. Max Herman/For the Sun-Times

It has been widely argued that economic growth downtown will trickle down to the neighborhoods. Now, more recently, we’re being told that the best way to boost struggling neighborhoods is for residents to get jobs downtown because that’s where the jobs have grown.

Those beliefs are dangerously misguided.

Downtown should be a jobs center, particularly for specialized jobs such as those in law, consulting and advertising. These are firms that deliver services to large corporations.

However, neighborhood jobs also are critically important.

Neighborhood jobs provide basic products and services, such as food and convenience goods, that are needed daily. Local restaurants and stores play a key role in bringing people together. And they provide the first rung on the ladder of economic opportunity.

This is a kind of economic development — a source of jobs — that is strong on the North Side and in neighborhoods such as Pilsen and Chinatown. This is neighborhood opportunity — and it is not small.

Appropriately resourced projects that we’re working on in Bronzeville would create more than 500 jobs. Scaling up these efforts across black Chicago could create up to 100,000 jobs over a 10- to 20-year period.

Rather than provide incentives to lure big companies downtown — where many want to be anyway — we should work to bring jobs back to neighborhoods and reverse a counterproductive trend.

Bernard Loyd
Build Bronzeville project leader

SEND LETTERS TO: letters@suntimes.com. Please include your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes.

Potential model for progress on gun control

On Wednesday, Neil Steinberg’s column related that a group founded by Candace Lightner in 1980 (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) showed the faces of the 20,000-plus Americans whose lives were lost every year due to alcohol-impaired drivers.

MADD now estimates that “its actions have saved 380,000 lives since the organization began.” Steinberg commented that people stopped drinking/driving “because Lightner marched into state legislatures with a big photo of daughter Cari at softball practice on the day she died.”

He feels that improving gun control also is “an educational problem.”

As Steinberg succinctly pointed out: the Second Amendment “doesn’t need to be repealed. The same Second Amendment that allows the government to ban machine guns and rocket launchers can allow it to ban high-capacity magazines and set up a few hoops to keep weapons out of the hands of would-be murderers.”

Perhaps our legislators and we, as voters, need to be reminded of so many faces, including the 58 victims at a Las Vegas concert in 2017; the 17 high school students who were killed in Parkland, Florida in 2018 and the 20 innocent young children slain in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012?

Christine Craven, Evergreen Park