I am concerned and disheartened by the news about the closure of the Target stores in Chatham and Morgan Park, two communities located on the South Side of Chicago. This decision is disappointing and regrettable.

The closure of two stores — anchor retailers in their communities — will have a devastating impact on the people that work and shop there, as well as the community at large. We all lose when a large business closes its doors.

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These closures, located in areas of Chicago that already have limited options, mean residents will have fewer choices of places to shop for groceries and goods crucial for health and wellbeing. You can go to the pharmacy at Target. You can buy affordable, fresh food at Target. Target’s exit likely worsens the existing food deserts in our communities.

What will the domino effect of this decision be? Will Target’s exit lead to similar closings from other stores nearby? Will the employees who work at the shuttering stores lose their jobs, or be transferred to work sites that do not work for their commutes or schedules?

Many large chain stores use national sales models and may not fully understand the sales footprint needed within each community. National chains need local input to help them be sustainable.

I urge Target to work with the community, property owners, and city and county officials to explore how to keep these locations open and viable.

As president of the Cook County Board, I stand ready to work with city officials, residents and Target leaders to help reach a compromise beneficial to all. I am hopeful that by taking a second look at this decision, a new conclusion may be reached.

Toni Preckwinkle
Cook County Board President

Don’t be swindled

On May 4, 2017, shortly after the Republican-sponsored American Health Care Act passed the U.S. House along solidly partisan lines, video and photos began to stream across our social media feeds and televisions and appear on the front pages of our newspapers. They showed celebrating Republican congressmen, flanking President Donald Trump in the Rose Garden. They looked jubilant, sharing the joys of a collective victory.

I’m a family medicine doctor. I knew I wouldn’t forget their smiles, their laughter or the president’s remarks on the legislative accomplishment. They had just voted successfully to take away access to health care for 23 million Americans, many of them my patients. They had just voted to overturn a law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) that was on track to prevent medical bankruptcy for millions of their constituents. They had just voted to allow insurance companies to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. They had proposed no substantive alternative. And they seemed happy about it.

Some Republicans running to defend their seats are now claiming to be pre-existing condition coverage champions. These are lies: since taking office, President Trump has done everything in his power to sabotage the ACA, while Republicans in Congress have tried – and failed – over 70 times to repeal the law. Piece by piece, the Trump administration has attempted to dismantle the ACA.

Most every one of us has or loves someone who has a pre-existing condition. We cannot be swindled by Republicans’ attempts to rewrite history. Their record on pree-xisting condition coverage protection is clearly documented.

Mara Divis, Humboldt Park

Support equality

We had an important and reasonable piece of legislation passed in Illinois at the end of May: the Equal Rights Amendment. The ERA is a U.S. Constitutional amendment that Illinois forgot to ratify in the 1970s, but which 37 states have now ratified with one more state to go. It simply provides that neither men nor women should be discriminated against on the basis of gender.

It’s like saying treat your sons and daughters fairly. It’s like the Golden Rule – found in every major religion – that says treat others as you would like them to treat you. It’s the concept of equality written in our Declaration of Independence. Ratification of the ERA in the Illinois house and senate was accomplished through bipartisan super-majorities. I urge all voters in Illinois to research whether their candidates for state or national office have supported the Equal Rights Amendment. It’s unreasonable to oppose equality.

Michele H. Thorne, Wilmette