Walmart closes three stores on the South Side

Last week, Walmart announced it would be abruptly closing four stores in Chicago, three of which are on the South Side. The retail supergiant gave communities just five days’ notice, leaving some without an accessible or affordable grocery store. In addition to a supercenter in Chatham (8431 S. Stewart Ave), neighborhood Walmart stores in Lakeview (2844 N. Broadway St.), Little Village (2551 W. Cermak Rd.), and Kenwood (4720 S. Cottage Grove Ave.) have also closed. The closures come after Whole Foods abruptly closed its store in Englewood and residents protested the opening of a Save-A-Lot in its location, which is known for having fewer fresh vegetable, fruit, and high-quality options. As usual in these situations, Walmart defended its decision by claiming that its Chicago stores are unprofitable, but it was unclear what, if any, steps the company took to help sustain the stores or engage with the community before making the decision to close. Chicagoans critical of the closures have pointed out that Walmart has received millions in tax subsidies to open stores in Chicago and that in 2020, CEO Doug McMillon announced Walmart’s commitment to staying in the city and reopening after civil unrest that summer. The stores closed this Sunday, April 16, but the pharmacies will remain open for another month.

ShotSpotter tries to save itself and rebrand

The election of Brandon Johnson could spell the end of a lucrative deal for ShotSpotter, the company that licenses its gunshot detection technology to the Chicago Police Department. Johnson has vowed to end the deal with the company, arguing that it does little to add to public safety and citing its destructive role in leading police officers to Adam Toledo two years ago. After the election, shares of ShotSpotter dropped twenty-five percent and the company announced it would be rebranding as SoundThinking (though ShotSpotter will remain the name of their product). Lightfoot’s administration extended ShotSpotter contract in October but it is set to expire this year. Research about the technology has shown some eighty-six percent of ShotSpotter calls don’t result in a police report, while Chicago’s inspector general’s office issued a report in 2021 that the technology rarely leads to stops or evidence for gun crimes.

Chicago chosen for Democratic Convention

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) chose Chicago to host the 2024 Democratic National Convention, which will take place at the United Center and McCormick Place from August 19 to 22 and draw an estimated 50,000 visitors. “Chicago is a world-class city that looks like America and demonstrates the values of the Democratic Party,” said Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson in a statement. “We are unmatched when it comes to hosting events of this scale. I look forward to working closely with the DNC to facilitate a spectacular convention that showcases Chicago’s diverse culture, our beautiful lakefront, our renowned hospitality sector, and our best asset: our amazing people.” The last time the convention came to Chicago was in 1996, the year President Bill Clinton was reelected. Prior to that, Chicago hosted the infamous 1968 convention, when thousands of people protested the Vietnam War outside the convention hall and hundreds were arrested and injured.

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