IJ Clinic's Milnikel on the Power Chicago's Aldermen Have over Small Businesses

Do Aldermen Have Too Much Power over Small Businesses?
Ashley Gross and Tony Arnold
WBEZ
April 4, 2011

The biggest economic news in Chicago this week may be what happens in politics.

On Tuesday voters in Chicago will choose almost a third of the city council. And for small business owners, that has big ramifications. They know their success can hinge on who their alderman is.

In Lincoln Square, just north of Lawrence on Western Avenue, a block of small business owners learned firsthand a few years ago how powerful an alderman can be. Alderman Eugene Schulter of the 47th ward pushed forward a proposal for the city to acquire their properties and sell them to a private developer to turn into condos and retail stores.

Tim Van Le owns Decorium Furniture in the targeted block. Now, three and a half years later, he still heaves a sigh when he describes how it felt knowing he might have to relinquish his store.

“Absolutely we feel so hopeless,” Le said. “We really felt like we had no word.”

Faculty: 
Elizabeth Kregor
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