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This American Life on economic development

There’s a Public Radio show called This American Life, hosted by Ira Glass, that I enjoy. They have a theme for each one-hour episode, and the episode is split into several segments, or “acts” as they call them, with each act looking at the same theme in different ways. Back in May, they had an episode with the theme of “How to Create a Job,” and I found Act 3 especially interesting. There’s not a way to embed the audio here, but if you follow this link, it will take you directly to Act 3 of that program. The segment lasts about 15 minutes. Take a listen. It will help you understand the rhetoric that comes from our own economic development gurus in Peoria.

This American Life: How to Create a Job (full program)
Direct Link to Act 3: Job Fairies

29 comments to This American Life on economic development

  • mazr

    This American Life is one of the biggest reasons I don’t mind working on Saturdays.

  • Kohlrabi

    Yes, it does sound like the economic development folks here. And creating jobs by moving them from somewhere else is a good analogy for seeing the problem with claiming eceonomic development from the newest HyVee. It’s not really economic development – the people that will shop there for bananas are getting their bananas somewhere now.
    It’s moving deck chairs on the Titanic.

  • Sharon Crews

    Kohlrobi, you are so right. In fact, it will be the same story as Bergner’s–soon the HyVee in Sheridan Village won’t be doing so well. Soon, of course, people who live to the far north of the city won’t have to come even as far in as Lake into Peoria–except to work. People in other areas of the city farther south will continue to have to drive farther and farther to find a grocery store. Thank you, Haddad’s!

  • Kohlrabi

    Just repeating what Gary Sandberg said about the bananas. But apparently they’ll be driving to get the bananas because Grand Prairie doesn’t have to or want to put in sidewalks.

  • outsider now

    Most people on the far south of Peoria are going to Wal Mart Sharon. Dont worry about their drive times.

  • conrad stinnett


    I don’t- and I think there are plenty of folks out there who wouldn’t be caught dead in a Walmart. Instead, let’s keep the pressure on our leaders to include the other parts of the city in economic development efforts.

  • UnclePugsly

    I’ve never seen a community so engrossed with grocery store development as Peoria.

  • Thanks for sharing this. Simple fact… if there are not plenty of unemployed people in your town, there can be no job growth.

  • outsider now

    Conrad you dont live on the far south or old north. You are a mere interstate hop away from all the central grocery stores and a decent walk from haddads. I second that unclepugsly

  • Sharon Crews

    Outsider now, if you haven’t noticed, the Wal-Mart on University has a very, very minimal grocery department. No meat, no fresh vegetables. Therefore, it doesn’t suffice as a grocery store. I live in West Peoria, so until Haddad’s reopens, my drive time to a grocery store (or Wal-Mart) is too far and for those on the south end, the drive is even farther. Only an “Outsider” wouldn’t be sympathetic to the plight of those in the southend. However, I do realize that people to the far north have not had easy access to a grocery store either.

  • Jenny

    What about Madison Park Kroger? Walmart on University does have meat, but not a lot of variety.

  • Sharon Crews

    So, Jenny, Wal-mart doesn’t have fresh meat, fruit, or vegetables. I guess I am comparing “yesterday” to today–I used to have several nearby choices–Thompson Food Basket, for one. Gradually, they disappeared and/or moved to the north. The same is true of car dealerships (the last one left to build Wal-Mart), churches, restaurants–most move north. Remember we used to have Jumer’s and long before that we had Lum’s. We still do have Sky Harbor. We had a little restaurant on Western across from Jumer’s. We even had an ice cream parlor–all gone. We do have a new Walgreen’s.

  • outsider now

    Well Sharon alot of that has to do with the people in your neighborhood choosing not to shop at local businesses. If the people living in these neighborhoods actually utilized small businesses instead of giving the idea lip service there would still be all those places that you remember. Businesses stay open because they have enough customers coming in that they can pay the bills. Also Im talking about the giant super Wal Mart, not the university one, in EP that you can easily get to to from both the south end and the near north side in eh probablly 10 to 20 min depending on where your at. Why would you ever go to the university wal mart when you could drive another 5 min and be at Kroger or Hy Vee or whatever is currently where cub was?

    I am an outsider in that I no longer live in Peoria, hence the other part the now part. I never lived in the far north side or any other little cry baby bs line you want to throw in there. In fact I didnt even live in the safe haven of west peoria like you Sharon. From 74 I am willing to bet you can get to a grocery store in 15min or less. Im sure that is just WAY to much time.

  • conrad stinnett

    While I agree that we all need to support locally-owned businesses, the lack of grocery stores South of War Drive has less to do with lack of patronage and more to do with the creation a non-level playing field, courtesy of the Peoria City Council. IGA, Sullivan’s and John Bee all made the decisions to retire, close, and/or relocate from Peoria as a direct result of the introduction of Cub Foods into the Mid Town Plaza TIF district. Each cited the publicly-backed complex as a factor in their respective decisions. The later decision by Supervalue to close the Mid Town Cub during the last recession, David Joseph’s decision to boot Sav a Lot from Campustown to rent to Bradley and the unfortunate destruction of Haddad’s has left a bit of a void in grocery stores in some parts of town. I know IGA cited Peoria’s “hostility to independent grocers” and our area’s “over-reliance on chains” as reasons why they were not interested in returning to Peoria when I queried them last year. I know I can drive to other stores, but prefer to shop closer to home. I know Bradley students, those without cars; have requested the university provide shuttle service to East Peoria, so they can grocery shop. In other words, they are asking to be taken out of town to shop, because Peoria won’t offer them an alternative closer to home. I’ll be glad when Haddad’s reopens, but there is still legitimate need for more stores in our part of town.

  • Martin Palmer

    “The lack of grocery stores South of War Drive”
    Kroger’s on Wisconsin is south of War drive…
    I think we all can agree Midtown was and is a total flop for the COP, but not for the developer.

  • You know why I’ll go to Haddad’s when it re-opens? Why I don’t go to Kroger in Madison Park and instead drive to East Peoria Wal-Mart or even clear out on Allen Rd to that wal-Mart?
    This is why. I don’t have to endure the garbage littering the parking lot, the broken bottles. The cars parked in the fire lane with their music blasting and no one in them. The people that seem to hang out by the door and pan handle for money. The long lines because two women with 6 kids between them have 3 packed carts and after waiting for them to check out find out their Link Card doesn’t have enough money on it so we wait while they pick and choose. The smells. Yes, it seems bathing isn’t a requirement before going grocery shopping so slip into some elastic sweat pants and a t-shirt and go smelling like a brewery. The fact I worry my wife will be attacked for her purse in the parking lot by the people who seem to hang out at 9am waiting for the liquor store to open. (Who waits for a liquor store to open?) The way people park in these lots. They ignore line of travel and they ignore the parking lines then leave their cart anywhere they damn please.
    These are a few of the reasons that Cubs failed, and why no one wants to shop Kroger’s in Madison Park. At least these are my reasons. People get tired of the riff raft and stop going. That is why grocery stores are booming out north. You can park and get in the front door without walking between 3 parked cars in the fire lane because some ass is too lazy to park legally. This is the elephant in the room. Admit it!

  • Really?

    Emtronics you just described a lot of things that many of today’s society think are positive lifestyle choices..LOL

  • Frustrated

    Emtronics – Kiss, Kiss . . . you said a mouth full. Not always PC but always on point.:)

  • Sharon Crews

    Although no one says it quite like Emtronics, I do know that most of us (including me) follow his tire tracks for all or some of the same reasons. I struggle with all of this because I know it’s true and because I don’t want it to be true. I am always afraid whenever comments like this are made that people like Emerge and Don Jackson will be blamed (subtly or blatantly) for the behaviors Emtronics has described. In other words, that all black people will be judged by the behaviors of those at the poverty level (and I am sure that at our grocery stores and at grocery stores in other locations in our country, poor white people behave in much the same way). (And to Emtronics’ credit, he didn’t mention race, and I do so only because I have read the comments that so often appear on blogs that lump all black people together, so I’m just getting out ahead of them).

    Of course, many black people follow Emtronics’ tracks to the grocery stores to the north for all the same reasons.

    We have a problem with poverty in this city and in this country. And, all over we have the problem of an exodus away from the unpleasantness that surrounds poverty. Yes, we can ask why people who are poor have to be unclean, behave badly, etc. I might stay away from the grocery stores and shopping areas where I might feel unsafe, etc., but I am just not ready to imput blame–for me it’s one of those “walk in my shoes” issues. And, also, I prefer that attitude to be labeled as “Christian” as opposed to “bleeding-heart liberal.” 🙂

  • Really?

    Political Correctness is what has got us into this mess!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Really?

    Sharon, what Emtronics described is definitely not a race problem because we see both white and black living that way.

  • Sharon Crews

    Really? I know that–for sure. I just wanted to stress that fact. I did hesitate to bring race into the discussion, but I’m not stupid–many people do see it as a race issue. I am driven crazy by that attitude–it is an issue of poverty, not color. Political Correctness did not get us into this mess, at all. It is just one response to the mess.

    I am all for Political Correctness when it means common courtesy and consideration of people’s feelings. We can talk honestly about problems in our society without using every derogatory word known to mankind. When PC prevents us from admitting to the problems, it is probably not a constructive response. I have other reasons (Christian) for not using all those defamatory words, etc.–and had those reasons long before Political Correctness was part of our vocabulary. You know, the biblical command, “Call no man a fool.” (or worse). Sorry–but Biblical Correctness is my response to Political Correctness.

  • EmergePeoria

    Yeah, and you never see stinky white people running around Walmart (Allen Road or East Peoria) in funky sweats, or their dirty pajamas using Link cards..

  • EmergePeoria

    That last statement was nasty. What I meant to say is the stereotype of the welfare queen has changed. The next time you are at WalMart (Allen Road or East Peoria), take a closer look, they are ubiquitous.

  • I was actually talking about a stinky white woman now that color has been brought into it. In fact, she looked like she hadn’t missed a meal but couldn’t find a bar of soap. I also know they are in Wal-Mart everywhere but at least at Wal-Mart in EP they don’t leave their cars in the fire lane and go shopping nor do they pan handle because the police ticket and arrest pan handlers in EP. Not the County at Madison Park. If a county cop was to ticket a fire lane parker it’s because he couldn’t park there to go in and get his Chinese food.

  • Sharon Crews

    Cool, Emtronics. I realize I am the only one to bring up race. I’m not sorry I did though because we have now established, for those who would think otherwise, that poverty, link cards, bad behavior, bad smells, etc., crosses all lines.

  • Really?

    EmergePeoria ABSOLUTELY CORRECT!!!!! Welfare kings & queens come in ALL colors!!!!!

  • checking for details.
    At last, Spain’s folly may have breathed it’s last, course the funding mechanism downtown tif has already been swaped out to pay for the latest thing, the warehouse district…..

  • checking for details.
    Crime in the 5th district (Charter Oak road area), the council will be hopping to get something done now.