Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Reilly opposes Museum, risks ruin. Daley diverts discussion and grabs headlines with the Big Lie

42nd ward Brendan Reilly this morning announced his opposition to the move of the Chicago Children's Museum to Grant Park. Crain's Chicago Business quoted his statement:

"There is only one Grant Park and it should remain forever open, clear and free for future generations, from every corner of Chicago, to enjoy for many years to come,. . . I believe that supporting the Children’s Museum proposal to build on Grant Park would set a dangerous precedent that would open the floodgates for other entities to lobby for their own locations on Grant Park."

Now we get to watch as Mayor Richard M. Daley works to destroy him. Daley has already said he will work to suspend the long tradition of an aldermanic veto over proposed projects in his or her ward in order to ram the museum through the City Council.

Because Chicago media allows him to get away with it, the Mayor is again turning to his weapon of choice - charging opponents with racism, with St. Sabina's Father Michael Pfleger gleefully abetting the slander.

The mayor is a seasoned expert at diverting attention from the merits of the issue - whether it be the museum proposal, Wal-Mart expansion, or the pandemic corruption within his administration - by making sensational, headline-grabbing accusations against his opponents. It works.

It doesn't matter that the accusations are without foundation. The Sun-Times quotes Pfleger as encountering a museum opponent who asked him why the museum wasn't being moved to a black park on the south side. "I said, 'That is a racial comment. Our conversation is over. Please walk away from me.' Was Pfleger the least bit curious as to whether that person was representative of the people opposing the museum? Of course not. He got what he wanted and moved on.

I've attended - and made recordings - of several of the Grant Park Advisory Council's public meetings on the museum debate and I challenge anyone to find any statement made by anyone that can be considered racist. Blair Kamin has expressed concerns about the museum. Is he a racist? Am I?

Both the Mayor and the Pfleger have been to Millennium Park, and they've both seen children of all races and nationalities playing together in Crown Fountain. Yet they persist in pushing the big lie, because, as masters of gutter politics, they know how effective it can be.

In taking his courageous stand, Brendan Reilly has crossed the Rubicon. If the story of A. Montgomery Ward is any guide, the battle will only get uglier, and the alderman stands to become a very lonely man. Daley will be looking for Reilly's head to be brought to him in a basket (to mix Roman metaphors), and if the past is any indication, there's already a fierce battle underway among his courtiers to be the ones to do it.

6 comments:

mmh, aia said...

Racism is not the reason... It is unfortunate that Daley is throwing out the race card, but he isn't far off! The local residents are not happy that their little island of condo buildings has finally become part of the rest of Chicago “The NEW East Loop!”. Their underused park adjacent to the former independent cluster of high rises is being transformed into a usable facility that outsiders and strangers will actually want to visit and utilize.
I don't believe that the local residents are being racist; they don't want ANYONE to get any closer to their homes...and THEIR park. That is what I feel is the problem developing with Bicentennial Park.

“NOT IN MY BACKYARD” debates are typically reserved for incinerators and strip clubs, not a Children’s’ Museum?!?

What will Bicentennial Park look like in 10 years? The eventual major renovation of Bicentennial Park will occur within the next 10 years and everything existing there will be erased, including ALL of the landscaping, shrubbery & trees. Can the Park District be saved the cost of rebuilding and utilize the saved funds for other locations throughout Chicago? Can local residents come from behind Montgomery Ward’s pulpit and see that the existing facility is no longer viable to the city’s needs? What will become of the location that is considered by most the “Nowhere” after traveling over the “Snake Bridge”? Is there any thought that Brendan Reilly realizes that Daley will be leaving office soon and he is just pleasing his voters. The generalizations and accusations are growing stronger and meaner… and there is one thing does not seem to be discussed, the logical progression of Chicago’s Lakefront into an active public area with attractions that extend from the Museum Campus, through Grant Park, to Navy Pier and Michigan Avenue.

Lynn Becker said...

Dear prolific mmh:

don't you have a day job?

NIMBY has become a club that developers use against anyone who would dare question their royal schemes. That doesn't make them any more valid.

What CCM is proposing, apparently with the full weight of the Pritzkers behind them, is a bribe. Look the other way about open space and building a honking set of skylights and structures in the park, and we'll kick in some new landscaping.

I wrote about the nowhere at the end of the Gehry bridge at the time Millennium Park opened four years ago, and talked about what was needed - a crossing to the lake, a promenade to Buckingham Fountain, etc. That's worth discussing. A private institution's clout-fueled land grab, and the smear campaign it's launching against anyone who dares question it, is a diversion away from those real issues.

"Daley will be leaving office soon"? Ever hear about the 2016 Olympics? Daley expects to be there to cut the ribbon. He wants to destroy the Ward precedents because, as Bob O'Neill already noted in an interview yesterday, he thinks Grant Park would be a wonderful place for all kinds of Olympics-related construction.

Anonymous said...

You could at least learn to spell the man's name.

It is Father Phleger.

Lynn Becker said...

Noted and corrected. (Will correct originally web article soon). Thanks.

Lynn Becker said...

P.S. I feel slight less embarrassed knowing you didn't get the spelling of his name right, either

Anonymous said...

Father phlegar and mayor daley are flat out liars. Pawns in the game of the rich. Shame on them