Phil Harris, former Chairman of the board, Chicago Children's MuseumAs the Poll Turns - Reponses turn heavily against the CCM
Bob O'Neill, a staff member paid a healthy salary to lobby for the views of the Grant Park Conservancy, whose Board of Directors is short on "unsung heroes" and heavy on clout-heavy big corporations, law firms and institutions like Cushman and Wakefield, drugmaker Glaxo Smith Kline, Jones Lang LaSalle, The Pritzker Organization, Baker & McKenzie and the Fogelson Companies.
Rev. Michael Pfleger, a once independent populist firebrand who has grown increasingly close to the Daley administration as the mayor has become a passionate advocate for causes, such as gun control and immigrants' rights, for which Pfleger has been a historic champion. Pfleger recently slammed the swiftboating of Rev. Jeremiah Wright in which a few of Wright's more radical statements were lifted from his sermons and put into rotation play on You Tube, but Pfleger has had no problem with taking what still appears to be a single encounter with an individual who made racist comments at a community meeting on the CCM, and inflating it into repeated allegations of racism against the whole of the opposition movement to CCM building in Grant Park.
Lois Wille, obviously CCM's big trump card. The author of the landmark book Forever Open, Clear and Free, which chronicles the decades long efforts of A. Montgomery Ward, against a coalition very similar to that behind the CCM, to enforce historic agreements that Grant Park be kept free of buildings, Wille has come out in support of the museum. On one level, this is a major coup for the CCM, but on another level, as much as I admire Lois Wille, there's still a larger question: If A. Montgomery Ward were alive today (and still in possession of his faculties even at age 164), which side do you think he would be on?
An interesting thing happened in the Chicago Tribune's unscientific poll of its readers on their position on CCM moving to Grant Park. The poll first went up with a story on the museum's intention to file permits on Friday, and for the day the story remained current on the Trib's website, voting was running a consistent 74% or so opposed. Then, slowly the division evened out to a 50/50 split on Saturday, and by Monday morning, the last 400 or so votes cast were actually running 80% in favor of the Museum. Clearly, at this point, the poll had disappeared from access for all except those who were specifically seeking it out, and what we were seeing was no longer the response of the general public, but a reflection of the competing efforts of Museum supporters and opponents. At this point, the machine's long effectiveness in getting out the vote was showing results.
However, just as I was about to write about the opponents to the CCM's move to Grant Park showing the traditional failing of reformers of not knowing how to run their pluses, a radical change took place. The poll is again on an active web page - the Trib's report on this morning's press conference - and in the 12 hours from 7:40 a.m this morning, to 7:56 this evening, a whopping 2962 new votes were cast, the most intense period of voting since the poll began. These new votes ran 83% opposed to the CCM. Across all 7167 votes cast to 8 P.M. Monday evening, 5060, or 71% are saying "No" to the Children's Museum's land grab. Either the Museum's opponents suddenly became superstars in working their precincts, or the Children's Museum dog and pony show this morning is having an effect exactly opposite from what its strategists intended.
As the City Council Turns.
It's being reported that the Museum's incursion will be coming up for consideration in the Chicago City Council on Wednesday. Previous reports had the Daley administration boasting it had the votes to override the opposition of Grant Park's alderman, the 42nd ward's Brendan Reilly. Today, however, a report by WGN's Bob Jordan indicated that a number of alderman are expressing reluctance to dismember their own power by handing the Daley administration a precedent for eviscerating what has historically been a bedrock component of aldermanic power: the right of veto over projects in their own wards.