Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Zero Degrees of Separation in Children's Museum Astroturf* Campaign

From a letter to the editor in Wednesday's Chicago Tribune (on-line edition only) from an unbiased observer setting the record straight on the Chicago Children's Museum controversy:
". . . we learned that the proposed site is not part of historic Grant Park . . . We learned that the proposal is not to build an additional building in the park, but merely to replace an existing structure . . . it seems that opposition to the proposal is being cultivated by misinforming the public . . . people should be sure they are being provided accurate information about the proposal before taking a position." - Howard Rosenburg.
From a May 6th press release, Chicago Investment Group Appoints Howard Rosenburg General Counsel and Chief Regulatory Officer:
"Mr. Rosenburg resides in Chicago with his two children, and his wife, who works for the Chicago Children's Museum."
Ah, yes, so sad how opponents to the museum's land grab are always misleading the public.

*Astroturf: manufacturing of the appearance of broad public support that doesn't really exist.


Anonymous said...

Lynn, that is terrific work. I have seen that before with some development issues in this city.

Somebody writes a letter to editor of a neighborhood paper in support of a development, and you find out its the mother of one of the contractors.

When Chicagoans by the hundreds wrote letters in support of Marshall Field's, a few letters appeared supporting Macy's. A couple of them turned out to persons in companies doing work for Macy's.

It's OK to have conflicts of interest in a letter to the editor. However, those conflicts should ALWAYS be disclosed. Failure of disclosure is the same as a lie, making the entire letter a misrepresentation.

Great work, Lynn!

Anonymous said...

Mr. Rosenburg continues to mislead the public even yet today. The fact is that today, the Daley Bicentennial Plaza is indeed a portion of the current Grant Park. All groups have NOT been heard. The name Grant is still on this park and Mr. Grant nor those that served under him as soldiers or their families have been heard. If you and others intend to take public land and place it in private control then you do not have our consent. It would not matter what the proposed transfer of public land to private hands. The idea is simply wrong. Also those at the presentation incorrectly indicated that the "cultural center' was now atop the old Dearborn Park. The "cultural center' was built as a memorial to the Grand Army of the Republic in it's North wing and a memorial to higher thinking and learning in it's south wing. These facts are due to highly symbolic values in architecture and history. The site of this building was a trade-off and built on the old Dearborn park because of the land freed up by the new spaces created via land fill closer to the lake. The new space was to be made a memorial to the veterans and leaders of the Civil War and thus named for it's leader Ulysses S. Grant Park.

Grant did not earn his name because of a continuation of greatness from years prior to the Civil War. However, he was distinguished as a fighter when he was a young Lieutenant in the Mexican American War. Just prior to the Civil War he was more notably a drunk and squanderer of family fortune. Mr. Grant earned his name through tenacity, battlefield intelligence, and the lives and deaths of many men.

If Rosenburg, Daley, and others choose to move public land into private names, the descendants of Civil War Veterans would prefer the removal of Grants name from the park and the removal of it's memorial nature. Can any of us imagine a children's museum being built in a memorial to other difficult times in history? Let's name a few: memorial to holocaust survivors, memorial to Katrina victims, memorial to the civil rights movement. All very inappropriate locations.

Finally, if a student of architecture, urban planning, or landscape architecture were to propose to a professor to locate and build a children's museum below grade on the exact same North South axis as a museum for dead things (Field Museum) built above ground one mile to the South, that student would certainly receive a failing grade. Rosenburg's arguments are as mind boggling as his unethical ability to perpetuate the garbage being fed to the public on this project.

Finally, all supporters of the placement of this private entity project in the public park will face another creation of Grant in the future. Mr. Grant as President created the U.S. Department of Justice. I'm certain the museum placement will not pass this test.

The real solution is to elect a Mayor that will stop selling public spaced to private entities. The city is not his private wallet with which to play.

Anonymous said...

Lynn's great research shows conflict of interest is alive and thriving downtown!
When historic Tree Studios finally came up for landmarking after something like 17 years on the docket, the Landmark Commission meeting which was suppose to begin at 9 am did not begin til after 1pm. At which point many participants had to abandon the proceedings and go to work. When then 42nd ward alderman Natarus finally took the floor though, he had a little surprise: A substitute ordinance. Instead of protecting the entirety of the Tree Studios, he and Shriner hired gun and zoning attorney Jack Guthman announced they would protect only 14 inches of the State Street facade of Tree Studios, leaving the Ohio and Ontario wings vulnerable to complete demolition. The vast majority of Landmark Commissioners immediately supported this surprise ordinance and went forth with the meeting. (Ald. Preckwinkle though did protest forcefully.)
The pro demolition group was able to hire people such as Will Hasbrouck to testify in favor of this substitute ordinance.
It was like an uber version of the tricks the vapid Children's Museum board is employing some ten years later.
Business as usual Chicago style.