click images for larger viewSometimes the good guys actually win.
From 42nd ward alderman Brendan Reilly's latest newsletter, sent out Tuesday . . .
On Tuesday, April 24th the City Council unanimously approved the ordinance I sponsored to repeal the Chicago Children's Museum controversial development "rights" in Grant Park. Many Chicagoans remember the very public debate between then Mayor Richard M. Daley and me that started in 2007 regarding the legality of the City's decision to allow buildings and development rights in Grant Park . . .In 2008, only 16 alderman stood with Reilly in opposing the museum. In 2012, Reilly's repeal motion had 30 co-sponsors.
In the battle to keep the Chicago Children's Museum from building a new home in Grant Park, there were those behaving very badly, and those behaving very bravely.
Forever, Open Clear and Free by cramming a new 100,000-square foot building into what is now Daley Bi-Centennial Plaza. It was born in arrogance and went downhill from there, into the ugliest depths of raw power politics.
Daley and Pritzker conspired to smear anyone who dared oppose the museum's land grab as not only anti-child, but racists. They enlisted Father Michael Pfleger to bus in people to hijack a community meeting on the museum, keeping area residents in side hallways.
continually revising the design to try to peel off opponents.
They embarrassed cherished Chicago institutions such as the Art Institute, Lyric Opera, and IIT by fabricating their support for the museum in full page newspaper ads, refuted with quick, unambiguous denials.
And, lastly, they tarnished the long-standing and well-deserved reputation of the Pritzker family as benefactors of the city, as personified in the Pritzker Pavilion designed by Frank Gehry, right across Columbus drive from the Children's Museum site.
They lied, they cheated, they dragged their supporters through the mud - and they lost.
massive swell of opposition to the Museum building in Grant Park poisoned the well. What would normally be an automatic font of good will among the general public - charitable contributions - became toxic, as likely to generate scorn as praise.
And that was due to those who behaved very bravely, who persisted in the face of mayoral rants, who kept fighting against misdirections, deceptions and slanders. This list is only partial: Brendan Reilly, Richard F. Ward, Blair Kamin, the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, Crain's Chicago Business, Greg Hinz, Friends of Daley-Bi, Near East Association of Residents, Peggy Figel, Andrew Patner, Mark Konkol. There was so many others.
There must be many good places in the city where the museum could locate and be an asset to its neighbors with far less immediate and longt-term problems. A nice spot on public trasportation with good access for buses, etc. A place where it doesn't have to compete for attention. With outdoor space for museum-related activities. An already-overstuffed park isn't one of them.
In 2008, only 16 alderman stood with Reilly in opposing the museum. In 2012, Reilly's repeal motion had 30 co-sponsors.
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