Thursday, April 10, 2008

Grant Park to become Allstate Place - two superb takes on the CCM battle

On just one day, two superb takes on the Chicago Children's Museum battle:

Museum flap a fight for kids? Try adult clout contest - Greg Hinz, first at Lerner Newspapers and for years now at Crain's Chicago Business, has long been among the most knowledgeable and savvy observers of Chicago politics. The essence of the CCM battle is captured just in the headline of his story. He reveals in passing that Allstate is giving the museum $15 million of the $40 million raised so far towards the projects $100 million cost for "naming rights" to what would be the "Chicago Children’s Museum at Allstate Place." That's what Grant Park becomes: "Allstate Place" While acknowledging area residents may have a bit of NIMBY arrogance, Hinz concludes, "Sometimes, the folks who live in a neighborhood are right and the connected folks who want to change it are wrong. This is one of those times." Read the entire excellent piece here.

Save Grant Park. The second amazing take comes from a somewhat unexpected source. Andrew Patner is the long-time music and culture critic who now writes for the Sun-Times. He also does Critic's Choice commentaries for WFMT. Those commentaries are sometimes known to ramble and digress (yeah, I know, like I don't), Andrew's April 9th program , however, is a model of great, concise writing, which manages to get all the facts, plus a highly personal viewpoint, in just a few minutes of airtime.

He talks with admiration about the legendary Lois Wille as, "a woman who spoke her mind and spoke it with eloquence . . . [who] secured her place in history with a book that is very much of concern today," that book being Forever, Open, Clear and Free, her account of A. Montgomery Ward's decades-long battle to preserve Grant Park. Patner talks about Wille's April 8th Chicago Tribune op-ed, co-authored with former MacArthur Foundation head Adele Simmons, in support of CCM's constructing a new building in Grant Park, which shared a full page with an opposing op-ed by Peggy Figel, co-founder of the organization Save Grant Park.

Patner takes note of a Monday press conference at which Wille appeared for an organization called All Chicago Children's Museum Committee. "The problem," says Patner, "is that there's no such committee. It's an invention of Hill & Knowlton, the public relations firm that told us for decades that cigarette smoking was a great thing."

Patner concludes, "Lois Wille wrote a great book . . . the problem is Lois wrote the book, but Peggy Figiel and Save Grant Park are the people who seem to actually have read it."

You can hear all of this superbly written and argued broadcast here.
Explanations from Jack and Michael on how Greg and Andrew don't know what they're talking about and should both just get out of a place where they're not wanted and move to the suburbs, to follow.


Anonymous said...

Wow - 2 very compelling pieces!

Anonymous said...

I guess I am unclear as to why Allstate donating to the museum is newsworthy or important. They donate all over and museums all over accept corporate donations. What's the big deal?

Anonymous said...

To the above commenter, the donation by Allstate IS a big deal because of the negative impact this museum location will have on our lakefront.

In the other cases of Allstate's donations, I would guess that there is not most of city AGAINST the museum project.

This is only going to get worse for Allstate...and deservedly so.

Anonymous said...

Only a fool would start calling Grant Park "Allstate Place."