Monday, November 12, 2007

"Latin field moves forward"

The pivotal problem here is revealed in Vi's comment that I read on p. 1 of the Skyline of Nov. 9 ("Latin field moves forward"), regarding the "controlled meeting" of Nov. 6:

"This was a productive meeting and was more reflective of the communication and community process that should have been made at the front end of this project, not after it was approved by the Park District," said Alderman Daley. "I believe this is something we can work on to make sure the improvements to this area are amenities to Lincoln Park and the whole Lincoln Park community, not a private field."

This is so typical of the two-step "done deal" approach to development in this area: (1) get something approved behind closed doors; (2) if the "public process" shit hits the fan, do a little post-hoc damage control by holding a couple of community meetings, but be sure to address only small change, not the premise itself. It makes me so very frustrated that this is so institutionalized in this city. I've seen it done over the years with taxes, developments, technology initiatives, and other plans in precisely the same way in numerous wards.

The problem is always that the PREMISE is not addressed: the question upon the table should and must be, "SHOULD LATIN SCHOOL BE PERMITTED TO BUILD A SOCCER FIELD ON PUBLIC LAND?"

This premise was never presented to the public. Therefore, no discussions of drinking fountains and time concessions should be entertained. In fact, it is dangerous to do so. All it does is it makes it look as though we're buying in, capitulating to the premise.

I don't care if they've broken ground already. I don't care if contracts were already signed. Without going back to the premise, you have something very, very wrong.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're missing the point that the Nov 6 meeting wasn't a "community meeting" but pseudo-secret meeting with hand-picked members of Vi-preferred community groups. This is classic Vi Daley tactics. When the larger community meeting took place on Sept 17 (the one that actually involved the community) didn’t go the way Vi wanted it to go she just works with a few friendly, more cooperative people behind the scenes. In a couple weeks she’ll victoriously announce that a compromise has been reached while she ignores everyone else in the neighborhood.

11:52 PM  
Blogger Tom Tresser said...

No - this is a bad deal for the people of Chicago. This is a disturbing development in the trend to privatize public assets and favor the wealthy. The park is NOT a private piece of property that any agency can barter away to private groups. I know there are a huge number of private concessions running throughout the park system - but this seems to be qualitatively different. It's bad process and bad policy.

2:37 PM  
Blogger Peter Zelchenko said...

You're right, Tom. People interested in this issue should join or support the Committee to Keep Lincoln Park Public.

3:59 AM  

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