June 26, 2008

Moore Dropped the Ball on Gale Park

Toni wrote, "[Moore] has lost his momentum in buckin' da boss Daley ... "

The dominant explanation for the debacle surrounding the delayed opening of the now-completed Gale Park Community Center is political pay-back to allies, and of course that is part of the story.

But another aspect is simple, unadulterated incompetence of the kind we are all too familiar with from Moore's 17 year reign.

Referring to the facts as reported in the excellent Chicago Journal News-Star article, Gale may get Boys and Girls Club, after a decade of advocacy, the Gale Park site was fenced off in the fall of 2006, almost two years ago. At that point even a dullard like Moore most have thought, holy shit, this thing is finally happening, we need an OPERATING budget, including staffing. Moore admitted to not starting to work on the issue of staffing until April, 2008!

That Moore is sufficiently incompetent to leave details such as operating dollars and staffing to the absolute last minute is evidenced by the fact that he did not get $800,000 in CONSTRUCTION funding approved UNTIL TWO WEEKS AGO!

Transfer of funds from the Howard/Paulina TIF district for Gale School Park

This funding was approved by the Finance committee at 9:15 AM on Wednesday morning June 11, 2008 and approved by the full City Council at a 10 AM meeting a little later that day. Way to keep your eyes on the prize, Joe!

You may recall certain other events at recent City Council meetings, like the immediately previous meeting, four weeks earlier, which garnered some juicy press coverage for our guy Joe. But not about the culmination of a decade-long crusade to bring much-needed City services to an under-served neighborhood in his ward. Oh, no.

While our neighbors north of Howard tirelessly advocated for resources, Moore was picking bizarre fights with Mayor Daley in his ruthless pursuit for cheap publicity. Moore decided feeding his insatiable appetite for press was more important than staffing a field house in his ward. Moore engaged Daley in a shouting match on the floor of the City Council when he should have been lobbying for operating funding for a new Park District facility. Understand Tim Mitchell, appointed by Daley as the current Superintendent of the Chicago Park District, is a former deputy chief of staff to Daley. Sure, Daley can be vindictive, and Aldermen need to be able to stand up to the Mayor, but over organ meats? Tragically, Moore squandered his scarce political capital on issues completely unrelated to the job he was elected to do, and once again it's his constituents who pay.

Finding himself completely incapable of securing anything from his own home town because of his self-serving histrionics, Moore was faced with the very real prospect of a shining new field house with a padlock on the door as a monument to his incompetence. Moore turned to his north side mafia of faux progressives to bail his ass out.

Moore & Steans bringing in a private organization to run the "community" center is not so much what's best for the community as it is jumping through hoops to cover up Joe Moore's complete ineffectiveness as an alderman.

If and when Moore deigns to appear in public and take questions on this seamy process, we need to ask:
  • Does the Gale Park Community Center have operating funding in the Park District budget?
  • If so, what year's budget was this included in, that we may look it up? What is the funding level? What is the head count for north of Howard parks? Will there be ANY full-time Chicago Park District employees on site in the Gale Park field house? Who will unlock the doors and who will lock up?
  • If not, why not?


mcl said...

The establishment of, the sponsoring of, and the 'running' of a community meeting regarding the Gale Community Center should be done by the North of Howard Parks Advisory Council, not the Alderman! The Alderman should be a 'key' presenter at the meeting (to answer, among other things, the kinds of questions raised in this post) but he should in no way run the forum!

mcl said...

Alderman Moore was very outspoken in his opposition to the Mayor turning over a portion of Park District property (Grant Park)to a private, non-profit organization (The Children's Museum) yet when it comes to basically the same thing (turning control/ownership of public Park District property, the Gale Community Center, to a private, non-profit group, the Boys & Girls Club) in his Ward, he's on the other side of the issue, HE'S FOR IT WITHOUT GIVING THE COMMUNITY A VOICE! Unbelievable

Hugh said...

mention of securing $800K for construction of a new field house was conspicuously absent from Moore's useless City Council update self-promo e-mail

Toni said...

Meanwhile, the person who interviewed and got the job to be the buildings supervisor has been bouncing from one park to another. Had this been properly planned and approved, this person would never have left the supervisory position to come here and bounce.

A neighbor was also hired to do programming at the building but that person is bouncing from one park to another.

The Park District had things in motion until you know who needed an add-on to the resume. Actually, two people needed to update their resumes. It wasn't Eva or Sr. Cecilia or me.