Viewpoint from Ben Joravsky of the Chicago Reader
As I told Matt Marino after the July 22 Loyola budget meeting – I’ve been attending Park Advisory Council meetings for about 5 ½ years in rain, sleet, snow, and sweltering heat. I’ve chronicled the myriad excuses, ground breakings, first earth mover landing in the park to the final building. I did not spend those volunteer hours of my life attending meetings to turn a public building over to a private entity.
This one is definitely political – on Joe’s part. I’m not sure what the real reason is but there is more to this lobby than is being disclosed. Perhaps it’s the connection to the powerful, highly paid CEO’s who ask their boards to make huge donations to the enterprise. Then there's the political financial strings to all those involved with promoting the BGC of America. We won't mention a possible conflict of interest within the park commission, the BGC and the whole secretive mess. But it’s much more than this mantra of ‘It’s For The Children’. If that were the case, then Moore would have voted YES to the Children’s Museum being built in Grant Park! He wouldn’t have stood there repeating “Why Here?” in Council Chambers on June 11, 2008.
With Mayor Daley finally admitting Chicago is facing big budget shortfalls can anyone, in all honesty, say taxpayers can afford to donate $100K or more annually to a private entity in a public building? Can anyone say that we voted to make this annual donation? I just don’t recall seeing such a referendum on the ballots or in the city council resolutions either.
That’s pretty much the bottom line - apparently our parks are for sale at the taxpayers expense.