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The [Thursday] Papers

The mayor's announcement yesterday that the Chicago Children's Museum will move from its Navy Pier location to the corner of Monroe and Columbus is played rather sedately in the papers today compared to the sparks the plan has ignited among lakefront park advocates and other civic-minded urban observers, as evidenced on Chicago Tonight last night.

The protestations of Grant Park Advisory Council President Bob O'Neill received much stronger airing on CT's panel than what was represented on newsprint. And prominent local architect and WBEZ-FM contributor Edward Keegan (as identified from the WTTW website; I missed the introductions) downright blasted the mayor for his typical piecemeal, sloppy, contradictory approach to public planning that belies the media image of a manager with great vision when lack of vision has been a hallmark of his administration.

"We cannot plan [the new museum] the way we planned Millennium Park," Keegan roughly said (as best as I scrambled to get down his remarks). "Millennium Park was a happy confluence of events. If we let it fall together the way some things we're hearing about, then we have the potential for great trouble."

More to the point, Keegan asked, "Where is the plan?"

Daley is being typically obtuse.

"[Daley] said the move would put the children's museum within walking distance of other downtown attractions, such as Millennium Park and the Shedd Aquarium," the Tribune's Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah reports.

Which might make sense, though it seems like kind of a hike to the aquarium to me. On the other hand, the children's museum's current location at Navy Pier only puts it in the center of the state's top tourist attraction. So, you know, either way.

"The architect chosen for the new museum said that no designs or details have been drawn," Ahmed-Ullah notes, in a story that, as you would expect, properly shows more skepticism than the Sun-Times's bored little kiss on the cheek.

An early cost estimate puts the project's price tag at $40 million. We all know where that's heading.

It's not clear what's really behind the move, but here's a clue inadvertently buried in the Sun-Times's "report": "The draw of 500,000 museum visitors annually could also help Millennium Park's parking garage, which hasn't generated enough revenue to cover debt payments."

In other words, the mayor is still trying to figure out how to pay for Millennium Park, his gift to the universe. I suppose turning the whole park into a parking garage is out of the question.

The Vision Thing
The Tribune's Eric Zorn is also knocking Daley's lack of vision, in this case regarding the Olympics and Soldier Field. Zorn also links to a blog post by Barnaby Dinges, the former public relations chief of the Soldier Field construction project, in which Dinges blasts the mayor's proposal for an Olympic Village along the lakefront.

The truth is, this mayor isn't good with the vision thing. Millennium Park was a disaster barely rescued by business leaders to save the mayor from major embarrassment. The mayor's Block 37 plans came and went for years before ground was broke by an outfit more troubled than the Tribune Company. Gajillions of dollars were poured into straining Midway and O'Hare airports beyond their limits while the mayor pulled his support for a third airport off the table, and then destroyed Meigs Field in a fit of pique. He once proposed a billion-dollar downtown casino complex, turned against casinos, and now wants a casino. Lake Shore Drive has been moved at least twice in his tenure. Vision is not this mayor's strong suit, despite what you may have heard.

We're Number One
Daley, hailing the business community: "We're unique. No other city does it like we do."

Does what, cheat?

The irony is that every city says that. We couldn't be any less unique.

Big Hands
Apparently Allstate has bought naming rights for the children's museum. Because no other city does it like we do. And it's never too soon to preach the importance of a comprehensive fire/safety policy to eight-year-olds.

Mocha Mania
Starbucks has vision - for 250 more stores in Chicago. A Beachwood Reporter analysis has determined just where they'll go.

Bronze Medal
"As Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco pull the veils from their proposals to host the 2016 Summer Games, one thing is becoming crystal clear: Of the three, Chicago is facing the highest hurdles at this time," the Tribune reports on page 1 today.

Cop Shop
Also on the Tribune's front page: "State To Drop Cases Tied To Suspect Cops: 110 Arrests Linked to 9 Officers in Robber Probe."

I also missed linking to this excellent piece of police reporting several weeks ago and I've been trying to figure out how to catch up ever since:

Over at The Bright One, a profile of Wal-Mart's general contractor. I'm not even going to provide a link, just on principle.

Vision Quest
"After warning for months that it was behind schedule, the Chicago Housing Authority is projecting that its $1.6 billion effort to remak public housing will not be completed until 2015," the Tribune reports.

"By 2010 - the original target date for the Plan for Transformation - fewer than half of the 7,500 public housing units to be built in new mixed-income developments throughout the city will be finished."

To put it another way, the mayor's vaunted remake of public housing is five years behind schedule.

With school improvement flat-lining, I wonder if the mayor's political advisors are re-considering a re-election platform built on the mayor taking charge of public schools and housing. Maybe that explains the all-out race baiting.

Daley Dose I
The mayor responding to questions about funding the city's Olympic bid: "We don't have answers that quick. I know you [reporters] have 'em all."

Thankfully, reporters then asked the mayor if he thought it was inappropriate for them to ask how a Chicago Olympics would be funded, and if he had a better idea for how they should do their jobs.

Oh wait, that second part didn't happen.

Daley Gras
"We can outlaw every ethnic food in the world right now. Children are more important. Let's put our priorities" in order. Or something.

Michael Cooke is back.

Stage Fright
"There's probably only one woman who can upstage the governor - and get him to laugh about it," the Sun-Times "reports" this morning.

Only one woman? The governor of Illinois?

There's only one woman who can't upstage the governor, and unfortunately her name is Judy Baar Topinka.

Jimbo's Jumble
This is the story that should've been on front page.

The Beachwood Tip Line: Do it for the children.


Posted on September 28, 2006

MUSIC - A Plan To Pay Musicians.
TV - Jonathan Pie: Back To School.
POLITICS - 5 Things An Angry Old White Man Wants To Say.
SPORTS - Triple Crown Tomato.

BOOKS - How The Post Office United America.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Premature Ejaculation Market Exploding Quickly.

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