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The [Tuesday] Papers

Mayor Daley wants to know who's afraid of a bunch of kids, as the Sun-Times approvingly puts it all over its front page today for a story about the Children's Museum's controversial proposed move to Grant Park.

I bet the answer is no one. Nobody is afraid of a bunch of kids. Except maybe the mayor. Remember when he insisted that movie theaters not be a part of a rebuilt Block 37? Guess why. And geez, just a few days ago he hinted at enforcing an earlier curfew in the city. So if anyone's afraid of kids, it's the mayor.

But fear of kids - and in particular, black kids - is not the point and the mayor knows it. So does the Sun-Times, though it saw the same opportunity as the mayor to exploit the fiction and friction to sell its product.

As Cate Plys points out in today's Open Letter, the mayor and the museum are spinning a desperate narrative full of holes.

The real controversy is about whether Grant Park should remain "forever open, clear and free" or available for development by the cloutiest bidders.

The mayor's injection of race into the debate is shameful, though not unprecedented. Not long ago, he accused proponents of the Big Box ordinance of bigotry. You know how racist those proponents of higher wages for low-skilled workers are.

Maybe - just maybe - he's finally gone too far.

Downtown Ald. Brendan Reilly called Daley's remarks "totally ridiculous" and "irresponsible," and a real City Council fight is brewing. An opponent of the Children's Museum move said - publicly - that she was "shocked" and "disgusted" by Daley's remarks.

Good for them.

That wasn't the only nonsense dispatched by the mayor, though.

"Maybe people would want to close the Lincoln Park Zoo," the mayor said sarcastically, according to the Tribune's account. "It's unbelievable. Maybe they want to close libraries, they want to close the parks down. They want to close the schools down. You have to understand, you were young once."

One word: What?

Things must really not be looking good for the Grant Park move. Bob O'Neill, president of the Grant Park Conservancy, said that "If the Children's Museum were to be chased out of that location, that sends a message to a lot of people, even around the world, that we are not welcoming people from all over to our front yard."

Folks from Australia to Zanzibar are hanging on where the Chicago Children's Museum will go!

Apparently there is no other location in the entire city available.

Even Rev. Michael Pfleger - who apparently is involved in this issue for some mysterious reason - is spinning as fast as he can.

"According to Pfleger, one woman asked him why the museum wasn't being built in a black neighborhood and another suggested it be moved to Foster Park at 83rd and Loomis," the Sun-Times reports.

"I said, 'Foster Park is in the black community. What are you trying to say?' Pfleger said in an interview. 'I said, That is a racial comment. Our conversation is over.'"

I wasn't there so I can't attest to the tone and intent of the discussion, but why not move the Children's Museum to a black neighborhood - one that needs development? Hell, move Millennium Park to Englewood. Give the South Side a little something, huh? Or, if we're going to violate 171 years of preserving the lakefront, move the museum to the south lakeshore.

Would the mayor object to that?

"Daley was asked about those who contend no new structures should be built on lakefront parkland.

"'We would never build Millennium Park then,' he replied."

If only.

Meanwhile, the whole thing is a nice distraction from the Tribune's revelations on Sunday about just how unsafe and dysfunctional the CTA has become under 18 years of Daley's rule.

After publishing a front-page editorial the other day demanding that the CTA be fixed, you'd think the Sun-Times would stick with the story.

But with kids and race to pimp, the Sun-Times saw the same opportunity as the mayor and took it.

Connect the Dots
A Beachwood reader notes:

* Chicago Children's Museum
Board of Directors
Gigi Pritzker Pucker

* Grant Park Conservancy
Board of Directors
Allen Turner, The Pritzker Organization

Manager Man
"I don't manage the CTA," Daley said the other day, according to a Tribune editorial today.

Other recent comments by Daley.

"I don't manage the kitchen," he said, after Maggie burned dinner.

"I don't manage the 4400 block of Kedzie," he said, after seeing an overturned garbage can there.

"I don't manage city contracts," he said, after every scandal uncovered.

"I don't manage the weather," he said, after Heat Wave exposed a mayor more interested in public relations than saving lives.

"I don't manage the schools - except when I do," he said, responding to mixed test scores.

"I don't manage the White Sox," he said, after their disastrous season. Well, I'll give him that.

Judge Dread
Every year two years, Sun-Times reporter Abdon Pallasch attends the slating session of the Cook County Democratic Party and files a report about how our judges are selected. Every year it is one of the most important stories that the local press publishes. And every year, Pallasch is right back at it because nothing changes.

Do we live in a tinpot Third World outpost of authoritarian rule?


Maybe the United States of America ought to invade.

"Paula Lingo starts off talking about her 30 years of legal experience working for International Harvester, the Illinois attorney general's office and as chief legal adviser to Cook County Recorder of Deeds Eugene Moore," Pallasch writes.

"Then she dishes out the raw meat committeemen eat up.

"'I have been very loyal to the Democratic Party," she says. "I have worked on many campaigns. I've . . . contributed to some of the campaigns.' Nodding to Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, she says, 'Mr. Madigan, let's see here, Mayors Daley and Washington, [Cook County] President John Stroger. I was President Stroger's special events coordinator twice on his campaigns.'"

I thought the Cold War was over and the Soviet Union was defeated. These are judgeships, people.

And yet, after a day of candidates pledging fealty to the Party in order to be named to our judiciary, Ald. Ed Burke, who, according to Pallasch, "runs the show," said "It was a hell of a lot easier in the old days when Mayor Richard J. Daley handed you a list."

Vladimir Putin is saying the same thing. I wonder what Burke's theory of democracy is.


Anne Burke was slated in her bid to return to the state Supreme Court. The state Supreme Court. Where deals are made.

Subprime Chicago
We're the worst.

"In 2006, the Chicago-Naperville-Joliet metropolitan statistical area, which includes Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, McHenry and Will counties, had more 'high-cost' mortgages than any other metropolitan area in the country, according to a Chicago Reporter analysis of first-lien, conventional home purchase, refinance and home improvement loans in 50 of the nation's largest housing markets. It marked the third year in a row that the Chicago metro area has claimed the nation's top spot for high-cost mortgages."

Face of Immigration
"Most Mexican migrants make their way to the U.S. illegally because, despite the difficulties of living 'in the shadows,' that's the only practical option available to them."
- Also at The Chicago Reporter

Must-See TV Preview
* Dramedy or Comerama? Don and Natasha fill you in.
* Our new national nightmares: The season in drama.
* Nerds & Cavemen. The season in comedy.

The Beachwood Tip Line: So easy even . . .


Posted on September 18, 2007

MUSIC - Who's Next In Chicago Rap.
TV - Tribune-Nexstar Deal Is Bad News.
POLITICS - Big Soda Hates You.
SPORTS - Harold vs. the Haters.

BOOKS - Wright Brothers, Wrong Story!

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Go Ahead, Eat Raw Cookie Dough!

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