The [Wednesday] Papers
Donald Jacobsen lives at 400 East Randolph - in close proximity to the Grant Park location now being debated as a possible future home of the Chicago Children's Museum.
"Daley again went unhinged," the Tribune editorial page says this morning, describing the mayor's latest hideous display as a "bizarre eruption" and "a foolish and irresponsible rant." (Eric Zorn has a partial transcript here.)
That gives the mayor too much credit; makes it sound like this is an unusual departure from Daley's typically reasonable and civil manner.
Just get into town?
The "M" in Richard M. Daley stands for mendacious, and the Daley stands for disingenuous.
Daley's outrage this week would be impressive, commendable and appropriate if it came in response, say, to learning that the Chicago Police Department tortured black men for years, or upon learning that the whole of his administration's hiring practices was a massive fraud. Or . . . well, you name it, there's a long list to choose from.
But his outrage over opposition to moving the Children's Museum to Grant Park - where buildings have not been allowed for 171 years - is as manufactured and despicable as it gets. To suggest that downtown Ald. Brendan Reilly and his constituents are racists who hate children is as big a bunch of malarkey as has ever come out of his mouth. And he knows it.
"Misstating his name, Daley declared, 'Ald. Brendan O'Reilly - and I quote - said 'Grant Park is not a kids' park' . . . Parks are not for kids? He says [Grant Park] is a people's park, and kids are not invited. I think everybody should be outraged that the people think the children can't go to a museum to be educated," the Tribune recounts.
"Informed of Daley's heated comments, [Reilly] said that 'obviously somebody misquoted me' - a point ultimately confirmed by Daley's office."
On Chicago Tonight last night, Reilly said "I've never made any of the comments that were referenced in [Daley's] speech."
Of course he didn't. Daley made it up.
I have a suggestion, though. Perhaps the museum should go there and be renamed Daley's Children Museum, seeing as how the mayor so often acts like a child.
"What's the compromise?" the mayor said. "We will change it to an adults' museum. How's that?"
The mayor needs a time out while the adults sort this through.
The truth is that the Children's Museum plan looks pretty cool, and maybe it would work. But development proposals for Grant Park have come and gone by the dozens. Unless the mayor wants to actually make the museum proposal part of a new plan for the lakefront that could be discussed through proper democratic governmental channels, this deal smells funny - and no one has told us why an exception should be made now.
It's not as if there are no other locations available in the city. Reilly, for one, suggests Northerly Island or the Museum Campus.
But that's not a discussion Daley - or his minions - are willing to have. Instead, they want to play children's games.
"Carole Brown, the chairwoman of the Chicago Transit Authority" - and we all know how well that works - "and a member of the museum board, said she attended a meeting this month where she heard a woman ask why the museum wasn't put in a South Side park, while another opponent held a sign that said it 'is not fair to bus in strangers' and a third 'asked me if the children who came to the museum were going to play on the playground there."
First, I'm wondering why they don't move this to the South Side too; hell, if they built Millennium Park in Englewood maybe we'd all be better off instead of the rich getting richer.
Second, even if some yahoos did voice racist sentiments, that has nothing to do with the issue at hand, which is whether to build in Grant Park.
Third, it's not as if only white people live near Grant Park.
"If the mayor had come [to any of the community meetings], he'd have seen just how diverse these buildings are," Reilly says.
Hey, the mayor don't need no stinkin' community meetings!
(The Sun-Times reports that the mayor's nephew, Patrick Thompson, represented the museum at those meetings.)
Daley did call on the business community, however, to publicly identify the opposition and . . . harm them somehow.
"If you lose this one, you lose the strength of our city looking out for poor children," the mayor shouted. "I've never seen anything like it in my term in office."
He's seen police torture and mobbed-up city contracts and hiring fraud and the midnight destruction of an airport and a heat wave that killed 700 people in part due to the city's crappy response and a CTA that has become life-threatening but he's never seen anything like not allowing the children's museum to break 171 years of precedent by building in Grant Park.
No. This is who Richard M. Daley is. Par for the course.
Therefore, it's not Kruesi's fault.
Besides, the CTA isn't all that different from Tribune Company, the mayor says.
"Asked by a Tribune reporter Tuesday if Kruesi should have known about the conditions, Daley replied by asking if the Tribune Co.'s board of directors should have anticipated the financial problems that followed the company's purchase of the media group Times Mirror in 2000.
"You have a lot of employees," Daley said. "Look at your papers, what you are going through now. Should your former board of directors have known?"
So, like the CTA, the buck doesn't stop here.
And, as always, The Papers archives are here.
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Posted on September 19, 2007
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