Don't be told what you want; don't be told what you need | Bleader

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Don't be told what you want; don't be told what you need

Posted By on 05.15.08 at 12:46 PM

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Does it really matter to you whether the Chicago Children's Museum will have enough natural light? If it's close to the "L"? Whether there's one more obstruction in a lightly used portion of a cluttered north end of Grant Park?

It doesn't to me.

But what does matter to me—and what must account for the vehemence and volume of the opposition from so many quarters—is how Daley-backed plans have proceeded, again, with so little regard for the public's wishes.

The mayor bulldozed Meigs Field without asking us. Made Soldier Field look like a spaceship from the outside without considering our input. Surrounded our neighborhood parks with wrought-iron fences and filled our medians with gargantuan flower pots without inquiring if that's what we wanted. And on and on.

Objections were futile. But here, somehow, seems to be a critical mass of forces capable of shattering the invincibility of mayoral whim.

--Eric Zorn

But if not quite a dead horse, the argument against defiling a sacred vista is too lame to make it around the track against the opposition of not only the mayor and the Children’s Museum’s other powerful allies but even Lois Wille, Grant Park’s biographer and the Tribune’s former editorial boss. What ultimately undoes the museum’s claim on Grant Park is its failure to look anywhere else, and Bruce Dold, who now holds Wille’s old job, decided early on that the Tribune would have to propose alternatives.

--Michael Miner

Sometimes I think the Children's Museum fracas has less to do with kids or Grant Park or architecture or free and clear etc. and has a lot to do with the powers that almost are but aren't having lost a lot of pissing matches to the powers that be. And I'm okay with that. There are obviously bigger problems, but you might as well throw down against a weak hand for a small victory.

--me

I think the key here is what Zorn mentions offhandedly--"here, somehow" (emphasis mine). Now, it doesn't seem to make any sense that a "lame horse" defense of a not-beloved part of Grant Park vs. the heretofore unremarkable Chicago Children's Museum (I'd never heard anyone say anything about it until this mess) would hold any promise as a wrench in the gears of the Daley Quality of Life Tyranny. Even the specious concert-promoter bill is a bigger and more important fight. This is, on the surface, kind of dumb on both sides.

And that's why it's so important. That's the "somehow." Unlike foie gras, unlike concert promotion, and don't even get me started on TIFs, all the supposed merits on each side of the argument are so transparent that the only tangible goal, for the Machine and its discontents, is the dark beating heart of the city: Clout.

And we, the discontents, we have charts.

PS:

The losers prolong their agony as much as possible, because they're convinced the alternative is worse. Meanwhile the winners, who might earlier have accepted a compromise peace, become so maddened by the refusal of their enemies to stop fighting that they see no reason to settle for anything less than absolute victory.

--Lee Sandlin, "Losing the War"  

P.P.S.: 

I vote for the Trib's Doctors Hospital suggestion. It's pretty, it's next to a park and the MSI, it's near underserved neighborhoods and an institution of higher education, and the damn thing has been boarded up since I moved here.

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