Show Me the Money | Letters | Chicago Reader

Show Me the Money 

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I was intrigued with your recent article "Bring Back Our Boats" [The Works, July 15]. The article should have been titled "Show Me the Money." As an advisory member for my local park, a parent of a Park District day camper, a taxpayer, and, as they stated, a private citizen, I would like to know how my park and I could get the same deals as these gentlemen.

Imagine, as these gentlemen claim, collecting all the money from other private citizens for a program that park staff delivers. Using the money to take field trips and to buy and use this equipment without seeing if it is authorized for use by the district and then claim that it is the property of private citizens. Storing the equipment on park property free of charge and then claiming the Park District took their property. Not giving any of the money to the district to allow them to try and defray a portion of their costs.

As an advisory member for my local park I have to ask, are these gentlemen registered as both a parent association and advisory council as well as volunteers for this program, which requires being fingerprinted, especially given the fact that the program is for kids, as required by the district? As a taxpayer I have to ask, are other boat owners afforded the opportunity to dry-dock their boats in park buildings after the boating season free of charge? Are other associations and councils using park staff to deliver their programs without having to incur any of the liability while keeping all the money? As a parent of a day camper I have to ask, why were they allowed to use inner tubes while other campers as well as private citizens are prohibited from using them in park pools and beaches, according to district policy? Who deemed the equipment to be safe? Why is a portion of the money I pay for day camp used to help defray district costs? Did these gentlemen screen the bus company and their drivers for their field trips just like the district? If I were a parent of a child in their program I would be horrified.

Given this city's current scandals, I applaud the Park District for stepping in and taking over this program and righting this wrong on behalf of all taxpayers and private citizens of Chicago before something happened. It seems to me that the equipment and the money collected for this program belong to the Chicago Park District and that these gentlemen owe the Park District, and all private citizens and taxpayers of Chicago, an apology as well as lots of money.

Parent associations and advisory councils should advise, not dictate. With deals like this it's no wonder our taxes are increased.

Renee Cruz



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