Moms vs. Mayor: Children's Museum Controversy

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Nobody likes to be called a racist, especially a racist.

So when Mayor Daley first suggested — and Ol' Gigi Pritzker seconded the notion — museum opponents living in New East Side high-rises objected because they're elitist bigots there were plenty of folks who figured it was true, and the mayor had the guts to say it.
But the more we consider the demographics of the neighborhood and the average museum patron (white six-year-olds accompanied by a parent), the more crying Richie and Gigi's racism claims seem ridiculous.


Enough's been said by editorial boards and all-around critics. What's your take on the issue?

Let your voice be heard here.

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3 Comments

Dickie might have been a little off-base in his claims. However, a story in your own paper suggested otherwise, with quotes from the CTA's Carole Brown and other attendees of a meeting with wonderboy Brendan Reilly. But it's funny that these women come out and say that Daley is a racist because he's from Bridgeport and because of their flight from the South Loop is ridiculous. Also discounting their claims is the fact that they mention members of his detail sleeping outside of his home at 13th and Indiana. Explain to me the relevance of such a statement?

Mark, this is that this is probably the best reporting I've seen on this issue so far.

Mayor Pritzker has made a major miscalculation that is siphoning away public support for the museum in general, and will cause permanent political damage to the Mayor if he doesn't apologize to downtown residents, claiming he was "badly mis-informed", and suggest that maybe putting the museum somewhere besides Grant Park probably is a good idea after all.

The longer this drags on, the better Alderman Reilly looks in his ward, and the worse Mayor Pritzker and the Children's Museum look across the city.

And I'm not just talking about for the next two to three months, either.

Even if the City Council approves the project, SOMEONE will file a lawsuit to block construction based on the FOUR previous Illinois Supreme Court decisions protecting Grant Park, and perhaps some federal angles as well. Given Mayor Pritzker's ego and the local residents' anger, one side or the other will push this case all the way to the Supreme Court. The case may not be decided until 2010-2011.

Does Mayor Pritzker want to suffer three more years of bad ink? The Children's Museum and Mayor Pritzker MIGHT want to get some professional advice from someone besides whichever idiots suggested this race-baiting approach in the first place.

Personally, I don't see why the Children's Museum has to move from Navy Pier to Bicentennial Park. Although I've never been to the Children's Museum, I can't imagine that it requires much more space and/or amenities than it already has at Navy Pier. Is the museum really that much of an attraction? Is it nothing more than a glorified indoor playground? Do they want to move because of the parking situation at Navy Pier? I don't know. What I do know is that I find Mayor Daley's stand perplexing and hypocritical. Isn't he the one that is pro-open spaces and pro-ecofriendly? It would seem that building a museum on such a great open space like Bicentennial Park would be the exact wrong way to preserve what little open space Chicago has left.

But I wouldn't be surprised if one day we all woke up to find a bunch of large X's torn into the ground at Bicentennial Park. Don't laugh...it worked for Daley once already.

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Mark Konkol

Mark Konkol covers city neighborhoods for the Chicago Sun-Times. You can e-mail him or call (312) 321-2146.

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This page contains a single entry by Mark Konkol published on September 20, 2007 6:17 PM.

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