Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Bastard of the Day

When I first read Mayor Daley's outburst regarding the proposal to befoul Grant Park with the Chicago Children's Museum, I was furious. In general, I have supported him despite his occasional missteps, but this was too much. I decided to sleep on it, hoping he would apologize for this latest embarrassing verbal gaffe. Instead, he reiterated his position. Here's what the bastard said on Monday:
You mean you don't want children from the city in Grant Park? Why? Are they black? Are they white? Are they Hispanic? Are they poor? You don't want children? We have children in Grant Park all the time. This is a park for the entire city. What do you mean no one wants children down there? Why not? Wouldn't you want children down there?
This is the most inanely misdirected rant I've ever read. Of course, there are children in Grant Park, children of all colors and classes. And that has nothing to do with whether to build a museum there. Grant Park is supposed to be protected as "Public Ground -- A Common to Remain Forever Open, Clear and Free of any Buildings, or other Obstruction Whatever." Some supporters of the Chicago Children's Museum are claiming that this law does not exactly apply, but those arguments clearly go against the spirit of the law if not the letter. Alderman Brendan Reilly, who sadly lacks the clout of his predecessor, Burton Natarus, has held nine public meetings about this. He says race was never an issue in any of those meetings, meetings that Daley couldn't be bothered to attend.

There are other ideal locations for the museum. What about -- duh -- the Museum Campus? That would elevate the Chicago Children's Museum's status immensely, putting it in the company of world-class institutions like the Field Museum of Natural History, the Shedd Aquarium, and the Adler Planetarium. Another option is Northerly Island, former location of Meigs Field. Those areas do not have the special legal status of Grant Park.

Here's a radical idea. If you, Mayor Daley, really give a damn about poor kids, why not locate the new museum where it can do some economic good? Instead of burying it amidst the jewels of the lakefront, put it in a neighborhood that could use an anchor for some stability. Put it where new restaurants, stores, and other businesses can open to serve museum visitors, offering jobs to those kids' parents where now there are few. As far as I can tell, that option has never been on the table.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

What Would Paris Do?