Tough Questions in the 49th Ward

As reported in Lake Effect News:

If pointing out the holes within a salesman’s pitch were an Olympic sport, Rogers Park would have a gold medal. Last night more than 150 people packed the Rogers Park Public Library with an overwhelming message for the Chicago 2016 Olympic committee: the emperor is not, in fact, wearing any clothes.

Residents and activists of the 49th Ward listened to the committee’s 35-minute presentation, the 27th so far of the mayoral ordered community meetings, which included sound bites from pro-sports athletes and President Barack Obama.

As reported last month by LEN, the golden goose eggs offered up by Chicago 2016, include 31,000 jobs over the next 10 years, $10 million for work force development, $1 billion in federal money for repairing Chicago’s mass transit system, new sports and recreational facilities to be turned over to city parks, and a lasting legacy for the children.

But when the floor was opened for questions, the crowd went hunting for the magic beans. “In the history of Chicago and minorities,” said one resident, “when it comes to the goodies, it’s not good.” “Is there anything projected in the future that can address that?” the man asked before turning to Ald. Joe Moore, saying, “we bungled the parking meters.”

Arnold Randall, director of Neighborhood Legacies at Chicago 2016, tried to deflect talk of the City Council’s infamous 75-year parking meter deal to no avail.

“It’s interconnected,” the man said in response. The onslaught continued.

“I think it’s disingenuous to say there’s zero risk, because quite frankly there’s no such thing as zero risk,” said Seth Mayer, a 5-year resident of Rogers Park, quoting Chicago 2016 president Lori Healey.

“I’d much rather have an honest assessment of what the risks are than be told just: ‘trust us, trust us,’” Mayer said.

If you’ve been to one of these carefully stage-managed events, chime in. Were YOUR questions answered? If not, call your Alderman and demand the answers!


4 responses to “Tough Questions in the 49th Ward

  1. The $1 billion dollar figure in Federal funding for public transit and road infrastructure has been modified to be a vague amount at the Chicago 2016 meetings, because the fact is there has been no congressional commitment for a specific number.

  2. Sounds like the 2016 committee may be hoping that they can present a blank check to Obama for transit reasons.

    I find it interesting that they screwed up that station under Block 37, Millennium Park went overbudget, and of course the parking meters are a deal with the devil that cannot be broken…and yet, the Olympics are going to come out smelling like the greatest bouquet of roses in history…..yeah, right.

  3. I went to a meeting for the 39th and 40th wards a few weeks ago, and it was a similar response. The film of Obama was met with stoney silence, and that seemed to set the tone for the night. Lots of difficult questions, and no good answers. Ryan’s face looked like it was going to crack.

  4. Well, I don’t believe that the Block 37 superstation is screwed up. The mayor is just waiting for the magic carpets he purchased to arrive. I am going to be one of the first ones in line to get the express service to Midway. It’ll be just like waiting in line for the iPhone. I can’t wait!

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