During last year’s 49th Ward aldermanic election, Don Gordon came across as Mayor Daley’s guy, taking the mayor’s side on most of the issues — big-box minimum wage, foie gras — on which incumbent alderman Joe Moore had opposed the mayor. As a result Gordon was the target of a union-financed battle in which lines were drawn: If you want independence in the council, vote for Moore.
Well, that wasn’t the Don Gordon I heard speaking at Tuesday’s Park District budget hearing at the Loyola Park Field House. In clear and unequivocal terms he assailed the Park District for allowing too much construction on its property. He’d done his research. He had the whole list — from the high school in South Shore’s Rosenblum Park to the senior citizen center contemplated for far-north-side Warren Park to the Latin School soccer field in Lincoln Park to the Children’s Museum in Grant Park and so on and so forth.
“We’re giving parkland away,” he declared. “My message to you this evening, [Park District representative] Matt Marino, to Alderman Moore, to [Park District] Superintendent Tim Mitchell, and to the mayor is: Stop!”
Hearing Gordon that night made me wish he’d been elected. Then again, he later told me that if he had been he’d be much less likely to pound away at the mayor’s policies. “I’d exercise more tact,” he said.
Great, just what we need. More tact from alderman when it comes to speaking out about the mayor’s excesses. If we had one — just one — alderman willing to consistently speak as strongly as Citizen Gordon, then maybe Mayor Daley wouldn’t get away with so much on Park District property.
Check that — of course he would. I think the mayor can pretty much get away with anything he wants. But at least one clear and forceful voice in the council would make it harder to ignore what’s going on.