To the editors:

Congratulations on the Hot Type column about the McCarron/Tribune series [September 16]. Mike Miner got to some of the subtleties of the series well.

McCarron’s insistence that we are without leadership but suffocating with community input sounds like the kind of table pounding that the owners of the Tribune did over the lights at Wrigley Field. Of course, the historical record points in another direction.

Community leadership, as you have reported over the years, has developed over $300 million in new neighborhood lending commitments from previously uninvolved downtown banks. Community leadership has forged partnerships with corporations, the city, civic organizations and developers in unprecedented numbers throughout Chicago. Innovations in the form of nonprofit incubators, ownerbuilt housing, energy conservation, recycling ventures, equity funds and information systems abound now after ten years of hard, difficult work by many of the organizations the Tribune and McCarron attack.

McCarron has many friends, as we have seen. Some of those friends voted for Mayor Sawyer at 4 a.m. last December and ignored the popular demand for a more rational and open process. Some of those friends reorganized city council committees, uprooting leadership committed to the Washington platform. Some of those friends seek to profit from the public subsidies that upscale development on all sides of the city will bring–regardless of the social and human cost. That those folks would be McCarron’s definition of leadership is another way of leading us back to the days of Daley and the machine. And we can expect that they will do for the poor what Daley did, in McCarron’s own words, “Damn little.”

Joseph Bute Jr.

Executive Director

Organization of the NorthEast