Bad Examples

Re: The Olympics: What’s In It for the Arts? by Deanna Isaacs, September 10

“The bid committee argues that this is a ‘reasonable projection given other Chicago-area philanthropic contributions to projects such as Millennium Park,’ according to a recent report commissioned by the Civic Federation.”

If they’re holding up Millennium Park as an example, this is a dire warning. Millennium Park is a major tax drain that was pushed upon the city with false promises of economy. It was was completed three years late at triple the original budget, much of that overage was paid for out of TIF funds.

Daley promised taxpayers parking garage revenues and a private foundation would cover much of the ongoing costs of park operation and maintanence.

In reality, Daley sold off the underground garage lease for immediate cash, in part to cover construction bonds. In 2008, the city admitted Millennium Park conservancy fund never happened, and the park was costing an extra 8.1 million per year—and that’s just in maintenance. Meanwhile a tax break for the politically connected owner of the park’s restaurant means what little revenue is generated by the park is even less.

Imagine what services for actual city residents could have been paid for with an annual $8.1 million plus spent on the mayor’s vanity project for tourists. Now multiply that by a billion, and you’ve got our future. —My Opinion

Three More Japanese Essentials

Re: Essential Japanese: Eleven recommended restaurants, September 10

Bah! I can’t believe you overlooked Itto Sushi (which all my Japanese coworkers at the consulate adore, and I concur), Kurumaya, and Sakura. OK, so the latter two are suburban but as good as the suburban places you listed. —biancajames

Do the Watchdogs Need Watchdogs?

You’ll notice the ellipsis in this paragraph quoting a letter [in the Chicago Sun-Times] from [Alderman Ed] Burke

“I am asking that . . . funds be allocated to the Department of Transportation for the purpose of installing a sidewalk along with a wrought-iron fence from Harding to Pulaski on West 51st Street,” Burke said in an April 17, 2008, letter to city officials. “The reason for the installation of the sidewalk and wrought-iron fence is to prevent the students from Curie High School using this rail-road grade cross as a shortcut.”

The thing is, that ellipsis is to replace the word TIF and only that word. They didn’t save any space! This is inexcusable. They purposefully are avoiding the TIF issue! Do the “The Watchdogs” need watchdogs?

The Sun-Times and Tribune have been ignoring the TIF issue, ongoing. Only the Reader covers the TIF story in any depth. And now the Sun-Times is not even putting the word TIF in print whenever possible. It seems to me their motto should be “All the news that’s fit to print (with a few exceptions to help Uncle Daley avoid any embarrassment)”. —name withheld

Parking Suggestions

Dear Sir:

Although the Reader has published much about the privatization of Chicago’s parking meters, some Elephants in the Room have not been touched by the Reader or anyone else as far as I know.

(1) If the parking spaces for the new pay boxes were numbered there would be no need for receipts placed on dashboards. The space number would be entered into the pay box by the driver. The meter reader could read the spaces in violation from the pay box.

(2) The $50 fine should be posted on the pay box because this is an excessive fine. It is a trivial violation for which there is no intolerable obstruction. Ten dollars would be a more reasonable fine for this offense.

(3) Are the facts of the privatization contract still a secret? Does the renter of the pay boxes control the fine for violations, and, if that is the case, is that legal? —Stuart Simon

Saints Concerns

Re: League of Chicago Theatres Steps Into the Saints Fray, posted by Deanna Isaacs, September 9

. . . Without experiencing for herself what has been occurring within the Saints, [League of Chicago Theatres executive director Deb Clapp] has chosen sides & inserted herself into this situation. Why is Ms. Clapp not more concerned over the illegal removal of duly elected board member which violates the non-profit statute?

Why is Ms. Clapp not concerned that certain board members (who disagree with the current ruling board majority) have effectively been stripped of all effective powers & cut off from all decision making purposes (which apparently occur during Executive Sessions they are barred from attending) or during private email conversations.

Why is Ms. Clapp not concerned that there apparently are 2 sets of rules being applied here, one for board members who disagree with you (Deb Granite’s May 31st email) & one for the ruling party (Andy Lingras’s invitation to dozens of Saints to become his Facebook friend)?

Why is Ms. Clapp not concerned that there is a total lack of transparency in what the board is doing & how they are handling their fiduciary responsibility in regards to the well over $100,000 in the Saints coffers?

Why is Ms. Clapp not concerned that the board has thrown up continual roadblocks to anyone asking reasonable questions such as “Can I get a copy of the minutes from the board meetings” or “When will we see a financial statement for 2007/2008 or 2008/2009?”

I could think of many other things that Ms. Clapp could be concerned about in an organization that she claims “does wonderful work in the community,” yet she chose not to address any of these but rather to offer the unsolicited advice that only serves to empower the board to just ride it out, “it will blow over.”

The League of Chicago Theatres does many fine things. Inserting themselves into this tempest without all the facts is not one of them. —Longtime Saint