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To the editors:
Thanks for Ben Joravsky’s piece (7-14-89) in Neighborhood News about the soon to become de jure friendly, to Tribune Company, confines of their beer sanctuary, Wrigley Field. It’s refreshing to see Tribune Co., as well as their ball team, exposed to some light.
Joravsky writes, “But last month the General Assembly (once opposed to lights) overwhelmingly passed a bill that would abolish one of home rule’s most sacred tenets: the right of residents to decide whether liquor is sold in their community.” In other words the right to vote. Charlotte Newfeld accurately states, “The state has deprived us of our rights.”
Rights, long championed by the Tribune, is a big word in this country. Obviously some take precedence over others–Tribune Company’s right to sell beer over the people’s right to vote.
Editorially they remind you of your precious right to vote, they advise on candidates and issues; covertly they determine which issues will be allowed on the ballot.
I learned from the article that what is good for Tribune Co. is good for politicians, “. . . they generally vote the Tribune’s way.” Tribune editors deny any pro-company bias, and they say they have never received WRITTEN orders from their bosses, to champion the Tribune family’s business interests. I’m sure they would also deny their newspaper is in the beer business, but their July 5th issue could make one wonder what business they really are in.
In the lower left corner of that day’s sports section’s 1st page is a color photo captioned “INSIDE” and it directs the reader to the back page to see more of the photo’s subject matter: “The real ‘Bleacher Bums.'” The two “bums” pictured are shown cheering and holding cups with the Cubs logo facing squarely into the camera. It’s fair to assume that those cups didn’t contain complimentary Cubs Park water.
The entire back page is ostensibly dedicated to the Wrigley Field bleachers–history and trivia. Here there are five more color photos, two of which prominently display Cubs’ cups. The second largest picture in the spread carries the captioned advertisement: “Sharing a few drinks while the game continues is one of the pleasures of the bleachers.”
That message was so far above subliminal that I could taste those contented burps from the days before the Tribune began flexing its muscle.
What was done to those in the Wrigleyville neighborhood, from lights to disfranchisement by statute, is perfectly legal and could be done to any neighborhood that found itself between the Tribune and greater company profits.
Their newspaper, baseball team, radio and TV stations are in great part dependent on the people of Chicago. If they treat the people whose good will and custom they seek as they have, how do they treat their employees who are dependent on them? e.g. the 24 Cubs Park grounds keepers whom they tried to decimate just a few months ago.
Joravsky’s exposing Tribune Co. in action makes it easier to understand why there are strikers picketing the Tribune in a strike that has lasted four years. Ms. Newfeld and her neighbors will understand.