Friday, July 27, 2007

This Week's Guest in NIMBY's Corner

Sometimes things just fall in your lap, like this classic specimen of NIMBY logic from a Herald letter writer (Diane Durante, July 25, 2007). I'm pinning this one up on my wall like a butterfly in a collection. Let's review a key selection closely:

Today I ran an errand on the North Side between 1pm and 2pm and it was ugly: except for five minutes picking up an item, I spent the entire time negotiating heavy traffic.

Editorial Comment: Perhaps if that store had been located in or near Hyde Park, you wouldn't have had to spend all that time in traffic. But wait ... it turns out the writer LIKES it this way!

I returned to Hyde Park as I always do -- happy and relieved to be in a more sane environment.

Editorial Comment: Let's think about this. All the shopping is in one place. All the people live in another. They all have to drive 20 miles to buy stuff. So it's congested in one place, and quiet in another. Does that sound like a "sane" arrangement to you? The subtext is that the writer thinks we shouldn't be able to shop in our own neighborhood!

Well, it certainly isn't sane in terms of providing people with the opportunity to WALK to their shops, reducing CO2 emissions, national dependence on foreign oil, and other nice Liberal causes that Hyde Parkers are supposed to support. And it means that it's really tough for folks who don't have a car, or can't afford to burn gas like paper in order to do the weekly expedition to the North Side.

This is, as advertised, classic NIMBY logic. The writer is taking her own personal pleasure as the Greater Good, when the "peace and quiet" she refers to is actually part of a larger problem.

Let us not take for granted the relative peace of our community. We must represent our interests to developers and their associates who want to exploit us for profit.

Conclusion: The writer of this letter could use the addresses of a few monasteries where she might find people who are willing to debate whether commerce and usury are sins against God's laws of nature. Meanwhile, I'd like some exploitation for profit, especially the kind that involves good groceries and a movie theater. All those who want to grow their own food, raise goats in their yard, and make their clothes from hemp are free to do so.

The folks who want to keep developers and improved retail out forget that they are following in the footsteps of the folks who booted the retail out in the first place, and with it the Poor Black Folk that used to live here. It's sure been a lot quieter since, hasn't it?


Still Pining for the North Side said...

God, I'm so sick of the hidebound attitude exhibited by Diane Durante that seems pervasive in the Hyde Park neighborhood. People like her seem to feel it's much better to live on an island without any amenities, fight traffic to the north side to obtain necessities, and dodge the dead bodies that seem to show up with disconcerting regularity in Hyde Park. Gee, at least the residents who died in my previous north side neighborhood did so of age-related ailments (stroke, heart attack, etc.) rather than the violence I've seen too much of in Hyde Park.

curtsy said...

Regarding your need to "dodge the dead bodies that seem to show up with disconcerting regularity in Hyde Park," have you been kicking around inside of Doctors' Hospital?! Seriously, you could use some objective perspective. You should submit your "observations" to the Herald, where it would fit right in alongside other neighborhood cranks like Sharon "Joyless" Jackson. As for pining for the north side, vote with your feet.

chicago pop said...

We'll refer curtsy to priscilla's comment on the Algonquin Apts. []for some objective perspective on the low-tech security in Hyde Park (another example: unlocked rear door of Leona's, and no security cameras to record the murder of the night manager there).

As for Dr's Hospital, very a propos, considering the near-morbid demographic of the immediate vicinity.

curtsy said...

A SUICIDE at the Algonquin and a year-old murder instigated by a disgruntled ex-employee (in which the perpetrators ARE being prosecuted) hardly represents a violent wave of crime in the 'hood.

As for "low tech security", the technological backwater that is San Francisco has a little problem with jumpers on the Golden Gate (but this doesn't seem to affect its draw as a tourist destination.)
The lack of a security camera at Leona's is evidently an element in a possible wrongful death lawsuit that was mentioned in a Herald article last year. I fail to see how this senseless tragedy is a reflection on the culture of the neighborhood. The young woman and the even younger thugs she enlisted did not display any higher order of rational behavior. Stupid and cold-blooded. I doubt that a video recorder would have seriously deterred them. Yes, a locked door after business hours would clearly have been wise.

Still, the alarmist tone of Still Pining would fit right in at the Herald Chicken.