Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Herald's Chicken: Herald Balks at Reporting

To judge by this week's edition of the Herald, it's a slow week for non-news, and probably will be next week, too, which makes our job at Herald's Chicken somewhat less entertaining. But we're about to go on vacation too, it's Labor Day after all. So we won't hold it against the crack team of leg men and news hens of the Herald if they've gone on vacation and put the paper on auto-print, or have switched from investigative reporting to serving up public service announcements. This week, for example, we learn that a jazz festival will debut, an African art celebration will commence, a big bike ride will take place, as well as an ice cream social.

Oh, yes, and the Co-op stole a new general manager from the Piggly Wiggly in Sheboygan.

In more prosaic developments, we learn that the University is "balking" at easement protection pertaining to a group of buildings on 56th and Drexel. Let's put the issue of easements aside for a minute, to focus on the balking. There is far too much balking going on in Hyde Park, and most of it perpetrated by the Herald. "University balks at easement protection," runs this week's headline. Just a few weeks ago, it was "Residents balk at park high rise." Would the copy editor please go down to Powell's and get a thesaurus.

Moving on to the op-ed page: we also confess to some disappointment that the letters have been a tad bit less insane these last few weeks. A few local communards seem to be whooping up a movement to storm the Bastille that is Hyde Park Bank, demanding not the keys to the castle, but the return of the missing clock that, well, belongs to the communards, after all.

"Truly," writes the author, expressing the most fundamental contradictions of barbecue Bolshevism, "the building is private property, it lacks landmark status and management can deal with it pretty much as it will."

And so the point is? "We want the HP Bank clock back."

Management replies: "Why yes, and here is your rattle, too, and your stuffed bear. Of course, now which box did we put that in, and what were we thinking? All this will lead to is a scream fest ("community meeting") full of angry old biddies and their husbands yelling at us about our private property and capitalism. Ah hah! There it is; quick, can someone get a ladder and put this back up there?"

Before pulling the chicken off the grill for the week, as folks head to the beach, or to our magnificent Point, basking in its late summer decrepitude, crumbling slowly into the lake like those beautiful nostalgic paintings of mossy and broken Roman arches, we'd like to signal the second in a row of letters from disgruntled seniors upset that 1) it's hard for an old guy in a wheelchair to get down to the water, and 2) darn those cops for busting the swimmers!

We'll leave it to the Point Savers and their Landscaping Consultants to explain to the seniors why 1) they can't use the Point, because it's more important to keep it picturesque and crumbling than accessible to and safe for seniors, and 2) what those "SAVE THE POINT" bumper stickers really mean is "POLICE THE POINT," because the new police state is a direct result of the Point Saving campaign.

Who would have thought that all the efforts of Hyde Park's favorite landscape architect manqué would bring on the bike cops and their totalitarian reign? Ah, the ironies -- when our preservationist and activist community lands grandma in the paddy wagon.

To the Savers, if not the saved: this is what you petitioned for ... now you've got it!


Famac said...

I would say there was big news in the Herald today!

I would like to wish Bruce Brandfon the best of luck.

Any time an organization changes general managers, there is hope for improvement. Here's a letter for Mr Brandfon:

Welcome to Hyde Park, Mr. Brandfon.

You have your work cut out for you.

To rebuild the Co-Op; start from the ground up - there's nothing to save.

Close for a month. The store is a disaster area. Throw everything away.

Remodel and restaff with and eye towards upbeat service. No more; "you just woke me from my nap."

The Co-Op is the biggest retail outfit in Hyde Park. If you can't make a difference - no one can.

We hope you come here with big ambition! It's the biggest missing ingrediant in a "love affair with foods."


Shopping Elsewhere

SR said...

Best of luck to the new guy, but the terrible produce situation isn't going to change anytime soon. I discovered poking around the HPKCC archives that the Coop's contract with its current produce supplier doesn't expire until 2027.

Explains a lot, doesn't it? If I had a 30-year contract with a store, that's exactly where I'd dump everything I couldn't sell to anyone else.

chicago pop said...

RE: the 25 year lease -- what makes it even more twisted is that the Co-op is shackled to the same outfit, Certified Grocers, that supplies 2/3 of its shelf stock, including all of its produce.

So the Co-op's landlord at 47th St. is the same outfit that provides the Co-op's produce. Now, if your tenant were late with rent, would you save all the nice vegetables for that tenant? Probably not.

SR is doing the right thing digging through the HPKCC website. It is a treasure trove of incriminating evidence on the multiple ways in which neighborhood activists make dumb decisions and keep any improvements from happening. Good reading.

Famac said...

My understanding of the Co-Op produce section is its all sunk cost fallacy at work. According to an insider, there is fresh produce in the back, but they don't put it out until the selection on offer has sold. So they are in a cycle of perpetual spoiled food. That's why I suggest the new guy toss evrything and start over.

Elizabeth Fama said...

This is exactly what a letter-to-the-Herald-editor from the fiesty folks at HPP would point out: we lost safe access and sanctioned swimming precisely because of the efforts of the SAVE THE POINT crew.

How many people would rip off their little blue bumper stickers if they knew the truth?

Readers: look for a photo essay at the end of the long weekend showing the crumbling state of the Point to which Chicago Pop is referring, and a follow-up post showing the perfectly attractive, eminently accetable, 26-million-dollar Compromise Plan that the POINT SAVERS scuttled...on your behalf.

curtsy said...

Here, here! I, for one, am glad that my eyes are no longer assaulted by that musty and tarnished symbol of staid stability that was the "vintage" Hyde Park Bank clock. I can't wait until it is replaced by a vinyl banner ad for new condos at 53rd & Cornell and on 53rd across from Nichols park! I'm only slightly disappointed that the proposed 8-story skyscrapper at X-mas Tree Crossing won't cast a dark and dramatic shadow on the Murray School playlot. It would offer needed protection to the little cunning linguists from melanoma.

curtsy said...

Handy HPP Glossary:

"community activist" -- whiny pinko Communard

"Harper Court" -- failed 60's Utopianism

"the 1960's" -- failed Utopianism

"Lakefront Taskforce of Hyde Park" -- mythical Committee of One (also see under "SharonJoyless Jackson)

"Committe of One" -- One Ms. Jill White (also One Ms. Joyless Jackson)

"NIMBY" -- Not In My BackYard (That's where my garage sits! But I'll criticize HANS for wanting to park his car on the street where he lives.) No Bolshevik bar-b-ques allowed!

"gritty, urban neighborhood" -- 56th & Kenwood (in the Golden Rectangle, where the Fairy Castle stands just down the block from the cul-de-sac where the Bixler Playlot and Ray School Commons lie -- say, a GREAT location for mixed-use retail/residential development! Say, while we're at it, the Midway is just ripe for strip mall development! And we could mitigate at least some of the parking congestion in East Hyde Park by PAVING the POINT!!)

"feisty folks at HPP" -- True Believers in the First Church of the Free and Unfettered Market

"ideological chimera" -- exotic Kool-Aid flavor favored at GSB

"47th Street Co-Op" -- Hyde Park's Maltese Falcon/albatross that represents unfilled dreams and fantasies of monopoly (in the case of the Co-Op) AND of a national big box retailer (in the minds of underserved consumers)

"Diane von Rudofsky" -- suspect Bolshevik and would-be tasered swimmer who plans on swimming at the Point for 100 years

"curtsy" -- frustrated wannabe writer for The Onion and equal-opportunity lampooner

Peter Rossi said...

The coop is the perfect example of the law of retail: treat your customers badly and you will only have bad customers.

went for a fill-in trip this morning and paid more than Peapod for my items and the priviledge of standing in line for 5 minutes to buy 4 items in a store that was virtually a ghost town.

Never buy anything that is perishable at the COOP because is liable to have already perished!

Go to Roosevelt Road and have your choice between Jewel, Dominicks and W Foods - all with better service, cleaner stores, more variety, better parking and lower prices for many items