Fundraisers are a way of life for Chicago Aldermen. Short terms force constant worry about reelection and the considerable funding required. 5th Ward Alderman, Leslie Hairston, is no exception. Indeed, her war chest is often reported to be considerably smaller her than that of her big sister in the 4th ward. So the annual event is doubly important for Hairston.
Planning the annual soiree must pose a thorny problem for the Alderman and her hard-working staff. The ideal place is a banquet hall or larger restaurant where the pols and friends can have elbow-room. A bar and perhaps a small dance floor or a band stand would be nice. Venues like this are hard to find in the 5th.
In the past, I've attended one of Hairston's events at the Marina cafe at Jackson Harbor. While a beautiful setting, this place was pretty bare. After Hairston dropped the ball on fixing the Point (and her endorsement of the Compromise Plan), I stopped contributing and working for her campaign. A neighbor showed me the invitation for this year's event which I reproduce below
It appears that this year, the staff couldn't find a venue in the 5th ward and the fundraiser was held in Greektown. I can't say that I really blame the Alderman. The pick en's are really slim in the 5th.
I do think it is quite ironic that the Alderman put the kibosh on the University's plan for a hotel in the 5th on the site of the Doctor's Hospital. The hotel would certainly have a nice banquet area for fundraisers. She didn't like White Lodging and she wanted a plan the was "preservation" minded. I wonder how she feels about the labor practices in Greektown? Would she like to have her fundraiser in a building that looks like a state mental hospital? Perhaps, the main reception could be in the former electro-shock treatment room. Donors could be strapped down until they yielded their wallets (just kidding, Leslie).
Even if we set aside Doctor's Hospital, the NIMBYs have been quite successful in chasing restaurants, bars, and clubs out of our neighborhood (witness the huge difficulties Bar Louie had in getting their liquor license and the fact that the "golden rectangle" voted itself dry, effectively prohibiting the development of anything more interesting that delis and coffee shops). It's time to put an end to this.
Note: before members of the Hyde Park Hysterical Society rush in to correct me. I only said that Doctor's Hospital "looks" like a state mental hospital. "One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest" could have been filmed there. We all know that it is little more than an ugly, abandoned general purpose hospital.