There was a letter from the supposed Community Task Force for Promontory Point in this week's Hyde Park Herald. I say "supposed" because I didn't elect them, and I don't believe they speak for the community. Regular readers of this blog know that I call them the Point Savers, or the SAVE THE POINT group.
The letter reminded me of a mother trying to calm an upset child. It was soothing. It was lilting. It repeated the words "slow and steady" like ocean waves lapping the shore. We are supposed to feel lulled into ignoring the fact that (a) the Point Savers squashed reasonable negotiations with the City, and (b) nothing -- repeat nothing -- is happening to repair the Point at all right now. Yes, the real community is a giant the supposed "community" task force prefers would remain asleep.
The main lullaby of the letter is the "news" that Obama's coalition to study alternative plans for the Point will be funded "hopefully in early spring," that it will take about a year for the "stakeholders" to draw up a preservation plan, and that Obama's staff "meets regularly" with the Point Savers. Let's deconstruct that bit by bit:
1) How can the funds can be appropriated this spring if the 2008 fiscal budget has already passed Congress?
2) Only someone very inexperienced with architectural projects could believe that it would take a year to come up with a new plan for the Point. And remember, this is supposed to be a collaborative architectural project with seven players (the City, the Park District, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, Obama's staff, the alderman, and the Point Savers).
3) The "stakeholders" with the worst reputation for rejecting any and all plans are part of the process. Heaven help us.
4) Frankly (if I believed it in the first place, which I don't) I object to the idea that Obama's staff might meet regularly with the Point Savers outside of the larger coalition, which will include sane members of the Great Lakes Army Corps of Engineers. But, as I said, I just don't believe it: Obama's staff -- right down to the college students who cold-call voters -- aren't even sleeping lately, let alone thinking about the Point.
5) Who are these Point Savers anyway, and why are they representing us? The letter was placatingly condescending -- "none of this could have been accomplished without the support and patience of the community." Um, did I ask you to mess this up?
Wake up, you sleeping giants out there! Since the Point debate started seven years ago we've had the 53rd Street Vision Meeting. We no longer believe that the group with the shrillest voice or the most memorable bumper sticker gets to speak for us.
Rub your eyes! The Point is in a serious state of disrepair, and it has only gotten worse over this tough winter. The City would be just as happy to shut it down, and frankly, when you look at the photos in my last post, you wonder why its lawyers haven't already done it. I personally can't live several years without the Point, how about you?
Get out of bed! The Point hasn't been saved. It's time for the rest of us to have a say. Let's fix the Point.