George Rumsey and his Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference (known here as HP-KFC) pride themselves on their objectivity and fair-mindedness. They will tell anyone who will listen that they simply want to promote debate about the issues. At least that is the standard party line.
That was all well and good when they could simply roll out of bed and monopolize the pages of the Herald. But now that there are other voices out there, control of the community discussion is slipping out of their grasp.
The future of Harper Court has brought Mr. Rumsey out of the closet. Rumsey has been quoted extensively in the Herald as asserting the rights of the HP-KFC to drive the discussion over future development of HC. There is a clear deep suspicion that Alderman Preckwinkle will snatch the limelight away from the HP-KFC and its "development and preservation" committee.
You are being unfair. Erecting a silly strawman. Read on!
Mr. Rumsey's public self shows up in comments on this blog. We were called in by the Alderman, he says. The "visioning" done by our Valois-based handful of NIMBYs is just a point of departure.
Rumsey goes further to claim -- "the real objective is to make progress on Harper Court redevelopment."
Not so fast, Mr. Rumsey has his own views about development. Below, I reproduce an email from Mr. Rumsey which gives our readers a glimpse into his true NIMBY soul.
Mr. Rumsey thinks there is a movement afoot to promote development at "all costs" and "local business be damned." What he means is that there are folks who really want to see change in Hyde Park and wouldn't mind a Panera, a GAP, or even an Old Navy. These stores are well-run, well-financed and exist to serve the needs of consumers. This does not preclude local businesses and, in fact, might actually help them by bringing in traffic.
Take a walk through Wicker Park some day if you want to see a beautiful mix of local boutiques, national retailers, and (horror of horrors) fast food. Witness the experience of Toys Et Cetera when they moved out of dying HC for the greater foot traffic at Hyde Park Shopping Center.
You mean, you're not in favor of 'supporting local businesses'? Shame on you! Go now, fill-out the survey. The Big Boxes are Coming!
Mr. Rumsey's email:
Subject: Harper Court Survey
Please do the following:
1. Go to this link: www.hydepark.org/survey
2. Take the survey.
3. Send this link to ANY and EVERY one who might have an opinion about Harper Court.
I was bemused by Bob Borja's "comment" about my statement in last week's Herald. I said that because I think there is a movement afoot in Hyde Park to get development at any cost, and local businesses be damned. I wanted to be controversial and make people wake up.
Secondly, he was absolutely right in that anyone concerned about Harper Court should be attending our meeting. Why hasn't anyone from there be at any of our meetings? Harper Court Arts Council (Lesley Morgan and Mary Anton) have been representing the Arts Council. Who's been representing the businesses? Certainly not the TIF. So get with it, folks. Tell Borja I said so.
Next meeting 2/26 (Tuesday) with the city about the RFP. Then on 3/3 about developemnt. Then 3/10 with the TIF. Be there (or be out in the cold).But first take the survey and tell your friends, colleagues, kids, spouses, and any one else to take it (and don't skip the questions about supporting current businesses or continuing the HC mission, which had to fight like hell to keep the alderman's office from deleting).
George W. Rumsey