Thursday, August 21, 2008

Forget Preservation...PROHIBITION!

posted by Peter Rossi

Photo illustration by GFC

As you sit down to dinner in Hyde Park, the doorbell rings and you cringe: chances are it's either a solicitor or a "cause."

Residents of Harper and Stony Island Avenues opened their doors early this month to find a bearded NIMBY or one of his minions, armed with a petition. What was the petition about? It sought to put a referendum on November's ballot voting the 39th Precinct dry. "Dry," of course, means to prohibit the sale of alcohol in any commercial establishment. Hey, Hyde Park is already a nuclear-free zone, so why not also take aim at the devil's brew? Visions of corseted women being raped by drunken immigrants, children being neglected by their alcoholic parents, and Bar Mitzvahs gone mad drift into your head.

But no, this petition is pure subterfuge. The Bearded One is a longtime NIMBY who wants to halt development in Hyde Park. It's no accident that the 39th Precinct includes the old Doctors Hospital.

On the subject of Doctors Hospital, popular opinion appears to have turned against the NIMBYs, so how can they block the hotel project? It's easy: hotels depend on restaurants for profits, and restaurants depend on liquor licenses. There's no surer way to plow salt into the DH soil than to forbid the sale of alcohol.

But wait. Isn't this Bearded One the same man who stood up at the August 5th community meeting on Doctors Hospital and solemnly declared, "I'm in favor of development"? Isn't this the same person who insists he's not against a hotel, but merely wants the developer to "reuse" the existing building in the construction? Isn't this the same person who feigned righteous indignation when the developer, White Lodging, said "reuse" was not feasible for this project? How can this man be publicly in favor of development and "preservation" of the structure as a hotel, and at the same time go door-to-door, trying to submarine not only the proposed development but any future development?

Welcome to the Wonderful World of NIMBYs. They think the means justify the end, and that no one will hold them accountable for their outrageous actions.


edj said...

Regardless of whether the last paragraph is in or out, it's a good post.

They need to be called on this. These guys are talking out of so many sides of their mouths, it's hard to believe. How bigan ego must these guys have to hold up important projects, keep people from getting jobs so that they can support their families.

These are the kind of people who say they care about people, but they only care about people in theory. When it comes to reality, it seems like they are only interested in showing their own superiority to everyone else.

It's guys like this that made the Carthaginian Empire what it is today.

chicago pop said...

Say, who's the dude with all the ladies?

Anonymous said...

I think I'd pick the bottle over that group...

Richard Gill said...

I think edj is right–- it has gotten down to ego, stubbornness and face saving among those who would try to stop the hotel development. That's what the "dry" petition is about. Fortunately, the petition appears to have flopped and missed the filing deadline. What other phony ploy they will try?

Do the petition passers even reside in the subject precinct, or are they carpetbagging in the time-honored Hyde Park tradition of telling others their own business?

This is the same cabal that is keeping the Point from being repaired, thus allowing it to decompose in the surf.

Elizabeth Fama said...

Yes, Richard, apparently Greg Lane (of the Point Savers) originated the petition, and Michael J. Kasper served. Greg Lane does live in the 39th precinct (on a street that I recently noticed sports brand new speed bumps). Jack lives in a different precinct.

chicago pop said...

The mere fact that our Pro Bono Prohibitionists missed their filing deadline for this latest maneuver suggests that they are not in control of events.

The door-to-door petition thing is kind of pathetic. They might have better luck teaming up with the Streetwise vendors in front of the Medici on 57th.

Raymond said...

After the Jimmy's fight, where the neighborhood rose up IN SUPPORT of a place getting its liqour license, I'm guessing (and hopeful) this will go nowhere.

Richard Gill said...

I was sorry to learn that the initial information was incorrect, and the dry-precinct petition did get submitted on time. If the precinct is voted dry in November, I believe it will be a miscarriage of the spirit of "local option" which probably was meant to control the proliferation of local corner taverns years ago.