Thursday, August 21, 2008
posted by Peter Rossi
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.