Sunday, October 12, 2008

Propaganda, NIMBY Style

posted by Peter Rossi

Residents in Hyde Park have received propaganda mailings on the Doctor's Hospital Dry Petition. Opponents of development at the Doctor's Hospital site have been made many public pronouncements about their interest in open debate and obtaining the facts. The mailing is anything but this. A blatant fear tactic, the mailing is chocked full of distortion and outright misrepresentation.

The most egregious lie in this little gem is that by voting "YES" residents will buy time to "get what the neighborhood deserves." By voting yes, residents will insure that no hotel of any type will ever be built on this site. If you vote yes, there will be a law prohibiting sale of alcohol on the books and all development ceases.

The leaflet would have you believe that the Doctor's Hospital could be restored into something like the Blackstone Hotel. This is a direct insult to Hyde Parker's intelligence. We all know that Doctor's Hospital was a former HOSPITAL not a former luxury HOTEL. Anyone who thinks that Doctor's Hospital looks like the Blackstone hotel needs new glasses. The Doctor's Hospital buildings are ugly and unimaginative institutional architecture that can't be converted to other uses.

A picture of a Marriott hotel, taken from the street level to show ugly overhead electrical wires and a neighboring used car emporium, is supposed to represent what is being proposed for the site. Sorry to break the news to the script-writers on Kimbark Avenue, but the Doctor's Hospital is across the street from a beautiful park and surrounded by other residential structures. This is Stony Island Avenue not Western Avenue.

The truth is that a design for this site has not been finalized. At the last community meeting, this was emphasized many times. By foreclosing any discussion, opponents of development at DH are simply refusing to consider any proposal from White Lodging.

Finally, the handful of NIMBYs behind this can't convince their fellow Hyde Parkers to help fund their efforts so they went to Local 1, Unite-HERE to fund this leaflet. The leadership of Unite-HERE couldn't care less about our neighborhood but simply want to punish White Lodging for not being a Unite-HERE shop. Whatever your views regarding labor union organizing, this should have no role in whether or not there is a hotel on Stony Island.

Hyde Parkers are a pretty smart and independent bunch. This sort of simplistic propaganda is apt to blow up in the face of our NIMBY princes.


Elizabeth Fama said...

Wow, this postcard is eerily reminiscent of a certain misleading Point Savers photo montage.

David Farley said...

Where are all the merry-makers stumbling out of The Blackstone?

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many raucous Bar Mitzvahs Blackstone has hosted so far? No doubt they put the partying antics of Keith Moon to shame.

Richard Gill said...

The union is playing its own members for suckers. How can they try to unionize a hotel if they prevent the hotel from being built?

Maybe the union leadership thinks White will just cave and agree, pre-construction, to a union shop at the DH site. White already said no to that idea, at the August 5 meeting. Maybe the union officials think the dry vote will pressure White into accepting the union at its other hotels. Not hardly; White can probably just walk away from the DH deal and not look back.

The dry vote is a union strong-arm tactic, plain and simple. Not smart. Talk about tilting at windmills.

This reminds me of an old story from my days workin' on the railroad. Around 1970, a mining company proposed to build a coal slurry pipeline from a southern-Illinois mine to the Ohio River for loading onto barges. The Illinois Central Railroad proposed a freight rate that could compete with the pipeline, but it required operating the trains with fewer crew members than under the railroad's union agreements. These would be brand-new jobs, created specifically for the mine-to-river rail line. The union said no, the trains would have to run with full-size crews. Thus, the railroad could not compete, and the pipeline was built. The railroad's head of marketing wrote to the union president, asking, "How many railroad jobs are there on the pipeline?"

WoodLawn Jack said...

If people like Hans Morsbach want to play economic games with development in Hyde Park one obvious move for people who want to see development is to speak with their money. Stop spending money at places like Medici and instead support newer businesses or at least the ones who aren't playing games with area development.

edj said...

I took a look at the Herald's website to see if this week edition is up yet and I saw a very well written letter to the editor from our own Richard Gill. Nicely done, Richard. I hope they didn't make any changes to it. They must not have. It made a lot of sense. There was also a letter from the other side on the wet/dry question, but it made very little sense.

Anonymous said...

Not to mention an idiotic letter from Hans Morsbach about "spreading concrete over the limestone at the Point" and "supporting a hotel on the Illinois Central site" (which hotel supposedly uses "blueprints from a 1960 Holiday Inn").

Whatever Hans.

edj said...

I'm all for a petition drive to make the precinct in which the Normal Illinois Marriott is located go dry.

ScottM said...

Sorry I think Mr. Gill shoots his wad a bit off the mark with the beware of the bigger, badder, bogyman closing.