posted by chicago pop
World to Herald: "Who cares?"
The Herald is feeling a little left out these days. The University of Chicago has finally begun demolition at Harper Court, something we've known would happen for months now. They didn't tell the Herald the exact date when it was going to happen. Now the Herald is calling people names. They've lost access, and bemoan the fact in their most recent editorial ("Searching for U. of C. cooperation", Wednesday, August 19, 2009).
So what's the problem? It appears to be the fact that there is a new "Office of Civic Engagement", headed, as we know, by Ms. Anne Marie Lipinski. The Herald feels that, despite its name, the Office is not Engaging. Or, to be more precise, it is not giving the Herald the information it wants. So here's my question: given the way the Herald writes its editorials, why should it? What or who does the Herald represent, exactly? The "community"? That seems doubtful. So why should anyone cooperate with them?
The destiny of Harper Court has been known for some time now. There has been extensive coverage of the acquisition of the land, the community and TIF meetings updating people on the state of play. At some point, the buildings at Harper Court, legally emptied of their tenants and now on the market for redevelopment, had to come down. This week some of them did.
What didn't happen was that the University's Office of Civic Engagement gave the Herald a date and time when the bulldozers would roll in, giving our local paper everything it needed to run another loopy editorial summoning all old Harper Court die-hards to come chain themselves to fences, lamp posts, and railings in order to block demolition.
Engagement means interaction. It doesn't mean rolling over.
"But the pique of the Herald staff is not the issue," we're told. "We will get over it."
That's a relief. Meanwhile, bring on the new Harper Court.