Friday, January 22, 2010

Herald's Chicken: "Save the Point" Longest Running Scam in Neighborhood

posted by chicago pop

Local scam very common to Hyde Park neighborhood

Back in the summer of 2009, we put together a little list of scams you're likely to run into in our cerebral little neighborhood, but we forgot to mention this one: the "Save the Point" campaign.

For reminding us, we thank the the Hyde Park Herald (Wednesday, January 22, 2010) with its wonderfully indignant slam on the Chicago Park District for not wanting to provide matching funds for the "independent third party review": "We would hate to characterize a professionally staffed government agency as petulant, but what other possible explanation could there be?"

How about a professionally staffed government organization that has determined, from past experience, that dealing with Point Savers is not worth their time or the public's money?

They do, after all, have a Point. Watching the Point Savers shepherd their great protest movement from an alternative vision, to an alt-alternative, and then to brute opposition, then further to a period of vague and inchoate inertia, which was then followed by the disappearance of matching funds for reconstruction, which was then followed by the disappearance of funds for a study of how to do a reconstruction, has been like watching panhandler scam greenbacks off students outside Valois.

Whoops! There went my stipend!

Only in this case, it's more like, Whoops! There went my shoreline!

And now the Park District has realized, "Hey! This "Save the Point" thing is a SCAM!"

Hi, I'm "The Point" and I need to be preserved!

According to the Herald, in the latest phase of the mess, engineered by knock-off Che Guevaras, it now appears that there may not even be money for the "independent, third-party study" that was to help lay the groundwork for a new compromise after the Point Savers rejected the first one. And of course, that's not because of any obstruction, it's because the Chicago Park District has double-crossed Hyde Park!

Despite the obvious deterioration of Promontory Point's limestone revetment, there is still a hard-core group of Hyde Park insurgents who, together with the various dry-cleaning proprietors they have cajoled into posting blue "Save the Point" stickers in their windows, continue to believe that the "Save the Point" jihad was a victory against the encroaching forces of wickedness.

The reality is just the opposite: the evaporation of funding and the continuing collapse of the Point is a direct result of the "Save the Point" campaign itself. It has obstructed and delayed and fantasized of limestone castles in the air so long that now it may bring about what it began by opposing in the first place: a quick fix-it job engineered by a City administration that has determined that Hyde Parkers can't be reasoned with.

The back side of those little blue stickers and buttons has a logo in invisible ink, which only becomes legible after the passage of 10 years and millions of dollars of lost federal funds, and it reads:



Greg said...

Well said.

From what I recall, Daley has said off the record that as far as he is concerned, the Point can fall into the lake. That's probably what will happen eventually. So, in 20 years when people wonder why the Point is totally barricaded off with big "HAZARD: UNSTABLE GROUND" signs, people can look up the Point Savers and thank them for playing a game of Risk (and really poorly I might add) with public money and property.

I believe they let ownership of lapse a while back. Maybe one of us ought to buy it and have a single page with the word "FAIL" on it in bold 72 point Helvetica.

Elizabeth Fama said...

My favorite line in that ridiculous Herald editorial is from Alderman Hairston to Jesse Jackson, Jr.: "[Our constituents] are looking to their elected official to act on their behalf with persistence and vigor." As far as I'm concerned, she could be talking about herself here. She behaves like a frightened rabbit whenever the Point Savers raise their voices.

I keep asking it, and I never hear an answer: why can't Ms. Hairston just take charge for once and tell Jesse Jackson, Jr. to forget the 3rd-party review, and tell the City she is approving the Compromise Plan? It's already a great design, it's a miracle we pulled it off the first time, and in this economy we'll never, ever do better.

David Farley said...

Hyde Park might not be Mayor Daley's most favorite place in the whole wide world, but the non-stop weddings and receptions in the pavilion out at the Point Spring, Summer and Fall are probably enough of a money-maker that it wouldn't be barricaded off for very long before things were finally fixed (in some way or another).

Richard Gill said...

I have conducted my own independent 4th Party Review. That 4th Party Review reviewed the 3rd Party Review proposal and determined that the 3rd Party Review would be worse than useless and should not take place. However, out of professional courtesy, I will leave the 3rd slot open.

The 4th Party review determined that the Quick Fix would ensure that justice is done. The Save the Pointers (including the Herald) would get their comeuppance, knowing that it was their own arrogance and myopia that ultimately brought about the Quick Fix. And they will have to look at it forever. Justice for everyone else would be achieved because the Point will have gotten fixed, probably at reasonable cost.

For due diligence, someone may want to conduct a 5th Party Review of my 4th Party Review and call a public meeting to present the results. They could search the Herald's archives to find out why the 3rd Party Review was not conducted. (This is starting to sound like a Groucho Marx routine.) By the time all of the reviews are finished, the Quick Fix construction will, mercifully, have been completed, thereby both fixing and saving (fixaving?) the Point, and people from Lincoln Park can marvel at it and ask why Hyde Park has better stuff than they do.

edj said...

I think that Richard is on to something here. It is a Groucho Marx routine.

I would say we need a sanity clause, but as we all know, in Hyde Park, there ain't no sanity clause.