posted by chicago pop
When it comes to 5th Ward Alderman Leslie Hairston, this blog has one thing to say:
There are a lot of reasons why we think this -- serial instances of disastrous community leadership running from the Promontory Point fiasco, her utter invisibility in the Doctors Hospital controversy, through to her bizarre power plays in the replacement of popular bus stops with free parking, and most recently, her protection of the stealthy NIMBYs roosting next to the Shoreland Hotel property at 5490 South Shore Drive (more on that, later).
But let's start with something simple. Hairston is holding a meeting next Thursday (see details at bottom) on the subject of new parking pay boxes being installed in Jackson Park and surrounding areas.
This latest circus act promises to involve the shooting of a hapless Chicago Park District in its barrel by Hairston, one of five Aldermen who voted against the parking deal. (We've given our opinion on the deal here). You can argue that the deal was a bad one, but it's done. And you can't argue that free parking optimizes access or is equitable. In fact, as has become visible in streets throughout the city, it's now easier to park almost everywhere.
Peruse, if you will, the following news article, forwarded to us from an exasperated reader living in East Hyde Park. As usual, EDITORIAL REMARKS ARE INSERTED IN PARENTHESES:
A South Side alderman is blasting the Chicago Park District over its moves to put parking meter “pay and display” boxes in South Side parks and other facilities. (YOU VOTED AGAINST IT ALDERMAN, BUT IT'S NOW IN EFFECT CITYWIDE. WHY SHOULD YOUR CONSTITUENTS BE EXEMPT?)
5th Ward Alderman Leslie Hairston says some residents in her area were upset (NO KIDDING -- PEOPLE LIKE FREE STUFF) when they saw pay and display parking meter boxes being installed in the park near the Museum of Science and Industry, the South Shore Cultural Center and even (EVEN!) near some basketball courts.
Chicago Park District Spokeswoman Jessica Maxey Faulkner says the metered spaces are no surprise (EXCEPT FOR LESLIE HAIRSTON). She says the North Side parks already have meters, and plans for the South Side parks were announced some time ago (BUT SOUTH SIDE NIMBY'S ARE SPECIAL).
Alderman Hairston says there should have been a public meeting first (WAY TO GO WITH THAT FAR-SIGHTED LEADERSHIP THING). Maxey Faulkner says the boxes will not be activated until a meeting takes place later this month (AND THEN THE BOXES WILL BE PUT UP ANYWAY AND HAIRSTON WILL KEEP HER VOTES ANYWAY).
Analyzing this situation, what do we find? A number of aggrieved people who think that the public streets in Hyde Park-Woodlawn-Jackson Park are somehow not a part of the now private meter franchise that manages parking for ALL OF CHICAGO, including LAKEFRONT AND CITY PARK PROPERTY. Acting on a matter of principle, they chose not to complain when pay boxes were installed elsewhere, but only when it eventually affected them.
Not only is the upcoming publicity stunt wrong-headed in its probable defense of free parking, but it is only one of many examples of the way Hairston acts to appease every NIMBY reflex in the 5th Ward.
Help get Antheus rolling along with the Shoreland, Alderman, instead of putting on floor shows like this one.
Meeting Date: Thursday, April 15 2010
Time: 6:30 PM
Montgomery Place 5550 S. Shore Drive
For more info call: 773-324-5555