Letters to the Editor

Letter to the Editor response: Campoli’s “Egg” sculpture in Nichols Park should have a plaque

To the Editor:

Recently I made a close-up inspection of Cosmo Campoli’s “Egg” sculpture, now situated next to and on the north side of the Murray Language Academyon 53d Street in Hyde Park.

To my dismay, I could not find a plaque or any other kind of identification in the vicinity of the piece, stating either its title or the artist’s name. This is a shame. Campoli was a famous Chicago artist in the ‘50s. He was one of only three Chicago artists who were included in the Museum of Modern Art’s exhibition titled New Images of Man. For many years he was also an important and much-loved instructor at IIT’s Institute of Design.

ADVICE PLEASE: Who, or what agency, institution, etc., should be informed of, or appealed to, to rectify this unfortunate situation?

Thank you for your consideration.
Richard G. Sessions

*****

Mr. Sessions:

The sculpture that Mr. Sessions refers to in the letter, Bird of Peace, is a bronze statue whose body is shaped like an egg, and whose claws stand atop two more eggs. Its artist, Cosmo Campoli, created it in 1970 and it was dedicated to Nichols Park on June 3 of that year. It is affectionately known as the Nichols Park mascot and underwent a $10,000 restoration in 2004.

Cosmo Campoli’s Bird of Peace sculpture in Nichols Park, 1355 E. 53rd St. - Spencer Bibbs

Cosmo Campoli’s Bird of Peace sculpture in Nichols Park, 1355 E. 53rd St.

-Spencer Bibbs

 

Campoli, who specialized in egg-related art, built the sculpture that stands at the 53rd Street entrance to Nichols Park near Murray Elementary School. The Nichols Park egg sculpture is one of many around the country. The most famous is “The Bird of Death” from the New York Museum of Modern Art’s 1959 exhibit, the “Images of Man.”

A Hyde Park native, Campoli taught at the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology. His work was exhibited at the Hyde Park art center. He was particularly interested in conveying bird’s spirits in his works, most of which now belong to private collections.

Campoli is beloved in Hyde Park. A local Thai restaurant once named one of their dishes “Pasta Campoli” in his honor. In 2005, a group of Hyde Parkers assembled outside the sculpture to sing happy birthday to him.

While the sculpture does not have a plaque, it does have a nameplate that lies directly in front of the base of the sculpture and reads Bird of Peace, Cosmo Campoli, 1922-1997. Because the sculpture is located in the park, the Chicago Park District would be the city department to contact to request a plaque. The Chicago Park District’s Park Enhancement Committee would review the proposal, primarily considering issues of funding and the historical importance of the artwork before determining whether to grant the request.

A plaque in front of the statue that reads “Bird of Peace, Cosmo Campoli, 1922 - 1996.” - Spencer Bibbs

A plaque in front of the statue that reads “Bird of Peace, Cosmo Campoli, 1922 – 1996.”

-Spencer Bibbs

 

Hyde Park Herald

Op-Ed: Mikva’s Lesson on Democracy Resonates Today

I grew up four blocks away from Abner Mikva’s house in Evanston. In the late 70’s, my contact with then Congressman Mikva was limited to trips to his house on Halloween when he or one of his family members would hand out full size Hershey bars to the neighborhood ghosts and pirates. I appreciated his largesse so much that one year I changed out of my cardboard robot costume and came back to his door as “boy in wrangler jeans with metallic silver face paint” just to get another one of those jumbo chocolate bars.

As a member of a not-very-political Evanston family, I made the understandable mistake of assuming that the exclamation mark at the end of the myriad Mikva! tee-shirts worn by every third person in Evanston was in recognition of his confectionery generosity.

As a college junior at the University of Michigan, I spent the winter of 1990 interning at the Washington DC based Rainbow Lobby, an organization dedicated to election reform — long before election reform was a mainstream topic. The Rainbow Lobby battled to level the playing field for third-party candidates and independent voters. We challenged ballot access rules for third-party candidates, the partisan construct of the Federal Election Commission and the News Election Service, and we picked a fight with the newly formed Commission on Presidential debates in a case, Fulani V. Brady, that wound up on then Judge Mikva’s desk.

The case was groundbreaking. Lenora Fulani, the first African-American and woman to appear on the presidential ballot, was arbitrarily denied a place in the Presidential debates in 1988. Fulani sued to challenge the tax exempt status of the Commission on Presidential Debates, which the DNC and RNC had only recently established to guarantee direct party control over the fall debates.

We lost the case on the grounds that Fulani lacked standing to challenge the CPD’s tax exempt status. But Judge Mikva dissented most eloquently, and his words still echo today. He wrote “whatever its proper role in correcting imbalances and imperfections in the status quo, government certainly must not abandon its posture of nonpartisanship. The government of any democracy, let alone one shaped by the values of our Constitution’s First Amendment, must avoid tilting the electoral playing field, lest the democracy itself become tarnished.”

His words inspired me and many others to devote our lives to the advancement of democracy – which 25 years later continues to require vigilance.

Today, American politics lies somewhere on the spectrum between rigged and dysfunctional. Voters are angry and distrustful of politicians and political institutions, most especially the political parties which have overstepped their bounds in many ways. 43% of Americans now identify as independents — a protest against the complete partisanization of every aspect of politics and government. Our democracy has become tarnished because lawmakers have indeed tilted the playing field in favor of party control and against new voices, new coalitions, and most especially the voters, as Judge Mikva warned 25 years ago.

And so the work continues and I hope he would be proud. As president of Open Primaries, a national political reform organization, we are working to push back against partisanship and enact public primaries so that everyone can vote for who they want, regardless of party. We’re an important voice in the growing voter empowerment movement. In September, I am coming back to Chicago to participate in a political reform summit sponsored by the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform at Columbia College. We will be discussing—among other issues like redistricting reform—“Illinois Primaries: How Open Are They?”

Abner Mikva recognized the danger of government itself becoming a platform for partisan politics many years ago. We would be wise to heed his words as we grapple with how to move our politics, and our country, forward.  I remember his words every day, just as I remember those chocolate bars.

John Opdycke
President of Open Primaries

A Wooded Island Problem?

To the Editor:

In the early 1890s, the Japanese government, striving to break free of cultural bonds that had shut it off from the western world for centuries, heard about the great World’s Columbian Exposition that was under construction in the burgeoning city of Chicago on the shores of Lake Michigan.  Eager to be welcomed by the West, the Japanese offered monetary support for the fair, now called the World’s Columbian Exposition, an amount exceeded only by that of the United States.

The Japanese made another offer as well, one that chief of construction Daniel Burnham could not resist.  The Japanese wanted to construct a special building, a “Ho-o-den,” or Phoenix Pavilion, and gift it to Chicago following the fair to celebrate the city’s rapid recovery from the Great Fire of 1871 and be a symbol of peace between the U.S. and Japan.

There was one problem.  The Japanese wanted to build the Ho-o-den on Wooded Island, the site that chief landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted had specifically designated as a place of respite and quiet reflection, far away from the noise and hubbub of the rest of the fair. Olmsted believed that such green space was necessary for urban living, and the Wooded Island served this important purpose within the fair’s well-planned city environment.

Burnham used his administrative skill to persuade Olmsted to change his mind about the Ho-o-den, which then was built by a cadre of handsomely uniformed Japanese carpenters brought to Chicago specifically for the task of building the Ho-o-den and a nearby Japanese tea house. Following Olmsted’s approval, the South Park Commissioners then agreed to accept the Ho-o-den on behalf of Chicago, and to maintain it as a permanent place to learn about Japan and experience Japanese culture.

The Ho-o-den and teahouse were instantly successful.  Both structures not only conveyed the spirits of democracy and community so important to Olmsted’s way of thinking, they left a lasting impression on visitors. Among them was young Frank Lloyd Wright, who developed a life-long fascination and relationship with Japan following his encounters at the fair, including ideas that led to his development of the Prairie style best exemplified by nearby Robie House.  Although the teahouse disintegrated shortly after the fair closed, the Ho-o-den remained an important feature of Jackson Park until destroyed by fire in 1946.

We now have the opportunity to reestablish this site, and recognize it as one of the most important sites reflecting U.S.-Japan relations for over 120 years.  Yoko Ono recognized this when she first visited the original site of the Ho-o-den in 2013. For her, this site has a unique and extraordinary past and future as symbol of peace. Not just between the U.S. and Japan, but among all people and all nations. In fact, we can all use more peace, not just internationally, but locally on our streets and in our parks. She has given us an opportunity to learn about our past and create the future together.  It is our responsibility to use it.

Frances S. Vandervoort
Jackson Park Advisory Council
Washington Park Conservancy
Robert W. Karr, President
Project 120

Stop gap measure a plus but the real work still lies ahead of us

To the Editor: 

Last week, just before the beginning of the new fiscal year, the General Assembly passed a stop-gap measure that provides much needed funding for our human service providers, our public universities and most importantly for our local schools to ensure they open on time in the fall.

The spending plan provides $1 billion in funding for higher education, including funds to resume the critical MAP grant program that so many of our students rely on to fund their college expenses.

It also provides additional dollars for CPS by putting more money through the poverty grant. These additional dollars will help us begin to deal with the district’s ballooning structural deficit that was created, in no small part, because the State of Illinois has serially underfunded CPS for decades.

It is important to understand, however, that despite these additional funds, the inequity in the funding formula itself went unchanged and therefore continues to punish poor students all across the state. This is yet another reminder that real work still lies ahead of us.

To be clear, this is an important step forward, but by no means does this constitute a cure for the devastation this governor has inflicted on the state of Illinois in his attempt to hold everyone hostage to his anti-union, anti-working family political agenda. There has been real and irreversible harm done to the entire state because of this governor’s political games that could take a very long time to fully recover from.

It is an outrage that it has taken the state this long to pass even a temporary stop-gap budget measure. I am hopeful that the progress made last week for our students, our social service providers and our most vulnerable is a sign of better days ahead.

I’m even more committed to continuing the fight for new revenue, a more equitable education funding formula and a complete budget that reflects the needs and priorities of our great state.

State Rep.
Christian Mitchell
(D-26)

Stop gap budget shows shared concerns across the aisle

To the Editor: 

Along with a bipartisan coalition of my colleagues, I proudly voted for a compromise that will allow schools to open on time, fund state government operations for the next six months, keep road and transit construction workers on the job and provide desperately needed relief to our human services providers.

This long-overdue action was a clear indication that despite our differences, many of our most central priorities are deeply shared across the aisle. When we lay aside partisan talking points and step away from lines in the sand, we can rebuild badly frayed trust and agree on the basics: education, public safety, investment in communities, health care resources and compassionate, quality services for the most vulnerable among us.

Our work isn’t done; many state functions will still only be funded through January, and passing a budget for the remainder of the fiscal year will require an even more difficult conversation about revenues. This is no time to return to the barricades. I will continue to engage in the working group process, which has made headway and possesses the potential to develop more sustainable solutions so we don’t find ourselves in the same situation this time next year.

We need to be honest with the people of Illinois about what it’s going to take to recover from the impasse and move forward toward a stronger future. I look forward to continuing this challenging but rewarding work so we can fund our shared priorities in a responsible way.

State Sen.
Kwame Raoul
(D-13)

There is no need to mar the middle of Jackson Park with another intrusive artificial object

To the Editor:

I submit that Project 120’s plan to put a music pavilion east of the Darrow Bridge in Jackson Park might not have been appreciated by the park’s designer, the landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. In 1891, he wrote a letter protesting the placement of a music hall on Wooded Island, saying that people should consider it “a place of relief from all the splendor and glory and noise and human multitudinousness of the great surrounding Babylon.”  In his public advocacy, Olmsted repeatedly showed that he understood the value in unbuilt spaces, saying for example that Presque Isle in Michigan, “should not be marred by the intrusion of artificial objects.”

Jackson Park is one of our city’s few remaining spots of urban wilderness. Birdwatchers come from far away to see the animals it draws, families come to picnic, many come to fish. As our population grows, such places become fewer and fewer, and as habitat decreases across the hemisphere, the number and variety of birds decreases as well.

The proposed pavilion will displace trees and green space, impair views, and bring extra noise, all unnecessarily. We already have many permanent music venues on the South Side of Chicago. Jackson Park itself already hosts the Chosen Few festival every year without the need for permanent structures. If the communities surrounding Jackson Park collectively decide, through a local, open process, that public land is needed for a new music venue, we can find a more appropriate location for it than in the center of a natural area.

Olmsted’s attitude was prescient. He was writing in an era before amplified music, before the Park was surrounded by road noise from traffic moving at highway speeds, before several bird species once found in Chicago went extinct.  Olmsted knew from experience what neuroscientists have since quantified, that a walk in nature has beneficial effects on the brain.  He would have understood that that there is no need to mar the middle of his park with another intrusive “artificial object.”

Eric Ginsburg

Closing of Bixler Playlot for construction is frustrating and insulting

To the Editor:

During the spring and summer, I brought my 4-year-old daughter to Bixler Playlot almost every day. It was our home away from home, and we could be almost guaranteed to meet friends there every time we went. It had a sandbox, water, and a fence to keep her safe.

On Friday morning, I told her we could spend the day at Bixler Playlot, since the weather was forecast to be comfortable. We arrived to find that it was in the process of being bulldozed. My daughter was surprised and confused. So was I, since there had been no advance warning that this would happen. There has been no opportunity for the community of parents and children who use the park to give input or find out what the city has planned for this important community space. We also have no idea how long the park will be closed in the middle of summer, when it is the perfect time to play outside.

The way the Bixler Playlot changes have been handled is extremely frustrating and insulting, given how important it is to so many members of our community. I and many of my fellow parents want an opportunity to talk with those responsible for the destruction of the park to make sure that the following guidelines are honored:

  1. The shade trees should not be cut down.
  2. The sandbox and water feature should be kept.
  3. The fence should be kept.
  4. Playground equipment should be geared towards children 7 and under.
  5. The park should be reopened as quickly as possible.

Bixler is a unique space. There is no other park in Hyde Park with the same combination of shade, water, equipment for young children, central location, and a fence. I hope the Chicago Parks Department is willing to listen to how important this park is to our community.

Sincerely,
Sarah Burgin

Many thanks to JPAC and MPAC

To the Editor:

Team JPAC, MPAC, and Chicago Parks Foundation,

We made “It’s Your Parks Day “ on Saturday, a wonderful success and gift to our community and our families.

In Jackson Park, we removed the mud from the Music Court aisles, removed the bottles, cans, and trash from the shoreline of the Columbia Lagoon and the surrounding the cherry tree Picnic Area and mulched and cleared the debris from around the aisles of the Music Court and its Trees.  We Rock!  We distributed the a giant pile of mulch in the hot sun to all of our trees.

In the Midway Plaissance Park, we removed invasive species from the gardens and covering the entrance walks, removed the debris from the soccer playing fields, removed the dead leaf debris from the rink border, and trimmed back the low hanging, face slapping  limbs covering the entrance, sidewalks, and bike paths.

The Chicago Park District under Forester and Volunteer Projects Coordinator Jerome Scott, brought tools and mulch and picked up our many bags of debris.

We opened up and made safer areas for family fun in both parks.

After all the hard work, we gathered on the Midway for exciting interactive nature stories and tales by Master Storyteller Judith Heineman.

Children were enthralled as they acted out the stories while Judith told the stories. Judith, who has told stories around the world, graciously donated her storytelling time to help stimulate more young families interest in nature and in our South Parks restoration.   The experience left lasting positive park memories.  Kids were retelling and acting out her stories as they left the parks.

What we learned is that more young families come out together to help in park restoration when storytelling is included. We need to find grants to partner with storytellers to present at coming Jackson Park Events.

It was a win-win day for the South Parks, the CPD and our JPAC and MPAC Volunteers.

Thank you team volunteers we are proof that when volunteers take ownership and  personal responsibility cleaning, planting, repairing, and financially supporting new programs for our families, rather than simply complaining about the park needs, we can proudly proclaim to the community. “ It is our  park!”

You are the best!
Louise McCurry
JPAC and MPAC

City giving away our lakefront to celebrities

To the Editor:

Today on Facebook I saw Project 120’s video about the Yoko Ono sculpture on Wooded Island.

According to Project 120, “[Yoko Ono] already had a very special connection to the city of Chicago. When she first visited in the 1970s, she stayed at a hotel overlooking Lake Michigan and later went back home to New York where she began to compose her hit song ‘Walking on Thin Ice.’”

What, a very special connection? That’s awfully tenuous!

Now she says she stopped here one day and immediately felt some affinity to the island? She needs to “heal the ground” here? Why? What is wrong with it in the first place? Who does Yoko Ono think she is? Unlike most of the people who are cheering on this project, I actually live here, and I don’t see anything like what she is seeing on that spot of Wooded Island.

Is this the year where we just give away parts of our precious lakefront to any celebrity who wants to erect some personal monument to themselves?

Peter Zelchenko

Thanks to Alderman Hairston!

To the Editor: 

Editor’s note: An open letter to Alderman Leslie Hairston from Jackson Park Watch

Dear Alderman Hairston,

Jackson Park Watch wants to thank you for convening and leading the May 31 community meeting on the future of Jackson Park.  The fact that over 170 residents from communities surrounding the park came out on a very wet and stormy night to listen to and question Park District CEO Michael Kelly and others indicates the depth and breadth of interest in and concern about the proposals for the future of our park that have been promoted by Project 120.

We congratulate you especially on a well-run meeting that, in spite of the overflow crowd, allowed participants to give voice to questions on a variety of issues representing many points of view  — the history of Project 120, the role of the Park District, the scale and location of the proposed Phoenix Pavilion (including whether any new structure is needed at all), concern about loss of trees, green space and parking, as well as about the fates of the golf course and driving range, basketball court, and tennis courts, among them.

We are particularly pleased that the meeting provided the community with clarifications on some key concerns: 

  • Contrary to Project 120’s recent presentations, traffic over the restored Darrow Bridge will be limited to pedestrians, bicycles, and emergency vehicles only.  There will not be a road for regular automobile traffic leading over the Bridge with parking along both sides.
  • The pavilion proposal is a concept, not a done deal.   Because the idea of a road across the Bridge is off the table, there is a great opportunity to revisit not only the proposed location of this pavilion (on the current parking lot), but also its size and scope.  A relocated, down-sized, simplified pavilion could far better align with community views.

We are grateful that you are committed to working with Mr. Kelly to develop a procedure and process for community input that will fully represent the Jackson Park community in all its diversity.  The May 31 meeting was a great step toward that goal, and, once again, we thank you.

Brenda Nelms and Margaret Schmid
Coordinators
Jackson Park Watch

Jackson Park: Sacred Cows and Holy Beavers

To the Editor:

Last week I learned of local concern that the Jackson Park Golf Driving Range, constructed in 1978 near the site of the Nike Missile Base, was soon to be sacrificed to Project 120’s plan to convert the space into a spacious lawn. I also learned that beavers would soon be unwelcome facets of Jackson Park ecology. Never mind that, in 1978, when the golf driving range was about to become reality, concerned citizens sought the help of former alderman Leon Despres to prevent the Chicago Park District (CPD) from destroying much of the existing Bobolink Meadow. Documents, signed by Mr. Despres, were presented by a local resident to the chief lawyer of the CPD, temporarily halting bulldozers poised to tear up the precious land. Hyde Parkers, who chained themselves to driving range posts, were cut free by CPD employees, carted off to district police headquarters, and released at the request of Mr. Despres. Now, it seems, the driving range is a sacred cow – to be saved at all cost!

Beavers travel north along Lake Michigan’s shoreline from south lakeshore wilderness areas to seek out fresh stands of new and mature trees. They often settle in Jackson Park’s lagoons to build lodges and feed upon branches with their powerful teeth and jaws. CPD employees trap the creatures, take them back to forest preserves, knowing full well that many of them will return. Beavers are persistent. It seems, that in the eyes of some, they are sacred as well.

Thank you, Alderman Hairston, for arranging the community meeting about Jackson Park issues on June 1 at LaRabida Hospital, where more than 150 people braved a rainstorm to voice their concerns about Jackson Park’s future. Many came to voice concern about Project 120, an program perceived by many to threaten the very survival of the. CPD officials present included CEO Michael Kelly and Heather Gleason, Director of Planning and Construction. Robert Karr, President of Project 120, and other associated indiviiduals sought to quell fears that the park would be permanently changed. Alderman Hairston’s talents as a moderator – and clarifier — were notable.

Points made during presentations included the following:

  • The Darrow Bridge, once restored, will NOT carry heavy vehicular traffic. (Community leaflets had indicated that it would become a major route between 59th Street and the east side of the park.) It would be for use by service vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians.
  • The golf driving range will be relocated to a new area adjacent to the golf course.
  • A pavilion, now a concept, not a definite plan, would occupy the space of two-and-one-half tennis courts. Its construction would not result in the loss of parking space. It should be noted that former Hyde Parker, Victoria Post Ranney, writes in her wonderful book, Olmsted in Chicago (Donnelley, 1972) that in his 1870 design of the “upper portion” of South Park (now Washington Park), Olmsted “planned a Pavilion, a large refectory building where meals would be served… Concerts would be held in front of the Pavilion … and the roof of the gallery toward the “Southopen Ground (presently the athletic fields) would serve as a grandstand for parades, exhibitions, and fireworks displays.” This shows, of course, that Olmsted was not averse to a pavilion and concomitant activities in his parks at all. For Olmsted, a major mission of urban parks was to advance the spirit of democracy among residents of all backgrounds. Parks were for human activity and involvement. Parks were places for meetings, discussions, campaigns, and social events. Parks were for people — people who can rejoice in space, beauty, and peace.

The Role of Project 120 in Jackson Park Planning.

Many folks are unaware that Project 120 is part of a collaborative effort involving the Chicago Park District and U. S. Army Corps of Engineers known as GLFER, Great Lakes Fisheries and Ecosystem Restoration. GLFER uses CPD and U.S. Government funds supplemented by private funds raised by Project 120.  GLFER is committed to addressing park management issues in view of evolving urban needs and the inevitable climate changes foreseen for the 21st Century. Also, part of its duty is to inform and involve the public in all actions proposed or taken.  Numerous meetings have been held to discuss all issues related to the project. Questions (that appeared on a Jackson Park Watch handout on May 29) about “how the Park District feels about…, “ or “what the Park District thinks about …” are specious and misleading.  The three units making up GLFER are in total agreement.  Project 120 is easier to say than GLFER, but it is NOT a defining term.

Project 120 has engaged the nation’s foremost expert on Frederick Law Olmsted, Patricia O’Donnell of Heritage Landscapes, LLC, for advice about park design. Working for GLFER is the outstanding young CPD ecologist, Lauren Umek, who analyzes and suggests the very best ecological practices for management of the special treasure that is Jackson Park.

We are so lucky.

Frances Vandervoort
Jackson Park Advisory Council
Washington Park Conservancy

I will never go to the stores at 5105 Harper again

To the Editor:

Editor’s note: Bree Andrews sent the Herald a letter that she sent to Chicago Parking about her unpleasant experience with an employee of the company.

Dear Chicago Parking:

This afternoon I did some shopping with my children at the Hyde Park Marshalls. We were happy to have local shopping and spent $150.00 at the store. We had our parking ticket validated. When we went to exit the garage onto Lake Park, the woman in front of us called you to say the machine wasn’t accepting tickets. Begrudgingly you opened the gate for her after interrogation. When I drove up, of course the ticket slot was jammed or slowed and didn’t accept my ticket either. Your gate agent insisted I give you my name and my phone number to exit the building and suggested that if I didn’t want to, I would have to find another exit (there is no other exit I could identify). Five cars waited behind me. My ticket stub number is 03698 and my time was 6/12/16 15:06.

I will never go to the stores at 5105 Harper again. I work for the University of Chicago and my children attend the Laboratory Schools and I will encourage them to park elsewhere and shop elsewhere.

Bree Andrews

I still want to know more about Ald. Sophia King

To the Editor:

I have read various articles about the new 4th ward alderman Ms. Sophia King.  Although I am not familiar with her I was encouraged to hear about her background and passions.

My apprehension in becoming too excited is that when I took a close look her resume that she submitted it says a lot but not much specifically.  In addition, I have some concerns with the lack of significance that her organization Harriett’s Daughters has demonstrated which she credits as a vehicle for her work in the community; the organization’s website was surprisingly light on activities, outreach and any measurable outcomes.  This is surprising since she does point to this organization as one of her major outlets in which she was an advocate.

Could someone please identify where one can get a better understanding of her previous work that led to her appointment?  Although I do not get around like I use to, I have not run into her at the various, educational, economic, safety and housing forums and meetings that I have attended.

Education has been stated as a big focus of Alderman King’s, but I do not recall her voice or person present during the Dyett journey of the past three plus years or during the back and forth of the fifty school closings.

In addition, her organization’s Facebook has only 1 post.  They may just not very active on social media as myself, but I would think that they would want to be more active to promote their work and accomplishments to recruit support.

I have attempted to do various searches with her name and found very little output.  Not much more than I would for a person as myself that has been retired for 16 years.  I do not know Ms. King but I am surprised that there isn’t more work of hers to identify given that that was the reason stated that she was chosen.

I would like to presume the best about Alderman Kings’ resume and application that was released the other weekend, but I am concerned that I cannot find any substance to support it.

Her resume states that she has not held a day-to-day job since 2003.  I would just like to better understand that if she left for-profit work to focus on the community why her local activities for the community can’t be verified.  This seems puzzling today with the amount of information one can gather.

I also understand that she has been interested in this position since former Alderman[Toni] Preckwinkle stepped down but was not able to garner political support.  The relevance with this, if true, is that if she was interested in this position six years ago, why would she not have become more visible with things to point to since then.

She has said on numerous occasions that she was not sent by anyone.  I believe that.  I have not heard one elected official come out to speak aggressively in her favor.  That is both refreshing and alarming at the same time.

The same individuals from city hall that shared that she had an interest back in 2010/2011 said her sponsors may not have been elected officials but that the mayor was lobbied by the business elite.

Any input that you can give would be appreciated.  Although I do my best to get out of the house to attend community events and meetings (much less the past year due to a debilitating condition) so I am thankful for outlets like your newspaper and web presence to get information out to the masses when I cannot be there in person.

My goal is to get a more precise understanding of who Ms. King is by clarifying who she has been.  There is a local pastor that said he would not stand by as someone who has not been involved in community engagement becomes alderman.  Well, he is one of the references for Ms. King, yet I can not find any references to Ms. King being involved in the community on the development, education or violence that has been out front as issues the 4th ward has faced.

The good news is I have heard again and again that Alderman King has worked tirelessly to meet individuals, groups and organizations since she took office.  That is a great sign of someone that is willing to work and a reason to think the best.

Anything you can do to bring light to this subject I would be thankful.

Thank you.  

Sincerely,
James T. Wilson

Thank you Hyde Park for making my 90th birthday a great one

To the Editor:

Just celebrated my 90th birthday and the 40th anniversary of my organization, Jane Addams Senior Caucus. Your newspaper helped me considerably. In addition to my family, I wish to thank my friends and neighbors in Hyde Park and the surrounding communities as well as Alderman Leslie Hairston who honored me with an uplifting statement which she passed through the City Council. And of course I cannot forget the generosity of Mac Properties in which magnificent space the event took place. If there is a better neighborhood any place, I wish to know where it is.

Alfred D. Klinger

Aging is an issue that affects us all

To the Editor:

Thank you to the Herald for the good pictures of the community forum discussion on May 7 of our important consideration of issues that affect us all.   This forum was organized by the Chicago Hyde Park group of OWL ~ The Voice of Women 40+, on the topic of the 2016 Mother’s Day Report Aging in Community: Contributions and Challenges of Different Models. The research summarized in the report builds on the facts that our community — and our world — is aging. Many of us are surviving to be old and very old, and we find that most of our housing is not designed for our changing needs and capabilities. Many forms of organizations are operating to meet some of the needs of this changing demographic — hoping to create more aging-friendly communities so that adults can do what 90 percent say they want to do: stay in their own community as long as possible. In our own community we have several different options, which differ in how they are organized, governed, managed, and funded. Many services are funded by taxes, such as the Atlas Senior Center in South Shore (whose Director, Robin Tillotson, spoke at the Forum; and the City of Chicago Home Service Division, who provides care for Grace Latibeaudiere-Williams and her 100-year old mother, Herga. Some services are provided by philanthropic foundations, such as the Mather Lifeways Cafe on 83rd and Wabash; Beedie Jones reported on how they provide physical fitness, social activities, and nutrition to thousands of clients every year. Consumer-driven models include the Villages, now a national movement; they are member-funded, member-organized, and much of the work is done by volunteers; Susan Alitto, the Founding President of CHPV spoke about how we work.  Esther Wong, representing a very large, complex model, The Chinese American Service League, receives tax supports, philanthropic funding, member fees, and uses professionals and volunteers for programs from birth to death.

Each model has benefits and challenges. The emerging goal must be to work on collaborating across groups and organizations who are trying to contribute something toward aging well. Collaboration is much more difficult than working within one type of service, or one particular need, but because we need to be more efficient in using scarce resources we need to work together. A wide variety of public-private partnerships have been developed — sometimes coming out of forums like this one. This forum was co-sponsored by our Chicago Hyde Park Village, the DuPage County OWL, Lincoln Park Village, North Shore Village, and Skyline Village.

We had a capacity crowd. Thanks to the University of Chicago Community Programs Accelerator for the meeting space, and to all the community supporters who provided refreshments for the lovely reception that followed the discussions. The report is available online at owl-national.org; I have a limited number of printed, bound copies of the report available for $10.00.

My future goals are to work more intensively toward an aging-friendly community, and toward a dementia-friendly, utilizing the manuals developed already. We have some elements already, but we have much more to do.

Margaret Hellie Huyck, Ph.D.
President, OWL National Board
President, Chicago Hyde Park Village