Verify first, then trust 53rd Street McMobil “community consensus”

To the Editor:

Thank you, again, Hyde Park Herald for opening up your pages to different “voices” on the 53rd St. McMobil project, but again, please, do another investigative story to verify who were included (and NOT) included and who initiated “community consultation,” “surveys /polls/petition signing” and targeted approaches to residents or owners in the University of Chicago’s and specific developers’ properties — and when. “We” (speaking for the total community) cannot all be sorted into binary “towns vs. gowns” or pro-development vs. anti-development activists. We still lack answers to questions about the means and methods for “consulting” the “community,” honesty and transparency in describing all the plans and the boundaries and nature of proposed zoning changes and timelines for making irrevocable decisions. Simply repeating a talking-points litany from a project advocate or anti-project group doesn’t answer the ethics questions of means. I know people who are partly “gowns” (university) but also “towns” (near neighbors) who have questions about ethics, manipulation and “truth in advertising” but hold back from signing an official statement in the Herald or elsewhere. Simply declaring a community consensus won’t work for the many of us who know we were not consulted and have a “right to know.” Verify! That goes for you, too, Alderman Burns!

Louise Kaegi