Disappointment in Obama’s ultimatum


To the Editor:

Great editorial this past Wednesday regarding Jackson Park.

As you know, Chicagoans, especially those of us who’ve chosen to live together on the South Side, felt an immense, special pride and satisfaction on the night Senator Obama was elected President of the United States. We felt even greater pride and satisfaction on the night President Obama was re-elected, affirming our feelings of four years earlier. Likewise, we were thrilled when President Obama chose to locate the Obama Presidential Library on the South Side of Chicago!

However, many of us were not at all pleased with President Obama’s ultimatum that either his presidential library would be located in one of Chicago’s world-class parks or it would be located in another city. The ultimatum was especially disappointing because there is so much vacant, undeveloped land available on the South Side and The University of Chicago had assembled a large site of just such land for just such a purpose abutting the western edge of the world-class Washington Park. In addition, the ultimatum was disappointing given the irony that President Obama started his career as a community organizer, who years ago would have presumably preferred building a presidential library on vacant, undeveloped land in the Washington Park community.

But this is Chicago, so Mayor Emanuel and other “public servants” (who seemingly exist to provide whatever the mayor desires; see for example “Chicago City Council unanimously approves South Side park plan for Obama Presidential Library” at https://news.uchicago.edu/article/2015/03/19/chicago-city-council-unanimously-approves-south-side-park-plan-obama-presidential) agreed to give Obama a piece of the historic, world-class Jackson Park (and also recently a piece of the Midway Plaisance) in order to meet President Obama’s demand that his Presidential Library be located in, not next to, a world-class park.