Disappointment in Obama’s Bait and Switch


To the Editor:

After Mayor Emanuel met President Obama’s ultimatum to build his presidential library in our historic, world-class Jackson Park rather than lose the library to another city, we learn the Obama Presidential Center will NOT contain a presidential library operated by the National Archives and Records Administration as all other presidential libraries are operated (see “Obama Presidential Center breaks from National Archives model” at http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/obamacenter/ct-obama-center-met-0512-20170511-story.html).  In fact, the Obama Presidential Center will be operated by the private Obama Foundation, and, as such, will not need to meet the minimum endowment requirements set by the federal government to ensure high-quality, long-term maintenance and operation.

Does anyone think even Mayor Emanuel would have agreed to give away a piece of an historic, world-class park if he had known from the beginning that in exchange he would receive:  (i) a local branch of the Chicago Public Library (see “Obama Presidential Center will have public, not presidential library” at https://chicago.suntimes.com/chicago-politics/sweet-obama-presidential-center-wont-house-presidential-library/), (ii) a basketball court, test kitchen, dance studio, recording studio, yoga classroom, etc. to be operated by a private entity (see “After months of secrecy, a glimpse of Obama Center’s evolving design” at: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/kamin/ct-met-obama-center-kamin-1105-story.html), and (iii) a bill to be paid by taxpayers for untold millions of dollars to reconfigure roadways throughout and surrounding the park in order to accommodate the Center (see “Obama Foundation floats idea of closing roads in Jackson Park” at http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/obamacenter/ct-obama-library-roadways-met-20170127-story.html)?

Not even former President Clinton, who didn’t demand that his private foundation be given land in Central Park or any other park for that matter, has shown the hubris that President Obama has exhibited.

Will the Fourth Estate please shout “the emperor has no clothes”?!

I nominate the Hyde Park Herald under your capable and courageous leadership.