To the Editor:
Before we filed “Protect Our Parks, Charlotte Adelman vs. Chicago Park District and City of Chicago” predictions began to surface. Learned lawyers forecast the immediate dismissal of the lawsuit for lack of standing under the Public Trust Doctrine. Then, in what is characterized as “an unmistakable blow” to defendants, Judge John Robert Blakey ruled otherwise. Now some minimize the ruling as a mere “procedural response.” This is the ruling:
“Therefore, Individual Plaintiffs [and Protect Our Parks], as Illinois taxpayers and beneficiaries of the public trust, have established article III standing as to their Due Process claim under the public trust doctrine.”
Following the ruling, the Obama Foundation reiterated its long-held position that the lawsuit is without merit, adding, “We are confident that our plan for the Obama Presidential Center is consistent with Chicago’s rich tradition of locating world-class museums in its parks.” This conclusion ignores the “friend of the courts” brief, filed by Preservation Chicago and Jackson Park Watch, definitively rebutting defendants’ claim of a “tradition” of building museums in Chicago’s public parks.
Following Judge Blakey’s ruling predictions surfaced. Erin Adams, a South Shore resident and head of Southside Together for Hope said if the city and Park District lose, OPC will relocate out of the South Side. Nadav Shoked, Northwestern University law professor, predicted the case will ultimately fail.
For a solution that will unify the community and be environmentally friendly, former President Obama should acknowledge the need to relocate the Center to a South Side Chicago neighborhood. There it will replace weed-filled empty lots and derelict boarded up houses. There it will provide the community with a boost. Instead of a 450-car exhaust-producing garage, a Center in the neighborhood will be conveniently accessible to the people Mr. Obama seeks to serve. A neighborhood location will prevent the destruction of hundreds of mature, historic Jackson Park trees. And it will permit Jackson Park’s urban woodland to remain an efficient carbon sink absorbing and sequestering CO2, and offsetting global climate change. Finally, protecting Jackson Park will enable its trees to continue producing the oxygen needed by everyone on the South Side to breathe.
plaintiff in Protect Our Parks, Charlotte Adelman vs Chicago Park District
and City of Chicago