OPC lawsuit  plaintiff responds


To the Editor:

South Side Neighbors for Hope’s letters reveal they 1) need a dictionary, 2) employ character assassination, and 3) cite unsubstantiated “Facts,” which I partially address:

1) “Ms. Adelman accuses us of advocating for “clear cutting entire urban woodland.” Nowhere have we advocated for the ‘clear cutting’ of anything.”

RESPONSE: “Clear cutting” is defined as “cutting down and removing every tree in an area.” OPC images depict a 19.3-acre city park area without pre-existing trees. By advocating for OPC in Jackson Park, SSN4H is advocating for clear cutting a portion of the woodland in the park.

2) “The site …  vegetation is typical park lawn and individual scattered trees … Obama Foundation” undertook “tree Inventory and Management Study” showing “nearly one-third of the trees are in less than ‘good’ shape.”

RESPONSE: “Woodland” is defined as “habitat where trees are the dominant plant form.” The “Study” shows more than two-thirds of the 19.3-acre site’s trees are in more than “good” shape. The following are mutually exclusive: One: “There is no woodland habitat on the proposed roughly 19-acre site.” Two: “The site vegetation is typical park lawn and individual scattered trees.” Because hundreds of trees are the site’s dominant plant form, there IS woodland habitat.

3) “Ms. Adelman writes that we have “publically [SIC] denigrated as “sleazy’ [residents who] dare mention their enjoyment in walking outdoors in the allegedly ‘ignored’ wooded portion of Jackson Park. Fact: Again, we have directed no such insult towards anyone who enjoys the park, as indeed we ourselves do.”

RESPONSE: The following fails to support the alleged “Fact”: “The [Logan] Foundation’s money will be used to block those efforts by supporting a sleazy lawsuit that echoes the South Side’s sad history.”

While a Hyde Park resident, I enjoyed Jackson Park, and I consider this lawsuit a moral imperative. Yelling “Shame!”, “sleazy” and “cynical” is character assassination. It may be naïve to challenge the millionaire-billionaire financed Obama Foundation and Mayor Emanuel’s political machine, but I am neither “cynical,” “ashamed” nor “sleazy.”

4) “From her far north Chicago suburban home, Ms. Adelman presumes to speak for what she imagines to be the “many Hyde Park residents [who] fear publically [SIC] voicing their personal objections to the [OPC] in Jackson Park for fear of ‘intimidation.’ Fact: The image of Hyde Parkers being too frightened to voice an opinion is so far from the reality as to be almost comic…daily interaction with the different communities” makes us “confident that the vast majority of Chicago’s South Side residents embrace the coming of the [OPC] to the proposed site in Jackson Park.”

RESPONSE: To divert attention from OPC moral and environmental negatives, SSN4H insinuates I am an unreliable and “almost comic” figure. Despite SSN4H’s imagined “confidence” in their alleged South Side constituency, South Shore, Hyde Park, Woodlawn, Washington Park neighborhoods represent a tiny fraction – 0.7% – of Illinois taxpayers. In contrast, 99.3% of Illinois taxpayers are forced to subsidize the Obama Foundation’s demand for almost $200,000,000 of infrastructure. Jackson Park belongs to all of us, but SSN4H considers it their personal construction site.

To “see how the [OPC] will enhance our beloved Jackson Park,” Jackson Park Watch and SSN4H led an Earth Day walking tour. “Enhance” is defined as “intensify, increase, or further improve the quality, value, or extent of.” I believe that enhancing Jackson Park equals increasing and improving its woodland.  It is painfully clear that SSN4H neither read nor understood a word of Olmsted’s writings. Yes, Olmsted wanted all classes of people to democratically interact in urban parks, but Olmsted’s definition of parks is the opposite of SSN4H’s. Jackson Park was meant as an outdoor “refuge” from the stresses of urban Chicago life, NOT a busy “hub” of buildings.  Except for necessities like bathrooms and field houses, Olmsted excluded man-made structures, and created “broad spaces of greensward, broken occasionally by groves of trees.” In contrast, SSN4H advocates destroying the trees.

In a dystopian twist, SSN4H’s “enhancement” to Olmsted’s “peacefulness of nature,” consists of a four-unit real estate development featuring an out-of-scale-with-any-park, 20-plus story-tall “tower,” an admission-charging museum holding neither Obama Administration papers nor artifacts, a 450-car garage, and a gigantic plaza designed (according to Mr. Obama) especially to host fast food trucks. This “enhancement” is completely and 100% contradictory to Olmsted’s vision for “our beloved Jackson Park.”


Charlotte Adelman

Plaintiff, Protect Our Parks Lawsuit