Will 'community activist' Barack Obama allow his library to trash a South Side community?

Barack Obama began as a "community activist" on Chicago's Far South Side, protecting regular folk from the plundering of the rich and powerful. Now the rich and powerful--Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the University of Chicago, to name a couple--are trying to grab parkland from a South Side neighborhood. For Obama's presidential library. (Story is here.)

Will he stand aside and let this happen? Will he betray his own constituency? He will if he is untrustworthy as he has proven to be when it comes to keeping his promises. (Refer to Obamacare and "keeping your doctor.")

Suddenly, Chicago parkland is not as sacrosanct as its friends once thought. It's publicly owned and should not be turned over to private enterprises, such as George Lucas' appetite for a lakefront site for his own museum. A perfect alternative is available, suggested by Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin, but Emmanuel and Lucas won't hear of it.

Nor should parkland be used for a quasi-private purpose such as the Obama library. (Just like the cash-strapped state of Illinois shouldn't have to come up with a $100 million bribe to help pay for the library.

Here's an important question that doesn't seem to be answered: Why grab valuable parkland and open space for the Obama library when there is so much vacant land in Chicago? Drive around the South Side, and you can see large swaths of abandoned and open land near the proposed library park sites. Much of it is owned by the city, which has a program of selling it off for $1.

Chicago should assemble this vacant open space for the library. Besides saving parkland, it would encourage economic development in neighborhoods that need a shot in the arm and reduce the city's inventory of barren land.

But that makes too much sense.



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  • Nothing is too good for Emperor Barrack I.

    Actually, it might not be as bad as it seems, as the "Library" will contain only his two autobiographies and a huge portrait of himself, so maybe one of those "Little Free Libraries" might do, in front of the huge mural of himself.


  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    I wonder if the George W. Bush Presidential Library has that shoe that was hurled at him in Baghdad? Or the video of the moment when he was informed of the 9-11 attack. I believe he was reading to a primary class. Maybe they're near his huge portrait.

  • A presidential library "trashes" a neighborhood? Is this how the people who live there feel?

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Some of them do. There's a long history of community organizing in Woodlawn and Kenwood, a lot of it against the UofC's harmful actions on the community. The Woodlawn Organization (TWO) is one example. Not as much organizing now (as much of the neighborhood has been abandoned or destroyed). So, yes, I see some irony in how Obama, a community organizer, will react to the library in the park.







  • In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    The articles you use as authority don't seem to support your argument. For example, the Tribune article concludes:

    "Despite the mistrust, there is one thing on which residents in the Washington Park and Woodlawn neighborhoods seem to agree — the library belongs on the South Side, even if parkland must be given up to make it happen."

  • In reply to jnorto:

    Come to think of it, jnorto, I read that too. As my brother Wally says when we play pinochle, good catch.

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