“Pay to Play” Muscle from Friends of the Parks Killed Lucas Museum

Greedo_detailAlthough George Lucas is familiar with a kind of mythical Chicago gangsterism, having brought us the character “Greedo” in the Star Wars franchise, he probably never thought he’d meet his earthling equivalent – until Friends of the Parks tried to extort him.

Friends of the Parks Executive Director Juanita Irizarry’s latest maneuver is a proposal that five percent of all revenues from the Lucas Museum be funneled to neighborhood parks. She just wants to wet her beak a little.

Why on earth this gang of thugs that call themselves “Friends of the Parks” has been given such control and power over the issue of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art is way beyond me – and most Chicagoans, I’m thinking. The “Friends” board members are not elected officials. They don’t represent anyone but themselves, and now they’re trying to load up their coffers.

With Friends like these who needs enemies?

The Chicago lakefront – and the City of Chicago – would benefit tremendously from the Lucas Museum. The Star Wars franchise has changed the world, and represents mythical storytelling at its finest. It’s Joseph Campbell’s journey of the hero writ large, and would afford untold educational benefits to Chicago’s children – not to mention a great deal of fun for grownups.

The greedy sourpusses that comprise the Friends of the Parks are irritated to see their beloved parking lot turned into a cultural, world-class icon that would draw tourists the world over. One can almost hear echoes of Blago (how’s that for a Lucas villain name?) in the FOP board meetings, looking at the piece of land near the lake and saying, “This is f***ing golden!”

Who are these Board Members that seem to have been given a license to kill when it comes to potential blockbuster buildings? It’s only fitting to call them out by name. They are Serge Pierre-Louis, Patricia Ballman, Victor Bernhard, Paul Boyd, Mark Calderone, Oscar D’Angelo, Sean Durkin, Ian Grossman, Diana Harris, Gavin McCarty, Janet Reali, Richard Simon, Bryan Whitehead, Rachel C. Steiner, and Gavin Tun. For the ones who are doctors, I left out the “M.D,’s” just to disrespect them the same way they are disrespecting Chicago residents.

Way to go, guys. You blew this one big time. 

Enjoy your parking lot.

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