Friends of the Parks are enemies of Chicago.

Friends of the Parks are enemies of Chicago.
Image rendering: Lucas Museum of Narrative Art.

If reports are true, Chicago may lose the proposed Lucas Museum. Time is running out. There are reports George Lucas is entertaining more amenable offers from other cities.

We can thank Friends of the Parks for that. Friends of the Parks turned into enemies of Chicago.

This fringe obstructionist group did everything to turn an asphalt parking lot into lakefront gem. A sow's ear into a silk purse.

They sued, tried extortion, refused to negotiate unless they won. Winning is everything. Public good, the will of the people, or bringing a cultural gem to Chicago is meaningless. It is all about winning. Being champions. That is all Friends of the Park cares about.

Friends of the Parks started out as a good organization fighting for a worthwhile cause. Then they attracted big donors and political clout. They became powerful. They became too powerful for their own good. Like most in the Chicago power class, they wield power with an iron fist sans the velvet glove.

Chicago becomes worse for their existence.

Chicago became great because people dreamed big dreams, made big plans, and executed them. Our attractions are world class. Chicago did not become great because of fringe groups like Friends of the Parks. The people who shatter big dreams.

George Lucas has a big dream to build a museum of narrative art on or near the water. On or near the water is a non-negotiable point. Mayor Emanuel offered them a parking lot on the Lakefront. An ugly, eyesore, asphalt parking lot that has no aesthetic value, except to tailgating Bears fans, who practice the fine arts of grilling and getting drunk.

Friends of the Parks stomped on Lucas's Chicago dream. He might take his museum someplace else. Someplace that sees the benefits of having a museum of narrative art on the waterfront.


Chicago is a political town. Many publicly jumped on the anti-museum bandwagon. They are like mindless lemmings going over the cliff.

These people are not against the museum per se. They are against the mayor. If Emanuel tried to pull a Mother Teresa and proposed opening a free hospital to serve the poor, they would crusade against it.

Pillorying the mayor is becoming the pastime of choice for many in Chicago.

These are not people of accomplishment. They are not dreamers. They did not build and execute big projects. They built no bridges, buildings, museums, or anything else. All they do is use their soap boxes and bully pulpits to punish the mayor for perceived grievances. Bashing the mayor is all they have to give their life meaning.

Mayor Emanuel is not known for his warm, friendly personality. He is not a cuddly teddy bear. He can be cold, aloof, and abrasive. He is responsible for his share of controversies. This is Chicago. Chicago is and always has been a controversial city with controversial mayors.

There should be no doubt Mayor Emanuel loves Chicago. He loves it with a passion. He wears it on his sleeve and makes it known. Like those who took a swampy trading post and turned it into a world class metropolis, Emanuel dreams big dreams.

Unlike Chicago's ancestor dreamers, Emanuel faces obstruction on every front. His dreams turn into nightmares.

Losing the Lucas Museum might be a shining victory for the fringe. It will be a loss for Chicago. Saving an ugly parking lot is not saving paradise. It is saving an ugly parking lot.

The museum will not harm the lakefront, alter the supposed view, or create any of the other damage the fringe asserts.

It will be an asset to Chicago and its people. It will draw city dwellers and tourists alike. It will tie in nicely with the artistic educational institutions near by.

Here is something to think about. What if that ugly asphalt parking lot had been chosen as the site of the Obama Presidential Library? Would the fringe be so obstructive? Would Friends of the Park go on a crusade to stop it? Or would they all roll over because people all over Chicago would revolt?

Friends of the Parks is committing suicide with the Lucas Museum. They will devastate themselves over a Pyrrhic victory. That will be a good thing for Chicago. Chicago does not need enemies like Friends of the Parks.

Here is a modest proposal. On the night before the Bears opening game in Soldier Field, the mayor should send in heavy equipment to totally destroy the parking lot.

On the morning of the opening game, he should hold a press conference with full renderings of a parkland with a huge pond or lagoon. It will be a sanctuary for geese. Geese whose droppings will be all over the area. Geese who will gaggle on the field. Geese who will cause all kinds of problems for the people living and recreating in the area.

He could name the park the George Lucas Goose Preserve. The geese dropping their guano all over the place can be named the Friends of the Parks Gaggle. This would honor Lucas for his broken dream and the Friends of the Parks for being silly as geese.

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