So, okay, suffering voters in communities hit hard by increased noise at O’Hare International Airport sent a loud message to Chicago and Aviation Commissioner Rosemarie Andolino. But will Chicago and Andolino hear it? Will they do anything? Do they care?
No, no and no.
As the Chicago Tribune’s transportation writer Jon Hilkevitch reported:
Chicago and suburban voters sent a clear message to federal aviation officials and Mayor Rahm Emanuel on [Election Day] Tuesday that a combination of strict controls and remedies is needed to address increasing noise over many communities from jets at O’Hare International Airport.
On an advisory referendum proposal that would require the Federal Aviation Administration to create and enforce mandatory nighttime “fly-quiet” hours around O’Hare, the “yes” votes were 92 percent in Bensenville, 82 percent in Bloomingdale, 90 percent in Itasca and 92 percent in Wood Dale, according to final election returns.
These are the same suburbs that dropped out of the fight against the expansion that gave produced the new noise. These are the same Chicago neighborhoods that remained silent back when O’Hare expansion opponents needed their support. And when expansion opponents warned those Chicagoans, like their suburban neighbors, would also suffer from increased noise.
Andolino made it abundantly clear that she, nor the city, nor the Federal Aviation Commission, nor Mayor Rahm Emanuel nor the rest of the Chicago and Illinois power structure will do much to make life better. As Hilkevitch also reported on Oct 31:
Aldermen pressing for a firm commitment from the city to reduce noise from jets at O’Hare International Airport were told Friday by the outgoing aviation commissioner that “airplanes do create noise.”
Regarding the record number of O’Hare noise complaints received from Chicago and suburban residents over the past year, Chicago Aviation Commissioner Rosemarie Andolino said: “I can’t say that information (on noise complaints) is going to change the result of anything. I can’t say to you that we are going to stop flying.”
During hearing on the Department of Aviation’s 2015 budget, Andolino, who is set to leave her post soon, offered no promises of noise abatement. Instead she stressed the economic importance to the region of the almost $10 billion O’Hare expansion project, and she pointed out that airplane noise is a national issue.
She might as well deployed the often-used idiotic response that “if they didn’t like the noise, they shouldn’t have moved to a house near the airport.” The problem is that some of these communities were in existence long before the airport was there (such as the 100-plus-year-old Bensenville). And a large majority of the residents were living there before former Mayor Richard M. Daley unveiled his cockamamie plans to expand O’Hare.
Notice that the aldermen representing these Chicago neighborhoods were getting the same back of the hand as their constituents. Those Northwest Side aldermen had better make a serious effort to alleviate the noise, or they will face some serious opposition in the coming election. Even though their efforts will be just as futile as was the suburban opponents’ when they were battling the expansion. There simply are too many political, organized labor, business and other interests that materially have and will benefit from the expansion to overcome.