Daley vs. Reilly on Children’s Museum

(Photo: 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly.)

Today, was a litmus test for 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly. He failed.

Today, Alderman Reilly announced his opposition to the proposed relocation of the Chicago Children’s Museum from Navy Pier to a site on East Randolph Street in Grant Park.

Over the weekend on Carless, I expressed my dismay at the elitist, almost racist overtones of a September 2 Chicago Tribune editorial opposing the museum’s move (in a post that generated a surprising amount of confidential interest). Yesterday, Mayor Daley went a step further and publicly questioned whether the New Eastside Association of Residents (NEAR) simply doesn’t want black children at play on substantially lily-white East Randolph Street. A quote from Daley in yesterday’s Tribune:

“You mean you don’t want children from the city in Grant Park? Why? Are they black? Are they white? Are they Hispanic? Are they poor? You don’t want children? We have children in Grant Park all the time. This is a park for the entire city.”

And further placing a fine point on the issue, Daley plopped the equally obvious elephant down on the table when asked whether the 110-year-old civic decree barring new buildings in Grant Park should be considered iron-clad:

“We would never build Millennium Park then.”

Exactly. Grant Park is the city’s front yard, not just my Ward’s front yard (I live in the 42nd Ward and staunchly supported Reilly over the failed juggernaut that was Burt Natarus). It’s the city’s front yard. It’s open to everyone. And if NEAR really wants to take that decree seriously, why don’t I see them picketing Millennium Park?

I am deeply disappointed that Alderman Reilly, elected on a populist plank of open doors and open ears for all 42nd Ward residents, has overreacted to the, ahem, minority opinion of the NEAR NIMBYs. Certainly, anyone living adjacent to a major park, museum, or in my case (as I blogged about for more than a year, including

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