I went for a jog today down to the South Shore Cultural Center. I don’t run with headphones, so I make my own music, and on my way back home I had local, updated lines from the Joni Mitchell song going through my head: “Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone. They paved paradise and put up a golf course.”
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Just to the east of the Cultural Center building itself is the South Shore Nature Sanctuary, which most people in the city won’t know they’ve got ’til it’s gone. It’s a small, quiet pocket of prairie and wetland plants and animals with an incredible lakeside view. It’s a favorite spot for those South Siders in the know, but the city is proposing to destroy it to install a hole on their proposed PGA golf course.
I’ve only heard three consistent themes at the Obama Presidential Center’s community meetings I’ve attended: people are happy and proud that the center will be located on the South Side; they want safe and easy access to the lakefront; and they want their quiet natural areas preserved.
I have not heard a clamor for an expanded golf course. And I have heard no explanation of why we need Tiger Woods and the PGA to elicit public funding for a new pedestrian bridge or underpass to the lakefront.
Locating the Presidential Center on the South Side is an incredible opportunity to focus attention on the surrounding neighborhoods. It will also be a tall order to adjust the local infrastructure to fit it in. Let’s work together to get that right, keeping in mind just what those who live here are actually asking for. There must be a better way to accomplish this than to tear out trees and prairie to make larger golf fairways. While we’re working on that, take Joni’s advice — if you haven’t visited the South Shore Nature Sanctuary yet, walk, bike, train or bus or drive over now, and find out what you’ve got.
Eric Ginsburg, Hyde Park
Hurting the taxis
Mayor Rahm Emanuel is responsible for the downfall of the Chicago taxi industry. He let Uber and Lyft come into the city and also allowed them to pick up at Midway and O’Hare airports.
My brother and myself have been full-time taxi drivers since 1974. We have never seen it so bad for us. We took in 30 percent less income in 2016 than in 2015.
Emanuel said he want to see a “level playing field” between taxis and Uber and Lyft. How can that be possible if there are more than 200,000 of these vehicles and only 6,999 taxis?
Dominick A. Quattrochi, Burbank
Wealth Care Act
What a novel and wonderfully caring Republican Wealth Care Act has been drafted.
A very simplistic concept. Give hundreds of billions of dollars in tax cuts to the ultra-rich, which of course they will allow to trickle down to cover the hundreds of billions of dollars taken from Medicaid to save the lives of the truly desperate and needy American people.
What a wonderful humanitarian group.
Michael F. Burke, Countryside