It will be the job of the next alderman of the 5th Ward to help bring the Obama Presidential Center into existence in Jackson Park. Leslie Hairston, who is running for reelection against community activist William Calloway, is the better candidate to do that job.
She has put a great deal of time into the project, and she understands the opportunities and problems it creates. Hairston has been criticized — by this editorial page, among others — for not pushing the Obama Foundation to sign a community benefits agreement for the center, but the real impediment to an agreement has been the former president himself. Barack Obama has made clear that he just won’t do it.
Hairston also deserves credit for helping to bring a Shop & Save grocery store to the ward, on 71st Street, filling a void left by the closing of a Dominick’s store. The ward includes Hyde Park, South Shore and Grand Crossing.
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