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EDITORIAL: A vote for Lincoln Yards right now is a vote against Lightfoot’s mandate

Artist's rendering of the Lincoln Yards development. | Provided by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM)

Anyone who says the last big questions about Lincoln Yards can be sorted out in 48 hours is not on the side of properly vetting the deal.

With all respect to Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd), we can’t see why he’s pushing for a Finance Committee vote on the massive deal as early as Wednesday. That would be just two days after committee chair Ald. Patrick O’Connor (40th) held up a vote, responding to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s request for a delay in deference to the wishes of Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot.

A Council vote this week would be an insult to all those Chicagoans who handed Lightfoot a margin of victory of almost 3-to-1 in the April 2 mayoral runoff. Lightfoot campaigned for a delay in final vote. And the notion that the $6 billion deal with fall apart if not approved right now does not, as Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) said, pass “the smell test.”

In an interview with WBEZ radio on Tuesday, Lightfoot said that her team has pored over hundreds of pages outlining the Lincoln Yards deal and come up with a list of questions that require better answers, especially with respect to creating affordable housing and assuring the full participation of minority- and women-owned businesses.

Lightfoot doesn’t want to kill the deal — she’s just looking for a better one for the whole city — and the developer Sterling Bay will make out fine when all is said and done.

Can Lightfoot cut a better deal? We honestly don’t know. City Hall, prodded by community groups and media critics, already has squeezed major concessions out of the developers, including more public park space and the scrapping of a proposed soccer stadium that could have created traffic nightmares.

But what’s the rush to hand over $900 million in tax subsidies? We just elected a new mayor.

Give her a chance.

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