Humboldt Park got rid of Riot Fest, so why not Douglass Park?

We love music and are not against music festivals, but they should never have been put in Douglass Park.

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Festival-goers crowd under shade from trees as the day tops out with a high of 90 degree on day 4 of Riot Fest at Douglass Park, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021.

Festival-goers crowd under shade on day 4 of Riot Fest at Douglass Park, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

The Sun-Times’ Aug. 16 editorial “Calls to quell Riot Fest should lead to compromise about Douglass Park” made some good points. However, I take issue with the statement that it would be rash to end all music festivals at the park.

I live within a few blocks of Douglass Park. My community has been demanding that Riot Fest be moved out of Douglass Park since 2015. Now there are three festivals that will close the south side of the park for 47 days this summer.

There are two trauma center hospitals that border whether these private, for-profit mega festivals are held. We have facts, learned via FOIAs and testimony from hospital staff, that prove these festivals negatively impact the health and safety of our neighborhood.

I spoke with a father who couldn’t get his 10-year-old son to the emergency room because the streets around the hospitals were impassable by car. He was forced to carry his son on foot for several blocks to get him to an emergency room.

We welcome and need jobs in our community, but those jobs need to be permanent and pay a living wage. Free festival tickets and a few temporary minimum-wage jobs don’t outweigh the risks of these festivals to the well-being of all of us.

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These festivals are making millions of dollars. That money does not come directly to Douglass Park or into the community, though tens of thousands of dollars do find their way into the campaign funds of the alderpersons.

We have surveyed local businesses, and overwhelmingly they saw no benefits; many say the congestion caused by the festivals drives customers away. It’s doubtful the city makes money when one considers the costs incurred during these festivals, such as overtime pay to the police, fire fighters, paramedics and other city services. I would love to see you do an investigative report that follows the money. That would be a story!

Let me remind you the Humboldt Park community was successful in removing Riot Fest from their park. They did not compromise.

What is the “balance” that you speak of? When is it OK for rich corporations to make even more money while putting working class communities at risk? Why shouldn’t public parks be public? We love music and are not against music festivals, but they should never have been put in Douglass Park.

Susan Mullen, Douglass Park

Prioritizing Chicago and Illinois

Boston, a city one-fifth the size of Chicago, received $116 million in federal money to purchase electric buses for public transportation — about four times the amount that Chicago did.

Maybe U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth should spend a little more time serving their constituents and less time getting their mugs on TV.

Michael Sullivan, Avondale

Another Academy Awards apology is in order

While the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences is in an apologizing mood (to Sacheen Littlefeather for her treatment at the 1973 Oscars), I suggest they reconcile, posthumously, with the great Hattie McDaniel.

On the evening Ms. McDaniel was presented with “a plaque” for her best supporting actress performance in the epic “Gone With The Wind” in 1940, she was not allowed to share the festivities with other Hollywood luminaries. Instead, Ms. McDaniel was relegated to a “booth in the back, in the corner, in the dark.”

It seems Jim Crow had made the trip from Atlanta to Los Angeles. The only thing missing was a “colored” sign. Or maybe there was a “Reserved for the McDaniel Party” placement card on the table to make it more Hollywood. Whatever the case, segregated seating for Ms. McDaniel was an insult that is as deserving of an apology as the one afforded to Ms. Littlefeather.

With an apology to Littlefeather in 2022 for a 1973 offense, the Academy has shown its desire to “make things right.” I suggest another opportunity for them to do so is to publicly acknowledge this act of indignity committed in 1940.

Maxine Williams, Oak Park

Kudos to Liz Cheney

Rare these days is the person who dares to stand up to the MAGA Republican Party that unfortunately has become just that, only concerned with the party. My father’s Republicans were concerned with doing what was right for our country and the people.

Enforcing the laws of the land and upholding the Constitution were at the top of that list. Ms. Cheney, I think you can consider your loss in Wyoming as a victory for democracy. Thank you for being one of the few people with the courage and integrity that may just save us yet.

Louise Bajorek, Burbank

Where’s Trump’s transparency?

After all his many failed and fatuous attempts to disparage the search of his home and all the individuals and agencies involved, Donald Trump is now calling for “transparency.”

What about his “transparency” regarding the reason(s) for his possession of government documents, what he has done with them, what he plans to do with them and which ones he might have destroyed?

William P. Gottschalk, Lake Forest

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