On Wednesday, the City Council approved a revision of the 2015 city ordinance that awarded the Barack Obama Foundation an extraordinary gift of priceless public land in a Frederick Law Olmsted-designed landmark park, Jackson Park. The amended ordinance was needed because the Obama Foundation, not satisfied with the city’s original offer, had set its sights and claims on a different plot of land in Jackson Park and developed – without public knowledge or any public discussion –  a plan that would require the closure of portions of Cornell Drive and the Midway Plaisance and a cascade of other road reconfigurations in Jackson Park, all to be funded by Chicago taxpayers.

We suppose that the aldermen voting for this new ordinance accept full responsibility for the cost of the infrastructure changes that will be needed to support the Obama Foundation plan (assuming, that is, that the required federal reviews also sign off on all the particulars). The initial (and no doubt low-balled ) estimate for that road work is $175 million. It remains to be seen if and where those public dollars will be found – whether in the city, the state or the federal coffers – but regardless of the pocket to be picked, Chicago taxpayers will feel the pinch.

We hope the voters will hold their aldermen accountable for this unnecessary tax burden — unnecessary because, as Obama Foundation officials have stated, the Obama Presidential Center could and would be built in Jackson Park without these road changes.  We tip our hats to Ald. David Moore,  the sole voice for fiscal responsibility amid the council’s monotone chorus.

Brenda Nelms and Margaret Schmid
Co-presidents, Jackson Park Watch

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Listen to the majority

Please tell people that Donald Trump and Scott Pruitt are trying to stop states from keeping state emissions lower to protect our air. What are these two trying to do, kill everyone? Why doesn’t this government wake up and begin listening to the majority of people, not just the rich?

Sally Broadhurst, Joliet

Save net neutrality

Net neutrality is as vital to a free and open internet as our free speech in the U.S. Constitution. It allows fairness and equity on the internet for all users of all walks of life. Let us keep it this way.

Angelo Sturino, Park Ridge

Damage is done

It’s hard to believe that it has only been a year since the special counsel started investigating this president. It seems like a lifetime has already come and gone, thumbing it’s nose as it passed by.

I worry that regardless of Mueller’s findings the damage that’s been done by Donald Trump in his short time in office will preoccupy future generations for many years to come.

Bob Ory, Elgin