Bears on our Lakefront?
Today I’m writing two stories about bears.
About 40 years ago when I first started teaching in a public school, school shootings were unheard of.
By the time I retired a decade ago they had become sickenly more common.
In reaction school districts, including my own, instituted all kinds of plans to keep our buildings locked down and supposedly safe.
I say, “supposedly” because with the easy access to guns, how safe could they make it?
The plans were constantly changing and included all kinds of lockdown drills which required - among other things - to gather my young students under tables in the corner with the lights out keeping them quiet for the duration of the drill.
The drill would start, my principal informed us, when she gave the signal over the school intercom, “There’s a bear in the hallway!”
That announcement ended any chance I was keeping the young ones quiet.
I’m thinking of that story this morning with the news that the Chicago Bears, among the worst football teams in the NFL, is looking at land on the Lakefront to build a new stadium.
They waited to make this announcement a day after my friend Juanita Irizarry announced she was stepping down as executive director of Friends of the Parks.
I think not.
You might recall that Juanita and the Friends of the Parks was instrumental in keeping the George Lucas Star Wars Museum from building its crap on our Lakefront when Rahm Emanuel was mayor.
The FOTP (not to be confused with the Fraternal Order of Police, the FOP) goal is to protect our parks and Lakefront from encroachment by the rich and the powerful.
It’s not an easy job in the city of big shoulders and deep pockets.
Juanita Irizarry, the soon-to-be-former executive director of Friends of the Parks, advised the Bears to save their time and money.
Irizarry’s group also led a legal battle that forced Star Wars movie mogul George Lucas to cancel plans to build a $743 million museum on those same 17 acres.
The lakefront 'belongs to the people' and cannot be used for new construction of any kind, Irizarry said Thursday.
'The public trust doctrine applies today the same way that it did when George Lucas tried to build on this site. Our lakefront is not available for development in the private interest. It is surprising that they would even consider it. Anyone who is aware of the history would imagine that their viability study would have to include the certainty of a lawsuit from Friends of the Parks to protect against development on our lakefront,' Irizarry said.
'At the very least, it would get tied up for a good while in legal action. Friends of the Parks’ board is calling our lawyer as we speak. There is really no version of the world in which Friends of the Parks would not respond very aggressively to any attempt to build additional structures on the lakefront.' (Sun Times)
Whether it’s schools or parks, you gotta watch out for those bears.