200 faculty members from Obama’s former employer, the University of Chicago, issued a formal letter last Monday stating its opposition to the Obama presidential center being built at Jackson Park.
- First, there are concerns that the Obama Center as currently planned will not provide the promised development or economic benefits to the neighborhoods
- Second, the current plan calls for taking a large section of an historic public park and giving it to a private entity for development. Jackson Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, is on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of the most important urban parks in the nation.
- Third, because of the planned location of the Obama Center, the Obama Foundation plans to take over a section of another historic, public park — Midway Plaisance, also designed by Olmsted — and turn it into an above-ground parking garage. They have to date rejected many pleas of neighborhood groups to place the garage underground.
- Finally, it is the taxpayers of Chicago who are going to be forced to pay hundreds of millions of dollars for this project, according to estimates by the Chicago Department of Transportation.
- The required widening of Lake Shore Drive alone is estimated to be over $100 million.
- Not only are public lands being given to a private entity but the public will pay to have Cornell Drive closed and Stony Island Avenue and Lake Shore Drive widened
Letter from Faculty Concerning the Obama Center
- What initially started out as a library has morphed into a 20-acre private “center,” and some environmentalists and historians are unhappy with the Obama Foundation’s plans to swoop in and take over a national historic place.
- The Obama Foundation shared dozens of changes to its proposal, including road closures within the park, a revamping of the picturesque landscaping, and a newly designed main building would stretch 23 stories high at 235 feet tall.
- This isn’t just any public open space; this is historic parkland originally designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr., and Calvert Vaux (of New York’s Central Park fame),” the organization’s website states. The park system was designed in 1871, and Olmsted wrote in 1895 that the Museum of Science and Industry was intended to be the only “dominating object of interest” in the park.
- 200 faculty members from Obama’s former employer, the University of Chicago, issued a formal letter last Monday stating its opposition to the presidential center being built at this location.
The Obama Foundation originally said it would house a presidential library on the property and vowed to have the National Archives oversee the facility because of its placement on public land. But that’s no longer the case, and some are balking at the change in plans.
“Here’s our bottom line. If the Obama Foundation wishes to construct this center on Chicago’s South Side, that’s fine, but not on parkland held in public trust. The University of Chicago, which orchestrated the winning bid for the project, has plenty of land on the South Side that they could and should use. Instead, they’ve been adamant since day one that they must have historic public parkland for the purpose,” Charles Birnbaum, president and founder of D.C.-based nonprofit, the Cultural Landscape Foundation, told the Washington Examiner in a written statement Saturday.
Chris Kennedy accuses Democrat Rahm Emanuel of forcing blacks out of Chicago by ‘strategic gentrification plan’
( Chicago Tribune ) Democratic governor candidate Chris Kennedy on Wednesday accused Mayor Rahm Emanuel of leading a “strategic gentrification plan” aimed at forcing African-Americans and other minorities out of Chicago to make the city “whiter” and wealthier.
“I believe that black people are being pushed out of Chicago intentionally by a strategy that involves disinvestment in communities being implemented by the city administration, and I believe Rahm Emanuel is the head of the city administration and therefore needs to be held responsible for those outcomes,” Kennedy said during a news conference about gun violence in North Lawndale.
“This is involuntary. That we’re cutting off funding for schools, cutting off funding for police, allowing people to be forced to live in food deserts, closing hospitals, closing access to mental health facilities. What choice do people have but to move, to leave?” Kennedy added. “And I think that’s part of a strategic gentrification plan being implemented by the city of Chicago to push people of color out of the city. The city is becoming smaller, and as it becomes smaller, it’s become whiter.”
The mayor’s office responded by trying to link Kennedy to two Republican politicians who enjoy little popularity in Chicago — President Donald Trump and Gov. Bruce Rauner, whom Kennedy wants to replace.
- Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin flew to New York on Thursday to discuss what he described as a “quiet genocide” in Chicago’s black community with the U.N.’s assistant secretary-general for peacebuilding support, Oscar Fernandez-Taranco.
- Boykin: “We have to do something — black people in Chicago make up 30 percent of the population but 80 percent of those who are killed by gun violence.”
But if the soldiers were instead wearing the sky blue helmets of United Nations peacekeepers there might not be such a problem, according to Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin, who flew to New York on Thursday to discuss what he described as a “quiet genocide” in Chicago’s black community with the U.N.’s assistant secretary-general for peacebuilding support, Oscar Fernandez-Taranco.
“The United Nations has a track record of protecting minority populations,” Boykin told Inc. before his meeting. “There was tribal warfare between the Tutsis and the Hutus in Africa, and they deployed peacekeeping troops there to help save those populations and reduce the bloodshed. We have to do something — black people in Chicago make up 30 percent of the population but 80 percent of those who are killed by gun violence.”
Asked how that might differ from sending in the National Guard, Boykin said, “The difference is, I’m not so sure that the National Guard is so used to peacekeeping and a peacekeeping role: The U.N. is trained in this.”
You’d welcome foreign troops on the streets of Austin, North Lawndale, Englewood and Roseland, commissioner?
“I’m talking about whoever the U.N. would decide to send in,” Boykin responded, adding, “I think that the assistant secretary-general may have some ideas outside of sending in troops. He may have some ideas about how we get to peace in these communities.
“We can’t wait for the mayor to put another 1,000 police officers on the streets, and I’m not so sure that’s going to be the panacea, anyhow,” said Boykin, who added that he wanted local officials to sit down together to come up with a solution.
“It’s been a total devastation of the African-American community,” he said.
- “Cops are backing off of proactive policing in high-crime minority neighborhoods, and criminals are becoming emboldened,”
- Chicago alone was responsible for 22 percent of the nationwide murder increase in 2016
- Baltimore homicides exploded by more than 60 percent to 344.
( Daily Caller ) At first glance, the number seems like an error — as if an FBI statistician had accidentally transposed some digits in the bureau’s annual report on crime released earlier this week.
Were there really 765 murders in Chicago in 2016? A year after the city tallied 478, and the year before that 411? A reader unfamiliar with Chicago’s recent crime history would likely say the true number has to be 576 or, worst case, 675.
Alas, anyone who has been paying attention to violence in Chicago knows the FBI didn’t make a mistake — the shocking number is accurate. Chicago’s annual murder total jumped 86 percent in the space of two years, evoking memories of the early 1990s crack wars when annual homicide totals regularly approached 1,000.
As Fordham University law professor John Pfaff noted on Twitter, Chicago alone was responsible for 22 percent of the nationwide murder increase in 2016.
Although that horrifying statistic stands out, Chicago’s wave of killing wasn’t an aberration, nationally speaking. Six other major U.S. cities experienced a surge in murders in at least one year between 2014 and 2016. (RELATED: The FBI Just Confirmed What Sessions Has Been Saying About Violent Crime)
Baltimore, for example, recorded 211 murders in 2014, a relatively peaceful year for the violence-plagued city. The next year, homicides exploded by more than 60 percent to 344.
As McDonald sees it, agitation by groups such as Black Lives Matter, encouraged by slanted media coverage, has led to a retrenchment among big-city police forces. Street cops are so worried about being vilified by city leaders and the press that they are avoiding contact with the criminal element, she says.
“Cops are backing off of proactive policing in high-crime minority neighborhoods, and criminals are becoming emboldened,” MacDonald wrote in a Sept. 25 piece for City Journal. “Having been told incessantly by politicians, the media, and Black Lives Matter activists that they are bigoted for getting out of their cars and questioning someone loitering on a known drug corner at 2 AM, many officers are instead just driving by.”
- During a forum for Obama library, a shouting match occur over whether Obama actually loves black people.
- According to one activist, there will be no “Amen, kiss the ring.”
- South Side residents tend to speak of Obama with adoration and pride, like loyal subjects praising their king
- A nasty fight over a community benefits agreement with the Obama Foundation has exposed an unexpected rift between Obama and black community
- Not everyone on the South Side, it seems, thinks Obama did enough for black folks during his eight years as president
- Last week, Obama said flat-out that there would be no community benefits agreement between his foundation and the black community
- The Obama Library South Side Community Benefits Agreement Coalition, founded by five prominent community organizations, has been leading the call for a document Obama Foundation guaranteeing jobs and low-income housing protections
Obama’s promises for presidential center may not be enough this time for African-Americans
On the South Side of Chicago, people don’t criticize Barack Obama — not in the open, at least.
In this predominantly African-American part of the city, where Obama charted his path to the White House and where his wife, Michelle, was born and raised, residents tend to speak of him with adoration and pride, like loyal subjects praising their king.
Now that Obama is about to build his presidential center in Woodlawn’s Jackson Park, some residents are wary of his ability to transform neighborhoods without doing harm to longtime residents who could end up displaced by gentrification.
A nasty fight over a community benefits agreement with the Obama Foundation has exposed an unexpected rift between the former president and some of the South Side residents who helped lift him to prominence.
Not everyone on the South Side, it seems, thinks Obama did enough for black folks during his eight years as president. And as he prepares to build a presidential center that will pay tribute to his legacy, some South Siders are calling him out for what they consider broken promises.
( Daily Caller ) The city of Chicago saw 30 people shot between Friday and Monday morning, with four fatalities and 26 casualties in hospitals around the city.
Chicago’s notorious gun violence has brought the city at least 435 deaths in 2017, ABC 7 Chicago reported Monday. Disturbing violence has marred several other holiday weekends this year, including Independence Day, Memorial Day, and Father’s Day, which each saw more than 50 shootings.
Despite the grim numbers, Labor Day weekend has seen fewer total fatalities than the previous weekend, which saw seven people shot and killed. This weekend’s fatalities were Jeremy Tang, 20, and Felipe Batista Jr., 26, who were each found dead by police Sunday, as well as James McChristian, 26, who died Saturday. The fourth victim died in the hospital Saturday and his name and age have not been released.
Read more: Chicago Had A Bloody Labor Day Weekend