State of the state of the South Loop state

and I don't mean State Street

11/19/2012 10:12 AM

By Bonnie McGrath

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So once again, a friend asked me earnestly on Saturday morning: "Who really is my alderman?" And I could see she was all confused. A Dearborn Parker and Second Warder, she voted for Bob Fioretti. But he didn't show up in person at the Greater South Loop Association State of the South Loop meeting that morning at Daystar Center at 16th and State. Fourth Ward Alderman Will Burns did--and he sort of light-walked and joke-talked his way into introducing himself to his new constituents.

As for me--also a second warder--my new ward is three--Alderman Pat Dowell's ward. She gave a studious, serious and information packed presentation to her new constituents about development, progress and the future.

The bottom line is this: although--as I surmised a while back--legally our current aldermen are the aldermen in the old boundaries, the new aldermen have to start their 2015 campaigns somewhere and sometime. And now's as good a time as any. "But practically speaking," my friend--with whom I no longer share ward citizenship, persisted. "Who should I call when I have a problem?"


Second bottom line: we in the old Second Ward have lost all political power, broken up into four wards as we are. We have a problem in the neighborhood? It's going to take four alderman working together to fix it. Fat chance--when the majority of the quadrangle's constituents live far to the South and West. We in the South Loop being end of spoke afterthoughts.

Which brings me to another quite interesting phenomenon that occurred at the meeting Saturday morning over coffee and sweets from Overflow Coffee Bar. Most of us were redistricted out of our State Rep's district, and into one whose representative draws no competition and who is safe in her district with the help of those who don't live near us--and our old one was elected by "others" for the most part, and will represent lots of new constituents fair and square starting next month. But Rep. Ken Dunkin also showed up as though everything was the same, just like old times. Like nothing ever happened. And he gave a very long-winded, albeit lively presentation on the State of the State. Literally.

No one in the large crowd asked him to wrap up his power point presentation--about everythhng from his duties in Springfield to the State's pension crisis--at the end of his alloted time. In fact, he drew more questions than any other speaker, whose topics ranged from saving the old Jones High School to the upswing in the South Loop real estate market to the upside of tearing down the old courthouse at 1340 S. Michigan, instead of pie in the sky ideas of turning it into 49 homes. I was amazed, to say the least. Everyone wanted to know about things like Illinois' bond issues. And he gladly obliged.

So that's the state of the state of the South Loop. Oh, did I mention Mariano's is under construction at 16th and Clark? It'll be done "sometime next year," we were told straight from the horse's mouth.

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By Miriam from Dearborn Park 1
Posted: 11/27/2012 10:52 AM

So who does represent Dearborn Park One in the City Council and in the state legislature? Why do we put up with these so called legislators who behave only according their own interests, not ours? Why are citizens so loath to push back when they are clearly being bullied?