Mayor Rahm Emanuel
Updated: October 26, 2012 6:12AM
It’s obvious why Mayor Rahm Emanuel is airing boastful commercials that you correctly term “a poke in the eye” of the Chicago Teachers Union. He is trying to rehabilitate himself with the public that overwhelmingly supported the striking union — while a mere 19 percent thought he was handling the situation properly. This is the first time the mayor has been upside-down in any polling, and he believes he needs damage control and a way of claiming victory.
What is most distressing is not simply that he continues to generate bad will with teachers through this expensive ad campaign, but that he accepts its financing from anti-union advocacy groups whose acknowledged goal is the destruction of teachers unions and, by extension, the eventual breakup of public education itself.
Allying himself with these groups suggests that he wanted the strike, misguidedly hoping that the public would side against the union as it has elsewhere — and that we have not yet seen the end of union-busting tactics emanating from the fifth floor of City Hall.
Don Rose, Old Town
Give it a rest, Rahm
Dear Mr. Mayor: It is far too early to be campaigning for re-election. Stop the commercials and radio ads already. Tell your rich hedge-fund friends to use the money spent on these misleading commercials to help the children of Chicago. You know, those kids whose parents can’t afford the Lab School. Show the children of Chicago you truly have their best interest at heart by forging a relationship with the CTU and draw a line in the sand and play fair.
Linda Hudson, Avalon Park
Obama’s missed opportunities
As a corporate human resources director, I have done and reviewed many employee annual performance appraisals. If President Obama were a corporate employee, his performance appraisal would range from unsatisfactory to a performance improvement plan. Put simply, he missed opportunities to make substantial job-program improvements to the sagging economy when his party controlled the executive and legislative branch of government.
Critical momentum and time were lost when the Democrats could have rammed through big job-creating legislation.
Rex Conte, Oak Park
Stunning Prentice is worth saving
Opinions differ about historic Prentice Hospital on Northwestern’s Streeterville campus. Clearly Neil Steinberg [“Rx for Prentice Women’s Hospital? Tear it Down,” Sept. 23] wants to see it go. Many people — myself included — think it’s a stunning building whose demolition would be a devastating loss for Chicago and its long legacy of creating innovative architecture.
I applaud Mr. Steinberg for criticizing Northwestern’s “ham-handed efforts to sell tearing down Prentice.” But his column creates some misconceptions that need to be corrected.
First, 41 respected architects from Chicago — not visitors from South America — have called on Northwestern to preserve and reuse Prentice Hospital. Protecting the architecture that defines our city and keeping it vital for another generation clearly matters to Chicago’s architectural community. The 80 architects who have called for the building to be saved include all of the partners from the Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill — one of the world’s most respected corporate architecture firms.
Second, reuse options abound for this historic building — economical ones at that. A 2011 reuse study by Landmarks Illinois establishes that the building could be repurposed to serve medical research, office or administrative functions, or even be a hotel or a luxury apartment building. All that’s missing is the will to consider those options seriously.
To those of us who love Prentice, the saddest part of this debate is that Northwestern — despite its claims — has no need to tear the building down. As Philip Enquist, who heads Urban Design and Planning at SOM wrote recently, “Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s inventory of real estate is extensive, and architects have identified ways that it can maintain its world-class patient care and research facilities while keeping the old Prentice building open.”
Indeed, SOM has offered to work with Northwestern to identify planning solutions, but the university refuses even to have a conversation.
Steinberg concludes by saying, “bottom line, NU owns the building.” Under Chicago’s Landmarks Ordinance, however, that is not the end of the conversation. Many buildings have been landmarked over owners’ objections — St. Gelasius Church at 64th and Woodlawn and the Mid-City Trust and Savings Bank at 2 S. Halsted are just two examples. That is why we have a landmarks ordinance and the Landmarks Commission. The community has a vested interest in deciding what it values and wants to preserve.
National Trust for Historic Preservation