Monday, May 17, 2010

Cut the Crap, Tunney

Everyone please bear with me as I'm trying to make heads or tails of everything going on with various developments in and around Wrigley Field.

If I understand things correctly, Alderman Tom Tunney is opposed to the proposed Toyota sign that will rise above the left field bleachers because it is not in keeping with the character of the neighborhood.  I know this because Fran Spielman reported in the Sun-Times:

"[Tunney] drew the line at the see-through sign that, he argued, is “not in keeping with the character of the neighborhood or the spirit of the landmarks” designation. Even worse, it sets a dangerous precedent, he said."

Well, let's take a look at that proposed sign.  Here is an artist's rendering of it from that same Sun-Times story:

It's different from what we are used to seeing within the ballpark, that is true, but is it really not in keeping with the character of Wrigleyville?

Perhaps some of you folks might remember this fun sign on the corner of Clark and Patterson:

That isn't garish and unsightly at all.  In fact, I'm a bit surprised this panoramic scene hasn't been featured as a greeting card or a backdrop for one of those paperback romances you find in the airport newstands.  I lived in the neighborhood when that egg was the view from my kitchen and I never heard a word about the character of the neighborhood being ruined.

Maybe he means that the big bad corporation of Toyota is going to unfairly horn in on the neighborhood's kitschy small, locally owned business feel.  At least McDonald's was a member of the community when they put up their horribly ugly and cheesy sign.  All of those local businesses crammed together, fighting for attention with their signs are likely to get a bit tacky.  That must be it.  Tom Tunney is a supporter of the local business owners who make the neighborhood what it is. 

So, of course, Tom Tunney must be the loudest opposition to the proposed development known as "Addison Park on Clark," right?  Afterall, this development will push local establishments like the iO Theatre, Mullen's, Salt & Pepper Diner and Sports World out while bringing in tenants like a Hyatt hotel, Best Buy, Dominicks, and CVS.  If a singular Toyota sign is setting such bad precedent, surely Mr. Tunney must agree that allowing a gigantic, 8-story multiplex into the neighborhood would not be starting down a slippery slope, it would be jumping off of a cliff into the selling of Wrigleyville's soul.  Right?  Tom?

Again according to Fran Spielman:

"But [Tunney] emphatically insisted that developer Anthony Rossi's project was "a good development for the neighborhood," particularly during a prolonged recession."

Oh.  It's good.  But what about the businesses that are getting shut out of their locations?

"'These are Chicago names that are savvy operators. They will find a way to either get back in the development or find another opportunity. And in this market, there are plenty of opportunities,' including the shuttered Lakeshore Theater at Belmont and Broadway."

I see.  So, one sign that partially obscures a sign that is intended to make people gamble and will probably result in making people want to buy a Toyota so they can drive to the casino in order to bet the new car is bad and must be stopped at all costs.  Kicking numerous local business owners out of their locations during a down economy so that big corporations like Best Buy can make more profits is something that should go full speed ahead.

Mr. Tunney?  Can we cut out the bullshit rhetoric about the integrity of the fucking neighborhood when the only real reasons you oppose or favor anything happening in that neighborhood are based solely on reasons that involve dollar signs?  Just shut up about your slippery slopes and worrying about how Wrigleyville will go in the toilet because of one sign and tell us how much money you want and where Tom Ricketts should send it.  It will just be easier that way.


wpbc said...

great post tim,

tunney is showing his true colors.

Michael Proper said...

As a former t-shirt vendor, I already have a hatred for Tunney for trying to kick us out for legitimate reasons, but this "malling of Wrigleyville" is too much.

The IO Theater should be given landmark status and have this shit stopped.

Aisle 424 said...

I don't really have a huge opinion about the development. The neighborhood could use a hotel and a couple fewer bars wouldn't be the end of the world.

It sucks for the businesses that are going to get displaced, but that's capitalism at work. It's a shame, but that's how the world works now.

I just wish Tunney and all the other people who support this and oppose the Toyota sign would just admit that all their talk about the "integrity of the neighborhood" is nothing but spin that suits their needs for one particular issue.

My bet is that if Tunney thought there was a buck to be made by him or his political supporters (that would eventually flow into his pockets), he'd be out there putting that Toyota sign up himself.

Anonymous said...

Hey there, long time listener, first time caller. Love the blog.

It's funny, because the big Miller sign across the street doesn't seem to effect the character of the neighborhood, or the Horseshoe Casino sign, or any of the other countless advertisements around that area, but a sign inside Wrigley, that is only feet from being outside Wrigley is the be-all-end-all-this-is-where-I-draw-the-line for these people.

I don't get it. There's already tons of advertisement inside Wrigley as well as big-ass-signs outside Wrigley that you can see inside. What's the big deal? If it means prices can either stay put or *gasp* go down, I'm all for it. I can only guess that the people complaining are people who have either some sort of special interest (Tunney) or people who don't go to Wrigley and only see it on television and are unable to see all the existing advertisement.

As far as the hotel/Best Buy/Dominick's/Uberplex, although I'm against it, it's a natural progression for that neighborhood. Anyone who kids themselves into believing that there's any kind of community around there aside from the drinking community needs to spend a little more time watching who lives there. None of those people are "Wrigleyville lifers." They're college kids, up and coming yuppies with one foot out the door and one foot into Lincoln Park (or Schaumburg) and folks who will only live there for a couple years before they get sick of the bar crowd. Sure, there's exceptions, but truth be told, this isn't the good ol' Chicago neighborhood the media hypes it as.

Duey23 said...

Just a note that I don't think that's an artists' rendering. That very sign was in 2 or 3 pieces sitting under sections 403/404. I actually laughed when I saw it and pointed it out to the wifey as we were leaving on Saturday.

Aisle 424 said...

I had heard the sign is at Wrigley and ready to ruin everyone's lives at any moment, but that photo was just a conception from the Sun Times.

Southside Phil said...

It's a ballpark, not a landmark. Please, Wrigleville bureaucrats, get off your high horse.

kerrence said...

Great post, I totally agree. It has jack to to with saving the "integrity of the neighborhood."

Cubs Fan Report said...

Great post. We linked to it in today's Cubs Fan Report. And to confirm Duey23, we snapped a photo of the sign in waiting and featured it in our 5/16 Report. You can see it here: Keep up the great work Aisle 424!

Post a Comment

The easiest way to comment is to choose the Name/URL option from the Comment As dropdown menu below. You do not need to put in a URL for this option to work.

Sometimes upon submitting the comment, you will get an error saying there is a problem. Submit the comment again and it should work. I am looking into correcting this glitch.