To the editor:
Ben Joravsky [The Works, April 28] gives a good outline of the issues surrounding public opposition to the proposed Rockwell-Devon parking garage, but his account falls short in describing this one project as my sole motivation in seeking to unseat Berny Stone as 50th Ward alderman.
The proposed parking garage is poorly planned, grossly out of scale with its surroundings, incompatible with the residential neighborhood, and an irresponsible waste of public resources for private development with no community input and no public benefit. The project has been misrepresented from the start, and the city's planned development process used to circumvent normal zoning requirements to allow a combination of excessive height, bulk, and density not permitted anywhere in the 50th Ward. Opposing this disastrous project is an urgent issue for the community, but not the basis of a campaign. This fight will be over long before the election.
Unfortunately, the parking-garage deal illustrates the worst of Stone's approach to planning and development. Rather than involve himself in the messy work of engaging the community and seeking responsible solutions, he looks for easy answers by granting special favors to individual developers. Stone says helplessly, "Like it or not, change is coming."
In contrast, I believe we can manage change for the good of the community. My campaign is about giving a voice to the diverse constituencies that make up the 50th Ward, about working together to create a vision and a plan for the future, and about advocating planning solutions that address the needs of business and economic development while respecting and preserving the unique character of our neighborhoods and commercial districts.
Berny Stone was right about one thing: "You can't run away from change." Now is the time for change.