Her and Her Big Mouth | Letters | Chicago Reader

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Her and Her Big Mouth


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In the Neighborhood News section of the January 5 edition of the Reader, you had an article about the Portage Park area. My family has lived in this neighborhood for eight and a half years and loves the area. Are there things that could be better? Sure. Are we happy about the empty storefronts and vacant lots? No. But many of us are certainly not happy with the attitude of Ms. O'Brien and her offensive comments about retailers and city planners.

While Ms. O'Brien may have some good intentions, her heavy-handed, domineering way of getting her point across is not a fair representation of the attitude of many of us in the neighborhood. She has bullied her way to get trees cut down at Dickinson Park, a small neighborhood park across from her house and mine. According to the horticulturist/tree specialist, the trees were slightly diseased but could have lasted for another 25 years. This is in a city that has lost thousands of trees recently because of the Asian longhorn beetle. She wants a fence in this park. So without consulting with any other neighbors who live near and around the park (some for generations) she admittedly bullied her way to the alderman and her fence was going up, until the other neighbors in the vicinity stopped the project so it could be studied in terms of what is best for the entire neighborhood and not just Ms. O'Brien's agenda. If you are against it, as many of us are, she claims that you must not be concerned with the safety of children. I have argued that a fence would create as many problems as it solves from a safety issue because of the unique design of the park itself, not to mention the ruining of open space, which our "hot neighborhood" sorely needs and is the intention of our park planners such as Jens Jensen.

She wants coffee shops, but one down the street from Ms. O'Brien just went out of business due to lack of customers. She mocks a rent-paying discount-casket company simply for what they are, yet she wonders why all the storefronts are empty. She should be happy they are here because they are paying rent which helps pay property taxes.

Because others in the neighborhood may have less means and time on their hands to park themselves in front of the alderman does not mean that their opinions do not count, though I doubt Ms. O'Brien is interested in hearing them.

On behalf of my family, I would like to apologize to any that may have been offended by Ms. O'Brien's attitude and assure your reading public that many of us who live in Portage Park are not represented by her comments.


Jon Schultz

N. Lavergne

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