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More on the Mexican Mall

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To the editors:

The article by Dave Fremon "Merchants vs. mall: a Mexican standoff in Little Village" [March 30] reads more like a press release for the Matanky Realty Group than an accurate, objective portrayal of the dispute over the proposed "Plaza Mexico" mall.

Fremon, normally an excellent writer, has really missed the mark on this issue. Instead of checking out the various statements made by the principal proponents of the mall, for their accuracy, Fremon just gives them "carte blanche" and innocently (?) perpetuates the "misinformation" being put out by Garcia, Matanky, Villarreal et al.

For the record, your readers should know the following:

1) The Matanky Realty Group met on two (2) different occasions with the Little Village Chamber of Commerce and the Little Village United Neighborhood Organization and clearly stated that they were not interested or open to any local or community involvement in the ownership or development of "Plaza Mexico" and that they would not make any definite commitments to such mall components as the community center, day care center, diaper service etc.

2) To date, no official request has been made by Alderman Garcia for any impact studies by the City's Planning or Economic Development Departments or by the University of Illinois' Center for Urban and Economic Development.

3) Garcia's claim of "neutrality" on the mall is suspect due to his having originally sponsored the Zoning Change Application on behalf of the Matanky Realty Group to the City Council Zoning Committee for its February meeting. Due to the vehement negative reaction from business and community leaders to Garcia's action, he requested that the Committee defer the application review for a later date.

4) Garcia has disappointed many of his business supporters in the Little Village community who feel that they have been "sold out" by his secret maneuvers to bring in "Plaza Mexico" and by claiming that the businessmen have never supported him in the past. Garcia's "ingratitude" towards the business community that have been loyal to him only adds insult to injury, which, among Hispanics, burns long and deep.

5) Anita Villarreal's ouster as president of the Little Village Chamber of Commerce was conducted under the auspices and observation of the Department of Economic Development of which the Chamber is a Delegate Agency and according to the By-Laws of the Chamber.

Dave Fremon in conversation with Omar Lopez was apprised of all of the aforementioned but failed to include these points in his article. Dave has done stellar reporting in the past and it is hoped that the poor quality of this article was due more to "time constraints" and "deadlines" than to his journalistic acumen.

Nora LaPorta

President

Committee for the Defense

of Little Village

W. 26th St.

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