Unfortunate Development | Letters | Chicago Reader

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Unfortunate Development

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To the editors:

As usual, my favorite issue of the Reader, the Year in Review, was extremely entertaining and informative [December 25]. Especially interesting was the treatment of the river leak, for the following reason:

The union to which I belong, Chicago Typographical Union No. 16, has been around since 1852 and has seen many instances of greatness and stupidity in city government. The latter kind found its epitome during the Loop flood. The union's Reporter for June reported as follows:

"It boggles the mind to think that the Great Chicago Flood could have been prevented, if the city would have notified its departments that there is a photo lab in-house for developing film. The employees of the lab are represented by No. 16.

"For those of us who have been following the flood story, one of the errors in the city's judgment, aside from breaking up the department of public works that had repaired two tunnel breaches earlier, was to send film taken of a breach in the city's tunnel system to a drug store for developing. It took one week to get the film back. What is unbelievable is that the photo lab inside city hall could have developed the film in two hours, an entire week earlier. The tunnel could have been repaired before the city was flooded.

"Mr. Mayor, how about sending that memo now to city departments to let them know about the city's own photo lab? You're paying for it anyway."

That should qualify as the greatest embarrassing blunder in city history.

Hank Oettinger

W. Grace

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