The ruling of Judge Blakey, who was appointed to his position of power by former President Obama, to permit construction of a memorial 235-foot-high Obama Tower in historic Jackson Park has left us stunned. We are frequently reminded that America is one of the few countries in the world that is governed by the RULE OF LAW not men. The Declaration Of Independence declares “that to secure these rights governments are instituted among men.”
But even in a Democratic Republic those entrusted with power too often forget whose interests they are sworn to protect. The Illinois Constitution, that Judge Blakey never mentioned, makes it unambiguous that “Public funds, property or credit shall be used only for public purposes” [Art. VIII, Sec. 1(a)] ; “Every person shall find a certain remedy in the laws for all injuries and wrongs…He shall obtain justice by law freely, completely, and promptly.”[Art. I, Sec. 12]; “Every person has the right to a healthful environment. Every person may enforce this right against any party, governmental or private…” [Art XI, Sec. 2]
Illinois law further provides that: “Each member of the governing board of any park district before entering upon the duties of his office shall take and subscribe an oath to well and faithfully discharge his duties…” [70 ILCS 1205/4-1) par. 4-1)]
The Chicago Park District Act provides: “Any property or funds held by any of the park districts or corporate authorities superseded by the Chicago Park District upon any special expressed trust shall be held by said Chicago Park District under such trust. [70 ILCS 1505/12]
So what happened to historic Jackson Park? Politics, money, clout, self interest, and breach of fiduciary duty by those individuals who were specifically put in their positions to be guardians of the city’s irreplaceable lake shore public parks. The Park District Commissioners violated their oaths of office. Mayor Emanuel, himself the former chief of Staff of former President Obama, contrived a con man’s scheme of property flipping of protected Jackson Park public property to flip off the controlling law as well, and he violated his oath of office as well.
And Judge Blakey? He refused to acknowledge the shell game taking place and act to stop it, and he could not resist the hidden influences of all the powerful interests hell bent on stealing Jackson Park to indulge their selfish desires.
“Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.”
With officials from Governors to Aldermen being regularly sent to jail it has been proven over and again that Paddy Bauler was right when he said “Chicago ain’t ready for reform.” Without the protection of the rule of law what kind of banana republic do we become?
In Washington today we see a Congress considering the impeachment of a President for abuse of power. Around the world we see the people of Hong Hong, and Sudan, going to the streets and risking death and imprisonment to preserve their rights. Protect Our Parks will be filing an appeal for justice to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and to the Supreme Court if necessary. It turns out that Judge Blakey’s ruling is not only wrong but it raises issues of such Constitutional importance that it also sets in place the opportunity for a landmark ruling to benefit citizens experiencing similar recurring abuses throughout the United States.
Shakespeare’s Hamlet says “ The time is out of joint. O cursèd spite, / That ever I was born to set it right!” We say, with your help, we are proud and determined to the ones to prove Paddy Bauler wrong and finally SET THINGS RIGHT.
For anyone interested, we’ve posted the judge’s opinion here.