In last week’s Wednesday Journal, one of the main topics of interest was Golub & Co.’s proposed 28-story luxury high-rise apartment at 835 Lake St., one property parcel between it and Unity Temple and directly across the street from Scoville Park and the Main Library. There was coverage of Unity Temple’s proposed response to the matter, Oak Park Call to Action’s projection of F.L. Wright quotes on the north side of temple, Village President Abu-Taleb’s “Dear Community” letter in which he states that he does not “envision” or “support” the current Golub proposal “on this site” and asks Golub “to revisit its plans and explore other options … in this location,” and finally, a story summarizing the letter and including commentary from Abu-Taleb and responses from five of the six other members of the board of trustees (all of whom expressed opposition to the height and density of the proposal).
But what really caught my eye were two other places in WJ that referenced the Golub proposal and used it as an opportunity to mock citizens who have spoken out against this highly inappropriate development. In his column on page 6, Dan Haley, speaking about Abu-Taleb’s letter of non-support, says, “Conspiracy-minded neighbors believe this is all a ruse to get an eventual OK on a 20-story building which will be touted as a compromise” and then, just in case we readers didn’t get the message, he re-phrases himself on page 18’s editorial with “Conspiracy theorists who believe the fix is always in and in favor of developers on these projects should take note. Wasn’t the case this time.”
Well, time will tell how true that is. But in the meantime, in this current media climate where the terms “conspiracy-minded” and “conspiracy theorists” are often used in a negative way to speak of a person or group, why does Dan feel the need to use these loaded words to describe people who are actively using their voices to prevent the construction of yet another unsuitable high-rise?
I attended Golub’s public meeting on Nov. 26 at the 19th Century Club, and if the 150 or so attendees are an example of the opposition to this project, I’d say the concerned citizens of Oak Park deserve better treatment from the editor of their community newspaper.