Saturday, December 15, 2012

EXTRA: Promontory Point – the ‘third rail’ of Democratic slating session?

What Hyde Parkers dream about having with 'the Point.' Photograph by

SOUTH HOLLAND, Ill. – Anti-labor proposals. Abortion. Gay marriage. Foreign aid to countries like Israel.

All were among the issues that were brought up Saturday when Democrats tried unsuccessfully to come up with a single candidate for next year’s special elections to fill the vacancy created when Jesse Jackson, Jr., resigned from Congress.

YET WHAT WAS the issue that wound up creating the biggest stink, and may well have been the “kiss of death” for at least one Congressional dreamer?

Promontory Point!

Yes, I’m referring to that man-made place that juts out into Lake Michigan at 55th Street in the Hyde Park neighborhood, and that offers up some of the most unique views of the lake and of the downtown skyline. It is a place that every Chicagoan ought to check out (I’ve only been there once in my life), yet many don’t even realize exists.

And it was the issue that 5th Ward Committeeman Leslie Hairston turned into her ultimate weapon against the candidates who partook in the slating session held Saturday in the south suburbs.

FOR HAIRSTON DEMANDED that all 16 of those who wished to be slated give her an answer as to what kind of help the candidate would offer from Congress for the restoration of Promontory Point – which has been a hot-button issue in Hyde Park for the past decade.

It didn’t matter where in the 2nd Congressional District (it stretches as far south as the Kankakee/Iroquois County border) one came from. She demanded an answer.
HAIRSTON: All had to answer about "the Point"

“If these people want to represent my community, I want to know where they stand on an issue of concern to us,” she said.

For his part, would-be Congressional candidate Donne Trotter (the state senator who once lived in Hyde Park) describes the point as, “the place where we went to have fun when we were young,” with a wicked laugh as he said it.

FOR THE RECORD, Hairston said she thinks Jackson was negligent in doing anything about the issue during his time in Congress. She also wants the Point rebuilt with limestone – as opposed to those people who would prefer a cheaper alternative such as concrete.

“Limestone” became the magic word. Anybody who wouldn’t say they would support rebuilding with it was dead in the water, as far as Hairston was concerned.

It almost became humorous at times, such as when would-be Congressional candidate Joyce Washington guessed “limestone. I got it right?,” she said, while people watching the slating hearing applauded.

And when former state Rep. David Miller of Lynwood tried saying he would “support what the people want” without being specific, she ultimately pressured him into saying, “limestone.”

Did 'Point' kill Williams?

This issue may also have become the death of perennial candidate Rev. Anthony Williams, who admitted he wasn’t familiar with the issue, and refused to take a guess at what it was that Hairston wanted to hear. “I don’t have a position,” he said.
Although for others, his comment against building an airport in Peotone and spending the money to revitalize such southern suburbs as Dixmoor, Harvey and Dolton was likely the kiss of death. Of a new Chicago-area airport near Peotone, Williams said, "Gary/Chicago is your third airport."


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