A last-minute parliamentary maneuver on Wednesday derailed – for now – a controversial plan to rename Outer Lake Shore Drive in honor of Jean Baptiste Point DuSable.
Two aldermen can, without explanation, switch to “defer and publish”, which postpones the consideration of a meeting.
On Wednesday, this maneuver was executed by two aldermen: Brian Hopkins (2nd) and Ariel Reboyras (30th).
Before Hopkins declares his intention to delay the vote, Ald. Sophia King (4th) has requested a roll call.
“I saw Alderman Hopkins’ hand go up,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said from the podium.
“I raised my hand. I called first for a call, ”King said.
Lightfoot replied, “Councilor Hopkins raised his hand.”
“Oh, come on, President,” King said.
Lightfoot hit the hammer. “Alderman King, you are off duty. Please.”
King replied, “I’m not down. I had already raised my hand. I see the play here. … It’s just an iniquity, quite simply. Right here in front of us.
Lightfoot held on.
“Wow,” King said. “The call was called first. Can we get legal advice here? “
Ald. David Moore (17th) is the City Council champion for renaming the causeway in honor of DuSable, a black man who was Chicago’s first permanent non-Indigenous settler. He was reduced to screaming from the ground. His microphone was off.
Hopkins explained the delay in a text message to the Sun-Times ahead of the meeting.
“We still do not know if the buildings in the city center are affected. Specifically 500, 505 and 474 N. Lake Shore Drive. Cutting out inner motivation doesn’t help, ”he wrote.
City, state and CTA officials have put a price tag of $ 2.5 million on changing road signs, maps and other displays on Outer Drive.
Hopkins argued that the estimate “does not include the personal cost for hundreds of residents needed to change their mailing addresses and documents.”
Supporters of change who gathered outside City Hall said they were planning to hold a rally in Grant Park on Saturday.
Moore, meanwhile, has vowed to join King in calling a special city council meeting to accomplish the name change. He also promised to hit back by playing his own brand of hardball.
“If they want to be in politics, I take that personal and whatever comes before this board, I’ll do d-and-p,” he said, referring to “defer and publish.”
“Anything that comes before this Council, I will ask for a roll call. If they want to do this, then that’s what I’ll do.
He added: “It takes a bit more to make me angry. But what I’m going to tell you is that they’re going to be angry because I’m still going to delay every city council meeting in the future, ”he added.
King agreed that “the votes are there” to pass the name change at a special meeting – which is why opponents used a parliamentary maneuver to block it.
“When the votes aren’t there, you don’t have to resort to political shenanigans. The votes are there. . . This is usually when people resort to tactics to delay and try to intimidate people, ”King said.
After the Council confrontation, Lightfoot raised concerns about the name change. She fears the renaming of Chicago’s most iconic and picturesque boulevard – made famous by songs and movies – could hurt the city’s marketing and be costly and cumbersome for homeowners and businesses.
“There are a lot of people who oppose any changes to Lake Shore Drive. It is one of the city’s most emblematic assets. When you say Lake Shore Drive, people know you mean Chicago. I think it’s very important, ”she said.
Lightfoot acknowledged a “real interest and thirst” in people to learn more about DuSable and said his counter-proposal does. It would complement DuSable Park, create “permanent props, statues and markers” honoring DuSable as well as “year round programming” in the “busiest part” of downtown Riverwalk and rename the entire Riverwalk to honor DuSable.
“What I’ve also heard from people is that we haven’t had enough time to talk about it, to debate it. … We have to make sure that these voices are heard, ”she said.
“In the end, the people who are [saying rename] Lake Shore Drive or nothing, we’ll see where it goes. But there is plenty of room for us to continue the discussion, ”said Lightfoot.
King said Lightfoot shared responsibility for Wednesday’s delay.
“I would have liked the mayor to be okay with this problem. It really is a question of unfairness. I would like her to realize that. I don’t totally blame her. It’s the city council that has to approve that and get things done. But his leadership would be important in doing that, ”King said.
“She missed the cannabis. It was huge. And this is another opportunity to talk about racial healing … and to right the past mistakes and wrongs of our city … It is the will of the people. It is also a period of racial calculation. He is our founder. He founded our city very humbly. He embraced the natives. He learned about their culture, married them, married his wife. It should be celebrated.
Moore said Wednesday’s move amounted to delaying justice. No justice denied. Like King, he’s determined to do it – sooner, not later.
“People care about this. People know it’s the right thing to do, ”he told The Sun-Times.
“When I introduced him, a number of children from [local elementary schools] acquainted with Jean Point Baptiste DuSable. All these kids – when they called me – it was important to them. Even more young people started to learn more about him. Even more people in the north started to learn more about him. That’s what it’s about.
Across from City Hall, a group of activists gathered outside the Thompson Center. They weren’t happy with the delay.
“Our mayor had a chance, an opportunity, to unify the greatest city in the world,” said Paul Pearson, founder of the DuSable Community Coalition.
“And what did she do?” She neglected us, she didn’t want to hear our voices, and now we’re going to bring our voices to her.
The coalition also wants a DuSable vacation in Chicago, as well as a monument to the settler in Grant Park.
“We want to send a message directly to the mayor that we are not going anywhere. … If we have to close Lake Shore Drive this weekend and every weekend, we will, ”said Ephraim Martin, president of Martin’s International, a Chicago-based organization that promotes African, Caribbean and Latin American cultures. . .
“It was supposed to be the day to begin Chicago’s healing process, to show the world that systemic racism is coming to an end in Chicago by honoring the founding father, a black man, who founded this great city. So let you know that you postponed the vote today, but you’re not going to stop us.
Contribution: Zinya Salfiti